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An MRI will solve nothing, if the vet doesnt know what they are looking at. In the long run it is always cheaper to have the correct diagnosis, then throw darts. With 1000 invested you should have had at least an answer as to why, what it will take to fix is another story. In the 30 years I have had my same vet, I have never not had a why something is what it is, within a day or two at the most. Most times its within the hour.
 

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My dad's mare suffered with navicular, and other problems, over the eight years we had her.

He ended up spending money on every kind of treatment through a bogus vet. Three years he spent rehabbing her after an unrelated operation on her back leg, through other lameness issues and getting fit.

Changed vet, vet AND farrier went through a treatment plan TOGETHER.

Shoes are not evil. They could possibly make your horse more comfortable. Why would you choose NOT to explore that option?
 

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Discussion Starter #23
My dad's mare suffered with navicular, and other problems, over the eight years we had her.

He ended up spending money on every kind of treatment through a bogus vet. Three years he spent rehabbing her after an unrelated operation on her back leg, through other lameness issues and getting fit.

Changed vet, vet AND farrier went through a treatment plan TOGETHER.

Shoes are not evil. They could possibly make your horse more comfortable. Why would you choose NOT to explore that option?
I had a consult with a farrier who came out and fitted Vinnie with hoof boots with pads to see if they made him more comfortable (she said she always does this before shoeing, to see what kind of shoes/pads would help the most). It didn't make a marked difference. This is why she was leaning more towards the abscess being the problem.
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In the other thread you posted this:
BugZapper- shoes are a bandaid which contribute to the issue. If he needs them, I will use them, but they cause heel contraction, poor heel bulb quality, and ruin the digital cushion of the foot.
well, those statements are is compeletely, utterly wrong. the right KIND of THERAPEUTIC shoeing can:
1) reduce / correct any abnormal the forces that caused the bone spurs in the first place, and thereby ease the pain (NOT covering up anything but rather CORRECTING the causes)
Consider my own painful bone spur in my heel.... by wearing the right kind of shoes the pain is gone, not numbed, but gone because the MECHANICS that cause pulling on the tendon attached to the spur is gone. ,Its the SAME thing in a horses navicular bone sours. There is a ligament attached to those spurs, and every time that gets pulled on as the horse moves forward or makes a turn, it pulls on the ligament attachment to those spurs. Special shoes can help the foot move around in the ground easier as the horses leg moves reducing that pull. It is not a bandaid of any sort, it is a TREATMENT. ,
2) The right KIND of shoeing can ENHANCE the function of the entire back of the foot, create more health in the frog and digital cushion and even widen the heels.

Many times I have gotten new, shod clients with contracted heels and puny frogs who had the wrong KIND if shoeing. I simply changed to a different shoeing and in six months to a year had a really healthy foot. IN SHOES the whole time.

3) The right kind of shoes can assist the horse in his movement while reducing the stresses in all the structures around the navicular bone and coffin joint, thereby assisting HEALING .

And by all this I do not mean plain flat shoes, or bar shoes or other "traditional" navicular treatment shoeing .

You would need a farrier who is experienced in all the available options and alternative materials , NOT just someone who can forge fancy shoes.

The most usual GOOD shoeing treatments are a simple plastic Stewart Clog, or a combination of a full roller motion type shoe of some type with added frog support, or even a full adjustable EDSS system for a while until the inflamed tissues around the bone settle down .

For success, frog support should be customized to the individual horse, dependant on where the frog can take a load without discomfort and where it can.
The TRIM MUST be done right as well in preparation for the shoes.traditional hoof balancing/trimming methods for traditional shoeing do not work.


So anyway ,There are far better TREATMENT shoeing options available that are not even close to the old ways of doing it. The people with barefoot websites that condemn ALL shoeing across the board do not have a clue about what constitutes really GOOD therapeutic shoeing . They have only seen incorrect shoeing. And sadly in some parts of the country, those are the only farriers availalble.


I coined saying about treating lameness a long time ago and have included it in all my lectures about barefoot trimming.

"Barefoot is better than bad shoeing, but GOOD shoeing is often better than barefoot".
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Thanks Patty for the info. But how do I know if a farrier is doing it the "good" way or the "bad" way? I thought I had a good trimmer and she gouged out his bars after he came up lame which made him 100 times worse. I quickly found another trimmer who said his feet were too short and needed to grow. I am scared to trust people now.. Hence why I resorted to reading as much as I can.
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One way to tell if the farrier has an understanding of the newest research is looking at their work .

There is a clear difference between "traditional" farrier work and farrier work based on newer ,better research.

