Your thoughts on a chronic hoof problem?
Okay, I'm new here, but I was hoping someone might have some advice for a chronic issue I have with my mare. I am not new to horses, but I have horses now for the first time in about 8 years. I have only had them since July. My mare is a 15.3 Shire/Paint cross, and I got her as a 3 in 1 deal, cheap coming along with my gelding. She had a colt at heals and is bred back. She was sold to me as just broodmare sound and not broke to ride. I was told she had a club foot on her rt rear. She came to me tremendously overgrown on her feet, and sorely in need of care - severely underweight and nursing an elephant of a baby, full of worms, teeth badly needing floated, you've all seen it before. Trying to balance getting her fed up enough to support her lactation and pregnancy and get some weight on her, without overdoing it was tricky but we have had no signs of laminitis. Now, onto the hoof issues. I've had my natural balance/barefoot trimmer working with her feet on a 4 week schedule since I got her, as well as exams and xrays by my vet. Her feet are structurally sound, other than being overgrown they were in remarkably good shape for the neglect she clearly suffered. She does not, my vet insists, have a club foot. What she DOES have is an old injury, likely a barbed wire fence, that cut through her coronet band, causing her rt rear to grow out with a crack, but nothing severe enough, they say, to hamper her riding ability as long as it is managed with regular trimming. After several months of re-hab with her I got both my trimmer and vets blessings to start riding. She's turned out to be an amazing mare, breaking her was a snap and she rides like a dream now. I do boot her when I ride. However, about once a week, whether I am riding or not, she has bad days with that hind foot and limps heavily overcompensating on her front left. She has chronic, deep thrush in that hind foot that nothing seems to clear up and I don't doubt that's a big part of the problem. Daily lysol soaks and daily application of antifungal/triple antibiotic mix has become a part of life, and I've tried just about every over the counter thrush remedy they sell at the local stores, and nothing seems to take care of it. I've not ridden her in over a month at this point, and few weeks back she developed a small abcess in the back of her frog/heel bulbs area that had me calling the vet out again. It cleared up very quickly, but it seems to me there is a bigger reason for this hoof to be such a chronic problem. Everyone insists based on appearance and Xrays, the hoof should be sound, yet it isn't. The vet did say that the crack in her hoof wall can make thrush a continual problem. This time of year, with mud being the norm in this part of the country, surely complicates things. The mare is turned out on 5 acres of cross-fenced pasture every day, with a lot of migrational movement throughout the day, and stalled in a clean dry stall every night. As a side note - the mare never limped more or seemed further aggravated by my riding, though I have not ridden her in some time because it bothers ME. She's not a heavy-hitting horse on the ground like some draft crosses - in fact with a little more work she seems to be gaited. I bought the mare with the belief that she couldn't be ridden, so not riding her is hardly the end of the world, but it would certainly be a perk since she IS such a nice, willing ride. Is the thrush the source of all evil? Do I need to just give her more time? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I would get a second opinion. Maybe send those x-rays to another vet or a clinic for a second look. For hooves, its usually something internal or has to do with trimming/ hoof care. Maybe post a picture of her hooves if you can. Ive never herd of lysol for the thrush. I have herd of using bleach and iodine though.
I second the *second opinion* vote. Never hurts to have another set of eyes. Could be some scar tissue in there that is causing the problem, or it's simply weakened by the old injury. Whatever the case, injuries in the hoof capsule can very well be career ending for many horses if not treated immediatley at the time. It's possible that the tendon sheath was penetrated and it's thickened from being infected at the time.
The chronic thrush is probably a symptom rather than the cause of the lameness. I'd say the old injury is hurting bad enough that she's not using herself correctly, mixed with the current weather you have, and viola, thrush.
I'm wondering if she really is okay to ride, and leaning toward her being a pasture pet as previously thought. If the wound was bad enough to give the foot a clubbed appearance, that makes me more inclined to think the tendon sheath was ruptured and infected long ago, and has healed back thickened and scarred.
