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Stifle Lock - our vet wants to use the estrogen hormone treatment or

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Cathy_H

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Anyone here ever used the estrogen or blistering treatment to treat stifle lock................. We have been giving our 4 year old shetland mare supplements for stifle lock for over a year now ( the kind with HA, glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin etc. We might as well have thrown hundreds of dollars into the wind.
............... Our vet does not recommend the surgery - says could result in arthritis later............ He suggests trying the estrogen or blistering to try to correct it......... In a nutshell this is what I found on each........ (1). - Hormonal therapy- estrogen has been found to help horses. This will help tighten the ligaments that cause the problem... (2). Blistering - infusing an irritant into the joint to create scar tissue to inhibit the the locking mechanism in the joint. This is not generally recommended but could be useful in severe cases........... That website says the ligament resection is to be a last resort & not generally recommended either ( I'm assuming they are referencing surgery ).
 

Keri

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Hmmm....good topic! Tell me how it goes as I have a gelding who has it and my vet won't do the surgery. I don't want to do the surgery becuase of the arthritis that will result later. I've tried the reccommended exercise and joint supplements and thought it was working, but its not anymore.

My friend had a stallion do it. They injected Legend into his joints just before the show season. Lasted about 3-4 months and then it had to be redone. Worked great for a while, but then it slowly quit working after years of doing it. I know he was started as a yearling or so on it. But its very expensive to do each year (around $200).
 

JourneysEnd

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I haven't seen anybody have good results with "blistering" .

This hasn't been the treatment of choice in years.

Never had a client horse have the hormone treatment.

I have seen good results with striation surgery, except for Hobby Horse Leia and Kody.

I think Leia's been pleased with with Kody's desmotomy.

The advantage to the striation is that the horse can usually still sleep while standing.

Once the ligament is cut, they can no longer sleep or fully relax while standing.

Of course, they can still lie down to sleep.

I've never heard of arthritis being a problem and I do several horses that have gone through the surgery.

Exercise is good. Supplements don't help.

Is a second vet opinion possible for you ?

Just found an interesting link and it seems the surgery does increase risk of arthritis.

http://www.wiwfarm.com/stifle.htm
 
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Untamed

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Do the surgery!

Have an experienced vet do the surgery. The surgery itself takes less than 10 minutes and is minimally invasive. The relief is immediate. Down time was stall rest and hand walking for 1 month. The horse has been good to go ever since, with absolutely no negative reactions.

The horse and I were both well pleased . . .
 

hobbyhorse23

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JourneysEnd said:
I have seen good results with striation surgery, except for Hobby Horse Leia and Kody. I think Leia's been pleased with with Kody's desmotomy.

The advantage to the striation is that the horse can usually still sleep while standing.

Once the ligament is cut, they can no longer sleep or fully relax while standing.

Of course, they can still lie down to sleep.

I've never heard of arthritis being a problem and I do several horses that have gone through the surgery.

Exercise is good. Supplements don't help.
Every vet you talk to will have a different opinion. They all agree that the surgery should be the last resort but the vets I consulted with over the last four years (and there were lots of them!) agreed that the hormone therapy or blistering only helped in very minor cases and even then usually wore off within six months. They told me it would be a waste of money to try it on a horse as bad as Kody.

I have heard the arthritis thing and that's what kept me from doing the surgery for so long. However he'd gotten to the point where he was doing so much damage to his body from the locking that I figured the arthritis couldn't be any worse even if he did get it! And at least he'd have useful, pain-free years in between. I have given joint supplements for the last two years and will continue to do so for the rest of his life. It won't help the locking but it WILL help keep the joint sound and the horse out of pain. You didn't throw your money away!

A friend had her mare blistered the same month Kody got the ligament splitting surgery and for both of us it worked for a little while and then wore off leaving them worse than before. We had our horses cut by the same vet on the same day in March and both of us have been very happy with the results so far.

The thing with the splitting surgery is that rehab is long and intense and you can't ever let them get out of condition or the problem comes right back. Immediately! So it isn't so much a cure as a method of improving it. Frankly as much as I love Kody I don't have two hours a day to spend working him over cavaletti every day for the rest of his life and that's what it would have taken for that surgery to be successful. I wanted him to be able to walk around a paddock or stall without locking and the only way to do that in the end was to CURE the locking with the desmotomy. I was so scared but Kody is in far less pain after this procedure than the splitting and is healing much faster. He's so excited to be free at last! He loves to hand me his hind feet now and kick and buck and back up and do all those things he couldn't do before.

The more I talk to other people who have tried the splitting, the more I'm finding out the desmotomy seems to be the only permanent answer. The vets I talked to this spring also said it is coming back into fashion. Apparently the quieter you keep the horse at first, the less chance of arthritis there is later. Oh, and as for sleeping standing up? Many of the people who PM'ed me when I was making the decision said their horses still do it just fine and I've found that to be the case with Kody too. He was resting one hind leg during the entire procedure (being heavily tranquilized of course) and I kept expecting the supporting leg to buckle after the tendon was cut but it never did. I've seen him rest one hind leg at least twice since although he doesn't do it very deeply, just sort of rests on the toe-tip. He's only six weeks out so I'm hoping as he heals more he'll go back to doing it more often. Meanwhile he sleeps lying down a lot as he always has and has developed a new habit of standing with both hind feet tucked up under him like the "End of the Trail" pose and resting that way. It seems to work for him and be quite comfortable!

If your mare is four years old and still doing this routinely, don't wait. Just get the surgery done and save yourself the years of heartache I went through. I'd always try exercise first and for a minor case I might consider the splitting again, but not for a horse who does it routinely. It isn't worth it. Kody agrees!

Leia
 

COTTONGRASSFARMS

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Had the blistering done. First on one stifle then three months later on the other. In my research it recommended doing both stifles at the same time since once the offending leg is better the same problem tends to show up in the "good" leg. Vet wouldn't do both and needless to say we ended having to pay for a second blistering. I think there is a lot to factor in. Is the stifle an issue because of confirmation or injury, do supplements help ( in your case no , in my case yes) does exercise improve the problem ( hill work, driving, backing up ) is the equine in question older or younger, what's the turnout time?

I can't honestly say that the blistering helped. He was young, I believe it was an injury to begin with, we did a lot of physical theraphy, he was/is in supplements and he is out 24/7. As he is getting older he very seldom locks anymore. In the last year he has only locked once only for a few steps and that was this winter. SOOOOOO

I know it not a real answer but if you have tried all the alternatives and it's still bad, I would skip the blistering and go on to the full operation as Leia and Kody have done. Just my two cents:)

Kim
 

Keri

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Okay, this is so confusing. My gelding doesn't lock up often or at all. When I pick up his back feet, he kicks and makes it hard to trim his feet. I did have it lock for a split second lunging him or when I pick up his leg. But he more walks around stiff and trots like he was trained with rubber bands. But I know looks stiff and maybe in pain and right now, money for surgery isn't an option. He's a cart horse (or is on his good times). What type of surgery would be best??? He doesn't lock up to where I have to get him out of it and exercise for the past year has seemed to help him. But last week he was running around with everyone and the problem seemed to just pop up again. Therefore, we're missing our first show we were so looking forward to.

Leia- how long does it take to assure the surgery is going to work long term for a performance horse?? I don't want to do something like this and have him develop arthritis and such and I'll be retiring him early again.

Cathy-sorry for going off your thread. :DOH!
 

hobbyhorse23

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Keri said:
My gelding doesn't lock up often or at all. When I pick up his back feet, he kicks and makes it hard to trim his feet. I did have it lock for a split second lunging him or when I pick up his leg. But he more walks around stiff and trots like he was trained with rubber bands.
It sounds like he's locking up more than you realize. When I first got Kody I smacked him for "kicking" when I picked up his hind feet until my farrier trimmed him the first time and explained that the sudden violent upward jerk was the ligament releasing and wasn't voluntary at all. I'd essentially been punishing him for something he couldn't help! It's no wonder he'd gotten cranky about it. I felt horrible and ever since have simply made sure my shins were out of reach of an accidental impact, asked him to lift the foot then stood back and waited for him to do it himself, only reaching out to hold the foot after he's gotten it unlocked and rewarding him for trying as I know it was uncomfortable. The walking stiffly and rubber-band movement are also clear signs of locking. I certainly understand being on a budget but most of the people I spoke with on here were able to get it done for around $140 for both legs and even in my very pricey neck of the woods I shopped around and was able to get it done for about the price of a gelding operation at $269.

