What he did observe was a little disheartening. He believes that Beretta has a migrated tendon on her right hind leg. Radiographs are definitely in order.
Without trying to be a doomsday theorist...Because we really need the radiographs to see exactly what is going on...The vet was surprised that she had not already blown that tendon. (gasp)...I knew things didn't look right...but geez!...THAT bad? What the heck?
One of the first things I asked the vet was if this was a genetic thing?
He said no, most likely caused by an event.
What 'event' I cannot tell you. This is something I started noticing before Beretta was attacked and I had already planned on getting her x-rayed. I had pretty much already decided to keep her here this summer because mom is struggling to find anyone to come trim horses regularly and Beretta has to be balanced every couple of weeks. It only takes a couple of strokes with the rasp to keep that the heels on that foot even...but it has to be done or her inside heel gets long and continues to push the fetlock to the outside.
The vet was trying to be nice, but he immediately noticed the same thing I realized about Miss Beretta quite a while ago...she is waaayyyyy to fine-boned for her body. Essentially, she is a block supported by toothpicks. I let Beretta get to fat over the winter and she popped matching splints in her front legs. Big ones! Where that to fine of bone came from...I don't know that either. Genetically, no one on her mother's side of the family has ever had any leg/bone issues. Her sire has substantial bone and both of her 1/2 brothers (by the same sire) have sufficient bone for their size. I will say, Shooter and Gunner have grown differently than Beretta though. Both of the colts have stayed lean bodied and 'coltish' looking as they have grown UP. Beretta...well she has done more growing out than UP.
Keeping Beretta leaner, without compromising her nutritional needs is a must. It goes against everything I have ever done with my babies...but then I have never had a youngster who was so prone to gaining weight as Beretta has been. Exercise is also a must...however NO longing. The vet does not want the additional torque of going in circles on that leg. Handwalking, ponying or turn-out only. The vet okayed turn-out time...I guess that is one bright note...there is nothing wrong with Beretta's knee. It does not need to be x-rayed. Almost all of the swelling is down. There is one small lump left, but that seems to be around a small spot where it looks like she wanted to blow out (like abscesses do). She never actually broke there, so the vet said to just keep DMSOing that area every other day and wrapping it. That will help get the circulation going in there again and break up that pocket of 'whatever'.
Depending on what we find on the radiographs...will determine my next course of action. If, for whatever reason, Beretta popped that tendon out of it's normal path, surgery may be an option.
A small scraping may be in order anyway. Late last fall, Beretta poked that fetlock on something in the pasture. I doctored it and didn't think too much more about it. Of course winter rolled around, she turned into a hairy yak and I didn't notice anything but a small scab that wouldn't seem to heal there. I kept scraping the scab off and slapping some wound powder on it. Now that she is shedding off, it's pretty apparent there is some scar tissue there. The vet said that the scar tissue is probably rubbing on a nerve. He said removing that is no big deal. We can just lay her down here at home, he can scrape that out, bandage it and start the healing process over again. The vet said it's pretty common for the scar tissue thing to happen on injuries that happen when it's cold out. They don't get doctored as well as you normally would when it's warmer and the cold hinders the healing process. Had I thought it was anything more than just a little scrape...I would have doctored it more diligently...but geez...it was just a tiny little poke. Gaahhh!!!
As for the tendon, if it is still in it's correct position, only time will tell if it will hold. A ton will depend on keeping Beretta's foot balanced and a corrective shoe may be in order.
Geez! Who would have thunk all this???
Unfortunately...My mind is racing with what-if's...I already went through 11 years with another mare (totally and completely unrelated genetically to Beretta) that had a hind leg joint issue and I just don't think I would ever do that again. It sucked for me and wasn't really fair to that mare. I'm trying not to think too much in advance...until we actually get those x-rays...but...???