My horse had a torn ligament near the back of the saddle area, L15 or 16. He is healed now but I think he has scar tissue. I’m having difficulty finding a saddle that doesn't cause fluid pools to form on his backbone near his withers. I can ride him for 2-3 days then he gets cranky. I don't want to continue to ride him until this is repaired.
My vet and UC-Davis suggested Ultrasound to break up the scar tissue. What do you think?
I massage the area with an arnica/St John's wort gel before I saddle him and massage again after.
I love this guy--he is such a sweetie and I don't want to ruin that.
It is often hard for your vet to diagnose back injuries because much of the inflammation can’t be seen due to gravity pulling the fluid down into the back. It may be more serious than meets the eye; it may be related to something totally different than normally presumed, like toxins or problems with tack. You might be surprised to know that soreness in the saddle area can be toxin build-up from high protein feed; even swelling can be a sign, although it can be located anywhere on the horse. It seems logical the inflammation is related to the earlier torn ligament. It may be that arthritis has set in where the injury was. He is likely toxic -- MOST HORSES are.
Back soreness is usually fairly easy to heal with reduced exercise and massage, plus homeopathics for inflammation. The original injury may have been more severe than originally thought.
With what you’ve shared thus far, I am comfortable to say your vet is wise to do the ultrasound. It’s a wonderful diagnostic tool. You are right on track applying arnica before and after the ride to assist in reducing inflammation. In the interim of our explorations here, you might add some homeopathic arnica as well: 12C or 30C arnica PLUS 6C magnesia phosphorica (together) orally, if your vet agrees.
Other things to consider:
• MOVEMENT AND EXERCISE
Is your horse stalled or pastured? How much free range does he receive? What is his normal disposition and energy level? After you ride him 2-3 days he’s likely getting cranky due to PAIN. Do you know what activities he was engaged in before you bought him? Do you ride normally on flat areas but take trail rides once a month in rocky, mountainous terrain?
• MEDICAL HISTORY
Was the original injury the result of an accident? Did the vet diagnose the problem? How long did he have to recover? Did you do any rehab exercises for his back?
What do you feed him, how much and how often? I’m especially interested to know if he is fed corn, molasses, alfalfa, etc.
Has he had any recent farrier work? Changes in the way he was shod or trimmed?
It is really important that you check your saddle and pad. After the ligament injury, he may be more sensitive to small things or ill fitting tack that he just lived with before. Make sure the saddle tree isn’t broken and there’s nothing to irritate the area of inflammation.
Thank you for the special attention you are trying to give your dear friend. He is lucky to have you looking out for him.
Here’s to a healthy horse!
Healthy Horse Hints™