STIFFLED HOCKS

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STIFFLED HOCKS

Post by OHEMT on Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:26 pm

I have two young Rocky Mountain Gaited horses. My palomino, Lakota is the one that has me worried! All winter he and our other horse, Rocky has played, ran, chased and enjoyed the cold winter weather here in OH. Both are young healthy and full of energy.

I had the farrier out late last fall to trim both the horses hooves. Lakota was giving him fits about touching his hind hocks. Being the calm and patient farrier that he is, explained to me that he would suggest we stop shoeing his hind hooves and just keep them trimmed when needed, and just shoe his front hooves.

Being that the power of the horse taking off is at the front, this made sense to me. So we agreed that we'd do that from then on. But this condition seemed to go away. It wasn't until this week I noticed it's back again! I thought it was odd for it to be an off and on again condition?

This is the same horse that would race his buddy on a daily basis when let out to play. So what's happening to my sweet Lakota? We keep their area clear of anything that could be stepped on or trip over. I'm afraid my 5 yrs old can't be ridden now! I'm small in stature and even with that I fear riding him could harm him.

What causes this condition? We never stall up our horses. They are free to roam in or out of their big stalls but are in a gated area when weather is bad. They can lay out under their over hang or go in, so they have the best of both worlds. Our horses can stay dry and warm when the winter weather won't allow them to run about.

With that being said, what if anything can we do to help him with this problem. I noticed that his left hind hock had an occasional snap sound...that has to hurt! What can I do....would warm wet wraps help? He seems to do better the more he walks it off. We just want to do right by him but not certain what to do?

Worried in Ohio : Crying or Very sad
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Hock problem?

Post by Dr. Daniel Pike on Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:12 pm

Worried in Ohio,

First of all, the noise you are hearing is normal and non-painful. It is believed to be that the noise is caused by gas/pressure release form the joint capsule.

Second of all, when horses have joint pain, they are rarely sensitive to mild palpation or touching of the joint, like when going to pick up the leg. I would be more concerned if pain was elicited when the leg was held in an upright position for an extended period of time. Occasionally, these guys will get hock arthritis at an early age, but this is relatively rare in the gaited horse breeds.

I would be most concerned about soreness in the hind feet since the horse was shod and is now barefoot. Chronic bruising could explain Lakota's less active lifestyle. This does not explain the sensitivity to the touch, but i find that sensitivity very commonly in younger horses.

You will see me write this very commonly, but if the problem persists, I would have your local equine veterinarian take a look. Everything over the forum is purely speculation.

I may be inclined to replace the shoes behind and see if that makes a difference. LEt me know how it comes out.

Good Luck,

Daniel R Pike, DVM
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Reply to Dr. Pike on Stiffled hocks

Post by OHEMT on Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:47 am

Dr. Pike,

Thank you for your reply. I was out with the horses yesterday brushing out their winter coats. It wasn't long after that when I noticed Lakota wanting to race Rocky again. His hocks were back to normal! Now I am confused?
The farrier trimmed their hooves and as I watched Lakota, he didn't seem to mind having his hind feet being handled...in fact I was afraid for his safety if he would kick out if it was hurting. But my farrier is so gentle and patient with them he gave him time to rest between getting the other one trimmed.

Lakota was very good, he stood there and allowed each hind hock to be bent to trim. How can this be? No shoeing on those hind feet helped him to get through the trimming. His front feet were shod so we'll see how he does. Farrier checked his soreness around his hocks and made sure he didn't stress him any while trimming. He was finished and let out to play...so he rushed out and played without any signs of pain or problems. Today he's back to chasing his buddy and winning. This really is odd? I'm thrilled he's walking without that snapping sound or seeing him trying to walk with hocks locking up. They seem to catch then he'd jerk it and be off on his run.

We were told to put him on the Cetyl M for Equine joint supplements. What's your thoughts on using that?
Our vet has been watching him closely but feels that he's young and if no pain is there then don't worry about riding. Lakota tends to be better when he's running and playing. We never stall up our two horses.
The do have a limited area with a big over hang on the barn where they can go in or out at will. Our weather can get so bad here in the winter and the ice scared me the most. But soon as weather permits they have the run of 3 pastures.

Hoping to see him improving each day. Yesterday he was on top of his game. This just amazes me at how bad he appeared for a few days and now racing with his buddy? That is the strangest thing we've ever seen.

Thanks for your help,

OHEMT
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Re: STIFFLED HOCKS

Post by Dr. Daniel Pike on Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:36 pm

Hey,i

I apologize for the delayed response. I hope Lakota has continued to improve and I look forward to hearing of his progress. As far supplements go, I don't think they would be of great benefit to him at this point, but I think the Cetyl-M is a viable option. In your last post, you made the comment about the leg catching. It could be possible that you are dealing with a condition called 'upward fixation of the patella" which is caused by laxity in the ligaments that attach to the patella, and this usually occurs when horses are out of shape, and this should improve with continued exercise and work. Keep me updated!!

Daniel R Pike DVM
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