I'm partially just ranting, but if anyone has any thoughts, feel free to chime in. My horse foundered last year and spent 6 months in a stall rehabbing. Happily, she recovered and has been sound for the last 6 months. Unfortunately, last week she had her hocks injected due to some funkiness in the hind end, and she also got her feet trimmed in the same week. The morning after the foot trim she seemed just a tad short in her stride. I started feeling her feet for pulses and warmth. She did have a bit of warmth and mild pulses in the front. I immediately put her on bute and put her in a stall w/ deep bedding. This was 3 days ago. I've been frantically feeling her feet constantly and finding that sometimes they're slightly warm, sometimes they're cold, sometimes there are pulses, sometimes not. All feet go back and forth between being warm and cold, having pulses and not. Her hind feet were never affected during her initial laminitis bout, and even they are showing the warmth and pulses occasionally. So, then I started checking out my other horses' feet--these are horses who have never had laminitis, and I'm finding that their feet also have quite a wide variation in temperature and sometimes I can also find a pulse in their feet. So now I'm not sure if my mare is really laminitic or not. She looks fine now in her gait. Yesterday, she got hysterical about being kept in the stall and jumped over her Dutch door and ran madly around the paddock and looked absolutely sound. Caught her, put her back in--last night front feet were cold w/no pulses & back feet were warm and pulsing. This morning it was the opposite--front feet warm and back feet cold.
How in the heck am I supposed to tell if she is having a laminitic episode? I'm terrifed to let her out and have her rotate further if she is laminitic. But she is going crazy in her stall and does not appear to be lame.
Is this warmth and pulsing variable in all horses? Is it simply not a reliable indicator?
Pretty big variations in temperature are not uncommon if there is sun hitting their hooves at all (even from a stall window being open). Not sure if that's the case, but maybe part of it? I can't as easily explain the difference in pulses, but are you absolutely sure that you are checking in the same place, pressure, etc? It is so hard to be consistent with that. Either way, if you are having that much trouble finding a pulse consistently, I wouldn't panic, because she's clearly not severely laminitic. And as far as the stall, you should use yours and your vet's best judgment, but if she were mine, she'd probably be out in a small paddock at least. Yes, you want to keep them in (and I'm fortunate in that my laminitis-prone horse will happily stand in his stall for weeks on end), BUT I think there has to be a balance - if she is going so crazy that she's leaping out, there is probably far greater risk to her feet in keeping her in and having another episode like that than in having her meander around a small paddock for the day (if that's how her temperament tends to be). Good luck - I know it sucks!!!
I feel your pain, I have gone through this very thing where I'm feeling his feet all the time, they change all the time, warm, cold, pulses then not. Try not to freak out, for me the temperature is less interesting than the pulses. A mild even pulse in both feet concerns me less than a pulse in one but not the other or a bounding pulse. Talk to your vet about what concerns them and then make a plan.
There absolutely can be temp variations as well as pulse variations. I have a horse that I can easily find his digital pulse at any time. Scared the crap outta me the first time I felt it and over the years I've realized that's just him. My founder prone mare is fairly easy to detect light digital pulses in but I know when it's not so light any more (but not quite bounding) and that's when I need to panic. I'm checking her feet every day right now because her neck crest has popped up again (and she is ribby, not fat at all). The only time I really pay attention to temps of the hooves themselves is when it's cloudy and overcast and I know the sun won't be affecting them. Otherwise I am just asking for a panic and then have to run around feeling everyone else's feet too. So you might be a little paranoid, but I know when you've dealt with it before you have EVERY RIGHT to be paranoid. I'd take a deep breath but I'd still stay on guard. The only time I can breathe a sigh of relief is in the dead of winter when it comes to that founder prone mare of mine.
When my pony was laminitic the Vet had me check every day how comfortable she was or wasn't walking and turning. Heat in the feet is not a reliable indicator as so many things contribute to that.
My Vet will not let me stop soaking my pony's hay. She says this is the most important thing in her continued and forever recovery. I am running with that as my pony has had a bout of colic and 3 episodes of Thumps (in 2 days) and has NOT had a reacurrance of Laminits....TG!!!
I think it would be important to know if there have been any factors to contribute to a laminitic episode. Has your horse been out on a lot of Spring grass? Is she over weight? Has she been in some type of stressful situation? I am sure you realize that if she has been laminitic in the past, she will always be highly susceptible to another episode.
Since the hocks were injected, I'd definately proceed as if she were foundering. Steriods are known to have a laminitic effect in some. I'd have the vet out and have x-rays taken. May not be foundering, but there could be some separation of the white line and that is very painful if fungus/bacteria set up house in there.