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Wrong Diagnosis. Update from Lame Horse for months Vet Care and possibly putting the horse down

I had an original post called ‘‘lame horse for months vet care and possibly putting the horse down’’. I don’t know where it wen on this site. It was a long saga of diagnosis of arthritis of the left fetlock and nothing worked. I have an update. Got second opinion(s). Right shoulder injury not left fetlock. Muscle tear in Right Shoulder and atrophied shoulder about the size of a fist. You can feel the tear with your fingers. Would explain why she is so much lamer when i mount her. Spent thousands and thousands of dollars on wrong treatment and not only my horse’s pain and suffering,but mine also. Got a good idea how it happened during February Missouri’s MDC CWD deer 2 month long killing spree bait pile 150 yards from horse yard. She must have spooked and ran with the proverbial bullets going past her from a gun happy neighbor. What a disgusting waste of time and money. As I write this, my horse is still quite lame. I feel nothing short of being tormented. My horse has been subjected to stress and torment. Now we are massaging the shoulder, lunging at the walk only, soon to be chiro treatement in a couple of weeks and the corrective shoeing. Feeding her Vit E supplements now, MSM, changed from Osteomax to Regen-x, and gave DMSO poultice on shoulder, along with some aromotherapy linements, stretching, and I ordered a horse Physical Therapy book since I might as well be my own doctor now. If you can find he original post in the subject, you can see all the crap I went thru. Princess is still very lame and not rideable. A beautiful Champion Rocky Mountain cross horse that rides Western, English, Sidesaddle, saddleseat now ruined. Lame for 1/2 year now. I feel so angry I am noxious. As a point of interest, informed vet office that treatments were not working (this was a week before the new diagnosis) and I never got a followup call.

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PS My husband told me me if Princess is still lame end of Fall, I can get a new horse, but that one will run into the fence too with the proverbial shooting range for 2 months with the deer bait pile 150 yards and the neighbor who said ‘‘if i see a deer, i am going to shoot it’’. All deer. Even fawns. But that is another saga. All my focus is one last ditch effort to save my horse. oh and they allow shining deer at night and shooting them. Would make any horse go nuts. Please don’t tell me a horse will get used to the gunshots.

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From what you are saying, if I were in your shoes and was convinced that the neighbor’s shooting sprees were the ultimate cause of both lameness and failure to heal, I would see two choices:

  • move
  • stay where you are, but no horses (no more horses assuming you keep this one)

One the one hand, you can find reams of advice on how to get the law moving against the neighbor’s trigger happy habits (assuming he is in the U.S.?).

On the other hand, with an over-the-top situation such as you describe, I wouldn’t be willing to dedicate my whole life to activism, as I’d assume that is what it would take to make a change. And unless the neighbor is the one who elects to move, you would end up with an unsympathetic and possibly vengeful neighbor. And depending on the community, maybe LE doesn’t force a change.

All that said – 6 months feels like an eternity to be out of the saddle. BUT some lameness, especially torn muscles etc., need longer to truly heal. It doesn’t mean they won’t heal. But if a vet doesn’t have a definitive diagnosis and treatment routine, it could be time to think about turning a horse out for 9 months or a year and then re-assess.


Just some thoughts to help readers and ideas coming your way, based on how the software works on this forum …

Can I suggest adding paragraphs to your text, to help readers. The “wall of words” is not as easy to comprehend, and not everyone will read. You could miss out on a good solution.

Don’t overwrite your original post with an ‘update’, as seems to have happened in your last thread. No one sees an ‘update’ made in the first post. Because they read the original post one time, when they first find the thread. After that they no longer see it, they just read from where they last left off. That’s where the software take them when they revisit the thread.

Place the update post at the end of wherever the thread is at the time, and edit the title to add (not clear the original title) “UPDATE Post# xxx”.

Those tips will help readers follow your saga and perhaps come up with helpful ideas. Writing over your previous content just makes a mess of thread continuity. No one can find how this lameness started, since that info seems to now be gone from the first thread.


That’s awful. The only thing I can say is that horses DO get used to gunshots (I’m in TX and mine are). BUT that won’t matter a bit if someone is shooting towards your property. I don’t know where you are or what the acreage requirements are to be OK to shoot, but dang. Your neighbor is truly a jacka–. Fawns? What kind of kind of hunting laws are in place there? And when is deer season? It’s usually NOT when there are fawns (TX). Spotlighting deer and shooting? WtF? In TX, that will get the hunter shot. Kind of kidding but not really. A prayer for you and your horse and now that you know what the issue truly is, speedy healing.


First of all, I am sorry you have been through so much with your mare. I can feel the anguish in your post.

But second, going back to your original thread, didn’t the more experienced vet do a nerve block in the front fetlock and your mare went sound? Is it possible that it’s both: a torn shoulder muscle and an injured fetlock? If your mare truly panicked and rammed herself into the fence or slid around in the pasture due to the deer shooting melee, perhaps she hurt herself in more than one place.

I say this in hopes that maybe you’ll feel at least a little better knowing that your mare might’ve been hurting in more than one place, and perhaps the original treatment plan was indeed addressing one of her injuries. Now you’re on to the shoulder problem.

As for the shooting and whackjob neighbor… I don’t know what to say. But if I were living in an area where it was legal and acceptable to shoot deer of all ages at night by spotlight, year round, I’d either be moving or reconsider my choice to keep horses on my property. I mean, unless you can create a more secure environment for the horse, further away from the deer bait pile, is it wise to set yourself-- and potentially another horse-- to the same situation?


