Not sure what is going on.....Founder?

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Not sure what is going on.....Founder?

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        09-30-2012, 09:58 AM
    Not sure what is going on.....Founder?

    Trying to figure out what is going on with my old retired guy. Here is the deal. He is free leased as a therapy horse to a facility about 2 hours away from me. He has been there since early last spring, and all reports have been great. They love him, want to keep him indefinitely, and I have a close friend who can keep an eye on him as needed, as well as being closely tied to one of the board members. So, we know this is a good place, and it came well recommended.

    Because of life being what it is, I have only had time to email and call since he got there. So, yesterday I went to see him. He looks great, altho, a heavier than I like to see him. Well kept place, all the horses are happy......etc. Great. So, I stay to watch a lesson. As I am watching, one of the volunteers laughingly tells me that they sometimes have on issue with my guy not wanting to trot online. He breaks right into a canter. This is NOT like my horse. So, I watch, and sure enough, they ask him to trot (online) and he tries to canter. Hmmm. Looks like he may be sore, but they only ask them to trot less than 50 ft at a time, so hard to tell.

    After the lesson, I get on him. Sure enough, he is sore. Hard for me to tell where, but I am thinking that on top of his usual hock arthritis, this seems to be front end. I show the instructor who was dealing with him what I am feeling and she now sees it. I then find out that, in spite of being told to feed him 1 CUP of feed (just to give his supplements) he is getting 1 SCOOP! Twice a day! YIKES! I tell them to immediately back off from that. His feet look good, I did not feel heat, but I am not infallible, for sure. I am also puzzled by this being intermittent since he got there. I have emailed the director of the program to find out when his feet were last done (hoping that maybe he was just trimmed to short??) and telling her to change the feed-like yesterday.

    Long story not so short, I will be going back this week to meet with a vet and or farrier. Which shall I start with? I really would like to leave him there if possible.....he seems happy overall, and is doing great things....and they really do not ask much at all-the trotting 40 ft 3 times during the lesson is about as tough as it gets.

    Thoughts? I am brainstorming as much as anything......trying to keep from total panic......
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        09-30-2012, 10:44 AM
    Wow ... could be so many things. Is the volunteer giving the correct cue? He could just be confused with what she's asking him to do. Barring that, I would see the farrier first, as it is cheaper and I usually start from the ground up when trying to find problems, rule out any hoof problems, and if there aren't any issues, probably a trip to the vet for a checkup. Is the saddle he is using ill-fitting? He could be uncomfortable in the saddle. Not all saddles belong on all horses. I would be a little more stern with them about the feeding schedule. He is, after all, still YOUR horse and he doesn't do enough exercise to for two scoops of grain! I guess, with the vast amount of variables, I would see if she's giving a clear cue, get the farrier to come, and if those are fine, get the vet. If the vet can't find anything, then look to the saddle and maybe a new pad that is more supportive. But it's hard to say.
        09-30-2012, 10:57 AM
    Green Broke
    I read your post & I hear what you are saying-he is sore. He is overweight & getting too much grain. That-like you said-needs to stop-Yesterday. You don't feel any heat-that is good & sounds like he isn't looking lame. Possibly more walking & consulting a farrier-is he shod? So many people like a "fluffy" horse, but fat can be very detrimental to some. Hope you caught this early enough & it can be reversed quickly.
        09-30-2012, 11:22 AM
    I have my fingers crossed for an easy answer for sure. I am concerned though, for sure. This is a big draft cross, and not only did I send feeding instructions, but most folks I know KNOW that drafts (he is a clydeX) do NOT get grain. Period. Grrr.

    As far as the cues-no, they are not really clear, which is why I am encouraging them to use the verbal. There is no way of making them 100% clear, as we are dealing with some pretty significantly disabled folks riding him. THey do not use a bridle, only a halter, but the do give the riders "reins" they attach to the halter. Yes, the riders do pull on them, sometimes purposely, sometimes not. THis is also a horse who has also taken really good care of his riders, which may be a part of it. If he thinks you are really unbalanced he will not go without lots of encouragement, at least with a regular person. He has been doing this long enough now tho, that I would think that part of it is minimal. Shoot-he has riders have seizures.

    No-he has never had shoes, and he is 23. Only lame steps have been from his arthritis, starting a couple years ago, and once when I tried a "barefoot" farrier. Never again for that.

    Have contacted friends for recommendations for farriers and vets.....this will be an interesting week.
        09-30-2012, 11:29 AM
    Green Broke
    Laminitis, not quite founder yet?? That would be my first thought if he is sore on his front. How does he do over different terrain? How are his feet landing?
        09-30-2012, 11:48 AM
    Here is about the only pic I have from yesterday. He seems to walk fine, honestly, altho I was not watching really closely, he seemed to walk just fine on the surfaces I saw him on, which were pavement, sand and rubber. From the pic it doesn't look to me like he is walking on his toes.......

        09-30-2012, 12:03 PM
    Green Broke
    I'm not an expert by any means. I was forced to learn about laminitis when my girl came up slightly off but only sometimes. She was only very slightly off on gravel. Once in a great while she would take an off step on dirt.

    But also extra weight for anyone with arthritis is a big no no. People, animals doesn't matter same rule applies. Could be that his extra weight is taking a toll on his joints.
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        09-30-2012, 12:12 PM
    Oh I know-this guy gains weight on air. Literally. We keep him in a grazing muzzle at home and he is still fat. Seriously. One flake of hay am and pm and one cup of pellets twice a day. That is it, and he has always been "fluffy".
        09-30-2012, 09:05 PM
    He does look heavy. My Perch gets absolutely no grain and stays plump on air, so I know where you're coming from.

    Hoping you get this resolved, it sounds like he's just being over-fed.
    franknbeans likes this.
        09-30-2012, 09:31 PM
    Grains are high in starch which can increase inflammation in problem joints, not just the laminae. It may be that the existing arthritis is being aggravated.

    I'd be insisting that they take him off any starch based feed. They could also try soaking the hay to leach some of the nutrients but still provide some bulk and fibre, then supply a vit/min supplement to cover the essentials.
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