Emmy’s rehab after surgery went according to plan — or so we thought —until around the 6 week mark. We noticed her take a few bad steps in turnout and that raised a few red flags that something might be wrong.
Dr. DeWard examined her and noted swelling in the stifle and sensitivity on palpation of the sesamoid ligament, where she had previously had some issues. He recommended performing a nerve block on the ligament to see if the pain was coming from the ligament or the stifle. Emmy was still lame after the block, so the ligament was not the issue. Dr DeWard thought her movement was indicative of pain in a source further up the leg instead of originating from the stifle.
With this information in hand, we contacted Dr. McCracken, who had performed the surgery. Emmy was hauled up to Rainland Farm Vet Care for an exam and follow-up x‑rays. The stifle joint appeared to be healing with no remaining bone fragments or new fractures. The joint was then injected with anti-inflammatories and Emmy was given discharge instructions for continued stall rest and hand-walking. If she did not return to soundness, our next step would be to schedule an ultrasound.
Unfortunately, Emmy was still lame at her 3‑month post-surgery exam. We scheduled an ultrasound to see what was happening. It showed that she had a significantly enlarged middle patellar ligament. At some point she had clearly injured it. It isn’t clear if it happened during her rehab, during the recovery from anesthesia, or it was there before her original diagnosis of OCD.
Dr. McCracken researched how best to treat this particular ligament because unlike the medial patella ligament, injuries to the middle ligament are not very common. We had two options. The first option was that we could inject PRP and do shockwave treatments. Given that we don’t know the age of the injury, that approach would have no benefit for an older chronic injury. There was also a debate about whether the cost was worth it if that was the case. Our second option was to turn Emmy out to pasture for the winter and see how she healed on her own.
In the end, we opted to send Emmy to foster with her pals Sophie and Annabelle where she will live the next few months in beautiful fields of green pasture. We will re-assess her lameness in the spring. For now, she is happy and enjoying Mother Nature’s healing touch. Also there are goats.