Leia- how long does it take to assure the surgery is going to work long term for a performance horse?? I don't want to do something like this and have him develop arthritis and such and I'll be retiring him early again.
I'm not sure what you mean about "assuring the surgery is going to work long-term," whether you're questioning how soon you know if it's worked or how long it will work before wearing off somehow. With the splitting I was told it might be up to two weeks before I saw an improvement and it did take a full ten days before we saw even a sign of relief. It took several months for it to really work well. The cutting was immediate and he has not locked up once since that day. If you do the cutting be prepared to spend months babying the horse. I know many people say their horses were running better than ever within a month and in many ways that's been my experience too, but when I turn him out with another horse or try to roundpen him you can see that he's in no way fully healed yet. Jumping, fast twisting turns, work in deep footing, and any kind of circle work should wait for about three months. After that they're pretty much good to go! You could easily do it between one show season and the next.

The arthritis thing is definitely scary and there's really no way to tell what the long-term results will be when you do this. I rolled the dice with Kody and it may be that the time will come when I regret doing it. I have no way of knowing that right now. What I do know is that I'd done everything I could to make him comfortable and it wasn't enough. I couldn't watch him suffer any longer and there was no question that it had become suffering; I had to do something to make it better. Arthritis is far more manageable these days then it used to be and there are many supplements that not only keep the animal comfortable for longer but can prevent the problem in the first place and I made sure I'm using all of them. I've done everything I can and the rest is in God's hands. At least the years I have with Kody will be quality ones, not ones shadowed with doubt that maybe I could have done something. You'll have to make that decision for yourself based on what your horse is telling you.

Leia
 

Keri

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Okay, guess he is doing it more than I really notice. What is the surgery called?? That way I can be specific when asking my vets about it and the costs and such. I thought the sugery would be closer to $1000, but $200-300 is something I could possibly afford.

The length of time I was more worried if your horse had adverse affects from the surgery. But he's 8 and I guess either way, it would make his life easier either as a show horse or as a pasture pet. Thanks for the help!
 

hobbyhorse23

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Cathy, sorry for continuing to hijack the thread!


Keri said:
What is the surgery called?? That way I can be specific when asking my vets about it and the costs and such. I thought the sugery would be closer to $1000, but $200-300 is something I could possibly afford.
The length of time I was more worried if your horse had adverse affects from the surgery. But he's 8 and I guess either way, it would make his life easier either as a show horse or as a pasture pet. Thanks for the help!
There are two surgeries: the splitting is called "splitting of the medial patellar ligament" and the cutting is a "medial patellar ligament desmotomy." Price will REALLY vary between individual vets- I paid $1,300 for x-rays and general anesthesia with ultrasound guiding on the splitting procedure and the same vet told me she'd do the cutting (reluctantly) for about $1,000 laying down. The other surgeon in the clinic as it turned out later was willing to do it standing up for $500. Most the ones I talked to said $300-400, and the one I ended up having do it was an amazing $269. It pays to ask around! The cheap fellow was about two hours away in a much more rural area where prices were lower.

As for your other question, I've heard of some horses coming down with debilitating arthritis at 12 or 15 but I think that was for animals who had it done young (like 2-4 years old) and again, weren't using any preventative meds or aftercare. And it's not a guaranteed side effect! (My vet even admitted the arthritis might have been caused by NOT fixing the locking problem soon enough.) But it is a risk. Kody is the same age as your horse and while I feel it will tremendously help his performance capacity just by removing an obstacle that's been holding him back I'll admit I did this primarily for his comfort in the pasture. I was so sick and tired of watching him stand in one place all day or think before moving to get water or food because he was afraid of locking up....

Now he wanders around all day and occasionally takes off bucking just for the joy of moving.


Leia
 

Dona

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Hmmm....good topic! Tell me how it goes as I have a gelding who has it and my vet won't do the surgery. I don't want to do the surgery becuase of the arthritis that will result later. I've tried the reccommended exercise and joint supplements and thought it was working, but its not anymore.

