In which the Dragon is slightly borked, but it's not as bad as I feared

It's gonna be a long, sad Springtime.

Day 1.  That left hind fetlock is not supposed to be fat and poofy
(Those pink tights are much less alarming in real life, I hope)

We were trotting down the trail with Rosemary and Kitty on Sunday morning, about 4 miles out, when suddenly it felt like one of Fiddle's rear wheels came off.

Lame.  Lame lame lame lame lame.  


I sent the others on ahead, and Fiddle and I walked the "shortcut", about 2.5 miles back to the trailer.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't want to take a lame horse for a long walk like that, but sometimes you do what needs to be done.

At home:

Per Patty's instructions:  an ice bucket in back, a food bucket in front

I sent the following email message to Dr "Dear", our favorite equine vet:

Fee: "Hey, small biped. Got food?"
Me:  "Dinner is in this bucket right here, but I need you to do someth---"
Fee:. "Foooood!"
Me: "Yep, just as soon as you put your foot in this buck---"
Fee: "Foooood! Food. Food. Foooood! Hey biped, that's my foot."
Me: "Gimme the foot, you get food."
Fee: "Take foot. Hurts anyway. Give food!"
Me: "Foot is in bucket. Fee gets food. Now add cold water to buck---"
Fee: "Hey! Cold water is cold."
Me: "Did I forget to put a COOKIE in your bucket?"
Me: "Foot is in bucket. Fee gets 2 cookies. Now add ice and..."
Fee: "Hey! Ice is cold! Give more cookies!"

and so forth.

We continued the ice bath (or cold hosing, when the weather allowed) plus bute until appointment day.

Day 2.  Still poofy, still warm.  She was never unwilling to walk on it, but it was obviously not fun for her.

The "trot out" was about 4 strides.  Yep, she is surely and definitely lame.  And yes, that fetlock is warm and poofy.

Indoors we went, for a hot date with the ultra$ound machine.  

No sedation for any part of this.  As long as I stood there looking bored and
thinking boring thoughts, Fiddle would stand there being bored too.
(Jim took the photos)

What was I gonna need money for, if not for my horse, amiright?

Everytime she eliminated something awful, Dr Fehr would say, "That's good!"

The good news:  
*  Not a suspensory tear.
*  No holes in the deep digital flexor tendon
*  This wasn't caused by bad choices.  Her shoes are fine, she wasn't being overridden, we could not have predicted this injury.  It is a "horse thing" and "horse things" happen sometimes.

The "bad" news:
*  Recovery will be long and slow.  Prognosis is good, given time, but it will take time.

My vet emails all the paperwork stuff to me directly, which is absolutely perfect for me and for the way I use information.  Do all vets do that now?  Patty texts me information for small animal veterinary stuff, and that also works great. 

Here's the official stuff.

Lameness assessment:
Heat and some pitting edema through pastern and over flexor tendons from just above the Flexor tendon sheath to heel bulbs.
No palpable digital pulses.
Could not perform hoof tester as she has full pads on hind feet.
Sensitivity to palpation of the SDFT (superficial flexor tendon) at the level of the flexor tendon sheath just above the annular ligament.
No pain on palpation of the DDFT or the suspensory branches.
Jogging in arena – Grade 2/5 LH
Flexion of lower limb – positive Grade 3/5 after flexion

Ultrasound examination results:
 The LH flexor tendons were clipped and prepped for exam:
The DDFT and suspensory branches are normal on examination, the SDFT may have a mild hypoechoic area or the most superficial surface (or associated with the peritendinous tissue)
Increased fluid within the FTS but clear.
The DDFT and dorsal branches of the SDFT as well as the distal sesmoidean ligamants all looked within normal limits.
Dx: Soft tissue injury – sprain/strain of the SDFT/peritendinous tissue and flexor tendon sheath. (tenosynovitis)

: Treatment:
1)     Box stall rest for 2 weeks, no turn out. She can be hand grazed during this time.
2)     Continue with Bute – 1gm twice a day for 7 days total.
3)     Cold hose LH leg for 20 minutes once a day and then keep under a well-padded supportive standing wrap.
4)     After 2 weeks start hand-walking for 5 minutes twice a day
5)     Increase hand-walking by 5 minutes a week until up to 20 minutes hand-walking twice a day then he can be turned out into a small paddock (20x30ft)
6)      At 8 weeks she should be re-evaluated to determine if he can start some under saddle work.

Recheck: 2 months – please call if any change or worsening of the swelling or lameness.

With her leg shaved, you can now see her "talon" at the bottom of the fetlock.
Still some heat, some swelling.

So, like I said, it's gonna be a long, boring Spring.  

hand-walking the Dragon during recovery from a stifle injury, 2016

I think I'm gonna get a bicycle.
That should keep me busy...when I'm not cold-hosing and hand-walking my Dragon.



  1. Do you need to borrow a game grey war mare?

    1. Thank you, a very kind offer. I'm going to stay near the ground for now, unless a Standardbred turns up in need of some miles. A friend has found me a bicycle, so that's a good start.

  2. Well, better borked than broke. but still frustrating!


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