March 14, 2008

Martyn's Ultrasound

Back in late January, my horse, Martyn, an 11-year-old Friesian gelding, was frolicking a little too hard out in the pasture and began showing a bit of lameness in his right hind leg.  Dr. Elizabeth Kilgallon is my large animal veterinarian and she came to my stables to examine the problem.  She determined that the hock, or the middle joint of the leg, should be treated symptomatically.  She prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and cold-hosing of the joint, and instructed Betsy to restrict his exercise.  Martyn made a good recovery and soon returned to his normal schedule.  However, in late February, Betsy noticed once again that Martyn was short-strided on the same leg and had some swelling.  Dr. Kilgallon returned and took a set of X-rays, which indicated no abnormalities.  Betsy started the cold-hosing and stall rest again until the swelling goes down.  On her latest visit, Dr. Kilgallon brought her portable ultrasound machine – quite a costly device. 


The ultrasound revealed that there is some fluid around Martyn’s leg joint, which can be compared to human conditions such as shoulder bursitis or water on the knee.  Because there is no indication of infection, it has been decided to continue with a conservative approach, allowing the inflammation to decrease by local treatment and rest.  Hopefully, Martyn will be back to normal soon.