It's not good news: Ellie. Not sure what to do/think?

laceyfreckle

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May 27, 2007
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Ok, so as most of you know Ellie went to the vets for nerve blocks as she keeps going lame on her hinds, first was one hind then box rested for two weeks on bute, turned back out fine then brought back into ridden work and lame again but on the other hind. Shakes her head in discomfort when going into trot. Dog lame after going on a walk hack for 45mins.

Anyway vet has said that after investigation and foot x rays her front feet are worse then to be expected. She has a large amount of rotaion on both front feet and lots of little nodules (like ski ramps?) all the way down the pedal bone on both feet. remarked that the farrier has been doing a grand job and is probably the only reason she is still here. She is barefoot and they said she has very thin soles but they are unsure as to shoes or keep her barefoot as they assume the putting shoes on would make her chronically lame for at least a week and although the shoes would help protect the act of putting them on may cause a problem.

Secondly the reason she has hind limb lameness - they x-rayed her hocks and she has very signigificant arthiritis in both hocks. They could medicate these but have suggested not to as any steroids in them would probably cause laminitis in her and her front feet are as such that if she ever gets laminitis again it would have to be treated very aggressively and quickly as she could run into significant problems quickly.:cry:

Vet has said she will never be 100% sound and has advised to keep her on bute long term upping and downing it as needed.

ridden wise vet has said she can do lead rein and off lead rein walk and trot. Canter on soft surfaces and extremely small jumps (think tiny tiny) but be prepared for her to get more lame if she overdoes it. Vet has said she would not be able to do for example pony club camp.

Oh and tests for both cushings and IR was negative for both ponies but vet did say that her laminitis had gone a bit far for things like peroglide even if she had come up positive.

I will be shoeing Harvey though on thursday as now i know there is no laminitis or lgl on him i can be pretty sure it is just footiness to do with location and terrain so he can have some more protection at least for the short term.

I have not ruled out boots for Ellie but it does look complicated to fit them as i assume she will not have normal shaped feet really. (and she has tiny feet as she's only a fine 12.2hh)

Not sure how i feel about it all - I have always said i would not be happy having a riding horse that is on long term bute as it means they are in constant pain but on the other hand she does not look ready to give up. If i put her to sleep now i would feel like it was too early as she is fairly happy in herself (although i suspect she would act happy even if she wasn't because she is just that type) but on the other hand i would not give her to anyone else as a companion as i can't imagine very laminitic arthiritic ponies are much sought after and even if they were as a companion she probably wouldn't get the care she needs.

Although she was given to me I am in contact with her old owner who also would not see her passed on but likewise can not have her back so in the event i asked her to i think ellie would probably be pts.

Any ideas/help appreciated! Is long term bute fair bearing in mind she is lame in 4 legs?

She is currently covered by insurance so am happy to explore all avenues although vet gave the impression they think given the diagnosis that to much exploration would be expensive and a little bit pointless if they can't treat what they find.

I haven't told my 10yr old son yet..........

He has often spoke about driving her but would that cause more strain then riding? I assume that would be a no-go due to hocks?
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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Oh I am so sorry to hear this. I really am not in a position to give you an objective answer! As you may remember our Joe ended up being unable to do very much, and in the end his injury finally gave way to the actual ligament and all the structure that supported it giving way - he was in too much pain even to become a field ornament (though I would have given anything for him to be okay just for a pasture ornament, afterall he was getting on and we loved him to bits and was long overdue a retirement package!). But we were never given the option of Bute to keep him even reasonably sound - as in the end the injury was too much to overcome, he was literally hobbling lame all the time.
I think personally, if Ellie were ours then I'd go down the Bute route, but tbh, not expect very much from her. Totally totally understand that you bought her to be ridden, and totally know where anybody is coming from in these situations if they feel they can't or don't want to keep them as a retirement animal. So, I would see how things go, work wise are you prepared to do very little with her? I feel so sorry for your son and you - it is so upsetting if he's gotten fond of her. It is a shame too that her old owner can't take her back.
I *think* you can tell, (well, I would like to think that I'd be able to) if they were unhappy and ready to give up and you say she isn't? But then again, of course you don't want to be putting her through something she isn't comfortable with. And, as you say, if she's a nice little personality then you won't necessarily see unwillingness.
Did the vet seem reasonably happy to let you go along the Bute route and ridden work (lightly)? If so, then I would be tempted to just see how things go.
Sorry I am not much help!
 

