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Your thoughts on a chronic hoof problem?

This is a discussion on Your thoughts on a chronic hoof problem? within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category

     
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        12-05-2009, 04:05 PM
      #21
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Indyhorse    
    Okay, I'm new here, but I was hoping someone might have some advice for a chronic issue I have with my mare. I am not new to horses, but I have horses now for the first time in about 8 years. I have only had them since July. My mare is a 15.3 Shire/Paint cross, and I got her as a 3 in 1 deal, cheap coming along with my gelding. She had a colt at heals and is bred back. She was sold to me as just broodmare sound and not broke to ride. I was told she had a club foot on her rt rear. She came to me tremendously overgrown on her feet, and sorely in need of care - severely underweight and nursing an elephant of a baby, full of worms, teeth badly needing floated, you've all seen it before. Trying to balance getting her fed up enough to support her lactation and pregnancy and get some weight on her, without overdoing it was tricky but we have had no signs of laminitis. Now, onto the hoof issues. I've had my natural balance/barefoot trimmer working with her feet on a 4 week schedule since I got her, as well as exams and xrays by my vet. Her feet are structurally sound, other than being overgrown they were in remarkably good shape for the neglect she clearly suffered. She does not, my vet insists, have a club foot. What she DOES have is an old injury, likely a barbed wire fence, that cut through her coronet band, causing her rt rear to grow out with a crack, but nothing severe enough, they say, to hamper her riding ability as long as it is managed with regular trimming. After several months of re-hab with her I got both my trimmer and vets blessings to start riding. She's turned out to be an amazing mare, breaking her was a snap and she rides like a dream now. I do boot her when I ride. However, about once a week, whether I am riding or not, she has bad days with that hind foot and limps heavily overcompensating on her front left. She has chronic, deep thrush in that hind foot that nothing seems to clear up and I don't doubt that's a big part of the problem. Daily lysol soaks and daily application of antifungal/triple antibiotic mix has become a part of life, and I've tried just about every over the counter thrush remedy they sell at the local stores, and nothing seems to take care of it. I've not ridden her in over a month at this point, and few weeks back she developed a small abcess in the back of her frog/heel bulbs area that had me calling the vet out again. It cleared up very quickly, but it seems to me there is a bigger reason for this hoof to be such a chronic problem. Everyone insists based on appearance and Xrays, the hoof should be sound, yet it isn't. The vet did say that the crack in her hoof wall can make thrush a continual problem. This time of year, with mud being the norm in this part of the country, surely complicates things. The mare is turned out on 5 acres of cross-fenced pasture every day, with a lot of migrational movement throughout the day, and stalled in a clean dry stall every night. As a side note - the mare never limped more or seemed further aggravated by my riding, though I have not ridden her in some time because it bothers ME. She's not a heavy-hitting horse on the ground like some draft crosses - in fact with a little more work she seems to be gaited. I bought the mare with the belief that she couldn't be ridden, so not riding her is hardly the end of the world, but it would certainly be a perk since she IS such a nice, willing ride. Is the thrush the source of all evil? Do I need to just give her more time? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    To bed honest, I have no idea what to tell you. My suggestion would be to get a different vet and farrier to come and take a look at her to make sure that they don't another idea as to what could be done to help stay sound more often. More heads to think about a solution, the better.
    Good Luck
         
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        12-05-2009, 06:42 PM
      #22
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Appyt    
    Sugars feed thrush......... I would stop the sweet feed and substitute it with more natural feeds. Grains are not all that good for horses. They gain better on good solid foods like hay, grass, beet pulp, and such. At least cut the sugar out and give her something other than sweet feed. That's my 2c
    I think you are right, this is where I need to go next. I had the mare on the low amounts of sweet feed because she was so painfully thin when I got her, but really, at this point, her weight is decent it's more focusing on what muscle atrophy still remains, and building up her muscles as far as improving her body condition. She's on all the free choice hay she can eat right now, and I'll just stick with that. I can keep up the beet pulp or increase it if need be - should I cut the weightbuilder out too? I know it's high calories, so I assume it's high sugars as well.
         
