Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by Dona Worry, Feb 27, 2017.
Chiros can not determine soundness. Vets do that.
He is a vet, part of a large practice up in Burlington.
But he did make it clear that anything beyond the chiropractic work was his opinion and she should get a full lameness workup from my regular vet, who he knows and has a lot of respect for.
I already had one scheduled, so no worries there.
I am hopeful, I am excited. She could of course fail the lameness exam and have some other hidden problem--but she is moving noticeably freer since the chiro work, and I am thinking she may, against all odds, be a low key riding horse after all!
A nice walk trot heifer checking horse is the most strenuous goal I have for her, and it is looking like it may happen, although maybe I won't be the one riding her for a while yet.
And that's the part you left of the first comment - that the chiro is a vet and himself advised caution(in other words, not assuming that because she looks ok now, she'll be sound at work).
There is also the possibility that she 'passes'(I am not sure that any horse out of work really passes a lameness exam-the vet merely says, 'I can't find anything right now, we'll have to see how she responds when working', but even without that, horses don't really 'pass' lameness exams, it's more like - 'I can't find anything right now' - which can change), the lameness exam and then still becomes unsound when put to work(or put back to work, if she ever was in work). In other words, tissues aren't inflamed and arthritis isn't aggravated UNTIL the horse is in work, and a lameness exam can't find what isn't (currently) there, because the exam starts with detecting SYMPTOMS - existing lameness - and then following that trail to where the pathology is.
Many horses are 'sound' when out of work. That's the takeaway.
I myself am fairly 'sound' when not working physically. But say I am 'put to work'. A host of old injuries and chronic progressive arthritis makes itself known.
It is necessary for them to be determined to be fit to start work, so there's every reason to have her evaluated before she starts working.
The thing is, somehow, she got on the wrong subway car (got sold or given away and wound up in the rescue network), for some reason. No one knows what that reason is.
Because she was 'nervous' or 'difficult' or 'in foal' or the owner died? Maybe. The owner 'had too many horses'? Well, that's often what people say, but quite often if I hear that and do a prepurchase exam, it turns out that ain't really the truth.
If I had to say how most horses get 'into the network', barring death and taxes, usually, it would be for one reason or another, they are not 'use-able'. The thing is that no one knows. So the enthusiasm always has to be tempered with a practical outlook and a readiness to accept that maybe she may not be useful for riding.
You got her in ... May? She foaled in September. Mares - especially thin ones - often don't look pregnant at all the first 8 months. So it's quite possible the seller did not know she was pregnant. In less than ideal ownerships, mares are frequently impregnated without the owner knowing. So that's possible.
Of course...that brings up a whole 'nother discussion, that of 'how lame can a horse be and you still ride him?' Some people just ride lame horses. 'She's got arthritis, it's good for her to exercise as much as possible, besides we just walk trot and trail ride', isn't always true, but it is often a rallying cry. The horse may not have arthritis, and what level of activity is 'therapeutic' really depends on what's wrong with the animal. Depending on the terrain a 'walk trot trail ride' could be very demanding physically.
So as always with horses, enthusiasm gets mingled with a practical eye and working hand in hand with a veterinarian.
Well, she DOES have the dropped hip, which I do not fully understand, but even if she is comfortable and sound to ride at a walk trot, she is unlikely to be sound and comfortable at a canter, so perhaps that was enough to retire her from riding and turn her into a broodmare. Which would have aggravated the injury or even could be what caused it.
This mare was not treated very fairly before.
Most horses aren't treated very fairly, but she had it a lot worse than most.
The term dropped hip generally means there is some hind quarter or hind leg condition causing the horse to not equally weight both hind legs. Humans even get this. I have a knee that has had a chronic plica band, and I always put more weight on my other leg (without realizing it). As a result all the muscles of the pelvis, hip and thigh are much smaller on the 'bad' side.
This is something that is particularly notorious for being 'sound' when the horse is out of work (or if mild, when horse is in light work). One entire side of the hind quarter looks lower when observed from the rear of the horse.
It's very difficult to assess that especially if it's only very mild or slight, as the horse has to be standing perfectly evenly behind with both hind legs in exactly the same position. Otherwise, one half of the hind quarter will be lower than the other simply because that's how all horses function as they move about.
There is another condition called 'knocked down hip' which is an actual fracture of the - the pointy bone that sticks out and defines the forward 'point of croup' toward the front of the hind quarter/pelvis. This was caused by the horse striking its hip with great force, on some solid object, such as a door post or gate post. Seen from the rear, observing the side contour of the hind quarter, the POINT of the hip looks abnormal, as if someone lopped a piece of it. That may or may not be accompanied by the entire hind quarter having a 'dropped' appearance.
