Mystery Asymmetry - experiences?

Hi all! (Saying all the vet related info first so you know I’m coming to the forum just to hear if others have experienced what I describe below.) My vet and I are working to figure out what is going on with my guy’s hind step. We sent off neck x-rays to a specialist yesterday and results will arrive by Tuesday, but they may not tell us anything and we’ll have to start from the beginning again. He also gets regular hock injections but has not been able to get chiro recently because his Dr had to have surgery.

So - I have an 8-year-old, almost 9, OTTB gelding who is not wanting to hold his back feet up for the farrier, not back sore or moody, passed neurological exam, PPE, & passed with flying colors on this strange movement monitoring device my vet put on him. BUT he’s completely asymmetrical in the back. His LH jerks tightly upward and lands diagonally toward his RF when he’s not going long and low. His right hip dips slightly down when this happens. I thought maybe SI, but he’s not showing any off-steps or additional asymmetry after flexion tests. My vet thinks there’s either something going on in his neck, lymes, or epm. I spoke to two of his old owners and he’s apparently always done this when it gets cold. Has anyone seen anything like this before? What was your experience?

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Might be early shivers. Have a horse (TB) which showed intermittent subtle lameness in one hind as a yearling; diagnosed as moderate shivers at 8 yrs. Now in his 20’s severe shivers which is much worse in the cold.

Thanks for this lead - I’ll look into it!

Assuming any degree of stringhalt was checked out already?
It doesn’t tend to be cold dependent and the upwards movement of the hind leg (autocorrect keeps fighting me to change that to “handle”!) is very specific, so probably a zebra thought.

Good luck, maybe they will find some you can help him with.

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Autocorrect can be such a pain, hah! His vet thought about stringhalt, but she said his movement doesn’t do the usual “hang-time” in the air & he backs up normally. We haven’t totally ruled anything out yet though, so I’ll research that one a bit more too. Thank you!

I know of two WB’s who do something similar, both with the right hind. Their hindquarter muscling is asymmetrical. They are not related to each other. One was evaluated for a PPE and determined to have shivers, although he has no trouble with the farrier or backing up, and Dr. Valberg has seen video of him and is not sure it’s shivers. The other had an extensive PPE in Europe before purchase and importation, still does it, but jumps 1.40 with no issues and is not lame. He also has no trouble with the farrier and backs up without issue. What is it? We’re not at all sure. There is no EPM where horse #1 was bred/foaled/lives, but of course in the case of horse #2 we don’t know of exact exposure possibilities. I don’t know that this helps you, OP, but it may be that you’re chasing something which doesn’t require chasing.


Does it look anything like fibrotic myopathy?


Yep FM, or PSSM2 is what I’d investigate

That may be part of the problem, but for those, I would not expect the jerkiness of a hind leg to be one of the symptoms, that would fit a different kind of problem?

PSSM2 especially would be more apt to make a horse less apt to move and if pushed on, to look stiff, I think.

Then, it is always good to rule all possibilities, not every horse presents with the same clinical picture.

I’ll ask my vet about all the ideas mentioned above. His step looks pretty different to videos that I’m finding online, but every horse is different. Thank you all for helping inform my research! We get xray results back tomorrow (hopefully), fingers crossed at we get more insight! I’ll keep the forum updated.

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Vet findings: Moderate arthritis in C5-C6 & C6-C7 to be corrected with cortisol shots and an altered exercise plan. (He is a warhorse after all so that makes sense.) We still may test for Lymes though since we’re in a Lyme carrying area. I just wanted to keep the form posted because I hate coming across these when they’re applicable and then never getting the final result. Hopefully, this is useful to someone other than just me, hah!