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?