View Full Version : 13 yr old mare unable to get up.

13-05-09, 02:03 PM
My 13 yr old Irish sport horse is unable to get up by herself after lying down.
First noticed she was having difficulty last year, but now she struggles and can only be made to stand in the morning by encouraging her with a black bin bag (drastic I know but cant leave her down). When she gets up she is very stiff with her back legs under her and can only walk slowly. She gradualy loosens up over 15 mins. She is on 2x1.5g Danilon per day for the last 10 days which has helped slightly. After an hour she is able to trot and canter although she is not as lively as he was 2 years ago. She can turn tightly when led and walk on stones OK. So basically sound but slightly short, no obvious lameness.
She has been on a small yard all winter and I do not think she has lain down all winter although she is on mats/straw in the stable so could do. She is no better when kept off grass.
She is only 13 and has done very little work in her life with me (since she was 6). The vet is unsure but has not investigated further as yet.
Has any one any suggestions or advice much appreciated ?

13-05-09, 02:09 PM
Give her the summer in a nice green field, and then adios....

13-05-09, 02:12 PM
Be kind CatB its hard to say goodbye but this must be distressing her

13-05-09, 02:36 PM
Id like to quickly rule out a cure before taking drastic action.
Thanks anyway for your reply

13-05-09, 04:34 PM
arthrititus (sp) in the stifle joints, does she snatch her back legs when you hoof pick? sounds like my boy etc the getting up bit, you have to be careful when you hoof pick if you hold up to high then he snatches the back leg up and forward

or sarciolic joint

by the way mine is 30

this is an on going problem with your mare and we can only base our replies by what you have writen. with my old boy i have a few signs for making that decision, she has been getting worse over the last year

1 he can't get up or down (still rolls and is generally brown in the winter and green in the summer)
2 lose of appitite and colic (which would be treated initially but no operation etc because the recovery would mean no life)
3 looks un happy and no life, no umph (i wish he would stop boing round the field ) he has had no change in mobility for the last 4 yrs in fact he has got a lot better

13-05-09, 05:03 PM
get the ostepath out to check all her bones and muscles are all ok!

13-05-09, 05:17 PM
Sounds like it could be arthritis somewhere in back or hind legs. Unfortunately even young horses (5/6 years old) can have arthritis. It is generally better to have arthritic horses out 24/7. Stabling or confinement doesnt help, gentle exercise does. Boswellia is a herb that can help arthritis, it has anti-inflammatory actions and can be used long term.

13-05-09, 05:48 PM
What does your vet say?

13-05-09, 06:23 PM
As above I'd leave her out in the field as much as you can. If feeding the Danilon for any longer I'd have her on a probiotic like Pink Powder too to help offset any internal damage. And add some joint supplement and oil if not already feeding that. I've been through this (though with an older horse) and I also resorted to the bin liner, dustbin lid etc and it was awful. We did have to let the horse go in the end, but I admit to leaving it longer that was really fair but it was just a heart breaking situation; a horse that isn't really ill, still enjoyed life and was very 'with it' but just couldn't function properly. I'd ask the vet about xrays, and definitely have her back checked out. I feel for you, its very distressing. Good luck x

13-05-09, 08:15 PM
She does not snatch when she is hoof picked at the front or back, and there is no sign of any swelling or heat anywhere or any pain when pressure is applied to joints, tendons, her back etc. The vet who specialises in lameness is unsure if its arthritis, neurological or foot problem. She does have a lot of 'clicking' in her hip area which I've not noticed before. The vet decided to try the high dose Danilon to treat the symptoms initially, but only marginal improvement. The vet is due to come back soon but as the horse only shows stiffness and the getting up problem its difficult to decide what to treat. Someone else suggested an Osteopath which sounds a good idea.
Thanks for your help, I'll keep you informed

13-05-09, 08:30 PM
Thanks, an Osteopath sounds a good idea, finding out where the problem is would be the first step, the vet is not sure at present. I think it may be arthritis in her back, but you would have thought the Danilon would have made more than a slight improvement. I'll keep you updated

