OK- the quick vet report:
Very obese- is 500 lbs, needs to be 400 lbs.
Directions- Soak Hay, muzzle when it's time to turn out or dry lot in spring.
Teeth- pretty good- Directions: float in 6 months.
Fecal- 660 eggs/gram (high) - Directions- worm tomorrow after he has a chance to settle down.
Heart sounds good
Joints in pretty good shape considering
Radiographs on the feet were not as great as I'd hoped- and not as awful as I feared.
I learned something about founder today and I guess I'll be learning more pretty quickly! First I'll explain what I thought- I thought founder was about coffin bone rotation and separation with the laminae. I thought that when either of the above progressed worse and worse- that it eventually lost the ability to support the weight of the animal and he became a "sinker" and the coffin bones were on their way out the bottom of the sole. So I had been under the impression that when the word sinking was spoken- that sinking- like a ship going down- is going to keep going to it hits the sea floor- to me the word sinking meant that it was really time to euth.
Now for what I was told today- that there are two "kinds" of founder- rotational and sinking or a combination of the two.
Spirit has a little of both in most feet- he has a diagonal pair of feet that are in better shape, and one pair in worse shape. The rotation is noted by the vet to be minimal to mild but she did not note an number of degrees- so I can't give you that number- but maybe someone in the know will be able to say when they see the radiograph pictures after I copy them. It's nothing like the rotation (or sinking for that matter) radiographs I have seen of other horses getting care (and not euth) for founder
Now about the sinking- there is some- and this is noted by comparing the joint position to the point of the marker which was placed at his coronary band. The depth of his sole is demonstrated by a thumbtack which is pushed deep in at the point of the frog. Even though there is a bit of sinking- there is a very good amount of sole under the coffin bone- so it does not seem that he is sinking out the bottom.
So. That's the scoop. Dr. Wolfe thought he was lovely and very well behaved considering where he's coming form, she did sedate him lightly for the trim- and he was actually trimmed before the radiographs and not the other way around as I'd expected. But this way did allow for a good clear set of pictures which can be referenced in the future.
Also the farrier told me the name of another farrier only about 7 miles away from me who used to work for him- so hopefully he will be able to help with followup.
So, while I'm relieved that the prognosis was not so awful to have to put him to sleep- I'm a little disappointed that he may be limited by his feet to being a pasture pet- (I think a lot of people don't have much performance expectations of ponies this size- but because I drive- I had really hoped that he might get a great driving home with tons of supervision, exercise, love and blue ribbons) How can a pony who can't be turned out to pasture be marketed as a pasture pet? It is a bit of a conundrum.
OK- now this is more of an anecdotal report about the vet visit and after-
After his feet were trimmed and the sedation wore off- it was as if he had an injection of machismo!! His personality was INSTANTLY uplifted when those humiliating deformed toes were taken off his feet- his gait is still a little stilted- both from the tenderness from the trim (and he's getting some bute) and the way his tendons changed to adapt to moving with the overgrown feet- but he wanted to move and try them out- he LOOKED at them. He became a little (little) bit bratty- he could exert a little bit of will- he could move away from you fast if he wanted- instead of being hobbled by his own body! He wanted to walk in circles instead of standing still.
When we got home he was sweaty from the trailer ride and I hosed him down before putting him away in his stall. He wanted to roll and pawed all the shavings away so he could roll in the stonedust floor (smartie pants) he pawed so fast- and he seemed so proud of how he could now use his foot as a tool. His toes were shaved back so severe- I was afraid that he was just going to be in agony over that- but if his toes hurt as bad as I imagined- he never would have done the pawing like that...
Then... well this is when I finally cried. I have not seen him lay down since I had him- I know he HAS because he got shavings in his mane- but I never saw him get down or get up. I don't know how he used to do it- but the fact that he was going to do it now- in front of me- said to me that something major just changed.
