Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vet Visit

Danny's sweet and innocent look
I was very lucky to have Dr. Bruce Connelly agree to come down from Buffalo to give Danny the once over and give his assessment on his condition.  His area of expertise is lameness and Equine sports medicine and I am very lucky to have his input.  Dr. Connelly has said that he will be adding comments to my blog, but before I forget everything we discussed, I want to write down what I can.

He watched Danny move on his own across the pasture before I got there. Then we took him to the round pen and did the stretching exercises and then moved him around. I did not spray for flies first so the stretching was less productive than usual, although Danny did stretch his stringhalt leg out on his own.  (Yay)  Bruce said the snapping and popping noises are in his fetlock and did not concern him at all. (good to know)  He watched me back him up as well. 

Then he did several "tests" and checked his muscle tone.  He noticed that Danny is more muscle bulk on the stringhalt side in the rear than on the other side, but was not surprised by this.  He did say that for a horse this age (24) he has pretty darn good muscle tone, especially since he does not get ridden.  He did some tests on his sensory perception (on his rear feet) by pulling Danny's rear feet across behind and seeing if he would take them back.  He did take the right rear leg back but Bruce was able to actually drag the left rear (stringhalt side) across the ground  and Danny would just leave it there. He attributed this to a Central Nervous System Deficit.  Also he noted that when messing with Danny's tail, it is so free and loose, it leads him to believe that it is another symptom of the Deficit. He used a retracted pen along Danny's spine to get reflex reactions. (not sure if my terminology is right here) They were good on the right, the left was good in spots but one spot wasn't reactive the first time he tried it, but the second time it was.  I am not sure what that means.

Bruce did flexion tests on Danny's front legs to determine why he pulls his leg back when we do the stretching on the front.  He found that Danny has pain in the left front elbow, if I recall there was not as much in the right, but it is the right front that he takes from me.  Then he has me move him again and watched the front. He showed me where Danny is using his right front leg to pull himself forward to compensate for the lack of propulsion in the right rear.  He also pointed out how Danny's right front toe wears a little differently than the left which supports this diagnosis.  I had never noticed it before but I think it is because I always watch his rear. He checked the muscles in his front but if I recall correctly did not find anything that was unusual. 

When I think about this I wonder if coming up with some sort of excersise to help strengthen those front muscles would be beneficial to him, if I can do it in a way that did not add stress to his already sore elbow joints.  I will see if I can gather some information on this train of thought.

He did note that Danny sometimes does come down on the stringhalt foot while it is still flexed back.  Now I can see I am losing memory because I can't recall what he said about that. Just the progression of the stringhalt?

The basic treatment plan is to continue on with what I am doing, being careful to watch for signs of progression in the Central Nervous System Deficit.  Specifically watching for balance issues where he starts falling over.  Although he did not seem to feel that this is directly related to stringhalt, it certainly is a factor in his reconditioning, in the sense that if he falls over he could hurt either himself or me.  We of course pondered whether this lack of sensory perception is gradual or from an injury he may have had since I have owned him.. He has had a couple of slips and falls, and was beat up by a big mean horse who put him through a chain link fence and a vinyl fence. Whether he started having these issues at the same time, I cannot say. I hate to admit that I was not paying close enough attention and my concept of past time is often distorted.  

Okay so I have been interrupted 3 times since starting this so I will stop there.  Hopefully Dr. Connelly will have the time to update with his information. 

1 comment:

  1. My show horse's joints snap and pop when he walks. It doesn't bother him, but it does make him easy to pick out in the dark... I can hear him coming!

    My stringhalt horse, Vinny, used to come down on his hind feet while they were still flexed, too. He even wore the hair off his coronet in the front and got a few cuts. It was because of the stringhalt. He doesn't do it anymore now that he is recovered.