Innocence

New Member
Jun 1, 2009
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Sorry to hear about Ellie, such a shame that the prognosis isn't good. Sorry don't know what to suggest but personally i would see how she goes for a little while on bute but if she were in constant pain i would PTS.
 

dragonfarmgirl

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Oct 26, 2008
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I have no advice to offer but wanted to say how sorry I am about the diagnosis :-(
I'm sure others with more experience will have suggestion/advice but I am sure that whatever you decide will be in Ellie's best interests, even if it makes you unhappy.
Good luck with whatever you decide, and some hugs too (((((((x)))))))))
xxx
 

bitsnpieces

Active Member
Aug 22, 2007
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I'm so so sorry to hear that and I really don't envy what you must be going through.

If it were me, I'm not sure I could have a horse on permanent bute and still ride them, I would bute if it meant giving them a half decent retired life.....but that is just my personal opinion and I guess that is shaped by "what would I do if that was Puz" who is probably a different kettle of fish to Ellie.

I guess we can all give you our own opinions of what we may do in a similar situation, but you know the pony and her circumstances better than anyone so all I can really say is go with your gut instinct!
 

volcy

Cob Collector
Nov 6, 2008
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I'm sorry to hear that, I don't really know what I would do, I am lucky enough to be able to leave fatty in a field which I know isn't as easy for others. If it were me I would probably try bute and see how she goes, my sister's horse was a field ornament for 17 years on bute and she constantly worried about if it was the right thing to be doing, but actually when the time came she knew it was the right time, so I think if you feel it's not right now for Ellie then you are probably right and should at least give her a chance and see how it goes?
 

Tina2011

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Mar 23, 2012
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I say go with you gut instinct. You could possibly try 'horseboots' like equi boots or old Macs for her front lami but of course this would not help the arthritis. Only thing I could say is perhaps, Arthritis may improve with the summer weather then have a re think in the Autumn. Arthritis is very painful, I have just a touch and it can be agony in the winter.

It is a sad time for you, just do what you feel is right in your heart. You can try a little longer, or not it, depends on your circumstances and how much you feel the pony is suffering.
 

laceyfreckle

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2007
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Thank you all,

Vet is of the opinion to bute and see how she goes. I think i am ok with that as long as she is sound and not doing much, my biggest concern is 'what if she isn't sound on bute?'.

I have heard light exercise (mainly walk and tiny trot) is beneficial for both laminitis and arthiritis so if the bute is ok then maybe this is the route to go. Vet did say many horses are on long term bute without too much harmful affect (and after insurance runs out i could always swap to a bute free typre thing.) I'm not sure how much bute costs per month at about 2 sachets a day?

Would a joint supplement be beneficial?

Vet is going to give me her foot x-rays so farrier can help decide what to do with her feet but i have been googling and have come across plastic stick on shoes?

Vet seemed to think the rotation was as much as if not more of a problem then the arthiritis but that the arthiritis was also quite advanced.

Without a doubt i think if she had another bout of laminitis or was not sound on bute i don't think i'll have a choice.

Son/children is the biggest problem as although he can borrow my pony for faster/more work he doesn't like riding him as he is a lot sharper then nice calm Ellie. He would be more then happy to just walk and trot for a year i think (he could always canter mine if he really wanted to) but would be more upset if she couldn't hack out (walk/trot).

At the moment she is not on bute and when ridden does toss her head a lot in discomfort - if she was still to do that then i don't think it would be fair.

Trewsers - really sorry about Joe, and you are right she doesn't look like she wants to go yet, she does not seem unhappy, doesn't stress unneccessarily and although a bit skinny and not a big eater does ok in that respect. She grazes happily and although she has obvouisly had a very bad lami attack she currently lives out 24/7 and isn't particualrly sensitive to the grass (although i do bring her in when grass is high risk). Her last full lami attack was 6 months ago although vet said she is currently footy on her fronts (but she thinks that is due to the rotation itself.)
 

volcy

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Nov 6, 2008
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I think bute is about 70p a sachet - you can pay to get the prescription off your vet and then buy it on line as this seems to work out cheaper..
 

laceyfreckle

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2007
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Nothing to loose in hoof boots I reckon, something like this:
http://www.preloved.co.uk/adverts/show/105432780/easy-boots-size-000-small-ponyshetland-pair.html

They aren't difficult to put on and if she won't be happy being shod a pair of hoof boots with pads would be a very good work around.

I think bute is about 70p a sachet - you can pay to get the prescription off your vet and then buy it on line as this seems to work out cheaper..

