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  • Founder collapsing horse, dragging back toe

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    05-17-2010, 10:09 PM
Green Broke

Hey everyone. Was out at the barn today and one of the horses there is quite lame. Now he is a 28 yr old Halflinger/draft of some sort cross. He is overweight. Well the poor boy can hardly walk, he did have front shoes put on last week but we are wondering if he is foundering. He usually pushes you over to get to his stall door and to see you when you enter the barn and now he can hardly shuffle over to you. He is also dragging his hind feet. He can't stand still he is constantly shifting his weight. The horses have been going out to pasture daily for the past 3 or 4 weeks. The grass is quite lush.
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    05-17-2010, 10:17 PM
Green Broke
Sounds like classic founder and since he is a high risk age and breed, it is extremely likely this is the case. You would have to cut back his feed tremendously and he can't eat any of that lush grass for some time, at least a month and maybe more (probably won't hurt if he is overweight anyway). Diet has to be changed immediately before there are any changes in the pedal bone as this is irreversible and can happen surprisingly quickly.

The only symptom that doesn't sound like founder is the dragging of the back feet. How does he stand in the stall? If he is lamanitic he may appear to be leaning back on his hind legs to ease the pressure he is feeling in his front feet.
    05-17-2010, 10:20 PM
It certainly sounds like it. The owner should have the vet out ASAP, this is an emergency.
I've been through 2 horses with founder (the early stage is called acute laminitis - this is where all the changes are happening). Early intervention is critical! Some horses recover, some recover with permanent damage and some don't respond at all. Stress to the owner to call their vet. Keep me posted I've had a lot of experience living with a horse with laminitis.
    05-17-2010, 10:41 PM
Without seeing the horse, the signs you are describing sound like a laminitic event. I would recommend having you vet out to assess your horse. Many times, acute laminitis is a secondary complication to a primary disease elsewhere in the body. Treatment of laminitis can only be successfully when treating the primary disease. Older horses can develop equine cushings disease which can predispose horses to laminitis. Here is a link to a paper on cushings and metabolic disease (Click Here).

Management of the inflammation initially is critical in preventing acute laminitis from becoming chronic. Support of the foot in deep bedding, foam padding, setting the heels and toes back can help. Use of anti-inflammatories like bute are also advised.

It may only be associated with being out on lush pasture, in which case removing from pasture is critical, treating with bute, ect. However, I would have your vet out to assess the horse and determine if there is any underlying disease predisposing your horse to laminitis.

Hope this helps.
    05-17-2010, 10:48 PM
Green Broke
Just heard back from the BO and both owner and vet are on their way out. Cross your finger for this old guy, he is a really nice horse.
    05-18-2010, 03:24 PM
Green Broke
Well just heard from BO and Achilles has laminitis, so hopefully with a change in diet and some corrective shoeing he will be all right.

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