Thanks so much for the ideas. I'm all for a second opinion, way out here in the boonies we have only ONE mobile vet that comes to my area, and since my trailer is ridiculously and stupidly huge it doesn't appeal to me to take her down to Indianapolis to be checked out at Purdue. I hadn't thought of sending her X-rays on to them, though, that's a good idea. I'll grab the camera and try to get some pictures of her foot to post on here tomorrow. With the mud, and being half draft she is heavily feathered so it can be hard to get a good look, but if I take a picture right after her soak I should be able to get a clear shot for you. The thrush is mostly affecting her frog itself, it just rots off. I was under the impression turn out in boots with a frog pad for some additional pressure might be good in this circumstance, but my trimmer is leaning towards wanting to cast her foot, and I'm not sure I'm on board with that. I think the mare's previous owner might have just been told she had a club foot, and just went with it - they had her less than a year and from best I can tell if she was not trimmed much in that time. After the last few months of working on it, the foot doesn't look clubbed at all, and the crack is in the back very near the heel, you have to kind of look for it. But it does continue to grow out that way, straight from the scar on her coronet so I figure that is a permanent condition. As I said, it wont be the end of the world if she can't be ridden, she's a nice enough mare to have around and she definitely throws gorgeous colts. Although she seems to have been bred back to back repeatedly, so after this spring she'll have some time off mothering as well.
Anyways, I'm just blithering now - I'll try to post some pictures tomorrow (if I can figure out how!) Thanks so much for the help!
maybe the feathering is accumalating all the wetness and dirt and steering it towards that crack that always seems to be contributing to the thrush? i dunno though. just guessing :P
anyhow, i wish you luck in your mare's recovery, and pics of all of them would be awesome! :)
A hoof cast works well if you still need to do some soaks. Might try something like CleanTrax or White Lightening instead of the Lysol, as the vapors will penetrate deeper than the liquid can. Worth a try, at least. The cast will help keep some phyiscal dirt away from the frog and crack, too, and add some stability to the hoof itself to give that crack a chance to fuse, if it is still possible. Sometimes with a nasty crack, if the hoof is flexed too much laterally, it can prevent it from mending. I realize that after all this time, it's probably too much to hope for in a seamless growth, but even with scar tissue, it should be able to have at least a thin seam that closes..it will always be a weak spot-the first to split and show signs of needing a trim, as you already knew. I've been working with the casts and getting really good results. Better than the old fashioned wiring together of the hoof wall, or shoes/screws and plate and epoxy.
Try the Clean Trax..it works! Casting would also relieve you of having to boot on/off every day. Your trimmer can apply pads with it, but for the sake of thrush, I'd leave them off. Too much stimulation before the thrush is knocked out can also just make her favor it anyway, so you would be spinning your wheels, so to speak.
Okay, I managed to get some pictures this morning of Freyja's bad foot while I was soaking her. They aren't great pictures - she was not pleased about it and I am not good at taking pictures of feet! But anyways here they are...
Her hoof looks relatively normal from this angle...still working her feet back from being so long but a huge improvement since she got here.
But you get to the outside of the foot and you can see the crack - it actually looks worse right now than normal because she popped part of the separated piece off the other day running in the pasture - it normally does just look like a crack, not the grand canyon like it looks like now! :D In the last picture I put up, you can see a bit of how it normall looks up at the top.
And from underneath, you can REALLY see how rotten her frog is, as well as the yucky bits still shedding off from her heel bulbs where she had the recent abscess - the abscess was in the central cleft between the heel bulbs, and after it drained off almost all of her frog fell off. She does have some false sole she is shedding off right now - at her last trim her trimmer elected to leave it and let it come off on it's own, giving her whatever extra protection she can use. Despite appearances she actually has a very nice, concave sole and good depth to her grooves.
She is due for her next trim the week after next (I keep the hoof wall rolled myself on a weekly basis, but I don't know enough about barefoot trims to feel comfortable with anything but weekly light rasping, my trimmer handles everything else.)
her heel on the one side is huge, i think shes bearing more weight on that side to compensate. never saw something like that. I would get hoof putty and try to reconstruct it. Ive never herd of casting a hoof. what dose that entail?
She does bear more weight on that side. A lot of it is still bringing back what was so overgrown, her feet were so long when I got her and my trimmer hasn't wanted to take too much at once and do her in. At a walk she is fine, but she turns that foot out a bit at a trot, and she also has difficulty turning to the left on her "bad" days. Her bars are so overgrown, I am not sure why my trimmer doesn't do anything about it, I guess maybe she leaves them for additional support? (As I said, I'm still learning about barefoot trimming, I don't know much yet).
I am not really expecting that the crack can be healed, if you look in the last picture you can kind of see the pink scar that runs through her coronet and on up, I have just had the impression the crack is permanent, her hoof just grows out of the coronet with that crack, so I don't know if putty would help...
putty would help create a more stable area for new hoof growth. she may bear weight more evenly if something is filling the crack. Ive never herd of a permenant crack in the hoof but anything is possible.
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