Thank you - think i will definitely be putting to farrier about boots or stick-ons. I don't think vet would want or i could justify nailing shoes onto a foot already so compromised.

Cor, Bute isn't cheap then! think i will be definitely getting insurance to pay for it for the time being. thank you for letting me know about the prescription though for the long term if needed

I have for a while been umming and arring about getting some magnetic boots/wraps would they help at all? (I think i know somewhere i can get some quite cheaply)
 

newforest

Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
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So sorry to read this.

I did have an elderly tb with arthritus in the hocks, she was a light hack. Once or twice a week and lead in hand. I took her on like that, i only wanted a light hack. Bute can be used long term as and when, you could also look into alternatives or supplements. I used to feed the veteran one and oil.
Rug up well maybe boot up when wet, joints will be painful when it is wet and cold.

Maybe try magnet type boots. I have to say though that the liver can be effected with excessive use of bute, not sure on volume.

My friends horse had pedal bone rotation, stabled for 3 months with plastic shoes. She has now come sound. Depends how bad the rotation is, the Laminae turns to liquid which allows that to move. I think the trim she has allowed some of it to move back from what i tried to understand. Please be aware if it is badly rotated and the pony is very lame, it can come out of the sole, your decision has been made for you then.

I kept my horse as like you she hadn't given up and was happy in herself. You t will know if and when that day comes. I have had to make that decision twice now, you just know when.
 
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laceyfreckle

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May 27, 2007
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I have spoken again to the vets and have made some sort of decisions.

Now it has sunk in enough i managed to ask some questions. It seems she has 10% rotation in both front hoofs but there is some dropping of the pedal bone in that as well. On last call she did also say the front of the pedal bone also had 'ski like' ramps in it too.

she thinks the arthirits in the hock was probably caused by Ellie having so much untreated laminitis in the past (not with me, last owner proudly announced she had never 'needed' to see a vet) and therefore putting all her weight onto her hinds and enough time of doing this has caused them to be arthiritic. The arthiritis is quite advanced. apparently she shows signs of having a very overworked life (and that can't all be her last owner as she had only owned her for a few years)

Vet wants to start her on half a sachet of bute twice a day and rest for a week, followed by half a sachet twice a day and bringing back into work, then going down to half a sachet a day and seeing what she needs to maintain.

Vet is very pleased with my farrier and is emailing x-rays to him but thinks stick on shoes might be a good option although as she said again, basically if i hadn't have got her when i did and used the farrier i did there is a very good chance she would have foundered completely which would have been horrid. I will now utterly trust my farrier with everything!

I have obvouisly cancelled the walk and trot lead rein riding club rally she was meant to be going to this weekend and for now we will concentrate on getting her hacking out in walk and go from there.

It pee's me off slightly though that i still don't know what causes her lami. She is not IR or has cushings, she is not overweight and doesn't eat any cereals and has a low sugar/starch diet but then i suppose she hasn't had any further laminitis attacks since she has been with me.

NF - I had read that buying wraps for winter would be a good idea. She does get rugged up well as i did feel like the cold bothered her a little this year but couldn't put my finger on why.

I may look into magnetic boots as they would fit Harvey too and i think both could benefit from them anyway.
 

clashnoir

Active Member
May 19, 2010
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Bless that angelic little pony. Poor poor girl.
I have a laminitic who I manage but obviously her rotation was not so extreme as shoes have brought her sound but I used to have an arthritic pony and it was fine with exercise and no jumping so fingers crossed you can still get her out and about.
I'd do the Bute as its superb stuff and compliment with supplements perhaps.
My heart really does go out to you.
 

daisysp8

Active Member
Dec 11, 2009
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North East Linconshire
Sorry to hear this, i can`t offer much advice but i wondered if these would help ... It`s 'Wally' from here who does them, and they`ll be made to measure too:

http://www.journeyman-leather.co.uk/ponysandals8.html


ponysandals.jpg


Might help ?
 

laceyfreckle

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2007
9,708
42
48
Essex/Suffolk
Sorry to hear this, i can`t offer much advice but i wondered if these would help ... It`s 'Wally' from here who does them, and they`ll be made to measure too:

http://www.journeyman-leather.co.uk/ponysandals8.html



Might help ?

ooh, she could have her very own sandals :smile:

they might be a help actually as not sure normal barefoot boots would fit the shape of her feet. Will wait til farrier is out thursday and see what he says. (he is very open minded)
 

laceyfreckle

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2007
9,708
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48
Essex/Suffolk
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