yep, such a big thing to keep in mind when considering pain of any kind is how stoic horses can be! Eg. 'my horse isn't lame, just a bit off'
Curious that you think he 'should have' been in the 'founder stance' & had a bounding pulse walkin? Why i ask is because these things generally go with acute laminitic attacks ime(as in major inflammation) and if the horse had been 'ouchy', more inclined to lie down for some time, and rads showed major changes/rotation, this is more of a chronic, long term gradual problem. It's quite possible(& very common) that the horse never had a major laminitic 'attack' but had long term 'low grade' laminitis that went unrecognised until it had got to a certain point. your thinking is spot on. if i went into detail on the complex whys and wherefores of joker's big founder, it would hi-jack this thread. suffice it to say, i have no one to blame but myself for not getting his muzzle on in time
it's also possible for just bad mechanics - nothing systemic/metabolic at all - to cause the problem - eg. Hooves that are neglected(not at all thinking your horses were btw walkin) or trimmed with high heels &/or long toes commonly cause 'rotation', but with good management & trimming, of course this can be corrected.
Op, it is unfortunately still common for even many equine vets to think of things like major rotation, 'sinking'(of p3 within the capsule) and penetration of p3 through the sole(yup, that does happen!) as incurable. joker rotated 5 degrees on the rf and 8 - 9 degrees on the lf. The vet said the rf most likely would de-rotate back to normal but the lf would "probably only de-rotate to around 4 - 5 degrees". thanks to a lot of input from a forum member, it appears joker's lf is very close to normal, if not completely back to normal. The vet doesn't want to x-ray him until the year anniversary from the initial x-rays. I'll be broke after the equine chiro comes on the 21st, so x-rays will be late april or early may.
i suspect this is because a lot of people still think of the hoof as a peripheral loading device - the walls must support the horse. The good news is, that is not at all the case & even coffin bone penetration doesn't necessarily lead to... A coffin for the horse these days. Not to say it's easy to treat these things by any means, often takes intensive care, i might kick that up a notch to exhaustive care
so far better to pick up the early signs & i reckon then we'd avoid all but the rare major cases.
Oh & re the digital pulse, yes, it's hard to feel usually. Easier if you feel for it in a weighted foot standing on hard ground. There are also other spots aside from the back of the sesamoids that you can feel it, which may be easier, such as about half way down the forearm on the outside.thanks for that. I have a difficult time finding the pulse in the sesamoid area. I was going to buy one of those meters that reads leg pulse but they are really pricey
but if the horse has major inflammation/pain, you're bound(pardon the pun!:-p) to feel it easily.