13-05-09, 08:38 PM
I'll give her joint supplement tomorrow, she does have vitamin/mineral suplement at present. I'm aware not to let it drag on too long without much hope of improvement. I'll get an Osteopath to have a look

13-05-09, 08:59 PM
The vet came out when we could not get her up 2 weeks ago. The vet got her up with the 'bin bag' and was shocked at how stiff she was, gave her steroid injection and the Danilon. The vet came back 3 days later expecting a lame/very stiff horse, but after these threedays on the yard without lying down the horse was not lame, just slightly stiff, she trotted up, turned and walked on a stoney drive OK. The vet who is a a lameness specialist could not pin point the problem so left us with Danilon to try for two weeks. The horse however when put out in the field, will eventually lie down and cant get up (except by frightening her with the bin bag) although she can roll both ways.
I'll keep you updated

13-05-09, 10:04 PM
The mare on my yard was PTS today with something very similar to this. If the vet comes out, does he notice any rotation in her pelvis? This is what Ella had, she also had bone spavins. Anyway, she could barely walk and as she did, her legs twisted outwards and caused her to be lame. She also often lay down the minute she got into the stable and couldn't get up again without a few tries. Her legs filled up too. Her outcome was also that she'd lie down in the field and not be able to get up..

Today was the kindest way for her http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif xx

13-05-09, 10:06 PM
Have you noticed any fast wearing down of her front feet? Ella used to also stand right under herself with her hocks right under in particular, and this put strain on her fronts and wore them away xx

14-05-09, 07:54 AM
What a terrible situation and for a horse so young http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif I would try a qualified physio/osteo (ask the Vet to recommend one) first. Has your vet flexion tested her, tried nerve blocking etc? The last resort would a a bone scan which would show up any hot spots, maybe help in the diagnosis. I hope you get to the bottom of what's wrong with her as it's unfair to leave her how she is for much longer http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

14-05-09, 09:47 AM
Ask your vet about having a thermal image done. They use a camera that is heat sensitive it will pinpoint the areas of inflamation. Once the vet knows where the problem is coming from he will be able to more accurately diagnose and treat the problem. The picture below shows the hot spots as red areas. Notice the hot spot in the saddle area on the second photo. What is interesting is the saddle that was imaged, how uneven the contact was to produce uneven hot spots.


14-05-09, 04:17 PM
I hate to sound negative but this could well be a fractured pelvis...some of the less severe fractures can go undiagnosed for some time. Keep us informed.

15-05-09, 12:11 PM
I'm sorry but I think Amy May is right on this one. I would also suggest that you have her PTS. At risk of repeating myself, I was faced with a decision similiar when my ten year old was diagnosed with Wobblers Syndrome at Liverpool Veterinary Hospital (I have written about him on other posts). When the vet said I could never ride him again I kind of accepted it and asked if he could be retired in the field with his friends but was told that he was too dangerous as he could have fallen on someone (due to his ataxia) but worse for me was the thought that he could have gone down in the field in the middle of the night and not been able to get up, with the rain lashing down on him, and him cold and shivering and feeling desperate like all hope was gone. For me that mental image made the decision so much easier and he was put down within minutes of being diagnosed. A horse feels very vulnerable when unable to do something like rise, as flight animals they need to be able to jump up and run if they feel they are in danger. To deprive a horse of the natural ability of being a horse in unfair. I know how you feel, and I feel for you having to make this decision but I think you already feel like this is your option, hence your post. Be brave and do the best for your friend. I knew I had done the right thing and wouldn't hesitate to do exactly the same again. RIP Rommy x

15-05-09, 02:36 PM
I am very surprised that your vet has not found out the problem.I would not have allowed this to continue without not knowing what the reason for it was.

Any suggestion that the mare should be PTS is wrong.

I too would suggest getting a Chiropractor to see the mare. Where do you live.

Is the mare insured.