not abscess--not navicular either--UPDATE
Xrays showed the hole up her hoof wall was very deep; the vet said the mare's soles were very, very thin. The wetness, lack of hoof support, probably the cause of bruising---there was evidence of some deterioration to the front of the coffin bone. (He had a box of horse-foot parts so he could show exactly what he was talking about.)
Also showing up: old fractures; the start of ringbone; irregularities here and there. But the navicular bone looked okay--for now anyway.
And after all was said and done, there's still this tiny doubt that the "bad things" are causing the pain. Or that what looks okay really is. Oh well!
The plan is to have my farrier (she'll be consulting with the vet) cut away the hoof to the "living hoof" and cast it, encouraging the growth down to adhere properly. And padded shoes. I asked if that wouldn't make her soles even thinner, or more tender; but the vet felt that, in this wet area, they might make them stronger, but she had to be kept as dry as possible. It's raining as I write. The vet also didn't like giving her so much bute. None, if possible. So my little horse is kind of sore right now, but having her 2-hours grazing (in the rain) and happy for now.
I hope those of you who, like me, hesitate at calling the vet, go for the x-rays at the first go-round. Would have saved me a couple hundred dollars, and a lot of guesswork.
What I mostly got out of it is: Exercise! From day-one; not only to strengthen but to allow development of inner foot structures that will in turn allow "good" adjustments later in life.
That the horse adjusts to environment as much as a plant---constantly changing.
Also, that after about 6 years of age, the amount of work he can do (that is, the stresses he can adjust to) is fairly fixed, limited perhaps by the structures of his hooves through damage, or heredity.
So you can likely "bring back" a horse that was started right; but when you have a horse whose early life was marked with injury and poor nutrition (like my little horse) the best you can hope for is light riding. And/or good companionship. Yet exercise is still important, as is the environment he lives in.
I think while there is a fair bit of good anecdotal stuff that shouldn't be discounted, there needs to be lots more scientific study like this of 'rehabbed' feet that are now sound & strong & IME it's far from hopeless to try to rehab hooves that have early damage, but the jury's out as to specifics.
I like your thoughts! I do try to think positive, because I've seen horses recover and/or adjust from awful injuries.
Thought you might be interested in the wrap-cast. I'm sorry I don't have a picture of the cast after it was put on (very cute, bright yellow!). The crystal Kopertox is new here---a lady with the same problem as mine got it from her homeland, Australia. The casting itself is fairly new here, shoeing being the usual procedure. But my farrier doesn't like to nail on shoes, especially with compromised feet. The vet wanted both feet done, because of "thin soles" but my farrier said the one thing bad about the cast, it was quite slippery, and she felt it would be safer if she had one foot to catch herself with.
In the initial cut, you can see there IS evidence of abscessing! The Kopertox would certainly help keep that under control.
And she's hardly limping today--not at the walk at all! Yay!
I'm interested in how the vet worked out sole depth? Did he mark the sole with something radiolucent? Eg. apex of frog, outer rim of sole, etc? I wonder, that they look quite concave, so if he marked the frog apex but not elsewhere, rads could possibly give a false impression of sole depth. But anyway, that's just a possibility.
His heels are quite high, a bit underrun and the toe is stretched, so I'd be considering working more assertively to correct those things - tho if he's 'clubby' it may be a matter of managing what you've got.
I would personally be inclined to open up/clean out that 'abscess' hole a bit more, so long as it wasn't into sensitive tissue. I'd be cautious about the Koppertox if the infected area extends into live tissue too, as these sort of things can be too harsh & damaging to good tissue(I don't know Koppertox personally), but I would be treating the infection diligently between trims. Depending on environment etc, IME it's probably not necessary to do it daily, but I'd say every 3 days at least, should treat & keep further infection at bay to allow healthy growth to come down.
Loosie, I SO appreciate your comments.:-)
The farrier DID clean out the black areas more, these were pictures of the first cuts. Looked so drastic to me. It looked as if the infection was in fact not "live" any more, not sensitive either.
I've used Koppertox before, it's very strong and effective, but a bit of a mess. I used to use iodine a lot because the vets seem to prefer it, but now I have to use Betadine instead (no more iodine since crystal meth) and it seems pretty weak; but I use it anyway. The crystalized Koppertox was mixed with vaseline and spread on.
I'm confused about the sole opinions: this mare always had "hard" feet---that is, when her hooves grow out they don't flare so much, they raise her off the ground. I got the sense that the concaveness was an indication of the thin sole---??? I'm going to pick up a copy of the radiograms, see what they show.
Thanks again for your observations. The good news is, the mare is getting sounder every day. The cast treatment is supposed to go on for just two more trimmings.
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