Less than a year ago, a 13 hand, 8-year-old pony gelding named Jasper was in the slaughter pipeline. A team of people from Saving NC Slaughter Bound Horses (SNCSBH) and a team of volunteers were able to raise funds to pull this fine boned and handsome pony from his grim situation.
While they raised enough money to save him from the slaughter pipeline, the team at SNCSBH could not raise enough for quarantine or transport. So, they reached out for help, and the timing worked out perfectly. Red Dog Farm had recently seen a number of adoptions and were able to take Jasper in. All of the pieces fit together and Jasper was finally safe.
After a physical exam and discussion of his history, it was discovered that Jasper was suffering from locking stifles (upward fixation of the patella). This occurs when the medial patellar ligament remains hooked over the medial trochlear ridge of the femur and locks the reciprocal apparatus with the limb in extension.
Basically, Jasper’s back legs were locking up when he tried to walk.
Locking stifles can be caused by poor muscle tone (not unusual in young, immature horses), poor body condition leading to weak muscles, poor coordination between stifle flexor and extensor muscles (associated with young animals in poor condition), hereditary factors, and trauma to the stifle.
For treatment, Jasper was given access to light exercise (keeping horses with this condition stalled only makes it worse) and NSAIDS for pain and inflammation for 45-60 days to see if conservative management would resolve his condition.
When that didn’t work, the doctors at Carolina Equine Hospital performed a bilateral medial patellar ligament desmotomy surgery, which is the most aggressive treatment possible for this condition.
Immediately after this procedure, Jasper was put on strict stall rest for several weeks to prevent post-operative inflammation and improve functional outcome. He was then allowed limited turn out in a small space and is now on unrestricted turnout and beginning light, regular exercise. His gait dramatically improved and he showed no ill effects or evidence that he had to have surgery!
This sweet boy has been through a lot, but the team at Carolina Equine Hospital is proud of his progress. He is improving every day and will soon be getting refresher courses in his training. He is adoptable and his story along with updates can be seen at www.reddogfarm.com