        12-05-2009, 06:46 PM
      #23
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by My2Geldings    
    To bed honest, I have no idea what to tell you. My suggestion would be to get a different vet and farrier to come and take a look at her to make sure that they don't another idea as to what could be done to help stay sound more often. More heads to think about a solution, the better.
    Good Luck
    Yeah, I think sending her X rays to another vet is wise. (There actually isn't another vet that comes to this area - and I hate pulling my trailer, it's 41 feet long. I need to get something smaller I can manage on my own a bit better.) While I trust and respect my trimmer, I think she'd be the first to say call in another trimmer/farrier for another opinion if I'm concerned. Thanks for the advice!
         
        12-05-2009, 10:17 PM
      #24
    Started
    >>should I cut the weightbuilder out too? I know it's high calories, so I assume it's high sugars as well.<<

    Never assume.. Check the ingredients. ;) Put her on something with high fat, low starch. Check into a ration balancer if you can.
         
        12-05-2009, 11:25 PM
      #25
    Green Broke
    Good call. Thanks so much!
         
        12-06-2009, 07:26 AM
      #26
    Trained
    Haven't read all responses, so sorry if I repeat or something not relevant...

    I agree to cut the 'junk food' out & feed her a healthy diet. Her toes especially, but entire hoof capsule appears flared. That means the laminae are either separated or stretched, likely from diet induced(that's the normal cause) laminitis and bad trimming. I would shorten the toes, and 'roll' or bevel them from the white line, to relieve the excess pressure on them, to allow them to start growing down well attached.It's hard to tell, but the heels appear long but crushed under - underslung. That is a likely cause or contributor to the crack. Removing the leverage at the toe will help them, as will shortening them gradually & often, but never into the sole. Ensure the entire hooves are kept in a strong 'mustang roll' to avoid excess leverage forces compromising the laminae further, & to prevent chipping. Boots or alternatives are definitely a good idea, to ensure her comfort, as may be frog support pads.

    But the best piece of advice I know of is to educate yourself on hoof function & the factors that effect soundness. Especially if you live in the back of beyond & may have to rely on yourself if the 'experts' aren't good enough. Hoofrehab.com barefoothorse.com barehorsecare.com are among some of the good sites to begin your study.
         
        12-06-2009, 11:17 AM
      #27
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    Haven't read all responses, so sorry if I repeat or something not relevant...

    I agree to cut the 'junk food' out & feed her a healthy diet. Her toes especially, but entire hoof capsule appears flared. That means the laminae are either separated or stretched, likely from diet induced(that's the normal cause) laminitis and bad trimming. I would shorten the toes, and 'roll' or bevel them from the white line, to relieve the excess pressure on them, to allow them to start growing down well attached.It's hard to tell, but the heels appear long but crushed under - underslung. That is a likely cause or contributor to the crack. Removing the leverage at the toe will help them, as will shortening them gradually & often, but never into the sole. Ensure the entire hooves are kept in a strong 'mustang roll' to avoid excess leverage forces compromising the laminae further, & to prevent chipping. Boots or alternatives are definitely a good idea, to ensure her comfort, as may be frog support pads.

    But the best piece of advice I know of is to educate yourself on hoof function & the factors that effect soundness. Especially if you live in the back of beyond & may have to rely on yourself if the 'experts' aren't good enough. Hoofrehab.com barefoothorse.com barehorsecare.com are among some of the good sites to begin your study.
    Thanks for all the advice. I have tried to educate myself on barefoot trims somewhat, I have already bookmarked and read all the sites you mentioned, as well as I have Pete Ramey's book and Under the Horse DVD series, as well as a vet manual on lameness. As of yesterday Freyja is off all sweet feed, she's now just getting all they hay she wants free choice. I even took her off the beet pulp, because she's okay for weight now, just needs some muscle development.

    I am keeping a good mustang roll on her feet, which I maintain myself on a weekly basis, although I don't do any of the trimming myself, I don't feel like I know enough to tackle that. I know there is still flaring and overgrowth on her feet, we are still addressing that, my trimmer comes out every four weeks, she just hasn't wanted to take off too much at once and leave Freyja too sensitive to walk on all four feet. You should have seen what we started with - she was darn near slipper feet, and really she's come a very long way in the almost 5 months I've had her. She was really kind of a last minute, impulse buy - I was buying my gelding and the seller offered the bred mare and colt at a price I couldn't refuse. I bought her thinking she would never be riding sound, so I can deal with her not being, but I still want to make her as comfortable as possible.
         
