Hock lameness - Please advise!

I recently adopted an OTTB from CANTER. He is 9 years old with 64 starts, and was a black type stakes winner. I had him in training for six weeks (probably a little too hard for his condition - 3 days flat and 3 days low jumping with one day off per week), when I began to feel him be a little off behind. One day he took a bad step and trotted off very lame on the right hind. I had one vet look at him and she told me to get rid of him because he was obviously a used up race horse. After two weeks in the pasture I started hacking him a couple of times a week and he seemed sound so I got a second opinion. The second vet flexed him and saw a 3/5 on both hocks and coffin joints in his hinds. He recommended joint injections every six weeks if I want to continue riding him.
Every six weeks seems a bit crazy to me. Does it to you? I’ve never heard of such a thing and I don’t believe in it. I want to do what is best for my horse. I really love this guy! He has a lot of heart and he’ll push himself to do whatever I ask. I want to be sure he’s not hurting to do it. I’ll even switch to dressage if he’ll hold up to that.
Have you had any similar experiences? Any successes with less intrusive treatments? Have you ever done injections in a joint on an every six week basis? What should I do??!

Are you sure your vet didn’t say every 6 “months”?

I would do X-rays to see what you are dealing with, would not just start injecting joints willy nilly. Do full lameness eval with lameness expert.

I do not like to inject joints either have great success with Conquer HA

I’ve got it in writing! Crazy, isn’t it???

I’ve had good luck using Lubrisyn (Hyaluronic Acid) given orally daily or as needed. It has helped my horse, dog and me with achey joint problems.
Much cheaper than injections and not invasive and can use on an “as needed” basis.

You need to get X Rays before doing anything. He could have a fracture that never healed, bone chip or severe deterioration of the joint, soft tissue injuries and may have stifle trouble too. Injections don’t touch this stuff, they work best on normal arthritic changes in the joint creating mild discomfort, generally 1/5 sometimes as noticeable as 2/5 but 3/5 is indicative of more then normal wear and tear.

Injections are also expensive if they need to be repeated, spend on the XRays first to be sure it’s something injections would help. Supplements are not a good choice here without diagnostics, might be a total waste of money if he’s got an old injury.

That vet that wants the six week interval? Maybe he’s trying to tell you the horse needs extensive medical intervention, or he is getting a new truck.

Thing is horses limp because they are in pain and I hate seeing that go on for too long, get the XRays and see what’s hurting the old warrior.

Ditto the LubriSyn, it worked well for me but I had the diagnostics confirming arthritic changes/treadwear and it eventually stopped working as the horse aged. Costs a good bit too, the cheaper stuff did squat.

No diagnostics?! Are your vets psychic?! You don’t even know what you’re working with until you get those. So I would get a new vet and start with a thorough lameness workup with blocking and films and go from there.

Everyone is right: you need x-rays. Flexions are not that great of a diagnostic tool, and there could be several different things going on.

Find a vet that has a good reputation for dealing with lameness issues in horses, and go from there.

You need a full lameness evaluation with a lameness/sport medicine expert, possibly with blocks, almost certainly with x-rays and/or ultrasound.

I totally agree with the need for x-rays so that you know what you are dealing with.

I would like to put a plug in for Pentosan. It has really helped my OTTB to be comfy.

I second trying the Conquer HA. I used it on my 33 year old pony who had arthritic hocks with great success. It kept him very comfortable. But like everyone else has said, get a concrete diagnosis first and discuss it with your vet.

X-rays! Heck, who knows what is going on in there. And I would do a prepurchase on the vet who told you to do injections every 6 weeks. That is NOT a good protocol!

Seriously, ask around and find a new vet. Is there a good vet clinic near you? My vet can do much better diagnostics at the clinic rather than at the barn.

Thanks so much everyone! I did exactly what you recommended and had X-rays done. He has mild arthritis. Vet said on a scale of 1-10, about a 3. She gave me acetyl D to inject IM and an herbal supplement for body soreness. Her guess is that he stressed a collateral ligament and the three weeks off was enough time for it to heal. No reason why he can’t return to full work. Hooray!!