It was a little more than a year ago that we met Teddi. She came to SAFE as part of a large Animal Control seizure situation involving six neglected horses, and it was clear from the start that Teddi had had a pretty rough go of it. Her eyes were full of sadness. She seemed to believe that no one would ever love her, or treat her with kindness. Thankfully we were able to change Teddi’s mind about people, and with kind and patient handling, she soon realized that she was among friends. She began to come out of her shell, and we were able to get to know the real Teddi.
After a few months in our care, we noticed that Teddi was showing some lameness on her front left leg. We also discovered a suspicious bony lump on her pastern that seemed to be getting larger. Radiographs confirmed the worst: Teddi was suffering from a fairly advanced case of ringbone.
Ringbone is a degenerative osteoarthritic disease in which abnormal bone growth around the pastern or coffin bone joint results in lameness. It’s typically caused by ongoing strain to these crucial weight-bearing joints, but it can also be caused by trauma. Ringbone is more commonly seen in older horses, horses with upright pasterns, or horses that withstand repetitive stress in their legs, like jumpers or barrel racers. Since Teddi is so young, it’s likely that her problems started from some sort of trauma to the joint, such as a fall in the pasture. Sadly, ringbone is incurable, and it’s a condition that grows progressively worse as time goes on.
Teddi is young, and will likely enjoy another 13–18 years of life. So the question becomes, can we provide her with the best chance for a comfortable and pain-free life? Without treatment, eventually the bony growth around her pastern joint would cause the joint to fuse, and the resulting absence of motion can dramatically reduce arthritic pain. In talking with our vets and the vets at WSU, we’ve discovered that it’s possible to speed up that process by surgically fusing the joint. This used to be a fairly complicated process, involving invasive surgery under general anesthesia. However, vets at WSU have begun using a new procedure that is far less risky since it can be done under localized anesthesia with the horse standing. If debriding of the joint is necessary, it’s done via surgical incision so the bones in the joint don’t have to be separated. A plate is then screwed in place to immobilize the joint.
After much thought and consideration, we’ve decided that this surgery is the best option for Teddi. Having a decent quality of life is crucial for any horse, and we would never allow her to suffer pain or constant discomfort. But because she is so young, full of life, and otherwise healthy, we don’t feel that euthanization is the right decision for this mare. The surgery should leave her pain free, and there’s a even a decent chance that she’ll end up serviceably sound enough for a future riding career. She’ll have the procedure at WSU and spend 7–10 days hospitalized there afterwards. When she gets home, she’ll have 4–6 weeks of stall rest. Teddi is a calm and quiet horse, so she’s a good candidate for stall rest and we have lots of volunteers who can take her for walks and hand grazing while she’s in recovery. In another 2–3 months, if all goes well, she’ll be cleared to return to work.
We expect that it will cost about $4,500* for Teddi’s surgery and transportation to/from WSU, so we’re holding a fundraiser in her honor to pay for her surgery. If you would like to contribute to Teddi’s Surgery Fund, you can make a gift to SAFE in her name by donating on our website, our Facebook page, or by mailing a check. Your help is so appreciated. Teddi is a young horse who’s been giving another chance at a better life, and as a friend of SAFE, you’re helping make that possible for her. Her gratitude is boundless, as is ours!
Donate via SAFE Website (for “Purpose of Gift” please write “Teddi”)
or mail a check (marked “for Teddi”) to
10407 192nd Ave NE
Redmond WA 98053
* This is an estimate. Any donated funds that are not needed to pay for Teddi’s surgery and transportation will be used for veterinary care for other SAFE horses.