When Eugene was diagnosed with a stifle injury, we weren’t happy about it, but it wasn’t the worst diagnosis. These types of injuries aren’t generally career ending and we’ve actually rehabbed a horse through this before. Shasta had a stifle injury – though hers was caused by being kicked in the pasture – and recovered fully from that. While a stifle injury might be better than a suspensory or other more serious diagnosis, rehabbing stifle injuries can be mentally and emotionally difficult. With a typical lameness you don’t want to exercise the horse if they look off. However, because the only cure for a stifle is to strengthen it, you have to keep pushing the horse even when they look off.
We were working through the rehab plan (lots of trotting, poles, backing, etc), but it’s hard to watch your horse limping around and ask them to keep going. A few weeks ago, we took Eugene to the local expensive vet hospital to get a second opinion on his stifle injury.
After lots of poking and prodding and flexions and trotting in lines and circles, this vet confirmed our original vet’s diagnosis of upward fixation of the patella. He recommended that we continue the trot, backing, poles work, but to add in some lateral work as well. He was also cleared to return to more advanced work like cantering and jumping. This vet’s opinion was that Eugene wasn’t technically lame, he had a mechanical “hitch in his giddyup.”
He did recommend more chiropractic work and acupressure. Eugene got a session of acupressure at the hospital, which he really enjoyed once he got over his initial terror of a strange person touching him (his Mustang prey instincts are still very high). There was lots of licking and chewing.
And because we literally take better care of our horses than ourselves (ask me how that ankle surgery that I need is going), Eugene also got laser therapy and k-tape.
My husband has continued upping his work and Eugene is definitely improving. There’s still a bit of a drag to his step and it definitely gets worse as the ride goes on and he gets tired, but he is improving. He finally got to do some jumping yesterday and he was so excited! Even though the jumps were little, he was very happy to be back to doing something fun.
It’ll still be a while until he returns to full work, but it’s good to know we’re on the right track.
That is good news. I agree- it’s hard to push them when they hurt but better for them in the long run.
Exactly. Stifles are such a mental game for the owner.
glad he is improving! he is so cute over that cross rail…wheeee..Now about that ankle of yours….LOL 🙂
I know. He looks like a little kid at xmas with his ears pricked at that jump. So happy.
All good news ad I’m glad he can return to some fun little jumps once again.
He was very excited to see jumps again.
ugh stifles are such a pain… runkles stifle locked which, if youve never seen before, its terrifying and looks like their leg is going to fall off. and the only ‘cure’ is just…. going out and doing more.
but looks like hes receiving excellent care, the laser therapy and chiro will definitely help.
I had a camp horse that slipped his stifle like that and yeah, it was weird looking. We haven’t seen Eugene do anything to his luckily.
Glad he’s doing better! I had a horse with a slipping patella, which was the oddest thing to see. The whole back leg just kind of locks up. And same thing, more work is the best cure. Seems like we’re being so cruel, but in the long run, it’s the right thing.
I had a camp horse that slipped his out like that. It was definitely odd to see. He at least always looked sound though.
Stifle stuff can definitely be tough. Glad he’s making his way back to 100%!
Good news about Eugene! Agreed that it would be really hard to keep a horse working when he looks off. Now go get your ankle surgery 🙂
That’s so unlikely to ever happen. I haven’t even gotten the MRI I need first.
Always good to have a second opinion. 🙂 Glad he’s back in the rotation.
Especially when the second opinion confirms the first.
Currently rehabbing our dog from a stifle injury and I relate to this post a lot, especially the part about taking better care of our animals than ourselves!!
I think this is pretty true with all equestrians. We’re just like, injury, what injury? I’m fine. But if our animals are hurt: get them everything.
Glad he is doing better.
I wonder, would magnesium oxide help? I know nothing about stifle injuries, but have found that using magnesium oxide in my own horses has helped them feel more loose/limber. I realize he has an injury that he is recovering from, but maybe it could help? Feel free to file this away in “unwarranted and unneeded” advice tho, cause you guys are doing an awesome job with him!
I actually asked the vet about magnesium and it was recommended. We have since put him on it, but only for about a week. We also put him on extra E.
Glad he is progressing, and that the second opinion confirmed you are on the right path – that must have been a huge relief.
It really was.
How is using the K-Tape? I really want to try it
Hard to say. The vet did it and Eugene had peeled most of it off within a day (the vet warned us that would happen since he hadn’t been bathed before).We’re going to get it redone after his next session.
Continuing to push them when they look like they’re hurting is one of the things I hate / dread. I’ve got a girl who has a mental hitch as well (honestly, I think it’s because she’s trying to fool us into not riding her anymore) and pushing her past that point is a battle every single ride. I always say to consult professionals when you run into obstacles like this – glad you guys got that second opinion
It’s definitely a relief.
Mechanical hitch in his giddy up. I like that!
The vet actually said that. And he has a french accent too so it was especially funny.
awww glad Eugene is getting better! and glad it doesn’t seem particularly serious without some management! fingers crossed he’s back up to 100% asap!
Feel better soon selfie friend!!
So glad to hear that he’s feeling better!!
aw, I’m glad that he’s doing better!