My 8 year old QH gelding has not had a good year. Without writing a novel, he had severe unexplained allergies for 4 months which involved long term steroid use. The internal medicine vet was concerned about laminitis so she recommended X-rays just to check. There were so signs of laminitic changes but there was a concern over navicular changes. So we went off to the lameness vet for further evaluation. This vet identified some fairly minor left front lameness but more importantly a significant right hind lameness that neither my trainer nor myself had really observed. This right hind was diagnosed through ultrasound and blocks as high suspensory.
Pro-stride treatment, shockwave, prescribed rest showed no improvement. At the reassessment the pain failed to block to the suspensory so a new diagnoses was made stemming from the fetlock tendon sheath and steroid injections were recommended.
These injections were done and the next days he came down with severe laminitis that he would barely walk. We did intensive treatment of the laminitis (8 weeks in imprint shoes, icing, laminil perfusion) and he improved significantly and steadily. There was one significant setback when we put metal shoes back on at around 2 months but he continued to improve after this . No rotation was observed on x-rays. The vet suggested gradually bringing back light work since he had recovered so well.
Early on in introducing light work we noticed the right hind was quite right but there was no point investigating further since the laminitis was still a huge factor. After a few weeks I requested another evaluation to see how his recovery was going. The good news was that his fronts only showed the very slight left front lameness from before but otherwise looked good. Right hind lameness was predominant. More nerve blocks and ultrasound and we are back to right hind suspensory lesion.
The vets have recommended fasciotomy and stem cell injection as the best likelihood of treatment but obviously no promises. Here’s where my question lies. Would you pursue any additional treatment…?
Important facts: He’s a competition horse and is not for beginners. He can be quite spooky and reactive.I’ve never had him on a trail and don’t have a trailer to get around (I rely on my trainer to haul to shows). When he is not in regular excercise he’s hard on the stall walls and will tear around his paddock. I board him since I live a 35 minutes highway drive away in the city.
I know there is a lot of criticism over putting horses down because they can no longer have an athletic career but he’s not a horse that would be easy in ‘retirement’. As a recovered laminitic horse I would be reluctant to just throw him in a pasture. So my question for the community is—