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Spastic_Dove 06-17-2008 09:49 PM

Founder: Please Help
So I think we misdiagnosed diesel with an abscess as when I went out last night he was stiff and both his right legs were grossly swollen. I had the vet out today,and she said she believes he has tendonitis and possibly the beginnings of laminitis. She said that he was sore at his toe and at the point of his frog which are signs of laminitis. Where he is is extremely rocky and I think that may be the reason as he has had no diet changes and is in shape.

She told me that for a week we are to give him 2g of bute, cold hose him, and wrap him with a cooling linament.
I hear though that that can actually do more damage as it restricts the blood vessels.

What do you think?
What other things can I do to help him?

I got him on the softest place I can find so far, and am going to see if I can move him somewhere where I can put him on stall rest. That way he can have super cushy ground and not be picked on by ponies.

Any advice is apprechiated. All the information I can find seems to be conflcted.

Also, I had a "barefoot trimmer" out like three weeks ago. She also came out and rasped some more when she thought he had an absess. But when my trainer was out she said that his hoof was trimmed concave as opposed to flat?

Would there be any reason for this? Or do you think it has to do with laminitis (ie: sinking/rotation)

Please anything would be great

RosieRox 06-18-2008 07:37 AM

If you aren't comfortable with what your vet instructed, I suggest getting a second opinion from another vet.

With something as serious as this I would follow the vet's advice. It's really not a good idea to give arm-chair diagnosis and treatment advice.

Spastic_Dove 06-18-2008 10:05 AM


Originally Posted by RosieRox
If you aren't comfortable with what your vet instructed, I suggest getting a second opinion from another vet.

With something as serious as this I would follow the vet's advice. It's really not a good idea to give arm-chair diagnosis and treatment advice.

And I have all intentions of following my vets orders to a T.
I have been talking to other vets but have yet to find a solid answer.

I was mostly asking for opinions or wondering if anyone else had gone through the same thing that could give some advice. Not that I would put their suggestions over that of a veterinarian.

Thanks for the concern though

kim_angel 06-18-2008 11:30 AM

hmmm. Cocoa foundered about 20 yrs ago. Its a long time to remember back to... but what I do remember was her being on bute and hosing her legs to cool them down.

Best of luck, its scary and upsetting... but hang in there. You and your horse will get through it.

barefoothooves 06-18-2008 01:28 PM

I'm a little confused by your post. You thought he had an abscess and the vet thinks that it's lamitis because of the tenderness in the toe, and because the hoof is trimmed CONCAVE? And the swollen legs are due to tendonitis. That's how I interpreted it. the tender toe/frog only in one foot or two?

Tendon issues...cold hosing and a liniment with a leg wrap and bute sound like good advice.

The laminitis/abscess question. First...if the hoof is CONCAVE, the there's not a problem with the trim. Concave is ideal. If it's suddenly gone FLAT, or has a bulge, that could indicate a crappy trim at best or even founder rotation. But before the bone rotates, usually the horse will have that telltale stance leaning waaaay back on his hinds, and normally it would affect both fronts, not just one, though it certainly is possible to affect only one foot.

Abscesses can mimic laminits in a couple of ways. First...the hoof can be so touchy, the don't want to put any weight on it, and there can be a bounding digital pulse and heat in the affected hoof. However, most abscesses only occur in one foot (or both if they are results of a previous founder episode). It can come on suddenly( with no feed change). Can be a result from any hoof trauma, a stone bruise, nail puncture, etc. and is the hoof's way of cleaning up the damage. It's just so painful because the hoof is rigid enough there's no room for extra fluid, so just before it pops like a giant pimple, it becomes very ouchy..just like a pimple on your face can hurt (and your skin is much more elastic and you don't even stand on your face LOL). Once the abscess pops, the pain is relieved immediately.

If your horse is abscessing, or foundering, soft footing will make him more comfortable. However, I would treat them slightly different.

Abscesses can be helped along with an espsom salt soak to draw out the pus. Your vet, if he deals with the hoof A LOT, could cut it to drain (though I don't recommend, because cutting before it's ready to pop doesn't let the blood vessels seal off the pus pocket and introducing foreign material can make the infection septic (go into the blood and spread)). A lot of vets don't mess with hooves as much, and while are capable of diagnosing a lot things, farriers DO tend to spot hoof issues more readily, as they are more focused on the foot, the vet has to know the whole body. So you might rather have a trimmer/farrier do the hoof work. Abscesses can occur anywhere in the foot.

