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3 months box rest for Scottie

just how safe is your horse's headcollar while tied up

If you follow our social media accounts you probably have seen our latest news, Scottie is facing at least 3 months box rest! Something no horse or owner wants to face. But unfortunately that is where we are and I wanted to share some more details on where we are.

2 weeks ago Scottie came in from the field on 3 legs. He was very sore and I was imediately concerned. Once I got him in from the yard I checked him thoroughly. There were no cuts or scrapes. Just a really hot hoof with a strong digital pulse. I suspected a hoof abscess.

He stayed in the stable overnight as normal and first thing in the morning our farrier came out to have a look. He agreed that it seemed like an abscess. He took his shoe off and hoof tested him. There were a sore spots on hoof testing, but the farrier couldn’t find any obvious signs of abscess near the surface.

We left his shoe off and poulticed over the weekend, hoping something would work it’s way out. Nothing ever did but he was looking a lot better. Monday morning he had his feet trimmed and was shod again. He looked so much better. A little bit footsore occasionally, but on the whole it seemed him he must have had a bad bruise or something. The following morning I sedated Scottie and he went out in a small pen for the day. He walked out quietly and looked comfortable in the pen. It seemed like we were on the right track.

That afternoon he came in lame again. He wasn’t as lame as he had been the previous week, but he was noticably lame in walk. The following morning I called the vet. It didn’t seem like something straightforward like an abscess anymore.

The vet had time to see me that afternoon. After watching him trot up and giving the leg a thorough feel, there wasn’t anything obvious. Unfortunately, Scottie isn’t insured for anything investigative after his loss of use claim. So I had to be a bit broader with the next steps.

Rather than nerve blocking the foot down, then below the fetlock, we went straight to below the fetlock. He improved a lot from this nerve block so we knew the issue was from below the fetlock. We suspected something in the hoof, so we xrayed and were able to compare xrays we took nearly 5 years ago.

In classic Scottie fashion, his xrays were surprisingly clean. He’s an ex racehorse with not the best foot conformation and is starting to develop arthritis in other areas. But his xrays didn’t show anything that could be causing his acute lameness. There were a few niggly things such as the early stages of coffin joint arthritis. But nothing that looked like it needed treating yet.

So next we scanned from the hoof to the pastern. This is where we found the bad news. There is a dark spot on his DDFT just below his fetlock. We are confident that this is the cause of the lameness although, we can’t rule out a soft tissue injury within the hoof capsule. Due to not being insured, sending him for an MRI to double check isn’t an option.

The one plus side is, if there is a different soft tissue injury we can’t see, our rehab plan for either injury is essentially the same. Our vet doesn’t think he is lame enough for there to be anything awful inside the hoof. So rehabbing him based on what we can see should be absolutely fine. It’s just going to be a long road.

The vet thinks we are looking at at least 3 months box rest. He is still on complete rest, not able to go on hand walks yet. I trotted him up yesterday and he is still lame, so can’t come off his daily bute yet either. But luckily for me, he is very good to have on box rest. Even if he is already a bit fed up with it all.

I’m currently in the process of deciding if I want another scan done next week or not. I know that regular scans are going to be important for monitoring his progress. But with him not being insured for this, it’s going to become quite expensive and my vet has already said that our plan will probably be the same whether we have this scan next week or not.

Last Updated on 21/07/2023

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