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Need Help solving this mystery lameness
Im not the owner of this horse nor am I the horses trimmer so I can only do what I can do but Im very stumped. Owner has had him about 5 months so not much history. When she bought him he had a severely sore back and was told he was gimping down a gravel road barefoot. New owner put shoes on him and really hasnt noticed any issues. About 4 weeks ago, right after his last shoeing he started showing signs of soreness on front left. I rode him and could feel him being off at the trot, put him in the stall, he kept pointing the front left. No heat, no swelling. That foot is also slightly bull nosed. We decided to pull his shoes, let front heels looked balanced, not run forward, no long toe, the start of one bar was hitting the shoe, small blood spot while filing on one heel. Thrush under the frog towards the back of the foot. I could stick my hoof pick down in there a little and feel it gushy and a small pocket under the frog. Mild central sulcus thrush. Left hind, deep central sulcus thrush. I would think that he would be lame on the hind from that thrush, which he could be but he is noticeably lame on the front left and keeps pointing it after any work. Also a bit resistant to stand on the front left while working on the front right. Front right, heel imbalanced, actually rolled up under the shoe, I think the farrier was struggling to get the shoe on as the horse does not want to stand on front left for long. Hind right, no issues. Oh and large frogs on all 4 feet. Im just trying to help the owner to figure this out so she can get the horse sold as he isnt working for her. But she is going to end up giving him away with this lameness and we sure dont want him to get passed around. And yes, next step is the vet. Owner is reluctant to put more money into him but thats her decision so we will leave it at that. any ideas?
needs xrays & a vet. when a horse points a front leg indicates a great deal of pain.
I agree completely that would be the ideal situation but I cannot make that happen. Im hoping someone might have some ideas of what could be going on.
Well, if she wants this horse sound for sale, she'd better be prepared to roll up her sleeves and protect her investment.
First thing to do is to go after the thrush. A couple of White Lightning treatments will go along way to clearing infection deeply and helping to dry up the hoof.
Where you were digging with your hoof pick, use a Q-Tip instead, in the cleaning process. Wash and scrub the hoof with Dawn Dish soap, using a toothbrush to get in any deep cracks, like the central sulcis. Use the Q-Tips to gently clean down at the bottom of those cracks well. Thrush can hide down there and continue eating when you think everything is fine at the surface. Getting those feet spanking clean is half the battle. If you have any cracks deep enough to hold a cotton ball, (wedged in there with a hoofpick and medicated), it will continue to medicate and block dirt from getting in there and stewing again.
I'd also pull the horse off the pasture immediately and put on a hay only diet. This is the time of the seasonal rise, which usually sees IR horses having problems and on double/triple their Prescend doses by now. It does not take long for the grass to affect the feet in a sensitive horse, so remove this possible aggravation. An abscess could be brewing.
Lots of movement is still important, though, and so is a good balanced trim.
You get these feet cleaned up and dried out and remove the pasture, you should see positive results. If not, call the vet in. Sounds like you care more about this horse than she does. Kudos to you!
thanks for responding missyclare. I do have some white lightening I can take over and do a soak. Even though the frog on the lame foot looks quite nice from the top (not perfect, does have central sulcus thrush, mildly) do you think its possible that the thrush eating under the frog could cause the lameness? Of course who knows how deep it goes in there. Of course I wasnt going to pick it too deep with my hoof pick. It was quite a discovery as the barn was quiet and as I picked although I felt the hoof pick drop into a pocket, I could hear the gushy yuck. I guess my question about the thrush and lameness is, how bad does the thrush have to be to cause lameness? I have seen a lot of thrush over the years but I dont think I have seen a horse go lame from it. I do like this horse and I really want him to be in a home where he would be loved. If I had the room and the need, he would be with me. Even though he was so uncomfortable, he was so good to get his shoes off. He tried very hard to be a good boy as he had to stand on the sore foot. I was pretty darn proud of him.
I don't think thrush is the culprit here. A horse pointing the toe and unwilling to put any weight on the leg indicates something wrong inside the foot. Thrush can make them tender footed, but not pointing toed lame. I'm thinking possibly navicular, but the owner won't know for sure without x-rays.
He isnt "unwilling" to put weight on the bad foot, just not a ton of weight for long. When he walks around his stride seems fairly even, and as usual, much more noticeable at the trot. Oh yes, I agree, navicular is a good possibility and no way to know without xrays. I did try the hoof testers on him although I know that is not a definate diagnosiss. I could not get any response from the sole or the frog. I did mention to the owner that he could be navicular or could have possibly fractured a bone? I would love to have him go to a vet and get xrays and I will be happy to haul him. Does anyone have an opinion on the bad foot being bull nosed? I have read that can be a sign of negative palmer angle, any thoughts on that? Also the very plump frogs. Now that he is bare, that frog is really hitting the ground, almost too much.
Still saying the same thing. Get clean. Use Q-Tips to gently explore and get clean right down to the bottom of any cracks and along the length of it. Thrush can sore a horse overnight, make no mistake. There could be an abscess brewing as well that may account for the soreness. Do not allow him to be sore. Pad and boot him. You must protect the bone at all costs. Its not just the hard ground, its his descending weight that is also a biggie.
With deep cracks you probably have narrowed heels, which folds up the back of the hoof like an accordian and makes those cracks deep. There should be no central sulcis crack at all. It should be just mere depression on top of the frog. Shove medicated cotton balls in there to continue medication and the crack will get shallower as the hoof heals. When the cotton balls won't stay in there anymore, now you're getting somewhere.
When the thrush is eliminated (and that means keep after it, or it will come back) just getting rid of the infection will see the heels spread, and frog bloom. That frog may not be as big as you think. It could be a false covering over edema fluid that needs to be drained in the process. Your adventure with the hoof pick and finding a squishy hole may be evidence of that. Use a needless syringe to flush it out with epsom salts/water...nothing caustic. If it is an abscess, you'll chase it away, prolonging it, while it finds another place to drain. You just want to pull and clean.
It sounds like you are going to be doing this diligent homework on this horse, plus providing your own WL. I'd be asking for some sort of return on your efforts.
A good balanced trim is also important. There may be a long breakover pulling down on P3's nose and thinning the sole, or excessive bars jamming up into the corium that may have caused this trauma, or both. A bull nosed hoof is a sign of imbalance indeed and another aggravation.
Regardless, get cleaned and dried up, comfortable for proper movement and development and lots of movement to develop and help spit this infection out. This should help a lot to resolve things, including the navicular suspicion if there has not been previous damage involved to this area.
This horse has to go through a degree of rehab and the owner is going to have to find patience. If the owner was more aware and protecting her investment, things wouldn't have gotten this bad. The farrier is only there for an hour, the rest of the homework is her responsibility.
That is sad. I hate to ask the obviouse, is he/can he be kept in a dry area whilst you/the owner treat the thrush?
I really agree, the horse needs to be seen by a trained professional.
Could you try to discuss your concerns with the owner or try and show them some information? If the horse isn't treated, it may only get worse and end up costing them more money in the long run. There isn't really a lot you can do, specially because it isn't your horse.
I hope the situation can be solved and the horse can return to being happy and healthy in no time. It sounds like the owner does care about the horse, but like every owner has concerns about money. :)
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