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Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?

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Last activity 2019-10-09 7:52 PM
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Reg. Apr 2010
Posted 2019-10-08 10:59 AM
Subject: Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?

Born not Made

Posts: 2631
Location: North Dakota

Just looking for stories/experiences of what to expect and how long it took your horse to "come around" (if at all).

I tend to give too much backstory, but here you go: I took my 3 horses to my parent's place for "the winter" earlier this year than I normally do (Labor Day weekend). As usual, there were a couple squeals over the fence when we re-introduced them to my mother's horses (1 horse and 2 mini's) but nothing major, as they've been together every winter before. About a week later, my mom noticed my black horse (Dexter) limping around a little and had a small cut on his left hock. We assumed he kicked someone or someone kicked him. He wasn't limping too bad and actually got better every day until he was 100% back to normal for a couple days.

Then, he was suddenly not bearing any weight on the leg and now had some pus coming out of the small cut. Consulted with the vet over the phone and decided to start with giving him Excede antibiotic first. He wasn't better a couple days after that so my mom hauled him in. Turns out he actually PUNCTURED his hock on something (from the top down) and it had gone into the joint and he has a joint infection in his hock. Good grief! I feel bad for not taking him sooner but it's one of those dumb things where it didn't look like a pucture, and then he got better, so we assumed all was good.

Vet did an IV flush with antibiotics, put him on a feed-through antibiotic as well, and she put a drain in it so it could drain better since the pucture was from the top. She offered to hospitalize him but of course the prognosis is guarded no matter what, since it's been allowed to stew for a while already. While I really like him, he is not my top barrel horse, and we decided for my mom to take him home again and just bring him back in a couple days to do another flush. ANd then ended up doing a 3rd flush a few days after that.

Tomorrow will be one month since the original injury. He is SLOWLY making progress and improvements, such as putting a little weight on it, pus decreasing, eating better, etc. We realize that he will need to be put down if he doesn't come out of it, but the hard part is knowing how long to try? And sadly, but still a consideration, how much money to stick into him? At this point, I know he's not going to be sound enough for me to ride heavily but he's such a sweetheart so I'm hoping he will be sound enough for my children to enjoy. I don't want to give up on him too soon, but I also know there is a very real possibility we might have to put him down. He's 13 this year.

I really don't know that much about joint infections. I've never had a horse that has gotten one. How long did yours take, if they survivied?



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Reg. Aug 2004
Posted 2019-10-08 11:52 AM
Subject: RE: Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?


Posts: 1897
Location: Not where I should be...

I had one get an infection from a vet's bad injection... that vet had several horses develop infections around the time mine did.  Fortunately the horse was insured.  I tried several distal limb perfusions and even surgery to remove infection.  It was a long up and down roller coaster that sadly did not have a good outcome.  I relied on the vets to make THE call for me on when it was time to give up.  


Please don't underestimate the power of prayer.   There is always hope that you may have a better outcome.

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Reg. Dec 2013
Posted 2019-10-08 11:55 AM
Subject: RE: Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?


Posts: 259

Wish I had positive information to share but unfortunately a fellow boarder dealt with an infected hock joint last year. Gelding went in for routine injections and within a few days showed extreme lameness. Vet added drain and antibiotics after determining the joint was infected. They tried for about 2 months until they had to put him down. He stayed at the clinic roughly 2 weeks then they sent him home thinking he was in the clear. It was back and forth for many weeks following. He eventually got to the point where he wouldn't get up to eat or drink so they let him go. 

I truly hope your horse pulls through! Sending positive thoughts your way.

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Liana D
Reg. Sep 2008
Posted 2019-10-08 12:07 PM
Subject: RE: Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?

Defense Attorney for The Horse

Location: Claremore, OK

I’ve had 2 with infected hocks. Both has surgery to flush the joint and systemic antibiotics. Both healed up fine. 

If he’s not much better I would check the white count I’m the joint fluid to make sure infection was gone. If you don’t get the infection cleared up he’ll get septic arthritis. 

Usually an infection like that is going to require multiple flushes and white counts to get cleared up.

Edited by Liana D 2019-10-08 12:38 PM
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Reg. Sep 2015
Posted 2019-10-08 12:12 PM
Subject: RE: Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?


Posts: 246

With my gelding, the vet drilled into the hock to treat.  Just a few sutures and antibiotics for awhile afterward but my gelding was almost immediately walking normally, etc. again.

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Reg. Apr 2010
Posted 2019-10-08 2:29 PM
Subject: RE: Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?

Born not Made

Posts: 2631
Location: North Dakota

Thank you all for your comments and stories. I'm bracing for the worst but hoping for the best. Obviously since my mom is the one taking care of him at the moment, she is the one keeping in very close contact with the vet and taking it day-by-day (although I've gotten to be on speakerphone at all the vet visits to hear what she had to say, and help decide what to do next). Trusted vet, I use her a lot for my barrel horses, and she's very good about giving me all the options and I know she would give me her option on when we've tried long enough.

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Chandler's Mom
Reg. Jan 2015
Posted 2019-10-08 8:03 PM
Subject: RE: Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?

My Heart Be Happy

Posts: 8008
Location: Arkansas

Prayers for your guy.  I would be the one to err on the side of PLENTY of time as long he's happy and still "himself"   

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Reg. May 2018
Posted 2019-10-09 7:52 PM
Subject: RE: Experience with a JOINT INFECTION?


Posts: 67

I owned a mare years ago that was never supposed to run again due to an infection after hock injections but she was sound as could be with me. Unfortunately I’m not sure of the timeline between when she was injected and how far after I bought her but I’m pretty sure it was at least a year because she had been bred and foaled before I bought her. 

Edited by Gsdknox44 2019-10-09 7:53 PM
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