If the shoes are constantly fit to the end of the toes and they are flat shoes , then the farrier is shoeing the old way. If the ends of the hoof's heels are noticeably forward of the widest part of the frog, the farrier is not addressing heels in a healthy manner. If the farrier favors any type of bar shoes for lameness treatment , he is shoeing the old way.

On the other hand if the farrier is consistently trimming heels back where they belong, its a good thing.
If the farrier is making sure the breakover of ALL his shoes (where the shoe rolls or ends) is not more forward than an inch in front of the frog,even if it means setting shoes way back under the toe, then he understands. If he is also using mostly shoes with a rounded or bevelled edge, he understands the importance of reducing leverage.

Go to the ELPO site (Home) and study the hoof mapping, and the articles and diagrams on hoof distortion. Then if you understand those, you can easily assess a farriers work to see if they are still doing he old stuff, or have a clue about the newer stuff.

If you feel bold, Ask for before and after pictures . And if you feel REALLY bold, Ask them what veterinary and farrier conferences they attend each year. (Bad answer is the American farriers Association convention if that is the one they go to) Good answers are the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners), and the ELPO International Lameness conference.
Farrier 'Forging contests' are NOT a good answer because they promote BAD shoeing principles .

However your best bet is a vet who understands the newer options , NOT prescribing bar shoes ) will look at hoof form and balance first and foremost , and can then suggest a farrier.
 

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Also since you are on the east coast I doubt there are any certified ELPO farriers near you . BUT if you can find some one who has worked with Dr Ric Redden in Kentucky, they may serve you well. Dr. Redden developed uses the 4 point system, which is similar but not exactly the same as the ELPO guidelines, and can be effective. He developed a therapeutic "Rail" shoe which is based on the same principles as the Equine Digit Support system, just not adjustable like EDSS.
 

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Hear hear, Patty! I agree with what you have to say, and IMO it's absolutely worth continuing to search for that mythical good farrier(no matter what stage/situation you're in with your horse) but that it's a HUGE clincher, that the vast majority of farriers don't seem to have a clue about all that. Therefore your bottom line 'barefoot is better than bad shoeing...' is what it generally comes down to. The only one I've ever met here, who *claimed* to have gone to the States & trained with Ovnicek, did a horrible job, squared off toes, used NB rims with no padding... Another farrier decided they were better off going to the states for a few months to learn some 'modern' shoeing method than do a local farrier course & I've only seen very average & imbalanced work from them... are a couple of good 'traditional' farriers, but that's the best we get. Well, there is one fantastic & knowledgeable one I know, but he's not that local & run off his feet... don't know why ;-)
 

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first i would get a new vet--the others who have said this are right, your vet seems unable to solve the situation so there is really no choice but to move on...also, while this goes on, i would write to this blog owner you linked to up there and explain your problem in lots of detail and ask what she would do...if you follow their ways then i would seek their advice...then you can find out once and for all whether it is the right path to follow for your horse...good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #30
first i would get a new vet--the others who have said this are right, your vet seems unable to solve the situation so there is really no choice but to move on...also, while this goes on, i would write to this blog owner you linked to up there and explain your problem in lots of detail and ask what she would do...if you follow their ways then i would seek their advice...then you can find out once and for all whether it is the right path to follow for your horse...good luck!!
Luvmydrafts- thanks for chiming in! I have talked to her over email, but she emphasized that without seeing my horse she can only give general advice regarding trims, diets, turn out, etc (as she strongly believes lameness is a puzzle where all have to work together to fix a problem).
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Its very likely that the abscess is still active. You need to wet poultice it until it is 100% drained, then dry poultice for a week to allow it to harden up. If you can't wait for the hardening up stage then pack the hole with Cottonwool soaked in Stockholm tar. This will seal the hole preventing dirt from getting in and setting up a further infection.

Her is a cheap and tough poultice boot - I go to the local garage and get an old inner tube.

 

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Discussion Starter #33
Ah! Went today and he got his wrapping off AGAIN!!! I'm trailering him to the vet tomorrow for a shot, maybe they can take a look at it and see if I need antibiotics.
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Ah! Went today and he got his wrapping off AGAIN!!! I'm trailering him to the vet tomorrow for a shot, maybe they can take a look at it and see if I need antibiotics.
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Try the boot I posted - mine live out and it survives a long time and doesn't come off.

