Back leg joint sticking

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wfhill

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I've read and been told that this happens in miniatures a lot, but, I need feedback from real mini horse people. I got my 6 year old gelding last December and he started out doing this occasionally, or at least I didn't see it. It was winter, hubby and I got covid, then felt like crud afterwards for a few weeks, so I didn't see him as often as I should have or usually would have. Now he is pretty bad but it unsticks after he gets going and especially at a trot. I don't exercise him as much as he should be. Please don't everybody start saying go to the vet, go to the vet. I am about tired of vets telling me radiographs are the only way to see what's going on. I haven't been to the vet with him yet, but, every time I take my regular horse, that's what I hear. Now I'm not hating on vets, or x-rays, because they're both very necessary at times. However, that's not always the first thing that needs to be said. To me, this is a visual exam and it's pretty obvious what the problem is. Please help me if you can give me any help.
 

Cayuse

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Sounds like you are describing"sticky stifles". Gentle walking incorporating some hills and pole work when he's stronger might help. He's probably worse now as it sounds like he didn't get much exercise when you and hub were not feeling well. My older guy get previcox/equioxx once in awhile for his stifles. If they stick to the point of being "stuck" the Vet (I know, I know...) can inject them or do minor surgery to release the ligament or tendon (whatever is causing the sticking, I forget which it is). I hope more people come on with more experience than me, they'll have more to add and I'll be interested in what they say as I have 2 with the problem.
 

elizabeth.conder

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I agree. Sounds very muck like locking stifles which is pretty common in minis. Cayuse described some great exercises which should definitely help. In addition, if he ever seems stuck and you can’t get them to unlock, backing will often help. Most locking stifles can be managed with a good balanced diet and plenty of exercise although in some severe cases surgery may be required.
 

Kelly

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Not sure where you live but in my experience sometimes the colder weather can make it worse. Try not to keep him in small spaces or a stall, the more turn out the better. Get those joints moving.

Agreed, in severe cases surgery might be required but from what I hear the surgery is quick and easy and works pretty well.

Good luck and keep us updated on his progress 😊
 

chandab

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Balanced nutrition, proper hoof trims and exercise are often all that is needed to keep locking stifles (upward fixation of the patella) managed and not a problem. Confine as little as possible, as being able to move helps. Exercise helps; seems hill work, backing (on the flat and up small hills) and low caveletti are most commonly recommended exercise to help. Keep on schedule with hoof trims, don't let the hooves get too long. Unfortunately, conformation is a big piece of this puzzle; so those with too straight of hindleg conformation are more prone to it. Balanced nutrition might be the most challenging piece; as it's hard to provide all that is needed in a small package and prevent obesity. If you can test your forage and balance it to what is lacking, that might be best; but if not, use products designed to balance the hay you get (many formulas are regional, designed to balance the gross deficiencies in forages from a particular area).
Unfortunately, sometimes the best management isn't enough, and the next step is surgery; there are a couple variations that involve some form of splicing or full cutting of the ligament supporting the stifle (this is a vet discussion, when/if the time comes).
 

Cayuse

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Estrone injections help, too. I forgot about those. That was the first treatment we were going to try on one of mine if the exercise etc. did not help.
 

Standards Equine

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I'm with you @wfhill, and radiographs will not tell you much about soft tissue, tendon or ligament implications unless there's considerable calcification happening. I like a mechanical examination, palpation of the joint or problem area. I've helped trainers at our barn localize issues with young horses manifesting in behavioral concerns that step from mechanical issues. Stifles seem to present in a lot of different ways. Bottom line - horses are weird. I'd love to see some video of your little fella in this issue. It resonates with me like toy dogs and their luxating patella issues.
 

BSharpRanch

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Estrone injections help, too. I forgot about those. That was the first treatment we were going to try on one of mine if the exercise etc. did not help.
I would be cautious of Estrogen injections if the horse is a stallion. Had a friend that had the sweetest Colt get locking stifle. The vet did the estrogen shot into the stifle. A week later the stifle was perfect, but her sweet little guy had turned into Satan's he**hound!
 

Standards Equine

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I would be cautious of Estrogen injections if the horse is a stallion. Had a friend that had the sweetest Colt get locking stifle. The vet did the estrogen shot into the stifle. A week later the stifle was perfect, but her sweet little guy had turned into Satan's he**hound!
Estrone, not estrogen... a weak estrogen but is a steroid. Ultimately still concerning for a stallion, but her horse is a gelding.
 

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