The attached link should take you to a video of my 3 year old gelding. Taken on the 28th of Sept. I had found him standing in the paddock with dirt all along the off side and very reluctant to move. The video is two days after his skate.
He is much improved now 10 days later but still walks in a milder version of this.
I had our vet look at him three days ago and he has said continue on the bute and keep him confined to the arena, as he improves he can start a bit of exercise. He said nothing broken but very hard to tell as it is high up.
I can see no difference in hip heights or difference in the sacrum bumps.
I have had all the books out and been searching the forum to see if I can narrow down the tight spot he is protecting. I have wondered if he sprained his groin muscles on the near side, as he knuckles down slightly when you ask him to use those muscles.
I am just wanting to be sure I am doing my best in aiding his recovery. Any insight much appreciated.
Judy, it would not surprise me if the horse has either fractured a rib (or two), or else a rib cartilage, i.e. one or more of the long flexible cartilagenous rods that attach the ends of the more posterior bony ribs to the sternum. Fractures of the sternal cartilages are not uncommon, although rarely diagnosed (that is, we know they occur because they are fairly frequent in museum skeletons).
The odd way the horse swings his head off to his right with every other step speaks to me of pain in the torso, and I'd bet money that if you listen closely as he walks, you'll hear him either holding his breath or else making short, sharp inhalations -- just as a person who fractures a rib can hardly stand to breathe until the fracture starts to heal, and has a spasm of pain with each inhalation.
I'm not absolutely clear from your description what happened or what you saw when you first saw him after he injured himself. He apparently fell hard onto one side? The current thinking on fractured rib cartilages is that the horse 'pops' them when bucking hard. Was this gelding fond of good, hard, vigorous intervals of play before the injury?
Goes without saying that you'll not be planning on saddling this dude anytime soon. And even after he heals up, you'll want to take extra care, planning your first session carefully and observing when he's hitting his limit on girthing. If you had already familiarized him with the saddle and girth before this injury, that will be very helpful as giving you a solid basis to work from once it's time to girth him up again.
Keep us appraised of how his healing goes on, and whether the current oddball lameness mutates into some other unusual way of moving. Also whether the vet tells you anything more or different; he or she is right, though, injuries above the stifle or elbow are very difficult to visualize, because even modern XRay machines just don't have the power to "see" through the thickness of the equine torso and back. You might want to palpate -- carefully, don't let him cow kick you if you hit a sore spot -- but feel from the caudal end of the sternum back and see if you can find either a sore area or any type of edematous swelling. -- Cheers -- Dr. Deb
When I found him he was all dirty on the off side and grass stained as if he had fallen then slid along. He and his paddock mate do zoom up and down a bit, both can do huge bucks but as he is paddocked with a mare there are no rough gelding games much to his disgust.
He has only had the rope around his middle at this stage. Your observations are much appreciated. I will have a look at his ribs/rib cartilage today, I am suspicious as he didn't like me brushing his rib cage on either side and he is very tight in the muscles above the spine above his rib cage.
Thankfully he doesn't look this bad now just walks in a less extreme version of this.