Check Ligament Rehab Advice

Hello!

I recently got a horse who arrived with a torn check ligament (happened between me trying/buying him and him being delivered, seller refuses to take him back, I did buy him without a PPE - lesson learned)

The vet ultra sounded and found that he had torn scar tissue in his front left check ligament (had check ligament desmotomies done to both front legs as a yearling)

Vet prescribed stall rest if he would tolerate it, or turnout in the very small paddock that we have behind the barn if not. Well he stall walks constantly (we did try ace pills and it did not change) so is now turned out in the barn yard (he just stands and eats hay and walks to the water buckets, no running) and comes in for AM/PM feeding and put back out. We are also applying surpass once daily to the leg (there has not been any visible change in swelling) and have him on Smart Pak’s Rehab supplement.

Vet is confident that he will be able to do whatever I want to do in the future, as long as I take the time to bring hum back to work. We are 2 weeks into treating the leg and will be re-ultrasounding in 2 more weeks.

Does anybody have experience and could share what additional things I may be able to do to help him rehab well! Are Back On Track wraps worth the money for this type of injury? Is heat or cold the better method? There is no heat in the leg, just localized swelling and tenderness when palpated.

Is it worth spending the money on other treatments like shockwave or PRP if this horse will most likely be not be jumping and will be doing flat work and trail riding?

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

Is he lame?

Mine did a number on his CL a couple years ago, big fat swelling, never lame. I didn’t do anything other than not work him, and all the heat and most of the swelling went away. The remnants of the swelling will always be there.

When my vet u/s’d the area (after the heat was gone, it was never an emergency for me to get her out since he was never lame, I was just waiting), she was amazed at how much the swelling wrapped around the suspensory, but not surprised that this horse did that :lol: She said since he wasn’t lame, I could still get on and do light work, then use Surpass if any heat and/or swelling returned. I opted to just give him a couple months off (again), and it’s been fine ever since.

These things tend to not be much trouble at all.

Thank you!!!

He is a teeny tiny bit off on it, enough that the vet wanted to ultrasound between the slight lameness and the palpating… He was turned out the day before the vet came and the owner of the barn thought he was a bit lame trotting in the field when he turned out. He looks completely sound at the walk.

My horse damaged and healed his check ligament twice (there are two legs and he likes to be very thorough) many years apart.

My vet felt walking around helped the lesion heal better so he was confined in a small paddock with a stall.
I do not remember the time frame of how long before we were back to work, but in the end everything healed fine with no restrictions and we back to jumping, etc.
I did not do shockwave or any of those treatments.

An u/s is always a good idea :slight_smile: I have learned that you do whatever makes the horse happiest. Turned out and quiet is much, much better than twirling around a stall.

For things like this, where it’s not hot anymore, alternating heat and cold does a good job of stimulating circulation to hopefully speed healing. If you have access to anything like a Gameready or other circulating therapy, even better.

If you have the time to just let him be a horse for the Winter, that’s the cheapest and easiest on you :slight_smile:

I couldn’t tell you whether things like BOT wraps would be useful, but my guess is yes. Anything that’s going to encourage a bit more circulation is good. He can wear them while he’s in his stall for feeding, or grooming, or whatever, several times a day even. They’re so easy to put on.

[QUOTE=JB;8375067]
I couldn’t tell you whether things like BOT wraps would be useful, but my guess is yes. Anything that’s going to encourage a bit more circulation is good. He can wear them while he’s in his stall for feeding, or grooming, or whatever, several times a day even. They’re so easy to put on.[/QUOTE]
Good point.
I used BOT no bows and magnetic boots.
Do I know they helped? Nope. But heck I am sure they did not hurt and they made me feel like I was doing something.

Sadly, I had one that didn’t end well. When vet saw original injury, she was very reassuring - minor injury, best one to have, not career threatening, etc. No lameness was present, even on a flexion.

We did everything available: PRP, 6 shockwave treatments, ice multiple times per day, therapeutic ultrasound every day, Back on Track wraps, stall rest for 6 months with controlled exercise (walking), etc. But it re-injured nonetheless, and the process started over. After the third time, we gave up.

