Fishing Expedition

Fishing Expedition

Having a show horse is like 100 hobbies in one.  One of them?  Fishing.  Not for actual fish of course, but for a lameness diagnosis… because when your horse is one hot mess like mine there isn’t always a clear answer.

We headed to the vet on Friday afternoon with the goal of getting an ultrasound to diagnosis a suspensory and some x-rays to see if he has kissing spines or not.  I took away a lot more information than I had before, but nothing definitive as to why he’s been not quite right.

First the vet jogged and flexed Simon on the concrete.  She was surprised that he was more lame on the concrete than he was at home, which is not typical of a soft tissue injury.  Then we headed to do the ultrasound, which was largely inconclusive.  He has a few abnormalities compared to other horses, but they were even in both legs.  Still, he palpates sore to the suspensory area, but we couldn’t tell more without a MRI.


Next after the ultrasound, we x-rayed his back to see if kissing spines was causing the issue.  Again, his spine is bit weird.  A few vertebrae are close, and there’s one that looks atypical but nothing that my vet looked at and definitely thought “Oh yes, kissing spines for sure.”

With more information but no answers, I started worrying about the suspensory again.  I decided to have his upper suspensory blocked on both hind legs to see if he improved me.  My vet warned me that since he was so slightly lame, it was often very hard to determine if a block helps.  We blocked him, and he improved slightly to the right but stayed the same to the left. To continue to make matters muddy, just as hock injections can help ease the pain of an upper suspensory by traveling down, a nerve block on an upper suspensory can ease joint pain in the hocks by traveling up… so it was pretty much a waste of money.  I needed to see though, and needed to rule out as much as possible.

So where does that leave us?

  • Simon does not have a lesion (tear) on his suspensory.  If there is anything going on, it’s likely micro tears where the suspensory meets the bone.  This often causes more bone pain than soft tissue pain, and if I continue to ride him while we trouble shoot the lameness I won’t be killing my horse since there’s no acute injury or lesion.
  • Simon’s back hurts.  We don’t know if it’s from the slightly atypical conformation or because he’s compensating for hind end pain.
  • Simon’s right hind hock is UGLY.  It’s fusing, but not fully fused.  Most of the joint space is gone, but there are gaps which can cause him pain and it’s very difficult for joint injections to reach these gaps.
  • Simon’s left hock is causing him pain as well.

I wasn’t kidding when I told y’all he was a hot mess.


What I decided on was to go ahead and inject his hocks again on Friday.  I know they will help his pain during the fusing process, and to me that’s money always well spent.  I’m also going to treat his sore back with some anti-inflammatory/pain killer back meds my vet mixes up at the clinic.  Going to hold off injecting his back at this time, because I would prefer to try and pin-point the problem.

In a week, I will start lightly hacking him and see if he’s feeling better.  Hopefully these injections and back meds get him feeling good, and that feeling lasts.  If several weeks go by and he starts to feel iffy again, it’s likely he has something going on with his suspensory.  We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

At first, I was pretty upset.  Spent a lot of money and I still didn’t exactly know why Simon wasn’t 100%.  Then I thought about it more, and realized that it could be a lot worse.  Since he doesn’t have a lesion on the suspensory, I’m not looking at a year of time off or anything like that.  We may not be out of the woods, but we’re on the right track to getting him right and I’ll just take it one day at a time.

P.S. I obviously changed the layout of the site a lot.  Still working on it, but if you have any feedback (things that are not working for you or things you like) I’m all ears!

16 thoughts on “Fishing Expedition

  1. I’m glad he doesn’t have a torn suspensory and hope that the injections and meds help. It’s so frustrating when you can’t find definite answers. Fingers crossed for good results.

  2. The layout is different but not bad… i just was used to the old one lol 🙂

    Glad that you are not dealing with anything crazy with Simon and hopefully this stuff you and the vet have laid out works wonders for him 🙂 He is lucky to have you as his mom and heres to 100% Simon!

  3. I love the new layout and especially the fact that my name autopopulates (although that doesn’t happen on the mobile version). You have no idea how much time that saves, haha! As for Simon, it all sounds like money well spent to me. You’ve ruled out some problems, and sometimes we really just never find out WHY our horses are lame. We just learn how to manage it. 🙁

  4. First off, I love the new layout!! Super cute. 🙂 I love the new header and how it includes everything – including the puppies!

    Hoping that Simon feels better soon! Lame horses are no fun and they are pretty much the most stressful thing ever. At least y’all are narrowing it down! He’s lucky to have an owner like you that’s willing to go the extra mile just for his comfort! ♥

  5. A “wait and see” diagnosis…. fekkin’ hate that… but better than a “you’re horse is completely knackered” diagnosis.
    Best of luck with it. Fingers crossed for you here.

  6. I like the new layout. 🙂

    Glad to hear that the suspensory looks as well as it does. I know it sucks to not have definite answers yet but that is at least good news. I know once those hocks are done fusing he’s going to be feeling loads better either way.

  7. It sounds like even though you didn’t find you answer, you found out a lot of good detail to help get him better! I hope the injections help and get him on the road to feeling better 🙂

  8. Hooray on new site, but super BOOOO on an inconclusive and expensive trip to the vet hospital. You have the right attitude (“it could be worse”), but gosh it stinks to spend money and not have answers.

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