This week we brought Emmy home from winter turnout at foster. We had a lameness evaluation done on Tuesday (video posted below) and sadly, she is still slightly off on the right hind. The time off has helped her some, but there is clearly something still bothering her. The two issues we’ve been struggling with have been the sizeable bone chip that was surgically removed from her right stifle last year and the middle patella ligament swelling that we discovered after the surgery. Injuries to the middle patella ligament (PL) are relatively uncommon, so there is not a lot of information to go on. It’s much more common for horses to have issues surrounding the medial PL, which causes the stifle to “lock up”. Since we don’t know how long that ligament had been contributing to her lameness, we decided against PRP or shock wave as treatment. Instead we opted to give her the winter off in a big turnout and allowed nature, movement, and time to do their work and let her heal. After discussing our options with Dr. McCracken, we decided to try injecting her stifle to see if that brings her any relief.

Emmy’s right stifle was injected with a combination of steroids and antibiotics. She then had 24 hours of stall rest before we started hand walking: 5 to 10 minutes of walking over the next two days, gradually building up over the next two weeks. She’ll be able to return to normal turn out on Friday. Dr. McCracken will recheck her in 10 days to see if the injection has helped. Best case scenario will be that the injection allows her to return to light walk/trot riding. If the stifle injection proves to be successful, she should be able to maintain soundness for six months to a year by continuing the injections. However if we see a return to lameness within the next month, we’ll know that the damage to the patella ligament is still causing the majority of her lameness and we may have to consider retirement. For now, we’re going to stay positive and hope that the stifle injection keeps her sound. With consistent work and conditioning, we hope that shecould have a good riding career as a walk/trot horse.

Personality-wise, Emmy is still an absolute doll, and just a lovely looking mare. She is easy to handle, great for the vet, and calm for volunteers and others to be around her. She is settling back into life at Safe Harbor Stables and we hope that this injection will allow us to put her back into work and conditioning soon! We will keep you posted!

Emmy’s lameness exam: