first signs of foundering
I have a 8yr old mare that in her past had foundered in all 4 hoofs. I was told that she could have been very sick and that could have caused it. I have only had my girl since August of 2012 I have had her trimmed and skhe is getting another trim this week. My farrier said to have her trimmed regularly which I plan to do. I give her a hoof supplement and have taken her off grain but in its place she gets a grass pellet along with her hay. I keep her on a controlled feeding. Dont want her fat, lol. I'm new to horse ownership and want to do things right for this girl. But my biggest worry is for her to founder again. So I want to know what are the first signs of the problem so I can make any nessesary changes to correct it or keep it from happening. Sorry for any Mis-spellings , thanks in advance
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You are doing a lot correct already... keep her diet under control and make sure she gets her regular work in so she doesn't get over weight and she will be fine. Foundering can be avoided and doesn't have to be scary. I have a pony that has cushings and is prone to founder if I blink, but since I have him on a good diet, feet trimmed regularly, and my kids ride him at least 5 times a week- no problems for almost 3 years now.
First signs will be heat in the hooves, ouchy feet, pulses in the feet. It will be useful to get your vet or a knowledgable horse person to show you how to feel for pulses.
On first onset, coldhose the feet and call a vet.
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Good for you being proactive! That should avoid/greatly reduce the likelihood & severity of any further issues.
Yes, horses can suffer laminitis(aka founder) from a range of causes, including one off toxicity/illness or such, but it's commonly due to dietary/metabolic issues, so controlling the diet is a good move. See Home & Katy Watts | Safergrass.org for more info.
Horses generally need trimming at least every 6 weeks on average, but many will need more frequent trimming & especially if their hooves are compromised in some way. If they are laminitic, it's especially important that they're not peripherally loaded - carrying the load on their walls - but that the walls are relieved.
First symptoms... read up on 'sub clinical' or 'low grade' laminitis. People talk about the horse being obviously uncomfortable, heat in the hooves & a bounding pulse generally. Some even still think a horse can't be 'foundering' unless it's in the classic founder stance. But if you pay attention to the early, minor ones, hopefully you can avoid any major issues that go with those signs & as someone said, then it's not a huge deal. I'd be paying attention to horizontal rings or ridges in the hooves, flaring, stretched 'white line', thin, flat soles, heels appearing to grow quicker than the rest, and if she's less comfortable on concrete or hard ground, or straight after the farrier, assuming a good job has been done(that last one can also be a 'symptom' of bad farriery).
If you would like an opinion on her hooves, you can post some hoof pics. See the link for tips in my signature below.
Oh thank you so much! I'm learning so much about horse care and so far with all everyone has told me I seem to be doing things right. I'll take some pics today of her hooves and some after trim, and post later. Thank you again to everyone
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Not all horses go into the classic founder stance and some of them even pass the "hoof tester" test.
One of my horses foundered severely in March, 2012.
Initially he had the "ouchees" when he walked across the stones, then he started to lay down in his stall a lot in the morning, before turn out. He would never lay down outside but he spent more time than normal laying down when he came in.
He never went into the founder stance and, as bad as he foundered, he should have.
The vet said he had "some pulse" but not enough pulse to match what the X-rays showed:shock:
Meaning horses are stoic by nature but they have varying levels of tolerance, like humans.
My horse is low in the pecking order and the Bully horse is third. The bully horse likes nothing better than to corner this horse and bite/kick the snot out of him.
Looking back, Joker separated himself from the herd, during turnout, at the time he felt his most vulnerable from the founder. That was before I realized what was really going on and took him out of the pasture. He ended up spending about 10 months in the yard and one front pasture, where he could see the other horses but was safe from the bully.
So that's another very early sign to look for - the horse going off by itself and not wanting to be in the herd.
This is a great article that shows the horse owner how to take a digital pulse. First Aid: How to Take Your Horse’s Digital Pulse at the Fetlock
It is not that easy, so you may want to practice and start a log while you're practising.
Starting a log while the horse is healthy will give you baseline and help you quickly recognize when the pulse might be headed south.
Hope this helps:-)
Curious that you think he 'should have' been in the 'founder stance' & had a bounding pulse Walkin? Why I ask is because these things generally go with acute laminitic attacks IME(as in major inflammation) and if the horse had been 'ouchy', more inclined to lie down for some time, and rads showed major changes/rotation, this is more of a chronic, long term gradual problem. It's quite possible(& very common) that the horse never had a major laminitic 'attack' but had long term 'low grade' laminitis that went unrecognised until it had got to a certain point.
It's also possible for just bad mechanics - nothing systemic/metabolic at all - to cause the problem - eg. hooves that are neglected(not at all thinking your horses were BTW Walkin) or trimmed with high heels &/or long toes commonly cause 'rotation', but with good management & trimming, of course this can be corrected.
OP, it is unfortunately still common for even many equine vets to think of things like major rotation, 'sinking'(of P3 within the capsule) and penetration of P3 through the sole(yup, that does happen!) as incurable. I suspect this is because a lot of people still think of the hoof as a peripheral loading device - the walls must support the horse. The good news is, that is not at all the case & even coffin bone penetration doesn't necessarily lead to... a coffin for the horse these days. Not to say it's easy to treat these things by any means, often takes intensive care, so far better to pick up the early signs & I reckon then we'd avoid all but the rare major cases.
Oh & re the digital pulse, yes, it's hard to feel usually. Easier if you feel for it in a weighted foot standing on hard ground. There are also other spots aside from the back of the sesamoids that you can feel it, which may be easier, such as about half way down the forearm on the outside. But if the horse has major inflammation/pain, you're bound(pardon the pun!:-P) to feel it easily.
Excellent news! Re the degree of 'rotation', I'm curious how it was measured - the dorsal wall or the ground surface? Was/is the LF a bit clubby?
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