It is in Missouri. The MDC has a ‘‘targeted removal’’ program that last 2 months after regular deer hunting season. Here is the link to their info that explains it, including shining lights on deer and shooting them at night. The hell with any neighbors. There should be a class action lawsuit against the MDC enabling psycho hunters in the first place. https://mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/deer/chronic-wasting-disease/post-season-targeted-removal It happens every year here. The neighbors gets unlimited tags, some money per head, and free processed meat paid for by the taxpayer. The MDC even supplies him with 150 lbs of corn to have the bait pile to make it easy to kill as many deer as he can shoot out. The bait pile is 150 yards from our property line and barn. We could ask him to move his bait pile to the other side of his property to have some respect for us, we can try. Otherwise I will board my horse elsewhere during this time and send him the bill.

Two injuries. The thought cross my mind, but honestly I do not know. Who knows. I had someone else look at the xrays and they saw nada. It was a very rushed exam. I was supposed to bring my horse in for the more experienced vet to look at, I made that clear, quite clear, on the phone when I scheduled it, but when I brought my horse in at the cost of 200.00 to trailer her 15 miles, they did not have me on his schedule, because someone fouled up, and had to wait hrs and the squeezed me in. The other thought is this, that she always had the shoulder problem, there was a pulled shoe by the fence in February, and thinking it was arthritis, I walked and walked and walked her instead of resting it, thus making it worse

Honestly, I would bet there are multiple things going on, because having watched the videos you shared of the initial lameness, the horse is obviously and drastically lame on the left front. So perhaps now the left front has been treated and now the right front is showing up.
I also think you will have more success if you take less of a gloom and doom attitude towards your horse’s lameness. She’s probably not dying, even if it feels like that to you. Some things take time to heal. It sucks when you can’t ride your horse, but saying she’s ruined because of a lameness (or lamenesses) that is being treated, AND blaming it on the vet who was originally trying to work with you and your horse, is pretty extreme.


But from the very beginning, and I do have some videos, she would almost go sound at walk trot on the lunge going left and horribly unsound going right on the lunge. This was in February I pointed that out from the very very beginning and it is still the same. Same thing today, although she is walking much better going right now. After the Noltrex Treatment for her left leg, she was kept in a very small paddock or inside my indoor. I took videos almost every week to keep track. Here she is more lame than ever 11 days after Dr came and the Noltrex shot and it is the first time I walked her after the injection. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnoUpBpCH4k

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Just because she is more lame turning to the right does not mean the lameness is in the right front.


it is all very tricky stuff, in this case, we can feel the muscle tear with our fingers on the right shoulder and there is some fluid. I was reading I found this just now, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/musculoskeletal-system/lameness-in-horses-overview-and-examination/overview-of-lameness-in-horses to read myself, which is very informative and it states that ‘‘mechanical lameness does not respond to analgesics’’ which I am noting mentally because I had her on previdoxx and it did not help, and I have discontinued it since about a week or so ago. And about 10 pm last night (someone in the neighborhood set off boomer fireworks (we have 42 acres) behind us, different neighbor, and we ran out half dressed and got my horse and put her in the indoor. At first, I thought it was someone with a machine gun. Tonight we will do the same as the town is having fireworks and we will do the same july 4th. The fireworks went off sounding like gunshots, one right after another, and my horse was upset like looking toward the next door neighbor’s property.

A muscle tear wouldn’t be an example of mechanical lameness though. Mechanical lameness means lameness caused not by pain but by some mechanical restriction. A muscle tear is painful. That doesn’t mean it will be fully addressed by Equioxx though. Think about whether if you tore a muscle, would Advil or Tylenol be enough to make you pain free and want to use that limb normally?


ok thank you for clarifying. What would be an example of a mechanical restriction, say in the foreleg? never mind, the merck manual gave an example ‘’ mechanical lameness include upward fixation of the patella’’

… or a pebble in the frog sulcus.
You need to remove object, painkillers won’t help, is what our old vet used to say.


If a muscle tear (or something else) heals with scarring that restricts full range of motion, that would also be a mechanical lameness that persists after the underlying injury is resolved (no longer painful).

In your walk video, when you can see enough of the horse, she looks off on the left front. The right front is not moving like a shoulder injury, which I would expect to cause more of a hopping like gait or at least restricted cranial phase. Wasn’t clear exactly when in the timeline that was taken.

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Mechanical lameness can be something like “huge scar reduces ROM of a limb but doesn’t appear to be painful”, or “fused hocks do not appear to hurt but have reduced articulation”. A current muscle issue is almost guaranteed to be painful, and therefore not “mechanical” in nature, as we use the term for horses.

A muscle tear can take a year or more to really heal, especially if it continues to get reinjured.


I am not sure which walk video … I have so many, and the original one I took months ago in February, is gone from my laptop. I took one of her on the lunge and she was good going left, unsound going right, before calling the Dr. Also, I noted on youtube, that you have an unlisted video and then make it public, it changes the upload date to the day you made it public. So now, I just say the date in the video and put the date in the title. I made one this morning, and it is uploading. She is much better than the 5/28 one but off when trotting right. When I mounted her to ‘test’’ her lameness out, this was like 4 days ago, she was very lame going right even if I tried to make the circle huge. I also noted that she was bent left, like she did not want to bend right AT ALL. I went around once or twice in our paddock and then got off. I decided to stay off her back in the meantime for at least a week before I test her out again. She actually walked with me on her back going left very well with no visible head nod.

Hi there. Forgive me if I missed it but has your horse had her feet xrayed? Also she’s beautiful! And a chunky monkey. Has she ever been footsore (metabolically speaking)?