Stifle injury

Vet came today, nothing was broken (yay) and he said stall rest and bute for 30 days, doing that. Mare looks miserable. Anything you all have done to make them feel better?

What is the actual injury? What did the diagnostics show? I wouldn’t do 30 days of bute without doing gastrogard daily. Since this sounds acute, I’d be icing or cold hosing several times a day for pain relief.

There’s so many things that could be wrong with a stifle besides a crack. What is the actual diagnosis? Some injuries need ice, others heat etc.
30 days of bute terrifies me. Did your vet also recommend a month of ulcergard or sucralfate?

No, but I did that anyway. He said ice, heat etc would not help, but we are cold hosing her anyway because it’s hot here, and she loves water.

We are hosing off all of the horses really, the summer is pretty brutal here. She gets some extra on that leg and does seem to enjoy it.

I should clarify. I’m attempting to make her content on stall rest and keep her healthy while she heals. I’m not looking for advice or input on how to treat her injury. She is under a vet’s care for that. I’m happy with the vet’s recommendations for treatment of the injury, he just didn’t offer much in terms of keeping her mind right or keeping her content and comfortable in her stall. She’s usually quite active and she is very unhappy locked up while her herd mates are not. Favorite stall toys? Favorite liniment that might feel good to her? Calming supplement? A magic wand to make her better? Stuff like that. I considered ice wraps for her rear legs just because it’s hot outside, her good leg is taking up the slack for her bad one and it might feel good to her to keep her legs cool and avoid inflammation.

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Well a slow feeder for her hay would be my first step if you’re not doing that already. My horse likes the balls you stuff carrots into. He’s bonkers over the Uncle Jimmy’s hanging treat balls. I’ve used calming supplements, imo you may have to try a few to find one that helps.

Can her herd mates take turns staying inside to keep her company? What about an outdoor stall near the turn outs? Though I know in this heat it may not be feasible to stand a horse outside to roast!

All good ideas. I’ve never heard of the Uncle Jimmys treat ball…to amazon we go. I did order her a slow feeder, we’ll see how she feels about that. They all come in and out of the barn, where she is, as they please. The rest come in, usually, during the heat of the day with her. So she’s only alone for long periods of time when the weather is cooler and it makes her very restless. I’m not sure it’s the company she wants, I think she just wants out - the one thing she can’t have. She has a fan, extra bedding etc. but she’s still miserable.

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They are on Amazon but I think a bit pricier than ordering from Valley Vet or similar. Uncle Jimmy makes one sized to go in a Lik It toy too. Those last a bit longer.

The slow feeder might take her a second to figure out but she’ll get it!

You might try some of the Masterson massage type things. I think there is a YouTube for the Bladder Meridian “exercise”. I’ve not tried them myself (it’s on my to do list!), but I understand they are supposed to be relaxing…

Poor gal. It’s tough being a horse and not understanding why your freedom is restricted.

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I have a boarder dealing with this right now. Initial X-rays and bone scans show no fractures, ultrasounds are all clear but the hock lit up with the bone scan. Right now they are calling it similar to a bone bruise. This is a high level jumper, stall rest is extremely difficult. The slow feeder hay bag is a huge help, but the best help is trazadone once a day. It’s the only thing that worked. We give it 30 minutes before the others go on night turnout. The stall is still trashed, but no screaming, kicking or rearing.


You might want to use standing bandages at least some of the time if it’s not too hot to help the support leg as well as for general stocking up. Icing the legs in between bandages wouldn’t hurt in hot weather.

Prozac helped mine on stall rest not be quite so agitated. Definitely protect her gut from all that Bute. You might want a hind gut supplement also. Keep forage available at all times if possible. Cut grain and switch to a more concentrated form of nutrition.

As for toys and such they all have their own preferences so you might have to experiment.

Depending on what the vet says, if you can build a stall sized enclosure outside, it might help to put her in that part of the time. Just being outside can really help their mental state even if they can’t really move around any more than they can inside. My horses don’t like to roll in their stalls for example. Providing a little time in the sun and a place to roll would make a huge difference for them. When my horse was on stall rest, I’d take him out to hand graze in the early days because we didn’t have a true medical paddock. He’d usually roll (sometimes the coming back up would be a little bit of an explosion). Sometimes he’d just lay down for a nap in the sun.


The ice wraps are on their way as I type. It’s hot, they’re cold, I figured they were a win, regardless of helping the problem or not. She is using her bad leg more and the bute is controlling the swelling/stocking up. When we begin to wean her off of the bute (2 weeks in) may be a different story.

The outdoor pen is a good idea too. For nighttime especially. I can build her a 12 x 12 out of panels. So she can be ‘out’ without being out. That might appease her actually.

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I’ll call the vet about trazadone. He didn’t offer that. He’s a good vet, but he’s an old school farm call type guy. He suggested Quietex, or whatever that paste is you get at the feed store, but I’ve never had any real luck with that. I also don’t want to be shooting her up with Rompun every day either.

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The outdoor pen for overnight sounds like a great idea for your set up. She’d probably be able to see her buddies better! Maybe the change of scenery would be nice for her too!

I had to deal with keeping a very high energy horse stalled for a bad cut on the back of his hoof a few years ago. Vet and I discussed using medication to keep him calm, but I declined because I really did not want to keep him dopey, and because I knew the horse well, and believed that he could/would accept being stalled if I put in some time and effort. I did a lot of what you are doing, and what has been suggested. Standing wrap on the non-injured leg. Hand walking. Other than bute for pain initially, he did not get any meds. It was an exercise in trust for both of us.

I should add, she’s also on Mare Magic because…well she’s ‘all mare all the time’, so she is on a sort of calming aid in that respect anyway. She hasn’t been particularly bad, just restless and agitated at times. I’m hesitant as mentioned to go with drugs, but I will if she gets worse or unconsolable.

A company called T.H.E. Equine edge makes a calming supplement that could help. They also make it in cookies (not economical for long term use).

Happ-E-Mare also has some other ingredients you might consider but only after she’s done with Bute (some of the herbals you don’t want to mix with serious NSAID use). I had my gelding on it for a while

Update: She’s no longer limping, at all, laying down and getting up easily, etc. so I called the vet a couple of days ago, as he said to do. He said to cut the bute by half and then discontinue the bute altogether today, which I’m happy with. Still resting for about 3 more weeks and then a follow-up visit, just to be sure, but no more bute! He did not expect her to look this much better this soon - also a good thing.

She’s gotten used to being stalled I guess and it’s hotter than hell here so she’s pretty content to be in the barn, getting less restless when the others go out, which is less and less anyway as the heat of the summer sets in. Didn’t really have time to try the outdoor pen, the heat came in like a freight train yesterday and doesn’t seem to have any plans to leave.

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Oh and she also digs the ice boots and shows an amount of annoyance with the slow feeder LOL, but it’s working and making her meals last longer. I’ll put the treat ball in later if she starts to get annoyed, don’t want to show all my cards just yet.


Thanks for updating! Jingles for a continued smooth recovery.

It’s hot as hades here too. Blech