If it's founder, being stall bound is the last thing you want. If it were my horse, I'd turn him out to exercise himself, trust me, if he's hurting, he won't be moving more than he can. Cut back his grain a little while he's out of commission (don't want to add to his problems) and keep his feet rasped every couple of weeks so the hoof can "reattatch" as it grows out. If you let it go 6-8weeks, the weak spot created by his laminitis episode will be easily made worse from mechanical leverage created by hoof growth. Once he's past the acute stage of pain, handwalking on firm, even surfaces will help speed that growth and healing. Lamitits is painful because the white line is detatching from the top (the wall is separating from coffin bone at the hairline where the inflammation is) and frequently the pain is actually from that "unzipping" of the connective white line. The sole isn't what's sore so much, until later, after the bone has rotated and is pressing through the sole material. If it's founder, an aggressive trim removing the wall at the toe to sole level will actually make him more comfortable, because the weight is now on the sole instead of the white line.

I would have another vet that specializes in hooves , or a well respected experienced trimmer/farrier take a look. Sounds more like an abscess at the moment to me.

Spastic_Dove 06-18-2008 04:28 PM


I had another vet come to the ranch today to look at him. He was feeling a bit better than yesturday and walked over to the fence to greet me. I also gave him a nice thick bed of shavings to lay down in.

When she looked at him, she said she did not think it was laminitis. She said that he had no digital pulse. When she looked at his feet, she said that the farrier did a good job but near his toes on all his feet, there were points that she said did not allow him to evenly distribute his weight over his hoof. She trimmed these with a hoof knife because when she used the hoof testers she said the same places she trimmed were where it was causing him pain and that now that he could distribute his weight he would not be so touchy.

She said also that she did not think it was tendonitis per say. She saw no swelling in the tendons themselves but in the tissue around the tedons. She said they were holding liquid because he didnt want to walk around.

She gave him an injection (A dirutive...I dont remember what it was called) but basically she said it was to bring blood back down through his legs.

She said to make sure he had plenty of water because of the injection, keep a nice soft area for him to walk in, spread out his hay, and try and switch to a straight grass hay.

Sorry if my posts have been confusing. I've been frantic ever since the word "laminitis" was mentioned

barefoothooves 06-18-2008 04:34 PM

Ahh, well I see.

Sounds like he's going to be just fiine! Diuretic? I bet that's the word. It's drug that makes your body secrete the excess caffeine can make you need to pee more often. I'm thinking it was "stocking up" in his legs, where just being inactive can cause leg swelling. Stalled horses get that sometimes. It's fairly harmless in itself, just a sign that he needs turnout, like the vet said.

Glad it's not laminitis and she tweaked the feet to make him more comfortable! I'm happy you were able to get another vet out and take care of it and give yourself peace of mind!

Ryle 06-19-2008 11:19 AM

My only concer n is that the second vet saw him while on 2g of Bute, so the lack of digital pulse, decreased soreness and decreased swelling in the legs could all have been due to the drugs. And with BOTH legs having problems at the same time it's more likely to be laminitis then some hoof bruise, abccess, etc.

So, I would still be very cautious and if he's not 100% better in a couple of days I would consider having the vet out for some x-rays

barefoothooves 06-19-2008 03:54 PM

Just want to shoot you a question, since you have some vet training. At that level of Bute, have you really seen that much of a reduction in detectable pulse while in Acute stage laminitis? I personally haven't seen it reduce it enough to mask it, but it certainly makes sense. In horses I've seen that were still in the Acute stage, bute didn't do much more than reduce the pain level slightly, but heat and pulse were still notable.

However, I do see that the sole isn't the painful part unil after the acute stage when there has been some significant rotation of the coffin bone. In the actue stage, the sole isn't the sore spot yet, so I would still lean towards and abscess. I thought the OP had said it was in one foot? I must have missed where the sole tenderness was in both feet, I thought it was the stocking up that was in both legs. And and abscess still brings us back to the bute dose and whether or not it would affect the pulse. I've not really checked to see the affect on digital pulses with bute and abscesses, and can't say one way or the other. :wink:

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