Low Plantar Angles Resolved - Time for horse to recover? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Low Plantar Angles Resolved - Time for horse to recover?

I bought a young TWH mare 5 months ago. When I looked her over, I noticed very long toes on all 4 hooves, very elongated hooves, almost no heel under coronet bands, and she had clearly not had any significant hoof care in months (lots of dead frog tissue and overgrown bars on soles). But when I took her for an easy ride in the ring, I didn't see or feel any problems.

I had her shoes removed for transport to my barn. Then I had my farrier trim her fronts (arrived with 45 degrees or sharper) and rears (arrived sharper than 50 degrees). My farrier trimmed her to increase the angles as much as we agreed was safe, trimmed her again 6 weeks later, then shod her again to allow her heels to grow out.

While riding her in the ring about a month ago - just flat walk or running walk, her hocks tended to bow outward (laterally), she would often take short strides with her left hind leg, and she would occasionally "dip" both hind legs - as though she suddenly lost strength. To me, it was obvious that she was in pain. Also: I noticed that her hind legs often appeared "stiff" when walking in the videos I took of her. And standing at rest, she often tended to "park-out" in a "sawhorse" posture. I have since learned that these are all symptoms of Low Plantar Angles. But she gives me no resistance when I manipulate her hind legs (no obvious signs of pain in fetlocks, hocks, or stifles).

I had my vet do a thorough gait exam. She basically determined that my mare had pain, but couldn't identify the specific area(s) - feet, fetlocks, hocks, stifles, or hips / pelvis.

I did some reading on low plantar angles, and am fairly convinced that that is the issue with my mare. I put her on stall rest, trimmed her two more times, and left her barefoot. Her last trim took her almost to what I believe are the ideal angles for her conformation (approx 50 deg in fronts and 56 deg in rears). She now has about an inch of heel under her coronet bands, her hoof walls seem to be gradually expanding, and hooves are more rounded (not elongated, as they were when I got her).

My question: I recently took her for a brief ride in the ring (flat walk and running walk) and filmed it. The bowing of her hocks is reduced - but not gone. The stride length of her left hind is only slightly shorter than right hind (and only intermittent). But I did see her do the hind-end "dip" thing twice in 15 minutes. So I know she still has some pain.

So my question is this, if anyone can answer it: Will it take very long for her pastern and canon bones (and ligaments) to adjust to her new feet (and, ideally, positive plantar angles)? She still shows some signs of pain, apparently. Should I keep her on stall rest a while longer?

FYI, she's still growing (has a much better diet, and appetite than when I got her), she's building bulk and developing muscle mass, and is on a supplement with MSM, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Hyaloronic Acid, and Hydrolyzed Collagen).

Thanks!

Last edited by RichardX; 08-16-2019 at 01:50 AM. Reason: typos
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post #2 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 02:00 AM
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A video would be helpful.

It's hard to know exactly what you're describing when you say the horse "dips," or looks stiff in the hind end.
However, you might be describing a horse that has intermittent upward fixation of the patellas (IUFP) or what people call locking or slipping stifles. It is generally caused by a straight hind leg conformation, and is a fairly common issue in some gaited breeds.

This issue is made worse if a horse has delayed breakover or low angled hooves with low heels, as you describe.
What it feels like under saddle is like one back corner drops out from underneath you. The horse in this video shows the issue at around 13 seconds.

The stifle catches over the lump in the bone that is part of the locking mechanism when the horse stands to rest. It is supposed to glide and never catch when the horse is in motion, but some horses have this problem. Often it can be resolved with conditioning, since when the muscles tighten up they can shorten the tendon so it doesn't catch. Fixing the hoof angles can help quite a bit too.

Conditioning that is helpful includes stepping over poles, going up and down hills (which can be very difficult for the horse at first), and lots of trotting. Small circles should be avoided until the horse is improved because they can often exacerbate the issue.
If the issue is actually locking stifles, stall rest is very unhelpful. Usually horses improve the most with 24/7 turnout, and hilly pasture is especially good. The condition is painful because every time the tendon slips over the bone it causes some inflammation. However, movement is a big part of the cure.
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post #3 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Gottatrot. All good info. The "dip she does varies. I'll post 2 clips. In one of them - 2 months ago, she seemed to do a sudden "crouch" with both hinds at the same time, then resume her walk. In the second one (today) she apparently digs her RH toe in, her fetlock rolls over, and she recovers with her LH leg.


From info I read on DVM 360, low plantar angles can cause pain all the way up the leg - fetlocks, hocks, stifles, and hips / pelvis. So since I'm sure her original hoof conditions were bad, I want to make sure I can rule-out low plantar angles first.



How do I upload clips? Only youtube? Can't upload an mpeg
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post #4 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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But I appreciate your conditioning advice. She does fine going up and down hills (although I haven't taken her beyond the ring for the last month). Pole exercises sound good too - haven't gotten to that with her yet. But I'm glad you agree that turn-out in hilly terrain is good (that's what she's doing as of yesterday - a change from a month of stall rest with daily walks).



So you would encourage me to take her back on trail and do some hill work and stop the stall rest? I'd love it if that's the best way to go. BTW, are you a DVM? (sounds like it)
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Last edited by RichardX; 08-16-2019 at 02:49 AM. Reason: additional info
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post #5 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Updated



The first clip was in May, when she did a sort of a sudden "crouch" with both hind legs, then recovered and resumed her walk. The second one was from today, when her RH toe dug in the ground, her fetlock rolled, and she recovered with her LH leg. I can post more clips showing the stiffness and short LH stride, (and lateral bowing of her hocks),she exhibited more in the past.

I appreciate your conditioning advice. She does fine going up and down hills (although I haven't taken her beyond the ring for the last month). Pole exercises sound good too - haven't gotten to that with her yet. But I'm glad you agree that turn-out in hilly terrain is good (that's what she's doing as of yesterday - a change from a month of stall rest with daily walks).

So you would encourage me to take her back on trail and do some hill work and stop the stall rest? I'd love it if that's the best way to go. And I'm sure my baby would be happier too. She's sick of being "in jail". BTW, are you a DVM? (sounds like it)
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Last edited by RichardX; 08-16-2019 at 03:10 AM.
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post #6 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Second Clip

Second clip, from today:


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post #7 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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Short LH Stride and Stiffness

Here's a clip from May that shows her short LH stride and what looks like general stiffness in RH as well. She's clearly favoring one leg in this clip. Note that most of this issue seems to be gone.


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post #8 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 04:43 AM
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No, I'm not a vet, just have learned a lot about locking stifles since my horse has issues with them.

That does not look like locking stifles to me. It does appear very serious, and I'm a bit concerned that your vet could not be more specific. I'd suggest taking the horse to a respected equine hospital in your area for a lameness evaluation. This appears to be something more major such as a pelvic fracture, degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis (DLSD), or some other serious tendon or musculoskeletal issue. The horse looks very unsound to me, and perhaps does need stall rest or limited turnout until you find out more information.

I will say this does not appear to be limited to a hoof issue, and more likely the hoof angles were that way due to a serious issue such as DSLD.
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post #9 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 10:54 AM
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I don't see DSLD but I am wondering if her SI joint is having issues. My TWH will do this at times and it is usually an SI joint issue
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post #10 of 45 Old 08-16-2019, 12:37 PM
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Do you have any pictures of the horse standing still? Your horse looks worse in the recent videos. I sort of suspect dsld, but perhaps it is some other lameness issue. Based on the most recent video, i would not be riding that horse. It definitely looks like more than sticky stifles.
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advice needed , farriers , plantar angle , vererinarians

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