[QUOTE=joiedevie99;8375073]Sadly, I had one that didn’t end well. When vet saw original injury, she was very reassuring - minor injury, best one to have, not career threatening, etc. No lameness was present, even on a flexion.

We did everything available: PRP, 6 shockwave treatments, ice multiple times per day, therapeutic ultrasound every day, Back on Track wraps, stall rest for 6 months with controlled exercise (walking), etc. But it re-injured nonetheless, and the process started over. After the third time, we gave up.[/QUOTE]

See, you should have just done nothing :smiley:

Ok, I know, it’s serious, and yes, even some of the most relatively minor injuries can be career ending for some horses :frowning: It does make me wonder if the really long stall rest had anything to do with re-injury. I know that was for a long time the thought process, and it still prescribed a lot, but more and more information is coming out that as soon as the acute phase is over, get as much free choice quiet movement as possible, so the scar tissue fibers align better for a stronger connection. I’m sorry yours went so badly :frowning:

My horse tore his left CL in 3 places in July '14. There was swelling but very little lameness. I turned him out in small paddock for about 3 months, and took him on hand walks. I got to see the seasons change. He was ultrasounded again in October, and I began u/s walking. I didn’t do anything special except cold hosing and ice wraps. I did buy the Spectra Vet shockwave device. I would use it regularly, and noticed improvement. Once he was sound u/s, I began some trotting and did large circles. I also did a lot of walking on the roads and a bit of trotting. I am old school and believe that legging up with road work helps the tendons and ligaments. By January he was in regular work, and I started jumping in May. I was overly careful, but he is doing well. I think there will always be left over thickness from the scar tissue, but I ice the leg a lot. I love my Ice Vibe boots. The leg gets nice and tight. Good luck, it is a test of patience. I agree that letting my horse be a horse with light work during the winter paid off.

My guy injured his hind check ligament in June of 2014 by getting cast in his stall and putting his leg through the wall. He was never really “lame” but he just did not feel right in the weeks that followed him getting cast. I had him looked at 2 weeks post injury and he was diagnosed with a small lesion in his check ligament. Everything else looked great. We did PRP and followed the prescribed 6 months off to a T. He checked out good at 6 months and we were cleared to go back to work. Sometime shortly after starting work again he re-injured his check ligament and we then got sent for an MRI! (oh boy$$$) MRI showed a very angry check ligament but everything else looked great. He ended up having surgery to remove the check ligament. We are now 8 months post surgery and we have started jumping small gates. So far so good keeping my fingers crossed we are over the hump! I am still very paranoid about every step he takes. Total time off 16 months.

I had one that injured his LF check as a 5yo. He did it in October of a very, very wet year so I kept him on stall rest with limited handwalking as he was 17hh and very explosive for 2 months until we went to Florida.
Once there he was stalled at night, turned out in a small paddock during the day. We gave him Ace the first few days to take the edge off. We iced it once a day, especially if we caught him playing. Brought him back to work slowly after 3 months rest.

He’s currently sound, and showing at a 1.20m.

I have completely gone through this

My horse banged up his check ligament pretty bad. I was told it would be 4 mths stall rest then slowly start back up. So we stalled him (hes a walker in his stall), started cold hosing and icing twice daily and used furizone, at the time we didnt do standing wraps.

Vet came out two weeks later told me it was blown and that it was 9 mths of stall rest.

My horse came in lame but after 2 weeks was sound. We had some problems with our vet and I didnt trust her opinion at all so we basically did what we felt was best for my horse knowing my horse.

I got the Ice Vibe boots and basically cold hosed him 20 minutes and then immediately iced him for 20 minutes twice a day. I eventually started to put him in standing wraps, after second scan and used the BoT wraps (LOVE them). After a month of being sound instead of a small paddock turnout we just kicked him out with his friends. He’s not a “crazy” field horse so we felt knowing him this was the best plan of action. I still cold hosed/iced but only once a day. We let him be a field horse for 30 days and started him under tack with no rider. I did a month of that. Started at 5 minutes each way, I would hand walk him and added 2 minutes every day using Sat/Sun as “stationary days” where we didn’t increase time. By the next month I rode him under at a walk following the same routine. Next month we added trotting and finally the last month cantering.

