Maintaining Ringbone: Minnow gets Injected with Ethyl Alcohol

Minnow was diagnosed with high ringbone back in 2008, and he’s been retired from all riding and competition since then. He’s lived pretty comfortably for many years, but this year he has been noticeably more sore. So in an effort to make him more comfortable for years to come I’ve been trying lots of options to help him be more pain free.

Our previous attempts to help Minnow can be read about here:

Maintaining Ringbone: Minnow’s Trip to New Bolton

Maintaining Ringbone: Minnow tries Ground Control Shoes

Since then we also began giving Minnow Pentosan injections because we had heard great things about this drug from some of our friends, in helping horses with arthritis. There really wasn’t any noticeable difference when Minnow was given Pentosan, so it wasn’t going to be a long term benefit to him.

Managing Ringbone - Chincoteague Minnow's Trip to New Bolton // Painting Pony

We also tried giving Minnow Equioxx, which did help with his pain some, but the most helpful by far was giving Minnow bute along with a Fast track supplement to help protect the lining in his stomach.

While bute did help make Minnow more comfortable I still wanted to do all that I could to help him be more pain free, and bute is never a great long-term pain medication just because of the harm it can do to the intestines. So with the help of our vet we made another appointment for Minnow at New Bolton to have him injected with Ethyl Alcohol into his pastern joint with one of the renowned vet’s there.

Managing Ringbone - Chincoteague Minnow's Trip to New Bolton // Painting Pony

The goal with the injection was to destroy the remaining cartilage in the joint allowing the joint to fuse as it has been trying to do naturally for the past several years. With this injection there is no guarantee it will work, and likely no results would even been seen for many months as it takes time for the joint to fuse. But there really is no down side to this procedure other than the risk of infection due to inserting the needle. Minnow should not be any more painful than he already is. So with fingers crossed we took Minnow back to New Bolton to have him injected.

Maintaining Ringbone - Minnow injection // Painting Pony

Using X-rays, the vet was able to put the needle into the right space in Minnow’s joint to inject the alcohol (which was a bit difficult because his joint is already pretty deteriorated).

Maintaining Ringbone - Minnow injection // Painting Pony

After one day we miraculously already saw improvement in Minnow. For the past 2 weeks he’s been “resting” in his stall and the small turnout paddock attached to his stall.

Here’s a video of Minnow BEFORE the injection:

Minnow a week AFTER the injection:

While Minnow is significantly improved, the hope is that his joint will continue to fuse over time and eventually he could be possibly even be pain free. He is so much more comfortable already that we have taken him off all of the pain meds and this week he gets to go out in the pasture with his buddies again.

While this procedure is never recommended for horses that will be ridden (Minnow will never be ridden again), Minnow met a lot of the criteria to make this procedure successful for him. Time will continue to tell how beneficial it will be to him.

Minnow is very special to me, and I will continue to do everything I can to make him comfortable and happy!

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