He circled- and then bowed his head, and then he brought his back feet closer to his fronts... closer than he could have brought them when those back toes were long. And then his front knees began to buckle- to prepare to get down- and then- like a ballerina en'point he raised up onto the tips of his toes- and stayed there for a moment and then his knees folded and he flopped to the floor like a normal horse. And rolled and rolled so happily- and then when he went to stand- he did a funny little lurching jump- almost like a breakdancer pops off the floor- he had invented a move to help him get up past those rockers. that weren't there anymore. On the path to normalcy.
I taped the radiographs to a window and just took pictures with my phone- sorry you can see a little bit of my treeline and setting sun through the image- and also a reflection of my iphone and laundry basket (ack!) so they are not as clean as I'd like- but enough to get the idea.
Hugs to you and Spirit...you're doing an amazing job w/ him. I wouldn't give up hope on him just yet. He's young and the horse's body and feet have an enormous ability to remodel and heal.
Actually I expected worse in the x-rays. Frequent trims and as much movement as he's comfortable with will go a long way. Do you have a dry lot/paddock for him? He needs to re-build and improve his circulation in the legs and hooves to heal properly. If he's not too sore to move around, going out w/ a buddy is great for them mentally and physically. It will also help him lose weight. I also soaked my foundered horse's feet as he was healing and I believe it helped.
You may very well have a future driving partner here. He sure is a cutie.
I think in 6-12 months, you'll be amazed at the changes. Good Job!!!
Bless you for saving him! His feet look so good already! I'm sure he's thrilled beyond belief! ONe year my farrier flaked out and I couldn't find another. After about the 3rd missed date I HAD to do something, her feet were horrible, long and cracked. Nothing like this of course but when I started working on them, I ran into the same blood areas but I discovered they faded (pulled back) very quickly, like only a day or two. So I was able to cut and file a little more each day and get them back into shape. Course it took me 10X as long as a manly farrier! I'd work a bit more on his heels if you have to let the front recover longer. My mare was a total on the ground sinker and she recovered. He doesn't seem too bad although he a classic metabolic disorder crest on him! The rest of him actually doesn't look THAT fat. He was once a really fancy pony. Good luck with him! Shame about the other horses.
Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.
Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.
Wow, what a situation. You're doing a wonderful thing.
I have a couple of muzzles, and some soaking boots (pony sized 0 I think....) and some white lightening if you need any of that. Let me know.
I took in a pony several years ago (some of you may remember Phoebe?), that hadn't laid down in a couple of years because of her hooves that curled back in to her legs. When she first laid down and stretched out after we hacked the hooves off with a reciprocating saw, I laid down with her and cried.
I'm going to send PMs about the vet info to people who offered to chip in. Thank you guys so much. I think the bill will be very modest and that together it will be quickly paid down.
hundred acres- I'm not sure what size his feet are- I've never had a pony this small- I'll take a measurement- but if the boots would suit and would fit in a box with a muzzle- I'll gladly take you up on that offer. I would also love to learn more about Phoebe's story- do you have a link?
Marla- I'm reluctant to mention how it's possible that Spirit might be able to squeeze his chubby little self into a position here at Great and Small farm as I don't want to stop trying to find him a home just yet- but I do have an ideal spot for a small turnout pen- and I also have an ideal pasture pal candidate for him- Banjo is a haflinger Arab cross who was a large pony (about 51 inches) before Spirit got here- now Banjo seems enormous. Banjo is also prone to obesity and laminitis, and is turned out currently with the big horses with a muzzle. Banjo could fit in to the same management program as Spirit without any hits to his own quality of life, getting into Spirit's program would probably be better for him. banjo used to live in a small paddock with 3 goats who kept the grass very short. That pen had to be torn down to grade for building the barn- but now it's ready to be rebuilt.
As for Spirit's fatness of lack therof- he has a very odd little pony body- his belly is very trim and tucked up- like a racehorse- but the fat is wadded up in odd clumps along his topline. His back is table like. He's probably about four inches LONGER than he should be- he tail head is imbedded between two butt cheeks that look more human than horse. The crest of his neck is thicker than my draft horse- I've got muscular not skinny legs- and the shape of his crest is a similar size and roundness as the biggest part of my calf...and it's dotted the length with lumps. I am crossing my fingers that he can lose weight without having that crest fall over when it deflates.