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Ask Dr. Dave

Beth from Nebraska, writes:

Dear Dr. Dave,

My daughter 's horse tore his tendon sheath and had surgery recently. Then, he had his annular ligament cut, but he is still lame, after stall rest and wrapping legs. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Dear Beth,

Thank you for the question about your horse's tendon sheath and surgery. Not knowing exactly what the original injury was, it is difficult to shed much light on this case. However, I think what is really important is what actually the original problem was and what the first surgery actually accomplished. Typically, injured tendons rarely heal back to their original size, therefore creating a larger than normal tendon. If the annular ligament affects the tendon, lameness will continue. If the annular ligament creates additional trauma and damage to the tendon, usually this becomes the "new problem." Even after annular ligament release, the lameness can come from the still injured tendon.

I would recommend you have the tendon examined by ultrasound to determine its condition. Usually we do not allow sufficient time for complete healing. I would recommend giving this horse at least six months off before I would evaluate his potential for return to athletic activities. In the meantime, you may want to consider looking for a replacement horse.

At this time, I would give your horse a guarded prognosis for return to top barrel racing status, but I would encourage you to do everything to make me wrong!

Please let us know how your horse progresses.

Dr. Dave