The verdict on that weird NQR thing

My poor vet. I’m that crazy person who texts to ask some weird off the wall question, or send a picture of something unidentifiable. This time I sent him a text saying that Henry sometimes looked NQR behind, but only very slightly, and only sometimes, and it was really weird. Could he come figure it out? I’m sure he looked something like this when he read it:

But he’s the best, so he came. He watched Henry trot, watched me ride him, and saw some unevenness in the LH. He flexed off on that hock so we figured that was probably it, injected them, and away we went. My vet texted me a couple weeks later and asked how Henry was, and I said that while it was better, he still felt ever so slightly funky to me. The best description I could give him was that he felt “stabby” behind in the canter (but only sometimes), and I noticed that when we got to a short distance he would swap leads in the back just as he pushed off the ground (but only sometimes) . That’s literally all the help I could give him. I’m sorry, world of veterinary medicine.

But my animals are cute

So he came out again and we tried the stifle first… both of us thinking that it looked typical of a stifle issue. Alas – nothing. He ended up having to leave that day before we could go further so we set another appointment. The next course of action was to start at the bottom and block our way up the entire leg. No one needs money around the holidays anyway, right?

Luckily it didn’t take long – as soon as we blocked the fetlock Henry trotted off totally even. I never in a million years would have guessed fetlock, but okay. We took radiographs from every angle (getting what are no doubt the BEST quality x-rays I’ve ever seen, much less from a mobile machine) and got to see all kinds of cool things going on back there. In fact, the vet warned me in advance that these radiographs are SO good that it’s easy to over diagnose, so not to freak out.


Luckily there was nothing major or scary – the big fear was that we’d find a chip – but there are a few little things that he thinks are adding up to create the discomfort. Henry has a little bit of remodeling on the cannon bone, it looks like concussion type of stuff from whacking himself over and over and over his entire life. Because clumsy. He also at some point had a (now healed) very very teeny tiny hairline fracture in the inside sesamoid, probably due to a relatively minor soft tissue injury just above it. Plus there’s definitely reduced joint space in the fetlock itself. There was something about a slight rounding of something somewhere too that I have totally forgotten now.

The reflection messes up the view, but you get the idea

Sounds scary but basically it’s not anything out of the ordinary for an OTTB that is now an eventer. The vet thinks the unevenness we’re seeing is due to chronic inflammation and general achiness from the wear and tear, which is being exacerbated greatly at the moment by feet with too long of a toe and too low of a heel (hasn’t that been a common theme amongst bloggers lately?). Nothing acute, nothing that affects riding or his job, but some general maintenance. We are going to inject the fetlock on Friday and make some shoeing changes to get the extra strain off of the sesamoid area.

Also, Quinn tried to leave with the vet. Zero loyalty in that dog.

I think I’ll follow that up with a chiro appointment to make sure he’s not totally out of whack from compensating, and then hopefully we’ll be done and Henry will be totally back to normal again. I’m sure the vet would be really happy to stop getting the “I dunno, something just feels weird” texts from me…

33 thoughts on “The verdict on that weird NQR thing

  1. yay on you getting an answer (any kind of answer) I was worried it was just going to not be able to be figured out. LOL And that sounds totally doable to keep up on maintenance. HA now i know why you couldnt buy that coat. And Quinn cracks me up my dogs would do the same thing, they would jump in the car with jack the ripper if he promised them a ride. 🙂 At least is is just one fetlock not four 🙂


  2. Ohh, ohh, long toe/low heel club! And grandpa has had that jointed injected once upon a time, too! There should be like a maintenance plan with vets, like there are for cars. Pay a monthly fee and get all the weeble-wobbles lubed up.

    Also, you joke, but you’re still providing some pretty solid information about where to examine.


  3. oh maintenance, thy name is ottb event horse… (or really any ottb performance horse… or actually just any horse? ugh). good luck with care and mgmt and glad that you didn’t uncover anything worse!


  4. Oh I so feel your pain! However, I’m glad for your sake there’s no chip there. And low heels are typically such an easy fix, all things considered. Are you going to be looking into OsPhos/Tildren to deal with the bone remodeling?


    1. He didn’t think it was necessary to care much about the remodeling given where it is. He just said to make sure I always use hind boots. 😉 Or boots everywhere, really… he’s so crooked legged that he tends to naturally whack himself a lot.


      1. My OTTB liked to whack himself too. Had a permanent “scar/scab” on the right hind fetlock. Oh yeah, fetlocks…
        My weirdly conformed Hanoverian mare has legs of steel. Feet too. Shouldn’t talk about it, things might change.


  5. Money is silly, who needs it anyway? Welcome to the busted fetlock club! Mine is arthritic in his RH fetlock, and I’ve been very happy with Back on Track polos behind to help him loosen up the joints. Different issue, for sure, but they seem to make him more comfortable. Worth a gander, especially since you have so much free cash!


  6. As a vet student- drooling at that X-ray quality.

    As a horse owner- I am both sad for your bank account and so happy you got to the root of the problem and it isn’t anything too terribly serious. Luckily, it’s the off season! (And who needs money for gifts, right?)


    1. He licked my jeans for a good 10 minutes and left a huge wet spot all over my right thigh. Then he licked the vet’s wife the entire time she was holding him while I talked with the vet about the x-rays. She kept laughing and saying he was so funny. Yes… he’s a laugh a minute…


  7. At least you’ve got an answer! Even if you had to be the nutso client…we’ve all been there. When P got a stone bruise, you would’ve thought his foot was about to fall off, the way I was acting. Those x-rays look amazing, I can see why it’s easy to over diagnose!


  8. X-rays have come such a looong way, it’s so cool! (Cooler though, if it’s not your horse…) But hooray for a diagnosis and relatively minor issues! Sounds like you have a great vet to work with. LOL Quinn


  9. Ahhhh I’m so glad it doesn’t look like soft tissue. I got nervous for you when the fetlock blocked out, since that’s how we found *both* of Prair’s issues… 😦 fingers crossed it disappears when the inflammation gets under control!!!


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