How to tell if foal is getting physitis???

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How to tell if foal is getting physitis???

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    09-10-2010, 01:38 AM
How to tell if foal is getting physitis???

Not sure if this should go into "horse health" or "breeding." I'm putting it in "breeding" because it is foal related. I hope that is okay!

My latest worry, is how do I tell if my 2 month old colt is developing physitis? He's not not lame, but I do think his fetlocks are slightly nobby looking. Like above the fetlock joint where the growth plates are.

I've tried to do tons and tons of research on the internet on how to prevent orthopedic problems and my head is swimming with conflicting reports. It seems excess protein used to get blamed, but has since been disproven, then mineral imbalance, too much feed, too much sugar, etc.

When my vet was out at 6 weeks, he said the joints looked fine. But the little nobs on the insides of the front fetlocks seems new. He doesn't seem sore, but I don't want him to get that way either. Everyone thinks he's tall for his age, which also worries me because that can predispose him to physitis, according to my internet research. But my vet also said they usually don't get that until they are weaned.

I'm so confused. One article will say cut out all grain, one says that they need a balanced foal supplement. One says too much protein is the cause (disproven?) and another says protein is not the problem, but rather lack of minerals. Cut out alfalfa......alfalfa is good and too much phosphorous is the issue. You get the picture!

Maybe I am worried about nothing. If I had never heard of physitis, I wouldn't be worrying myself sick, because he isn't lame or anything. The joints aren't huge or anything. It's just that you can see a bit of a bump where the growth plates are. Am I freaking out over nothing?

The foal gets 1 lb. Of Purina Ultium Growth daily, split into two meals. He also shares 1 flake alfalfa and 1 flake bermuda hay (twice a day) with his mom, and of course drinks milk. They have free choice salt and Purina 12/12 mineral block. The mare was supplemented during pregnancy, so I don't think he was lacking anything in the womb, but you never know I guess. And I don't know how much it matters, but the mare is also getting 3 lbs of rolled oats daily, but the foal doesn't share that, he gets his Ultium Growth when the mare is eating her oats.

Am I paranoid, or do I have cause to be worried? I think his pastern angles look good, not too upright.

And my vet thought exercise would be good for his bum leg (long story, he has a deformed rear cannon bone) so I have been riding the mare around our 10 acre property daily so the foal can run and play. Otherwise, they live in a drylot situation because we don't have pasture. Could too much running around (the property is hilly) cause a problem? Or is it nutritional? Or is there no problem at all? Can you normally see the edge of the growth plates on a 2 month old foal?
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    09-10-2010, 11:08 AM
Just out of curiousity, do you mean Epiphysitis?
If that is what you mean, we had a Paint cold given to us because of this.The original breeders bred for halter type horses and wanted lots of growth and muscle development and they fed him way way to much grain, etc.(dont get me wrong, I a not saying your baby is being fed to much, being "force fed" to grow to fast is one cause, just plain growing to fast is another) Our vet said it was caused by too fast growth and it caused inflamation of the joints and surrounding tissue. He was lame off and on, sore and his front legs had bumps.
If this is what you meant, then we took him off all supplements, grain etc and just let him get food from mom and grass hay/grass.
It took awhile, but he grew out of it, and was a healthy horse when he grew up.
I would suggest no supplements at this time, let him grow from mama and some haygrass if he wants to eat it. And let him exercise freely.
If it was not Epiphysitis that you are talking about, just ignore my post
    09-10-2010, 01:09 PM
I have always said and did if I think the foal is in danger of having a problem I cut them back a bit on the feed and see if it stops. Mos to the time it will if that is the problem.
    09-10-2010, 01:22 PM
Thank you both!

Maybe I will cut out his 1 lb of grain completely, or just a handful when his mom gets hers.

Yes, I meant epiphysitis. When I was researching it on the internet, it seems to be the "in" thing to call it either DOD (developmental orthopedic disease) or physitis (inflamation of the growth plates). I guess epiphysitis is the older name for it.

Thanks again, I was really worried when I posted last night. I feel a bit better this morning.
    09-10-2010, 01:38 PM
Yep, I am older and just used a term I knew.
Just cut his grain out and let nature and mama help him grow, it will heal itself.
    09-11-2010, 12:36 AM
I'll cut him back to nill or next-to-nill on the grain. I need to just feed my guys grain once a day anyway. While my mare was pregnant, I went to giving her (and the older geldings) "treats" twice a day. But it's been two months since Zane was born and his mom still has plenty of weight on her, so I think I can cut back now on everyone. Lord knows the geldings don't need the extra, lol!

I am kind of glad I am catching things early, because right now he just has a couple of small bumps on the insides of his fetlocks, well, just above the fetlocks. But he doesn't seem sore or anything, so I think I am catching things in time. Everytime the vet comes out, he always remarks "he's going to be a big horse" and I think that kind of has me paranoid about potential growth problems. But it is better to be safe than sorry. I especially don't want him to get contracted tendons like some foals I have seen on the internet. That looks bad, and right now he has lovely pastern angles so I don't want those to change.
    09-12-2010, 12:05 AM
Today I cut out all grain in the morning, no grain at all for the baby, gave them 1 flake alfalfa and one flake bermuda morning and evening, and gave the mare her usual 3 lbs of oats in the evening. The baby did share some of the oats with mom. Does that sound like a reasonable feeding plan?

Or would it be better if he had a tiny amount of Ultium Growth rather than the oats with Mom?

I did get some photos today of his legs, but I am not on the computer in which I can download them. Please check back later for photos. I would love your guys opinion of his fetlocks.

PS. I found out I was accidentally giving him 2 lbs of grain before instead of the one pound I intended. So luckily I re-measured and found that out. Maybe that is why I am noticing the bumps on the fetlocks and if I cut wayyy back all will be well?
    09-12-2010, 01:59 AM
Photos below. Thoughts on his fetlocks please? (PS. He has a little cut on is right leg above the hoof, it's being treated. )
Attached Images
File Type: jpg zane fetlocks2.jpg (58.5 KB, 521 views)
File Type: jpg zane fetlocks4.jpg (60.0 KB, 548 views)
File Type: jpg zane fetlocks1.jpg (51.5 KB, 531 views)
File Type: jpg zane fetlocks3.jpg (82.5 KB, 486 views)
File Type: jpg zane fetlocks5.jpg (71.7 KB, 502 views)
    09-13-2010, 12:00 AM
Any thoughts on if his fetlocks look normal? Pretty please?
    09-13-2010, 12:06 AM
They do not really look too bad. Looks like they might have been starting but at this point I would say that if you cut him back for a bit at least until he is weaned you should be fine.

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