Last Wednesday the 22nd I took Ava to the vets for a full lamness exam:
The vet was very thorough. He hooked Ava up to a bunch of sensors to measure head bobbing, and measure the force of push off and force of landing of hind hooves. Then he had his assistant trot Ava up and down the parking lot a few times to get a baseline reading. He did flexion tests and again trotted Ava up and down the parking lot. Then had her trot in a small circle on the pavement, and in deep sand. A few other tests on different surfaces. The sensors showed their was a big variation between left and right hind forces in the stride.
So then he did ultrasound on the suspensory ligaments. He said they weren’t smooth, but it could be nothing and suggested nerve blocking to rule suspensory ligament injury out. He did two types of nerve blocks on her suspensory ligaments (below the hock). There was no change in lamness.
He still had the sensors hooked up so we could see the graph of abnormality of her gait. And nothing changed after the block.
He did ultrasounds and xrays of her hocks. He said they looked good, with no real signs of arthritis. There were thinning of the spaces between the bone but no arthritic changes. Then he did a nerve block on her hock. And he retested using the sensors for change in gait. He said normally once the hock is nerve blocked it’s like night and day if it’s arthritis in the hock. There were no changes in the degree of lamness.
So he did an ultrasound and numerous xrays of the stifle. He said the Intracondylar fossa(?) didn’t appear to look correct, not how he expected it to look. It’s a small hole in the middle of the stifle and should show up as a dark hole. Hers had some grayish spots on the edges. He sent the xrays to an equine surgeon at MSU to get their opinion.
We then waited another 10 minutes and redid the trot test and she looked sound to me. The sensors said it was almost equal between to two hind legs (the differences was barely registered by the sensors).
He said it doesn’t appear to be arthritis in the stifle either. That other than that spot everything looked great. No lesions, no cysts, no bone changes from arthritis.
So… I waited on the MSU guy to get back with my vet. Waited… waited… I started calling the vet the following Monday, and Tuesday, and finally got to talk to my vet a week after the exam.
The MSU vet said some the xrays were inconclusive. There may, or may not, be a cranial meniscal tear. The next step is having the stifle scoped. My vet said he would’ve expected the pouches in the stifle to be distended if it were a tear, but it may have been long enough after the injury for them to have gone down. He did say he didn’t believe it was a torn cruciate ligament – which would’ve taken forever to heal.
When he blocked the stifle he blocked the 2 joint pouches (outside and knee cap). I wasn’t sure what that actually meant though.
Here’s my main issue right now… other than putting Ava on stall rest for 30 days I have NO IDEA what she needs in order to heal. The vet won’t give me a plan of action without a definite diagnosis and it’s going to be a bit before I can get Ava scoped (if I do it).
I don’t know about doing the scope. On the one hand, I want to know what’s wrong. On the other, I’ve already got $900 into getting this diagnosed… are they really going to have anything else to offer in the way of fixing this other than rest? I don’t know.
Any suggestions? I’ve never dealt with a stifle injury before. What do I do?