Block It Off: Stifle And Hoof Lameness

New research shows that blocking a horse’s stifle doesn’t necessarily rule out lameness in the hoof. A common tool for diagnosing lameness, “blocking” involves injecting a painkiller into a joint or around nerves. The goal is to desensitize a specific area, meaning the horse’s lameness will improve.

However, it is not always easy to get the analgesic where it’s needed; the medication can diffuse out of joints or spread to other structures. Lower hind leg nerves pass close to the stifle joint and may be unintentionally blocked if the anesthetic diffuses out of the joint.

Drs. Radtke, Fortier, Regan, Kraus and Delco, from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, used nine adult horses and ponies to determine if anesthetic injected into the stifle would influence lower-limb lameness.

The scientists placed a clamp around one hind limb and then injected anesthetic into the three components of the stifle. Each horse’s response was monitored with a gait analysis every 10 minutes for the next 90 minutes. The fetlock joint was then blocked to confirm that any remaining lameness was in the hoof.

The researchers determined that in large joints like the stifle that it may take up to 30 minutes for the block to take effect. If the lameness improves after that time period, the anesthetic may be affecting the nerves that pass close to the stifle joint. The study team advises that vets be aware of this phenomenon before deciding the lameness is solely in the stifle. They note that further testing to determine the origin of lameness may be warranted.

Read more at Equine Science Update.

The post Block It Off: Stifle And Hoof Lameness appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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