My friend had a stallion do it. They injected Legend into his joints just before the show season. Lasted about 3-4 months and then it had to be redone. Worked great for a while, but then it slowly quit working after years of doing it. I know he was started as a yearling or so on it. But its very expensive to do each year (around $200).
[SIZE=14pt]I'm curious Keri....you said your friend's "stallion" had Legend injected into his joints for years to help his stifle lock problem. I'm wondering how many of the foals he sired over the years, exhibited the same problem?[/SIZE]
 

Keri

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They lost him to colic when he was young. But none that I know of. And my gelding his out of a nice driving stallion (no locking stifles). Produces national champion driving horses and I don't know of any who have it besides him. Must be the way they are built and that's why my guy has problems???
 

R Whiteman

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We have tried both the hormonal treatment for "stifle lock" and then when that didn't work, the internal blister. Before those, we tried 24/7 turnout, hillside pastures, low carb diet and pretty much everything else. None of it worked for any length of time. Our filly didn't develop the problem until she was 3 and growing. We don't know if that was related, but it didn't go away when she stopped growing. It didn't go away until we had the desmotomy done. Now it is gone forever. Our vet, like yours, did not want to do the surgery until we had exhausted all other options. He is now saying that many vets are returning to the thought that the surgery may be the best option afterall. 20 years or more ago, We had a 2 week old filly done. Hers were so bad that they sounded like gunshots when they released. How can that be better, arthritis-wise, than cutting them and releasing the patella to glide smoothly in it's proper position??

If ever we have to deal with this again (and we hope that doesn't happen for another 20 years-if ever) our first and last course of treatment will be the surgery and we will keep looking until we find a vet that will do it on our time line. It is quick, effective, and reasonably inexpensive.

Dorothy
 

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Seems to me that cutting the stifle worked well for the last 100 years or so, and the injections, blistering methods are still fairly new and have had really mixed results. I am not sure if it has to do with the weight of the mini not being able to "keep" the tendon stretched or just what, but after witnessing several "attempts" to fix the problem with injections & splitting, I think I would just save my money & go ahead and have the stifle cut -- like others have said, it seems that the locking issue itself is probably causing as much damage or more and that arthritis is likely to result from that and probably be even worse than what may happen with just going ahead and cutting the stifle. It is a permanent solution and by no means seems to inconvenience the horse in any way.

Stacy
 

Keri

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Just got off the phone with my vet. He doesn't feel comfortable enough to do it. So I'll have to call a more specialized place and see about how much they would charge. I'll shop around too.

My vet says he won't do it becuase the results are so unpredictable and may not work. Kind of gets me worried there.
 

Davie

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I just had one of my geldings done as a coming 5 yr old. He was injured while roughhousing with a bunch of other yearlings when he was a yearling. Followed the vets advice back then and gave him time to recoupe but over the years he was starting to have the stifle lock and was walking very wide behind.

I have never heard of any successes here from the blistering. My vet is the head vet at his clinic and one of his partners is one of the top ortho surgeons here in the area. He always does the cutting of the ligament and he does both sides as he said if you do the affected leg, you will be back within a couple of months to do the other.

He keeps them overnight, does the surgery the next morning and you pick them up that afternoon. Stall rest for a week and then forced exercise for the next 3 weeks if they don't get enough in the herd environment. He says the exercise is critical to a full recover, because if they are just left to stand around the ligament will grow back together.

He is very reasonable in cost--total is around $250 includes the hospital stay and everything.
 

bevann

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I have had numerous Minis done in the past 15 years and no ill effects from any.It is a simple procedure.1 very small incision with no stitches ,cut the ligament, stall rest for 1 day, then back out with the herd.Not too expensive and excellent results.I can give you the name of my vet practice if you wish to have someone talk with them.I have had it done as young as 4 months since the filly was dragging he foot on the pastern and I was afraid of that causing other problems. I gave her away and keep up with her and she is racing, bucking and jumping.Hope you can find someone to do it for you.
 

Keri

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Thanks! Makes me feel better to see someone whose had it done for 15 years and has no ill effects. I'm going to see on cost around here, but have an idea on what it should cost from you guys. I sure hope it works for my gelding.
 

Cathy_H

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Thanks everyone for all of the information. I will be "shopping around"............. Lee thinks our vet quoted $1500 which seems to be really high compared to what some of you have paid............... Since we live in the bluegrass state of Kentucky which is horse country there has to be several vets that have done this surgery with success................................ Good luck Keri!
 

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