We have an adorable 12.2 pony that has foundered in the past. Now we are having trouble with his hooves (particularly the front hooves). They stay sore because we cannot get enough hoof to grow to get a shoe on.
We are considering pony easy boots for his front feet until they grow, so they will not keep getting worn down--has anyone tried this?
Any other ideas ?
Is there a hoof supplement that is safe for ponies prone to founder?
Thanks so much!!!
It's simply not possible to dispense advice about hoof care without mentioning nutrition as a critically important factor. And it's particularly crucial when dealing with laminitic ponies to consider nutrition (mainly cutting back on too much access to food) as well as hoof care in order to keep them comfortable AND healthy.
Disagree strongly about the biotin not doing any good, but of course, while it's the most important one, it's not the only component of a good quality hoof supplement. I use Grand Hoof with great success; our "founder pony" who had Cushing's lived many years after her retirement was on it till the end.
She did have an incident when she was in her low 20's that left her footsore (now is a very treacherous time of year for Cushing's/IR horses and ponies), and as her feet were so tiny it was difficult to make shoes for her, the farrier and vet made up a pair of what they called "Lilly pads" out of Vetwrap and elastic adhesive. She wore them for about two weeks and they allowed her feet to be comfortable while they grew out. She recovered well afterwards, and it was at that point that we started her on pergolide. She lived many more years, until she was nearly 30 and we let her go following a brief colic episode.
As far as nutrition, pony is out in paddock with minimal grass and a grazing muzzle 12 hrs a day and in a stall at night with coastal bermuda hay - 1-2 flakes.
We are going to call easycare to decide which boots to try.
Any advice on what to mix our biotin supplement with? a handful of pelletted grain?
I'd mix it with a cup of soaked beet pulp (rinse it like crazy if all you can find is the molasses kind to get rid of the sugars).
It's not enough to be much of anything as far as calories go and it's good to use as a supplement carrier.
I'm also in the camp that believes in Biotin supplements. I've had excellent success with several. But some work for some of my horses, and not for others. I've tried many to find what works best for the individual horses that need to be on Biotin (which right now, is only one). I have my past foundered mare on Smarthoof right now but just started her on it last week so too soon to tell anything with that one. This mare absolutely has to stay on Biotin supps to grow a decent hoof. Everyone else I own grows quite a bit hoof rather quickly, including her own son who has the best hooves out of the whole herd. She has the worst as far as slow growth and having problems with being sore (she's very flat footed). If she's kept on a Biotin supplement, the problems are kept to a minimum. I had to pull her off of her supp so she could be part of a hoof study with another supplement (not a Biotin supp). Even though she's only been off of a Biotin supp for 2 months, her growth has slowed to a crawl and she's been quite foot sore.
All of my horses are on the same diet and it's only this one mare that has this problem.
[QUOTE=M. O'Connor;4430994]It's simply not possible to dispense advice about hoof care without mentioning nutrition as a critically important factor. And it's particularly crucial when dealing with laminitic ponies to consider nutrition (mainly cutting back on too much access to food) as well as hoof care in order to keep them comfortable AND healthy.[QUOTE]
Agree ... there's no one magic pill, it's an ongoing combination of correct diagnosis, diet management, trim and when the feet can tolerate it, exercise. And in the early days, just easy handwalking, no tight turns. Definitely no lunging.
Laminitis is inflammation of the laminae in the feet ... these laminae hold the bony column in place. Rotation happens when enough of the laminae are so inflamed they die and let go their hold on the coffin bone. (Think velcro letting go it's hold). The horse or pony won't have good strong laminar connections until there's been an entire hoof growth cycle ... in other words, till an entirely new hoof has grown. You can't tell from looking at the hoof what's going on inside. And ponies often seem to have a very high pain threshhold.
You might want to join the Equine cushings list - the people there are very knowledgeable and helpful, and there are several members who seem to specialize in rehabbing foundered ponies. You'll get great advice. The FILES section of the List is a fund of information - tests for diagnosis, trim advice, emergency diet, soaking hay, even lists of the NSC values of the various feeds (not that that is probably an issue for you because most ponies (esp those being rehabbed from laminitis/founder) do not require grain.
Two years ago we rescued and rehabbed a foundered 42" pony. She was abscessing when we got her. Abscesses are part of the road back from founder ... the dead laminae form pockets of necrotic gunk in the hoof and have to be expelled for the healing process to continue. They are incredibly painful, often more than the original laminitis ... so painful you wonder if they've broken a bone.
We don't know why she foundered, but once her feet were properly balanced and she was over the abscessing, we started giving her short turnout with the rest of our horses. Great exercise for her because she had to MOVE to keep up with them. She's on no medication, and she gets NO grain, NO treats, just grass hay. And she is on a token feed of well-soaked beet pulp when her pasture buddy gets her meal. Over time we've been able to get her out 24/7. I'm definitely not recommending this for all founders ... she does not appear to have Cushings or IR, and the exercising keeping up with the rest of the horses seems in her case to balance out the prairie grasses she's on all day. There's some well grazed bermuda in her overnight pasture, but she'd prefer to nibble hay.
