lame pony- what would you do?

(16 Posts)
nomazeena Wed 27-Feb-13 14:10:23

Hi all,
I am in desperate need of horse advice, I just dont know where to turn.

We bought our pony last easter for my daughter and I to share.
It was hugely exciting and a big step for us. It is our first pony and we keep him at diy livery as we dont have any land. He went down with laminitus almost straight away and was out of action for nearly 2 months- we got over it and moved on and my daughter had a great summer.

He went lame again at the beginning of November and has been lame ever since, the vet has done the works- we've had x rays, new shoes etc. we thought he was getting better but he's just gone lame again. DD has been very good and sensible but is basically heartbroken this time as its just so frustrating. She has to do all the work but only gets to watch her friends having fun with their ponies. I am spending a fortune on vets and livery for a horse we cant ride. I am seeing the vet again on friday and he says he dosent know whats wrong and we might just have to put him on bute every day. He might not then be able to jump which is what DD wants to do.

I would love to just cut our losses and buy another horse (I think overpaid for the one we have- but he's brilliant in lots of ways) but if we do that would I be able to find anyone to give him a good and loving home? I might be premature with this but its been 6 months of worry and frustration and I feel I need to do something. My DD is only 13 and its got to the stage where she doesnt want to go to the stables because its too upsetting (although she does go and looks after him beautifully).
I know theres not much you can say but does anyone have any advice for me at all?
Thank you

Mirage Wed 27-Feb-13 14:17:46

What does your farrier think and how old is the pony?

thingamajig Wed 27-Feb-13 14:28:28

I had this with a succession of horses when I was a teenager, and I really feel for you and your dd. Have you tried bute every day? - I think this is probably the next step. Lots of horses do live happily like this, he may be able to jump, but do be realistic and keep an ear out for a suitable new horse.

It is currently very difficult to find non-working/companion homes for horses, if you could find someone who just wanted to have a gentle hack that would be great, one of my ex ponies went to a trekking centre (who then closed and sold him on without telling me). Another had to be put down, which was awful.

I do wish you the best of luck, and I hope your dd can ride him soon.

Callisto Wed 27-Feb-13 14:28:54

Could it be higher up - back/shoulder/stifle rather than lower down? Where have the x-rays been taken exactly? What sort of remedial shoeing has the farrier done? How big, what type and what age is the pony? Could the laminitis have caused irreversible damage (two months off for laminitis seems a long time to me, though I have no direct experience of it).

TBH if I had tried everything and the pony was still lame I would be seriously considering euthanasia and getting something else, especially if I couldn't just retire it out to pasture. You may get Blue Cross or someone to take him, but not many people want or can afford a pasture ornament.

nomazeena Wed 27-Feb-13 14:55:02

thanks so much for the replies-

He's 15 years old and 14.2 cob type.
The x rays were of his feet and lower leg ( the vet used nerve block to identify where he was lame). The vet thought it was Palmer's heel pain and he is now in longer shoes with more support at the back. We thought it was coming right but when we went on Saturday he was lame again and we both had to try hard not to cry.

If I could magic him away I would at this stage! But euthanasia seems very radical, I think he'd need to be in more pain than he is to consider it but we cant just go on like this. Its basically a nightmare.

Floralnomad Wed 27-Feb-13 15:03:58

Is he lame in just one leg ? Lots of horses and ponies are maintained on bute ,especially when they get a bit older ,but you do need to get to the root of the problem . I'd definitely be having a word with the farrier and probably some really good X-rays of his feet from various angles . We had a Shetland and an Anglo Arab who both suffered terribly from laminitis and its after effects over a number of years . The Anglo Arab eventually had to be retired as despite all the best treatment and corrective shoeing she just kept going lame and our vet said she was ' shearing laminae' IYSWIM . If I'm not being too nosey are you using a good equine vet not just the local vet that does a bit of everything as it may be worth getting a second opinion .

Is the pony insured (I hope so!)

Whereabouts are you? I would recommend a second opinon from an equine vet - or try and get a referral to an Equine hospital such as Liverpool. As he went lame so quickly chances are you were ripped off by the seller.

