A friend of mine has a horse that is off-and-on lame. He’s only 13 yo. Some of it is definitely a rein lameness but a lot of it is physical. We just didn’t know what it was. It seemed to be his front legs. He stood parked out on crossties. He seemed ouchy, especially on concrete. My friend gave him daily joint supplement in his feed and injected him with Adequan twice a month. There was no rhyme or reason for having a sound day versus an unsound day. Not days off, turnout, hard days of work, etc. The vet had been out two years ago and diagnosed navicular but it was without doing x-rays, just based on symptoms. He got regular farrier care that followed the vet’s advice.
Recently he’s been more off than sound, so my friend called back out the vet. After a thorough exam, including flex testing and blocking the front feet he determined that the main problem was in his left hock. Yay! That’s a good thing because it’s easier to treat than the alternatives (eg, ring bone, navicular). Yes, something is going on in the front feet but a lot of it may be compensating for the hock issue. Also, the horse also had a little bit of thrush in the front feet that could be causing some pain. The vet gave her an injectable to replace the Adequan that has more in it than just what Adequan has (I’m not sure exactly what it is). The farrier and vet will be having a conversation about cutting his front feet shorter. And if all that still doesn’t work, his hocks can be injected.
Now she has a plan. At least for the short term. But what if that all still doesn’t work? Horses can live a long time. She may have many years paying for a horse she can’t ride. Caring for another living creature is full of difficult decisions, fraught with highs and lows. It’s something we all need to think about.