The following link is an interesting concept. I don't have a paddock paradise set up because we have the horses on abt 20 acres total, but they do cross a rock low water crossing to get to the big hilly daytime pasture, and the pony has to cross 2" loose rock to get to her overnight pasture and barn. (Of course she didn't start off on rock, and in the early days of her rehab there was a dirt track she could use if she wanted ... very interesting to see her decide her feet were fine for the rock road).
The main thing to remember is LISTEN TO YOUR HORSE. YOU are your pony's only advocate. If what you're doing is working well and pony is progressing, then great. But if it stops working, then have the courage to reassess. What works for one, doesn't always work for another. Research, research, research. The people here will help, also those on the Equine Cushings List.
Try those softride boots that eventgroupie2 used on her horse. They can stay on 24/7.
And since my farrier just got back from a clinic on founder, you might ask your vet about the rolled toe shoes with high heels, and vettec's latest cushioning pour in pads.
I second thomas's vote for farrier's formula, I use the concentrated FF in smartpak for slow growing hooves. Omegahorseshine also grows hooves but you must have a horse with no other problems in order to use it, as they can get portly on it. And as Thomas said, you must have radiographs to see if there has been rotation of the pedal bone, so that your farrier will know what he has to do to reposition the pedal bone gradually back to its normal position.
It's a combination of diet and supps and farrier work to get hooves on horses that do not have a good amt of hoof growth. i've had friends who used supps and had great results, and they've not worked for mine. I had great succes with John Ewing's trainer's formula, but it does not come in smartpaks. Farrier's formula concentrated put great hoof growth on my horse this summer.
Elevating the heels didn't work for my mare when she foundered 5.5 yrs ago ... her rotation continued to worsen till vets and farriers told me to euth her. Thru the Cushings list I was put in contact with people who did help me. Lowered the heel, backed up the toe and began the long journey back. I was petrified that she'd turn into a sinker, but she was trimmed to weightbear on the sole, and so nowhere for it to "sink". We used the forerunner of Happy Hoof Pads, but in an emergency, a pads can be cut from 2'x2' interlocking rubber floor tiles (WalMart, Lowe's, Sam's ... often in primary colors for kiddie playroom floors) and duct taped on ... a tube sock stops too much adhesive on the hoof wall. Once the trim was properly balanced and she wasn't pivoting on the edge of her CB, she was able to move fairly well with the pads. Easy to take off to soak abscesses. It was an eye-opener for me. I used put the pads in deluxe equine slippers ... duct taped the sole and she wore them in the corral and her small temp paddock. Don't know they make them in pony sizes.
My vets were unaware of the cutting edge research being done by Dr Robert Bowker and Dr Chris Pollitt ... and a farrier told me that while he believed in the lowered heels concept, liability insurance would not cover him or the vet if they recommended this. Not sure if this is true, or true 5.5 years later ...
Know my vet was very relieved when I thanked him for his advice (to euth) and said that Dr Bowker felt she was viable and had put me in contact with someone who would advise my local trimmer how to trim her ... let him off the hook liability wise. He keeps saying he needs to find out more about the protocol that has her galloping barefoot up and down hills, crossing rock, etc ... but I notice he doesn't. Not easy to have to disagree with accepted protocol.
BUT as always ... if what you're doing for your horse is working, then great ... ("working" by the owner's assessment, not necessarily the farrier who is doing it ... one of my farriers still insists the CB could have been repositioned by use of a hard plastic pad with a frog wedge that would have "pushed" the CB back into position (yes, truly!) If it's stopped working, then allow a small time for "plateau" then reassess. If the horse appears to be worsening, then reassess NOW.
And in the meantime, RESEARCH !!!
Last edited by aaussie_gal; Oct. 11, 2009 at 04:42 PM.
Soft Ride boots are an option for turnout, but not recommended for riding. These come with a wedge pad and frog support. I generally cut down the frog support, since this causes some horses discomfort (try them first before cutting anything).
The idea with wedging the heel up is to decrease tension in the DDFT and is mainly for the acute phase. However, on two chronic cases I trim, the ponies seem to get tight muscles (spasms?) that pull the DDFT, and the wedges in the SoftRides help to alleviate this. How do I know? We tried to sub out the wedge pad with a thick, flat pad, and the pony got worse.
If you want to ride, then buy boots designed for riding (www.easycareinc.com). These need to be removed and allowed to dry out daily. Any boot benefits from having medicated Athlete's foot powder sprinkled inside before putting them on.
In the chronic cases I've dealt with, the feet have grown extra fast, not extra slow. I'd wonder whether something important is missing in the diet if growth has slowed down. I'd also wonder about poor circulation to/in the feet. Trimming to grow good hoof form is essential for recovery. And if the hoof is currently deformed from founder, it can take more than one hoof capsule growth to get the laminae tightly connected again (for the horse's comfort, we bring them back into shape over time). Also, how well the horse can recover depends quite a bit on whether there has been much sinking of the P3. Sinkers generally have a worse prognosis than horses whose damage is mostly rotation.