Founder?! What do I do!? I need help!! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 08-02-2011, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Founder?! What do I do!? I need help!!

We have four horses on our 60 acre farm-two geldings, a mare, and her 2 month old filly. We don't know much about horses; we are still learning. A few weeks ago, the farrier commented that the 9 year old gelding, Frankie, was a little tender in his front right hoof, and he may founder. He also showed me how thick and stiff his neck was. The farrier said that if we rode him a few times a week his neck would go down and his hoof would probably start to feel better. We have tried to ride him a few times, but he is so stubborn and won't do anything you say, so we have given up for the time being. I noticed yesterday that the Frankie's neck looked especially large and was very stiff-more so than before.

I researched founder and I've read a lot about it, but I'd like some opinions on what to do with him. We don't have a dry lot to put him in. All the horses just graze through the pastures all day. I only feed them when they come to the barn which is rare. I can put him in the barn, but he doesn't really like that because he likes to be out with the other horses.

So what should I do? What do I feed him? Help please!
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-02-2011, 05:01 PM
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Call the vet and see where you're at. Keep the horses off the grass as much as possible. If they are currently sound, riding and/or longeing will provide some exercise to help with the weight problem. Grazing muzzles may also assist, but really a dry lot with hay--no grass or grain--is the best way to go.

If one horse is fat likely the others are as well. Can you fence off a separate corner of your pasture, say, half an acre to an acre, and convert that to a dry lot? Keep the horses up there half the time, with hay and water, and just turn them out part of the time, particularly early in the morning when the grass is safest (this is most important in the spring and fall). I'm surprised your farrier didn't give you more recommendations. Is he shoeing/trimming the horse specially?
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-02-2011, 05:47 PM
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You may need to put them all as suggested. It won't hurt them even if they are not all overweight. A heavy crest means they are very overweight and ideal candidates for at least laminitis. Some horses, at some in their lives(teen years usually) will suddenly become obese monsters.. lol Been there.. I agree with the suggestion to build a corral/paddock/drylot large enough for at least 2 horses. :)

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-02-2011, 06:20 PM
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Go and buy a few portable panels or enough fencing material to put up a dry lot with electric fencing. If you do not, you will lose this gelding.

He is insulin resistant and now that the ball has started rolling downhill, he will get worse until you lose him or at least lose all chance of soundness.

Go to a website Search Results for "safegrass.org" and you will learn all you need to know about insulin resistance and how grass hay high in sugar content contributes to insulin resistance and founder. A horse with this problem is the equine equivalent to type II diabetes. [Think people that have poor circulation in their feet and are in danger of losing them.]

You do not have a lot of time to figure this out. It is already critical and will get worse very quickly.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-02-2011, 06:32 PM
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When a horse is experiencing hoof pain, his muscles will tense up from his hooves all the way up to his poll, including his neck muscles, across his shoulders to behind the withers. If he has hoof pain he will be reluctant to move. You need your vet to assess him, like yesterday.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-02-2011, 08:05 PM
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Put him in the barn NOW, even if he doesn't like it. Keep another horse in with him to keep him company. Get him off that grass.
Get the vet out asap.
Good luck.

...you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. ... Explore. Dream. Discover.”
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-02-2011, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoaNellie35827 View Post
We have four horses on our 60 acre farm-two geldings, a mare, and her 2 month old filly. We don't know much about horses; we are still learning.
You are describing a difficult situation. Domestic horses are a significant responsibility and there is much to learn regarding their maintenance needs and the challenges they can present. Learn all you can as quickly as you can. Not an easy task given the tremendous volume of "shedrow wisdom" that permeates the equestrian world.

Quote:
A few weeks ago, the farrier commented that the 9 year old gelding, Frankie, was a little tender in his front right hoof, and he may founder.
That is a suspicious "diagnosis" at best. There are many potential causes for a horse to present tender in only one foot, laminitis (founder) being only one possibility.

Quote:
He also showed me how thick and stiff his neck was.
Probably a consequence of being over weight. Yes, that can predispose a horse to a laminitic episode but it is not definitive. Cresty, thick neck and tender in one foot. Both represent a concern but fall short of a definitive diagnosis of laminitis.

Quote:
The farrier said that if we rode him a few times a week his neck would go down and his hoof would probably start to feel better.
Your farrier's assertion/assessment just cost him nearly all of his credibility.

Limited riding will have little effect on a severely obese horse without significant changes in diet and husbandry, nor will it have any dramatic impact should the horse prove to be insulin resistant.

More important, no farrier worth his salt would ever, ever, ever suggest riding a horse that he/she suspects may be exhibiting symptoms of laminitis!

Quote:
We have tried to ride him a few times, but he is so stubborn and won't do anything you say, so we have given up for the time being. I noticed yesterday that the Frankie's neck looked especially large and was very stiff-more so than before.
If you have any reason to believe the horse is suffering laminitis, do not ride him. Engage a veterinarian to make a correct diagnosis. Worry about riding/training/behavioral issues after you've sorted any potential lameness/health issues.

A fat, cresty-necked horse doesn't typically present noticeable changes in the thickness of their neck from one day to the next. I might, in this case, question what else might be going on. Swelling associated with bug bites, stings, allergic reactions, etc.

Quote:
I researched founder and I've read a lot about it, but I'd like some opinions on what to do with him. We don't have a dry lot to put him in. All the horses just graze through the pastures all day. I only feed them when they come to the barn which is rare. I can put him in the barn, but he doesn't really like that because he likes to be out with the other horses.
Horses need what they need. That we may lack that ability or resources to provide for those needs does not diminish the need. Start with a vet check. Determine a baseline for the animals current status and then have a frank and open discussion with your vet and farrier about meeting the needs of the horse as best you can.

Quote:
So what should I do? What do I feed him? Help please!
Asked and answered for the most part. Start with a veterinary exam and go from there. Ask your farrier to participate in the discussion and watch what happens when he repeats any suggestion that riding a laminitic horse is of some benefit.

Cheers,
Mark
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-02-2011, 11:35 PM
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Are his hooves warm and can you feel a pulse down there? If so, ice boots will go a long way toward slowing the development of a laminitic episode while you're waiting for the vet.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-03-2011, 12:24 AM
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a foundered horse needs vet care. You should call your vet and have an evaluation done.

I am sure you respect your farrier's advice, but there is alot going on inside a foundering horse that a farrier cannot help you with.


I have a fat, cresty necked draft, and while the vet does not suspect she is IR at this time, it is something we are ever watchful for and something we try desperately to prevent.

Prevent means: NO grain> period!

It also means dry lot. Our cresty necked beauty gets six hours of grass daily, and no more. Our vet approved the six hour limit. The rest of the time she is on dry lot. Is there any way you can fence off an area for dry lot...because if Frankie is foundering and has metabolic issues, he will need dry lot. Especially for this fall, and come next spring.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-03-2011, 11:01 AM
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Call the vet asap, get him off the grass because that is where the sugar is coming from. In the winter it iwll be worse because grass contains more sugar in the winter then it does in the summer. Give him hay or alfafalfa and water it down a little bit because it will help break down the sugar in the hay better. Keep him in a dry field and for one week every month if you are keeping him on gravel give him silia (i know I spelled that wrong). But for right now, pull him off the grass ASAP and get a vet out.

Your horse is an extension of you.
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