Tripping horse

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by countrygirl74, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Registered

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    Ok. History. 11 yr old gelding has tripped on the front end since he was 2 (slight tripling with occasional fall to his knees, about once every few months) but always recovers.
    Had extensive testing done. Everything from EPM, WOBBLES, etc.
    He seem to come out of it so it was thought to be a young imbalance thing. All tests came back negative.
    This horse has been in extensive training at mid level dressage. He has a chiropractor, message, excellent farrier work and 2 trainers. He's in excellent shape.
    July 11th the horse tripped and rolled completely over. Trainer was significantly hurt and horse was shaken up. A complete work up from X-rays (front and back legs and neck) . Everything totally clear on horse. (No ultrasound or MRI) Blood panel shows high Potassium and low (48) glucose levels

    Thoughts
     
  2. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Registered

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    The LDH and CK levels were also high but the vet said this is normal after a trauma. Blood Tests were done 2 days after the event.
     
  3. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

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    I am no help, but I am sure the first thing people are going to ask you for are photos of the horse, good hoof photos, and a video of him moving at a trot in hand both directly facing the camera and trotting away.
    I hope your trainer heals fast.
     
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  4. horseingreyflannelsuit

    horseingreyflannelsuit Senior Member

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    Yes folks are going to want to see photo's and a video of said horse if possible. Tripping can be caused from the toes and or hooves being too long. Inconsistent trimming length or angle of hoof from time to time happens even with "good" horse shoers. That would be my first guess. Since everything else has been crossed out.
     
  5. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    Hyperkalemia Life-Threatening Hyperkalemia in Horses | TheHorse.com
    High potassium is one of the symptoms and this is not an uncommon disease. And, this should have been one of the vet's first considerations . I would really be wondering about my vet here if this hasn't been considered and tested for yet. Treatment suggestions are indicated in the article I posted. Ck imbalances also indicate muscle disease process. What breed horse are we talking about ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  6. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Not necessarily. There are many other possibilities aside from shoeing/trimming. We have some folks who ALWAYS say bad shoeing/trimming ALWAYS causes ALL movement problems. And that's just not true.

    Bad shoeing and/or trimming definitely can cause tripping. But falls with severe injury to a competent trainer? Not so much. Possible, not likely. For example, leaving a horse with too-long a toe often causes stumbling in front. But the fall will be a simple 'down in front' fall, not one you'd expect even an adequate trainer to be significantly injured by.

    The PROBLEM with always criticizing the toe length or hoof length is that a good many horses (especially dressage horses) carry a lot of foot and do actually NEED that. Just lopping the hooves off a la a certain shoeing style that demands a very small foot, isn't always the answer. And in fact in a good many cases the hooves are not exactly as some people would like, but they are not the source of the problem.

    The tests that were done may not have been adequate to discover common problems like arthritis, which is a very common cause of tripping. Many owners don't give a vet adequate opportunity to find out what's wrong because more in depth tests are expensive.

    A lot of people are willing to have a blood test done for EPM or a couple metabolic diseases, or Lyme Disease(even when these are very unlikely), but are not willing to have the multiple xrays, flexion tests, Lameness Locator and other more costly work done, especially not at a lameness specialty clinic. And arguably, the cause will more often be found by those xrays, flexion tests etc.

    And those lameness investigations are much cheaper than hospital bills, though, especially if the trainer sues you....

    So, the horse could still have hock arthritis, for example, and be tripping because he's not using his hind legs adequately to balance himself. But the arthritis can be almost anywhere and cause tripping (front ankles, navicular, knee problems, etc). And yes, definitely, a horse can have arthritis by the age of 2. If his joints are not normally formed or if he has developmental joint disease(common in youngsters) that's very possible. The problem can also be due to ligament or tendon injuries.

    For another example I tried out a horse in Canada that tripped a lot - he had a neurological disorder. He simply fell all the time. He had a very active hind leg, was a compact, well-built horse, very well bred, handsome animal. And he fell on his face about once per minute, including in his stall. His shoeing was perfect. There was nothing wrong with how he was trimmed. There were telltale marks all over the insides of his legs. He interfered badly and the insides of his legs were all marked up. He had a neurological disorder that affected his ability to move his lower legs in a stable manner.

    And there are other possibilities.

    One is a back injury early on that results in a 'cold back'. The horse has back pain and limited movement, so limits his activity by not using himself adequately when he's in motion.

    Some of these possibilities are very, very simple and common - even commoner than arthritis or tendon/ligament injuries. The horse may be built heavy on the forehand and not be getting 'pushed through' so that his steps are not active and balanced. It's called the 'school horse shuffle' and is extremely common.

    The horse is on the forehand and the hind legs are not engaged and the joints are not properly flexed, so that tripping in front is a constant hazard. I was riding a school horse with this problem and the horse made a rotating fall (somersault) with me on him. This type of fall is very dangerous.

    Sometimes this is more due to a weak back musculature and conformation, other times it's about the conformation of the hind legs, other times it's because the horse is simply built like a bulldog with a long, low set neck, a long back, and a straight shoulder and hocks.

    A horse need not be 'built downhill' in the way most people think of 'downhill'(withers lower than hips) to FUNCTION as a downhill horse and be off balance. That always has to be kept in mind. Some horses actually LOOK fairly balanced when standing still but that just does not carry through to when they're in motion.

    I've seen this problem many times. Usually, a trainer that is really assertive can 'push the horse through', but it may require firm use of the legs, backing the leg aids up with a whip in no uncertain terms, and more correct use of the reins than just leaving them slack and 'dumping the horse on the forehand'.

    Less skilled efforts to get the horse forward and using himself very often fail because they just cause the horse to be more off balance - the average trainer will put slack in the reins and try to 'yeehaw' the horse forward. Some trainers try to 'bit up' such a horse by putting him in a setup that will keep his neck shorter, more curled up, or higher up. And such efforts fail.

    Further, even some very skilled efforts to fix these horses MAY eventually fail because the hind legs have to work so hard to balance the rest of the horse, as the horse is 'fighting himself' at every stride. Eventually some horses will go lame behind because they're constantly like a guy who trips and falls running down a flight of stairs. He's constantly straining to 'catch' himself.

    SOME of these may be fixed by a fitness program that tightens up their stifles and helps them lose weight and be more balanced. But it requires diligence to stick with that program - it always has to be maintained. You can't ever slack off on that or the fitness is lost.

     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Nothing in her description suggests hyperkalemia. The breed of the horse is not mentioned, there are no symptoms associated specifically with hyperkalemia. The description is of a normal horse that simply trips badly every few months and has done so for 8 or 9 years. No tremors or collapse mentioned.
     
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  8. Bakkir

    Bakkir Senior Member

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    Just a shot in the dark here. But there is a vien that runs up the girth area. The Superficial Thoracic vein. Sometimes the preasure of the girth is enough to cause a horse to fall.

    I have seen it myself on a boarders 3rd imported WB. I don't know how she did it, but this boarder managed to make all 3 horses fall over while being tacked up. It was so bad the trainer would not let her groom or tack up her own horse. She sold the first two thinking it was neurological.

    With all the different tests being negative it must be something physical.

    It could be as simple as changing the type of girth being used.
     
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  9. NikkiBlaze14

    NikkiBlaze14 Full Member

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    Yes actually in her very first description, well only description, she mentions that the blood panel shows 'high potassium'. That is indeed hyperkalemia.
     
  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    DOH.

    But didn't she also say the horse had had a lot of tests and no one knew what was causing the stumbling?
     

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