Be careful about antibiotics as they will settle the problem but not if there is a foreign object or dirt in the wound. I used to get good results with the little antibiotic syringes they have for cows with mastitis, you wash the foot well then squeeze the ointment into the hole
 

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^^^^That could work but antibiotics given any other way usually won't as the abscess is too isolated from any blood vessels. Its going to be sitting in a pocket and putting increasing pressure on the sensitive tissue as it grows bigger
When they opened up on the bottom of the hoof our farrier used to tell us to plug the hole with Stockholm tar to prevent anything new getting up there
 

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Discussion Starter #36
The vet came yesterday, and I was at work (it was originally going to be after work, but the time changed and the barn manager held him for me). Sadly, I wasn't able to be there to give the new vet his history, so he started from the ground up and did a full lameness eval without me there.. and found NOTHING different. Literally, I got a call that said "Your horse is lame. He has blown two abscesses. He's still uncomfortable. He doesn't have any heat or pulse and doesn't react to hooftesters."

ALL of which I knew. I explained that before he blew both abscesses, there was NO heat and NO pulse, and he has NEVER reacted to hooftesters.

He said that usually once an abscess pops, the horse shouldn't be lame anymore. But Vinnie just popped another one THREE days ago, how can he be sound that quickly?? He keeps getting his wrapping off so who knows what's getting in there, I need to try that car inner tube thing Tnavas posted!!

Anyway, could it be that my horse is just super stoic and hence why he never responded to hoof testers, etc?
 

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The vet came yesterday, and I was at work (it was originally going to be after work, but the time changed and the barn manager held him for me). Sadly, I wasn't able to be there to give the new vet his history, so he started from the ground up and did a full lameness eval without me there.. and found NOTHING different. Literally, I got a call that said "Your horse is lame. He has blown two abscesses. He's still uncomfortable. He doesn't have any heat or pulse and doesn't react to hooftesters."

ALL of which I knew. I explained that before he blew both abscesses, there was NO heat and NO pulse, and he has NEVER reacted to hooftesters.

He said that usually once an abscess pops, the horse shouldn't be lame anymore. But Vinnie just popped another one THREE days ago, how can he be sound that quickly?? He keeps getting his wrapping off so who knows what's getting in there, I need to try that car inner tube thing Tnavas posted!!

Anyway, could it be that my horse is just super stoic and hence why he never responded to hoof testers, etc?
Don't despair, many years ago I had a horse that went crippled lame, during a lesson. Vet was called and no reaction to hoof testers, shoe was pulled and hoof poulticed for a couple of weeks. Still no reaction to hoof testers. Vet had horse in for X-rays, advising me that I may never bring the horse home as he suspected a broken pedal bone. Nothing! Advised to take horse home and turnout and see what nature does. Farrier came a couple of days later to remove the rest of the shoes. He trimmed the feet and when he started to trim the injured foot the pus exploded out of the foot. Farrier said it was the worst abscess he had ever seen, the horse was right a few days later after we again poulticed the foot. The horse was then shod with a leather pad under the shoe to protect the damaged sole. Space between was filled with cottonwool and Stockholm Tar.
 

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This horse needs to be checked for a bone infection/sequestrum and foreign objects. Festering abscesses are not normal. The trim needs to be checked and the horse needs to be in a very clean environment.

Also, that's absolutely asinine to sentence your horse to be a pasture ornament because you dont want shoes on him. Im a trimmer and I just consulted and had my gelding shod because he has advanced sidebone that is causing him problems that barefoot and alternative methods are not appropriate help for. I know his foot is 100% as good as it gets barefoot and he still could not be sound and boots bothered his sidebone. So i am trying other things now. Why would I let my horse be lame the rest of his life if I can fix it? I know HE wouldnt choose to be lame for years and years! I wont rest until I have gotten him comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Trinity, the vet was out to check him for infection yesterday. I just mentioned that in my thread....
Also, a fitting with boots made him no more sound than without them, which is how my farrier consult tests to see which pads, etc to add.
I have had various farriers and vets and trimmers out. I am very involved in his care, and of course don't want him uncomfortable. He is fully comfortable when not ridden, and doesn't seem to care. I would rather wait and see than force myself to ride him.
 

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I think you have a big problem being missed and you may indeed end up with a permanently lame animal unless you get to the bottom of it. If the horse has navicular related unsoundness or weakness in the back of the foot, properly applied shoes/frog pads CAN make a great deal of difference and actually help heal the foot and return proper hoof mechanism so it can go barefoot successfully. Boots are great, but they are not the end all be all of soundness in all cases. Trust me. I know firsthand.

Also, if the abscess is still draining, Id be getting worried. What did the vet check? How did the vet check it?
 
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