I hear about this far too often. sad

discobeaver Wed 27-Feb-13 16:14:57

It does sound as if you have been stirched up by the seller. So heartbreaking for you both especially your daughter as I can imagine how excited she must have been.
I have to say if you have been struggling with lameness for nearly a year and no solution I would also consider euthanasia.
A companion home is possible but unlikely especially for something that needs regular meducation.
If he isn't insured you could bankrupt yourself keeping and treating him.
Also your DD wants to jump which this pony almost certainly won't be able to manage.
15 is a respectable age, although it might seem like a radical solution, realistically it might be the best one open to you if you want a pony you can actually ride.
So sorry this has happened to you it is a real shame.

Lovesswimming Wed 27-Feb-13 16:18:17

i had this with one of our ponies (who is now a field ornament for other reasons) got lami the day after we got her (stress, fat etc etc)to be honest she did go on and off lame for over 6 months as the after effects can take a while, she has abscesses which always took ages to come out and her hoof was split from the wall (xrays showed this clearly but it was a few months after the actual attack)
what did your xrays show and when were they? she might need them again, or this might be an absess. I would bute for a while and possibly xray and speak to farrier again (if it happened just after buying I'm guessing you have an exclussion and will be paying for all this!)
its hard to think of PTS but I couldnt do this again with another horse, and couldnt do it on livery, sometimes hard decissions need to be made. I'd give it longer and try to dig a little deeper before deciding.
sorry for your situation, it's really hard. My daughter was without on and off for a year until something else put her pony totally out of action and now she has another. If you are on a yard, can she ride another or part loan another in the meantime?

Callisto Wed 27-Feb-13 17:25:59

Yes, I agree that the seller stitched you up.

Well to me this pony has a lot going against him right now. A year off lame through various things that the vet can't specify and already 15yo. Is he insured, because it is tricky to get vet insurance on older ponies? If not then anything like equine hospitals is seriously expensive, the cost of another pony and then some. And there is no guarantee that he will be cured or come right.

However, I would recommend a proper equine vet (unless your vet is an equine vet) and a decent farrier take a look at him. Farriers vary wildly in how good they are and remedial farriers are worth their weight in gold. Where abouts are you, perhaps we can recommend someone?

nomazeena Wed 27-Feb-13 22:51:57

Its very useful to hear that its not that uncommon to be on bute.
I'm sure he had been fine before we bought him. He had already been living on the yard where we keep him for more than 2 years (its one of the reasons I bought him) and I know the previous owner. Our vet is an equine vet- he has a specialist clinic on the yard. He wants to inject the coffin joint with a steroid and see if that has any effect.- yet more money- he's not insured!!
I asked the yard owner today, she says I need to find out exactly whats wrong before making a decision. Also that no-one will every take him on while he's lame so it looks like we are stuck. BUT - he was actually much better today so we have new hope...

Callisto Thu 28-Feb-13 09:06:34

I've just remembered that one of our old polo ponies is jointy and goes lame especially on hard ground. We put her on devils claw supplement and it really helps.

But if pony was sound before you had him and is now lame all the time then I would say that the laminitis has had a permanent effect on the pony's feet. But if the coffin bone has rotated away from the hoof wall then this should have shown up on the x-rays. Not sure what else to suggest really sad.

dopeysheep Thu 28-Feb-13 13:12:43

I think I would set a time ( and money) limit on how long I would stick with this pony. Maybe 3 more months and then make a decision? If he isn't right by then and the summer season of shows/fun rides etc is looking like passing you by again, I would seriously consider what to do.
There are lots of lovely kind sound ponies needing nice homes.
I can only imagine what your vet bill must be like, mine charged £80 for a quick examination and antibiotic prescription recently.
I really hope he comes right for you both.

dopeysheep Thu 28-Feb-13 13:14:36

Also second what Callisto said about the lami if he was definitely sound before.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 28-Feb-13 15:47:37

Lose the shoes! There is nothing worse for laminitis then high heels! Laminitis forces the pedal bone "vertical" and high heels act like points on ballet shoes. Get an equine podiatrist ASAP!

DolomitesDonkey Thu 28-Feb-13 15:52:16

If you choose to go down the bute road, know that it is only delaying the inevitable.

I had to have my mare pts last summer because she wouldn't come right and high levels of bute would not have brought me much time and I personally could not live with the thought of riding a sick horse whose pain was "masked". sad

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