His first scan was end of August 29th to be exact, and he was 100% and showing by March. This was back in 2012 and he’s been fantastic since. I do the jumpers with him and compete at the 1.0m and 1.10m classes and he is almost 17 years old. I do watch his leg and on hard workout days do use the ice boots as a precaution.

I did put him on Smartpak Rehab and honestly believe that helped A LOT. If you have any questions please feel free to PM me! I took weekly photos and have all his scans online!

Best of luck with your boy! Its definitely not a game ender!!!

My mare strained her check this summer…suddenly was dead lame, her sidebone believe it or not was massive and sore. Ultrasound showed a large check, no lesions or tears. I did roughly 2 months of stall rest with some ace here and there, then she was getting pretty agitated and pacing so much I ended up turning her on a small dry lot with my 24 year old and a round bale. I need to get her rechecked, she’s sound as can be and has been since I turned her out almost 2 months ago, but it just hasn’t happened.

I figure I’ll give her the winter off, maybe some light trail riding if i get super motivated, and then start her back slowly in the spring. I am planning on having the vet out within the next month or so to ultrasound and shoot a view of that sidebone (its UGLY, but she was still lame as hell after blocking it so the vet wasn’t concerned).

Oh, and the vet stressed repeatedly that I needed to keep pressure on it and keep it wrapped. If they are turned out, I’d toss some masking tape over the velcro though to keep it from working free.

My mare has been through both a (bad) tear of the collateral medial lig, and then more recently, a check lig strain. So for the check lig - I put her in a 12x24 pipe panel pen so she didn’t feel so confined. Hay net hung to give her something to do. And I had her on a long term sedative (reserpine) to take the edge off. She is a high energy horse, and bouncing around is the last thing you want them to do during rehab. I found she did less bouncing in a larger space (12x24) and was happier if she was outside.

I did some laser therapy, but nothing else beyond rest and rehab.

One thing I do with soft tissue injuries - extend the rehab, usually by at least 50%. If the vet says 30 days, I plan on 45.

Her check lig rehab as last Spring/Summer, and we had a full year of riding and showing this year :smiley: Finally!

My mare has been through both a (bad) tear of the collateral medial lig, and then more recently, a check lig strain. So for the check lig - I put her in a 12x24 pipe panel pen so she didn’t feel so confined. Hay net hung to give her something to do. And I had her on a long term sedative (reserpine) to take the edge off. She is a high energy horse, and bouncing around is the last thing you want them to do during rehab.

I did some laser therapy, but nothing else beyond rest and rehab.

One thing I do with soft tissue injuries - extend the rehab, usually by at least 50%. If the vet says 30 days, I plan on 45.

Her check lig rehab as last Spring/Summer, and we had a full year of riding and showing this year :smiley: Finally!

Horse tore his right check ligament. Vet school called it a “significant injury”. They said at least 6 months, and recommended a small paddock/dry lot. I turned him back out in his pasture, we did regular US to recheck. At 6 months he looked sound, but after 3 days light work became gimpy again. Back out in pasture for 6 months, then another US, where the vet proclaimed he was healed as much as he would ever be. Slow return to work, and he has been sound ever since. I did bring him in and do massage in area for 15 minutes 4x a week the last six weeks of pasture rest at vet recommendation.

I have a youngster that had a left front check ligament strain from putting his feet through everything (tire feeders, panels, water troughs…). He was 2 at the time and not yet under saddle. We gave him 90 days of relative confinement (stall and medium paddock) and three shockwave treatments before we began hand walking. The initial injury happened in August of that year and by December he was working on the line and was doing regular (for his age) work by Jan and Feb. He was started that spring and has been good, though I am always a paranoid freak about it.

LittleDevon, how is the rehab going?