Knocked down hip is very, very common in horses that come from bad situations as gates are often too small, animals are crowding or fighting to get into the barn or get at a limited food supply, footing is bad causing falls, and so on. If the injury only affected the point of hip, after healing, the horse may be sound...or not.
She almost never stands square, but once he got her to, the left point of the hip was noticeably lower than the right. Not by a lot, but it was there. The way he was describing it, it almost sounded like it was put of joint?? But I had a lot of trouble following it, and if her hip was actually dislocated, it seems like she would be a lot lamer than an almost inperceptible 'offness'. I noticed it more right after she foaled, but in general even I don't always see it.
I can tell the difference now, though-- she has a much longer and surer step on both sides!
Do you mean her entire hind quarter is dropped, or just the point, that sticks out sideways, looks like it's abruptly broken off, so the point does not match the other side?
Most chiropractors say that joints are 'out' and 'need to be adjusted'.
It has never been proven that joints can, in fact, 'go out' in that way, or that anything the chiropractor does actually aligns joints themselves.
However....some of the movements and manipulations MAY help to relax muscles that are tightened up.
So, for example, I take my arm and push on a horse's hip, and he slips and falls against my arm, putting a lot of stress on the elbow and all the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the arm. The 'joint' (actually the muscles and tendon attachments around the OUTSIDE of the joint) now feel sore when I massage them. I have a mild injury of the muscles - a sprain or strain.
I keep massaging the arm and all the tissues that cover the surface of the joint. In about 2 weeks, the arm 'feels better'. And perhaps that massage helped, or perhaps it just healed on its won. It's said massage 'helps circulation' or 'helps stop muscle tightness or spasm' and so on.
I had an osteopath work on my back once. It's sort of 'set' in one position with the right hip pulled up (BY THE MUSCLES). The adjustment caused the pulling up muscles to stretch. It felt good. My back was straighter. But I just went home and didn't keep stretching and working the muscles. As a result, I 'needed another adjustment' pretty soon. The osteopathic adjustment is an opportunity, not a cure.
Now...a joint cannot go 'out'. And if a joint did get 'misaligned' the tissues that hold that joint in alignment, and the joint capsule itself which so determinedly keeps that joint in alignment would be severely damaged. Even for the joint to go out 'a tiny little bit'.
The science of chiropractic is completely without merit.
However, chiropractic MAY, for some types of muscle problems, 'feel good'. It is absolutely contra-indicated for MANY injuries. 'Feeling good' might mean 'therapeutic'. Or not. It might just be a momentary 'feeling good'.
For me, chiro is a STRICTLY 'post diagnostic therapy', if ever used, it is used AFTER diagnosis. Not before. And not AS a diagnostic technique.
And that is where I part company with most chiropractors.
And frankly, a vet who does chiropractic adjustments without taking xrays first, would not be in my barn, or touch my horses. Ever. Not even when pigs fly.
Each to his or her own.
I had a flying demon pig once. Oooh, the stories I could tell. . . Her name was Ada, which not a terrible name for such an evil creature. She was a pretty white pig with strawberry roan patches all overy her. She could jump a three foot solid concrete wall with stunning ease. Pretty sure she had oily black bat wings only viewable from an alternative plane of existence.
Anyways, no harm, no foul-- my mare was more than happy to receive the work, and seems comfortable and happy in the following days.
So there is good news and not so good news.
The good new: I can catch my horse in under ten minutes!
The not so good news: as long as she is in the round pen, also known as 'the catching spot'.
I can walk out into the 'dry' lot, she will wait for me to approach, or even come off the hill. I can pat her neck, rub her chest, check to see if it is to warm under her blankie. She stands. I pull the rope around she moves away. . . . .
And goes and waits by the gate to the round pen.
Okay, whatever. . . If I go and try to approach her there, she backs away, but if I open the gate, she waltzes in, waits for me to close the gate, and then I can walk up to her and halter her from both sides.
Soooo. . . . Progress?!
It went really well, she found a whole host of issues, and fixed them! Capypso was a real champ--we did sedate her, but she fought it like a demon and came out of it early, and still didn't fuss.
I am excited to see how she improves after this. Her bad teeth have been affecting her posture for a while, and I am relieved to have them finally taken care of.
Why is it upside-down? Your guess is as good as mine. . .
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