        12-06-2009, 05:41 PM
      #28
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Indyhorse    
    Thanks for all the advice. I have tried to educate myself on barefoot trims somewhat, I have already bookmarked and read all the sites you mentioned, as well as I have Pete Ramey's book and Under the Horse DVD series, as well as a vet manual on lameness.
    Good on you! That's great that you've put in the hard yards to learn what's what. Just keep going, cos there's so much to learn.

    I
    Quote:
    know there is still flaring and overgrowth on her feet, we are still addressing that, my trimmer comes out every four weeks, she just hasn't wanted to take off too much at once and leave Freyja too sensitive to walk on all four feet.
    While I agree with doing things in gradual installments for many aspects, and her comfort is very important, I believe it's imperative to get rid of that excess toe so to relieve the walls/laminae immediately. The trouble with gradual there is that it's perpetuating the severe separation, tearing the wall from the foot by the leverage forces every step she takes. It's also pulling her heels forward & preventing good hoof function. I don't think you'll see too much more improvement until that matter is corrected. Also, as with putting a lot of pressure on an extra long fingernail, it will be uncomfortable & she's likely to be more comfortable without it. I would possibly not take much off her heels straight away tho, as that could make her more sensitive and I agree comfort is important for her to get exercise & ultimately rehab her feet.

    Have you considered boots/pads? I would definitely want a pair for her.
         
        12-06-2009, 07:47 PM
      #29
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    Good on you! That's great that you've put in the hard yards to learn what's what. Just keep going, cos there's so much to learn.

    I

    While I agree with doing things in gradual installments for many aspects, and her comfort is very important, I believe it's imperative to get rid of that excess toe so to relieve the walls/laminae immediately. The trouble with gradual there is that it's perpetuating the severe separation, tearing the wall from the foot by the leverage forces every step she takes. It's also pulling her heels forward & preventing good hoof function. I don't think you'll see too much more improvement until that matter is corrected. Also, as with putting a lot of pressure on an extra long fingernail, it will be uncomfortable & she's likely to be more comfortable without it. I would possibly not take much off her heels straight away tho, as that could make her more sensitive and I agree comfort is important for her to get exercise & ultimately rehab her feet.

    Have you considered boots/pads? I would definitely want a pair for her.
    Yes, I have a pair of easyboots I was using on her backs when I was riding her (haven't rode her in over a month because I just don't feel comfortable doing so right now - even though she only limps occasionally it's clear to me her feet aren't really right) I also have built up frog pads I fit to the boots but I haven't used the pads on her yet, I am worried more frog stimulation might be a bad thing, as uncomfortable as her rotten excuse for a frog is on that hind leg. I haven't turned her out in boots, is that what you had in mind?
         
        12-07-2009, 03:27 AM
      #30
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Indyhorse    
    Yes, I have a pair of easyboots I was using on her backs when I was riding her (haven't rode her in over a month because I just don't feel comfortable doing so right now - even though she only limps occasionally it's clear to me her feet aren't really right) I also have built up frog pads I fit to the boots but I haven't used the pads on her yet, I am worried more frog stimulation might be a bad thing, as uncomfortable as her rotten excuse for a frog is on that hind leg. I haven't turned her out in boots, is that what you had in mind?
    How come you used the easyboots on her backs & not fronts? Just that it's usually the way they can get by without backs but need fronts.

    I would use boots on her in the paddock if she is uncomfortable without them. But it's a good idea not to use them 24/7 if you can get by without. If you do need to, it should only be short term tho, *if* it's in conjunction with a *good* trim & management. Alas, with what I've seen & what you've told, I suspect your trimmer is making a very bad job of it. Sure there may have been improvement, but it's taken 5 months to get only to this point, which is still pretty terrible. **However, there is too little to go on to do more than strongly suspect, so don't just take my word for it, but do look into it & the possibility of finding better.

    If she gets a good trim, I wouldn't think she'd have any problem being ridden in boots. The more exercise the better. Her frogs desperately need lots of support & stimulation, so pads are a great idea, as they will allow her to get it comfortably & start growing strong. You may have to play with different densities of foam, to find what she's comfortable with(you can go to a rubber supplies or such & buy it by the foot, rather than pay for expensive Easyboot ones). Use the firmest you can, so long as she's comfortable & gradually use firmer as she progresses.
         

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