Experience with stifle issues and potential surgery?

I have an 8-year-old OTTB mare who raced for five years. She was seen by an excellent equine lameness vet on 2/6/15. He had three concerns. She needed a new saddle and a back injection (done), hind shoes (done), and there is something up with her right stifle but we need x-rays to confirm exactly what.

Vet said that we should address one issue at a time, but none of them except for the back issue (immediately addressed on that day) would prohibit riding. Her behavior and movement have gotten a thousand times better since the injection and new saddle. Hind shoes were just put on last week because that was her schedule, and they seem to have made a difference already.

However, her right lead remains quite sticky and she seems incapable of holding it in a straight line. She also has a tendency to swap her lead only in her hind legs while lunging in either direction. I’m concerned about bone chips/OCD/etc. We are scheduled for x-rays on April 18th at a facility with an excellent reputation, and my vet will be reviewing them on April 24th.

My questions are these: Who has dealt with similar soundness issues (hind end lead-swapping, can’t hold a right lead in a straight line)? And who has experience with surgery for OCD or stifle chips, if that does turn out to be the issue? Costs, recovery?

I wouldn’t panic too much. OCD usually presents between 2-4 years old, so good to rule out, but not high on the list. Stifle chips are also rare due to the shape and function of the joint. Arthritis or synovitis are much more common and don’t require sugery. There are also soft tissue (ligment or meniscus) injuries that occur, but it sound like your horse’s lameness is pretty mild, so I wouldn’t panic about that either. However, sugery for soft tissue injuries is not good news for performance horse.

Otherwise, you need a diagnosis and treatment plan before you can start talking about recovery, prognosis, and costs. Stifle issues range from good to poor prognosis and “cheap” to costly to address.

A stifle issue is not necessarily the kiss of death.

I have a 12yo with degenerative joint disease in one stifle. He is well-maintained on a joint injection every six months. He was diagnosed with it via x-rays three(?) years ago. Competing PSG as of last summer.