We have really enjoyed getting reacquainted with this pretty little chestnut! Unfortunately, Scarlett came up lame at the end of July, so we had Dr. Devine, from Pilchuck, come out to evaluate her. After flexion tests and nerve blocks, the lameness was localized to the region of her suspensory ligament in the right hind.Ultrasound examination of that area revealed mild tearing at the origin of her suspensory. She also showed moderate pain upon flexion of both hocks, and intermittent locking of the right stifle. Dr. Devine explains the diagnosis:
“There was mild fiber disruption in the center of the suspensory ligament just distal to the origin in the right hind limb as compared to the left side. The ligament itself was not enlarged compared to the contralateral side…. Scarlett has some mild tearing at the origin of her suspensory ligament in the right hind limb. The most important thing that is necessary to heal injuries in this area is rest with small amounts of work to help the ligament heal properly. The mare needs to be kept in a stall or stall with a small run to minimize exercise…. Hand walking is beneficial to help the ligament heal with the strongest possible fiber alignment…. To further work-up this condition, we could block her hock and radiograph her hock to see how much pain is coming from that area as well. However, rest and rehabilitation is a good plan for this mare too…. Hind limb suspensory ligament injuries can be difficult to heal in horses. Fortunately, there is not a large lesion on ultrasound, meaning that this injury may resolve with time in a few months. However, some horses with suspensory injuries can take a year to return to soundness or may come around to being sound at all so this should be discussed with potential adopters.”
For now, she is being hand walked and getting quiet turnout. She’ll get a recheck in 60–90 days to see how she’s progressing and determine how much more time she’ll need to fully recover. We opted not to pursue radiographs of her hocks at this point in time, but have started her on intramuscular pentosan injections to help arthritis pain.
Since returning to SAFE Scarlett has been getting a thorough going over. Dr. Finn, from Equisport Medicine, came out to the farm and took a look at Scarlett’s old withers injury. Poor Scarlett has a lot of tight muscles around her neck shoulders and hindquarters as well. Dr. Finn did some chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture and other muscle releases to help Scarlett free up some of this scar tissue. She was very well behaved for Dr. Finn and you could tell she welcomed the relaxation that Dr. Finn was helping her achieve. Dr. Finn showed us a few stretches and light massage that we are able to continue to do as she is on rest. She also suggested a different vitamin for Scarlett that has a few components to help her with tight muscles.
SAFE had Dr. McCracken, from Rainland, out to give Scarlett a much-needed dental. She had several sharp points and a few ulcers along her cheeks. Again she was a perfect patient and all the vets have enjoyed working with her. We are working now with our farrier, Jake Cowden, to find ways to better support her hind end. She drags her hind toes and proper balance in the hind will help support her hocks. All this and lots of TLC from SAFE volunteers will hopefully give Scarlett the support she needs to heal and become strong. She has had a life filled with many different people and places, she takes it all in stride and is very accommodating to those around her. It is our goal to find her a wonderful adopter, who will love her for who she is and for the rest of her life she will never be re-homed again!