Burning a hoof to cure founder?
Recently my mom's horse foundered... stressful for all of us, but it also led our neighbor Nick to tell us a strange and interesting story that he said took place about thirty years ago.
According to Nick, he had once owned a pony that unfortunately had badly foundered-- the coffin bone was sticking out the bottom of the hoof, and the poor pony was clearly done for. He arranged to have the horse sent to be put down, but while he was waiting, an old farrier came to him and told him that by burning the hoof-- actually setting it on fire-- he could cure the founder.
Nick then poured formaldehyde on the pony's foundered hoof and lit it aflame and, lo and behold, the coffin bone turned right back up into place!
I am not a trained farrier, and I admit I don't know much about horses, but neither I nor my mother had ever heard of a treatment like this, and I couldn't find any evidence of it on the web. I'm tempted to call B.S. on Nick's story, but if it DID work, it might be livesaving advice to someone with a badly foundered horse...
Has ANYONE heard of this treatment, or a similar story, and can anyone confirm or deny its usefulness?
No. No, no, no.
Formaldehyde will deaden the nerve endings in a hoof, so it is sometimes used on foundered and otherwise foot-lame horses to mask the worst of the pain (this per my farrier, who says the owners of crippled-up halter horses swear by the stuff).
But setting it on fire? What in tarnation is that supposed to accomplish? And how could it magically reset the coffin bone to its natural position? It couldn't. There's no "miracle cure."
Once the coffin bone actually comes through, well, it's pretty much over, though I suppose it's theoretically possible to wait the horse out for it to grow a new hoof, if you can somehow miraculously keep it doped up on enough painkillers for that to occur. I've heard of horses living after sloughing their entire hooves, so I guess this wouldn't be much different. The recovery period would be long, arduous, and torturous for the horse, and it would never truly be sound (and certainly not rideable) again, but I imagine it would be able to walk and have some semblance of a quality of life once it was all said and done.
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