Removing toe callus when trimming

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Removing toe callus when trimming

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  • Trimming excess toe off a horse
  • Horse hoof problems callous

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    07-15-2013, 06:49 PM
Removing toe callus when trimming

My new trainer is encouraging me to trim back the toe callus on my chronic laminitic mare's front hooves. From what I understand, that is usually not done with a barefoot trim, and I'm a little uncomfortable removing sole on a horse with rotation. I roll the wall aggressively at the toe, and she still has laminar separation, so she is bearing some weight on the toe callus. My trainer insists that this is causing her discomfort, but I'm afraid that if I load the wall rather than the sole at the toe callus, the separation will become worse, not better. Additionally, the trim I'm doing right now was checked by a barefoot trimmer just a few months ago, and she approved.

I guess the point of all this is I would like advice on whether it is safe for me to remove any of the toe callus, or if I should leave it alone. I'm leaning towards leaving it alone for now. I'm going to get updated radiographs in a few weeks, so I will know exactly where the bone is, and that might help a little.

One positive thing, this mare is sound enough for light work now (!!!) and I'm now getting a weekly lesson on her. :) The trainer loves her, so I'm hoping that we might be over the worst of it and that she'll stay mostly sound. This spring her feet got hot for a few days, but resolved with some bute. She was never really lame, just a little ouchie over gravel. That is a significant improvement over prior years, and she appears completely sound now, with no stumbling.
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    07-15-2013, 10:15 PM
Trainers and trimmers are not laminitis experts. Laminitis is serious and you should ask your vet.

I was taught that a toe callus is there for a reason and it disappears when not needed.

I think it's absolutely great that you're getting follow up xrays. I would leave her feet the way they are for now.
Missy May likes this.
    07-15-2013, 10:44 PM
Green Broke
Does she have any white line separation? I just trimmed off my boy's toe callous because it had grown out with some excessive hoof wall so I trimmed it back. He's shown no signs of soreness, and is actually probably better off now than he was before his trim. I was also worried about keeping that toe callous that I wasn't trimming aggressively enough, which in the end just made his feet worse. I think it depends on the horse. My boy has never had laminitis(was pretty dang close to it) but he definitely doesn't have it now so my situation might be different than your's. There may become a time where it actually impedes her healing time if it prevents you from backing that toe up like it did to me.
    07-15-2013, 10:45 PM
Sometimes vets aren't any more qualified. Her first vet told my mother to locker her up in a little pen and give her the lowest quality grass hay she could find in very small amounts. She actually got to be underweight! The last vet that saw her thought she should go back out on pasture. WORST advice for this horse. It only takes about an hour of grazing for her feet to be hot the next day. For some reason he did not want her up on a dry lot.

Also, most vets want to see her shod, and we did not have a good experience with shoes. She's much more sound without. I hated what shoes did to her hooves, and they really need trimming more often than shoeing allows. I don't know that the vet would have much of an answer.

I'm not arguing about getting new radiographs though, and I'm thinking I'll have blood work done again. I'm thinking of asking about pergolide one more time since diet and exercise alone have not completely resolved her occasional episodes, although they are now both much less frequent and less severe. I really feel like we are almost there, but not sure what else I can do. We are putting on muscle, though, finally, and I'm hoping that will help her metabolism.

The trainer consulted with vet clinics about cases like this where she was previously, and seems pretty educated. She likes to keep a horse unshod, but does not like some aspects of the barefoot trimming movement. Other advice about my horses' feet has really been spot on, IMO--things I had already noticed and hadn't gotten touched up, etc. This particular suggestion just seemed odd, but she's more experienced than me. Hence this thread. I will probably not change the way I'm trimming them because I'm really not comfortable trimming the sole much.
    07-15-2013, 10:49 PM
Kayella, she does still have some separation, but I think I agree that at some point the toe callous might be getting in the way, and maybe that was what my trainer was trying to say. I had thought about removing a very small amount at a time to see if there was much change.
    07-16-2013, 02:45 AM
Show us the feet.
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    07-16-2013, 10:01 AM
It will have to wait until Wednesday when I trailer to an arena. I don't own anything flat, which has proved to be a problem for hoof pics before. Particularly when I'm trying to hold the horse and take the picture.
walkinthewalk likes this.
    07-17-2013, 08:03 AM
Green Broke
I can say that my vet does not want the toe callous taken off my recovering foundered horse.

The horse is barefoot and while the toe callous is thick, he also keeps it well worn.

I would leave the callous alone until you can get good pics and post them for the Trimmers on this forum

I hope the new x-rays show some de-rotation but, don't pass out if they don't. Ask me about that one - I'm still reaching for the nerve pills and my horse had new x-rays five weeks ago
    07-17-2013, 12:23 PM
I know there's going to be rotation. You can sort of see it in the hoof still. :( We're going in on Monday for follow up x-rays and a thyroid panel. I think I'll post the x-rays if I can. I'm not entirely sure how to interpret them myself, honestly, as it is not something I've done. Her x-rays were too old to be any good by the time I started doing the trimming. I'm either going to have to have some help or call out a professional.
The vet is pressuring me to have her shod, and gave me the phone numbers of 3 farriers when I was making the appointment. That's not based on her actual condition, since he has only seen this horse one time a year ago, and not for laminitis. I am not a big fan of shoes in general, and particularly not when the horse can really benefit from frequent trimming that shoes do not allow.
    07-17-2013, 01:32 PM
You do not want to shoe her....I currently have a laminatic horse. Farrier put shoes on said it will really help. Wasn't the case made him worse way worse. He could hardly walk that evening .
He's still having issue now that was 6 weeks ago I pulled the shoes shortly after they were put on.
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