The first case involved a 7-year-old Thoroughbred going preliminary eventing.
At times the horse had a short stride in the right lead canter. Occasionally, he would come up hopping lame in the left front on the right lead. He would pull up to a walk, shake it off and become sound again and stay sound at the trot and canter as well. Unfortunately, over time this became more frequent.
Flexion exams were negative. On a circle on hard ground, you could see a hint of an issue but not clear-cut lameness. Blocking was difficult because in hand the horse was sound. When we blocked the coffin joint and rode the horse at a canter a difference could be felt. X-Rays were normal so a standing MRI was done. Minor incongruences were found; including a minor problem noted at the attachment of the medial collateral ligament at the coffin attachment. Also, a minor cystic bone defect was noted in the coffin joint.
Originally, we felt the injury was related to a collateral ligament so I gave the horse a year off. I brought him back at six months for an examination and he was not quite right so I pulled his shoes and gave him another six months off. After a full year break he was still a bit sore, so we did a second MRI.
The MRI showed similar findings, they still thought the attachment site had a slight irregularity and the coffin joint cartilage showed a possible, very small cyst defect. I agreed with the conclusion based on the blocking pattern and the fact that I could inject his coffin joint with steroid and he would go sound for three weeks before he showed soreness again.
At this point we talked about trying Noltrex®Vet. I put shoes on the horse with pads supporting the heel because the horse had very flat feet. I also legged him up all winter and in the spring. I used Noltrex®Vet right before he started jumping and doing more heavy work. The horse progressed very, very sound. He moved up the levels and went through preliminaries in the fall. I injected him with Noltrex®Vet again in September because I knew he had a heavy schedule of two weeks of preliminaries and possibly a championship three weeks later. I thought, “This horse has been phenomenal, let’s inject him again”.
He was remarkable, the horse is sounder than I think he’s ever been. Even as a 4-year-old, you could sometimes feel a difference in his leads; it was generally subtle, and yet, at times there was severe lameness. It was a very frustrating and unusual case.
He is now sound even after eight months of very hard work. I’m thinking it’s a combination of the shoes with heel support and Noltrex®Vet but the Noltrex®Vet was the big difference as we had tried different shoes in the past.
I had similar results with another horse, a 13-year-old warmblood.
He had a hind fetlock that blocked sound, x-rayed with some minor spurs and had no obvious cartilage damage on the flexed APs. I would inject him with steroid and he would be sound for three weeks. He had a chronic bad ankle.
I injected the horse with Noltrex®Vet and he has been jumping all summer and been sound. His owners have been begging me to get more product to inject him again. It has been a good six months and the horse is still performing well and jumping 3 feet. It is his hind fetlock and Noltrex®Vet is the only thing that has helped this horse.
I would prefer to use Noltrex®Vet before the horses are end stage, incorporating it into the care plan as prevention. Administering it when we know we have an irritation to keep it from progressing. It is well suited to use when the horse has a hard job and an obvious weak point.
A race horse’s ankles are obviously pounded on. We can’t use steroids anymore in racing so the use of Noltrex®Vet to increase viscosity, or increase cushion, would be phenomenal to eliminate the side effects of racing.