Kasane did very well over the summer with riding and lessons. We had improved so much. And then we had two hurricanes back to back and lots of rain. When I got back on her finally, it was like riding a different horse. She felt stiff behind and did not want to move freely like she had before the storms came through. She also had a swelling between her knee and fetlock, shown in the picture below. You can see the spot because it looks like an out-dent instead of an indent. You should be able to see the definition of the tendons.
I noticed at the end of September and took some videos to share with my vet. Kasane was lunged, she held her head down and out, which is not normal for her. She was also stiff behind–her steps on her back legs are not the same stride length.
Lameness check walking away:
Lameness check in a big circle (Kasane is not allowed to be lunged):
The vet came out and watched Kasane move. Kasane had been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease (DJD) in her hocks and front right fetlock back when she went through all of the diagnostic tests for her suspensory ligament injury in December 2016. Because we had been riding so much this past summer, we hadn’t noticed any issues with her hocks. DJD is kinda a use-it-or-lose-it: you have to gradually build up to doing more. If you stop work, like we did for a month due to the hurricanes, the stiffness comes back.
My vet suggested injecting Kasane’s hocks. The issue on the front leg had mostly gone away but her movement issue remained. Injecting her hocks would help her feel more comfortable. This is a standard procedure that my vet’s practice does hundreds of times a year. Kasane had already had her front fetlock successfully injected so I was not worried about this.
The procedure was amazing–and nerve-wracking. The hock is made up of multiple joints and requires multiple injections. She cleaned everything and was meticulous. Kasane was sedated because you don’t want her to move around when this is being done.
Now we wait a week or two and see what we have. After a week, I can slowly start bringing her back into work. We’ll start with short 15-minute walk rides and gradually increase things.