Foot, heart, and other issues in underweight mare - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-12-2011, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Foot, heart, and other issues in underweight mare

I sold my mare three years ago and she was bred by the new owner. Colt was born last June and my girl was basically neglected through the pregnancy. She was losing weight during the pregnancy and was emaciated when he was born. Over the last year she's put on weight very slowly, but the neglect moved to her feet. Her shoes were pulled in December and no farrier came out until two weeks ago. I bought her back last week to save her from this misery. I am not clear on the total history, but she has been off on the front right for most of the last year. That foot is clubby and from the hack job the farrier did right before I bought her, I'm sure she hasn't been trimmed properly for more than two years. Long story short, the vet came out last Friday and here's a basic summary of her current issues:

-Uneven trimming/shoeing on the front right. About an inch difference between inside and outside with extreme sole tenderness and crooked coronary band. Possible beginnings of ring bone.
- Grade 2 heart murmur that fades with walking exercise. (Disappeared after lameness walk out.)
-Still lactating, weaned colt when I picked her up one week ago.
-Underweight, moderately thin. About a 3-4 on the 1-10 scale.
-No topline from lack of exercise. No work for over a year.
-Heavy sand load in her belly.
-All vaccines are expired.
-Teeth need floating, but not inhibiting feed consumption.
-Pigment loss around the eyes.

Current treatment includes:

-Leaving shoes on to protect sore sole. Allow grow out and follow good farrier's advice in 4-6 weeks.
-Exercise once soundness in front right is restored to improve heart condition.
-Two flakes alfalfa, unlimited grass hay everyday.
-Three scoops psyllium per day for 90 days to clear sand. Added small scoop of wheat bran to feed psyllium with it and a small scoop (maybe 2 cups worth) of Equine Senior to help make it palatable.
-No extra grain to avoid continuing milk production.
-Rabies vaccine given last week, 6-way to be given in 3 weeks, west nile 3 weeks after that.
-Float teeth in 6 weeks when vet comes for west nile shot.
-Wormed with ivermectin before I picked her up, continue worming program.


Should I add a hoof supplement to help them grow out faster? Or should I let them be and just see how having good nutrition again helps? She never had trouble growing hoof before and I've never had lameness issues at all despite the clubby foot. I'd owned her since birth prior to selling her. She's 13 now.

Any ideas for building topline before she's sound again? Looking to avoid side reins and lunging once she is sound also. Thoughts?

Anyone know what might cause loss of pigment? Vet thought perhaps it was pregnancy related although previous owner claims it didn't occur until the last few months. Nutrition issue? Genetic? Half sister and full brother do not have any pigment loss.

Anyone with experience bringing back a poor horse? Thanks in advance!

Lexi last year right after foaling:

Lexi last week:

Last edited by manders917; 05-12-2011 at 03:20 AM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-12-2011, 10:33 AM
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Oh man. I can't imagine how agonizing it was to watch this happen to your girl. I'm glad you were able to get her back and it sounds like you're ready to do whatever it takes to get her healthy again. She's lucky to have you.

Do you have access to pasture? I used to have a Thoroughbred who had a terrible time with his topline, and I always found that as soon as he was out on 24/7 pasture he really beefed up his back and top neck muscles from the constant movement with his head down.

While the shoes will seem to help her comfort level, I might suggest putting her in boots instead. They will protect her sole, but allow for frog/ground contact (or rather, frog/bottom of boot contact) which will help with circulation in her foot (and her whole body), and ultimately growth.

While it may sound gimmicky, I really think the thing that will really help this girl is movement! Get her into a grazing situation if you can. It will help her feet, her heart, and her overall health.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-12-2011, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Boy would I ever love to put her on grass pasture. We live in the Arizona desert though. No grass to be found here. She will go into an approximately 1/2 acre turnout after her 30 day quarantine is up.

I am also doing some reading on barefoot trimming and thinking of trying it myself. Would sure save money and I know it's healthier in the long run. Lots to learn before I try that though.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-12-2011, 08:07 PM
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Ah, well. That's too bad about the pasture, but there are things you can do to help her get moving even without grazing. You can spread her hay all over her paddock so that she has to move to eat, and also put her water as far from her food as possible. Also do a search for "paddock paradise" and see some ideas for getting horses moving in smaller areas with unique fencing.

If you're looking to learn how to trim I'd suggest finding a reputable barefoot trimmer in your area and getting them to teach you, versus reading only.

Good luck!
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-13-2011, 08:03 AM
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I second the use of boots, but would add a soft pad in the boots. This will help her to be more comfortable. The problem will be in fitting the boots with her bad trim. The boots need to be fitted carefully for a snug fit, to keep them on. As she gets a better shape to her hoof, the boots will no longer fit. She may only need boots on the front to be comfortable. I would agree that you should contact a reputable barefoot trimmer in your area. The trimmer can help you fit the boots while there.

Here is a link to a web site for Paddock Paradise/slow feeding help:
Slow Feeding Horses on Paddock Paradise Tracks - Paddock Paradise Wiki

I would not add any supplements to her diet right now. With the heavy sand load she will not absorp them well. Let her gain some weight before trying to push new hoof growth.

Once her hooves are more comfortable, she will be more inclined to walk. Try leading her at the walk for increasing amounts of time. Depending on her condition, you might have to start at 5 minutes at a time. Getting the horse to walk will help the hooves, the heart, the overall health, and the mental state. Once she has gained some weight, is feeling better, and the vet agrees, you might try to pony her at a walk for increasing amounts of time.

I'm glad the mare has found someone to take care of her.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-14-2011, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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I took some pictures of her today. She's already looking better. Still trying to decide what to do about her feet. They are so horrible. I can't stand it.

Here's the front right:

Front left:

Any idea what may have caused the hole in the bottom of this foot? It doesn't seem to bother her. Maybe an old absess?

Pigment loss near the eyes:

Already looking so much better after only 9 days on good feed and good care.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-14-2011, 07:37 PM
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there will be as many viewpoints about this mare's feet as there are farriers and trimmers. It will take about a year for the feet to grow out whether she is shod or barefoot. You will need patience. If you start down the road with barefoot trimming, I would encourage you to 'stay the course' for at least a year. After the hooves grow out, then make a decision if you want to move back to shoeing.

You asked how to improve the topline before she is sound. In my humble opinion, that's not a reasonable expectation. To build topline you need to exercise her. For exercise you need a sound horse. To get a sound horse you will need better structure of the feet.

A couple of notes on barefoot trimming...
A trimmer should not necessarily be married to any one method. They need to trim according to the foot that is in front of them. Learn at least the basics of what the different methods entail, and ask the trimmer which method they follow.

The trimmer may have used boots for sale. Since you will be changing the shape of the foot over time, you will move through different sizes of boots. You will not keep the boots on full time. Put them on to walk her, and see if she is comfortable to exercise on her own. If you add a set of pads she may trot right off. And she may not - they aren't miracles.

Good luck with the rehab. Take it one step at a time.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-14-2011, 07:40 PM
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wow, she looks amazing! It's so great that you cared enough about her to take her back even after you sold her. She's lucky to have you
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-23-2011, 11:55 AM
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Loss of pigment around eye...

I am so glad you were able to get her back =) She sounds like she is in great hands!

I do have to ask though, have you found anything out on the pigment loss around her eyes, my mare is doing the same thing right now!! I have attached a photo for comparison. It is also happening on her nose, and I have noticed small spots on her neck. I have called several area vets and they have no idea what has caused it? It seems to be a very fast process, and its spreading. Day 1, complete hair loss. Day 2-3, pigment change. Day 4, white hair replaces the natural color. I dont know what to do?!
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exercise , heart murmur , lameness , supplements , thin

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