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Ugg .. my horse has laminitis!

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  • Original Poster

    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
    That is definitely a well established case of founder, visible even without the xrays.

    I'm curious, did his feet look more or less like this when you acquired him? This is a lot more than "a few rings" on his hooves, the capsule has visibly migrated forward on the hoof and the hoof has that crumpled or collapsed thing going on.

    Horses can have a few "incident rings" on their hooves that don't affect the structure, especially if they have been living through fluctuations in grass on a pasture. But this horse has clear signs of founder, which is much more than that.

    His feet were suspect. I'll post pictures. Without background, my farrier was unsure if he had over grown hooves that lead to how his feet looked or if he had foundered.

    I went back to look at OP's earlier threads and blog to see what I could of the horse's feet when she acquired him a bit over a year ago, I think. There are no clear photos of the feet, but they do look a little foundered even back then at a distance. OP mentions early on that the horse appears to have foundered in the past, but didn't Xray him because that won't change how they manage his feet.

    Given that, I'm curious as to what kind of management and re-shaping of angles has been attempted in the past year? OP says last year that the hoof appears to be growing in straight, but looking at it now, it seems like the top inch is straight, but the hoof continues to flare out lower down. If anything, it looks like the feet are in worse shape now than a year ago? My reading of the situation is that the horse arrived with established founder, a bad coffin bone angle, and whatever farrier work has happened over the past year has not helped reverse this, so the coffin bone is slipping more and more.

    The feet were growing in better. They were messed up and had some rings. They had been looking better, then this spring went to hell in a hand bag.

    I myself would consider these feet to be emergency time in terms of getting a really good therapeutic farrier or trimmer onboard. If the coffin bone has continued to fall over the last year, even without a hot acute laminitis episode, the horse will eventually have the coffin bone rotate through the sole and need to be euthanized. In other words, getting this problem reversed is a life or death question for this horse, not just a quality of life question. It's not like an old soft tissue injury or arthritis where the horse can move stiffly around in the sunshine but live a long time. It needs active and intelligent intervention, and even so it may not work.
    I am really confused as to what happened. He was very lame in the right front, which sounds like is not normal in a case of laminitis, he would have been equally lame in both front feet. So maybe it was case of an abscess . . . how that led to his coffin bones rotating more is a mystery to me.


    • Original Poster



      • #63
        This is why it is so important to post photos. OP, in that first photo on previous page, those feet clearly show rotation without even looking at x-rays. The shape of the hoof capsule tells you. It also shows that there have been problems for a long time. This may have originally been caused either by diet/metabolism or poor trimming.

        The new growth that looks healthier to you (and your vet and farrier) is coming in at too high an angle because the heels have not been kept low enough. This has probably caused mechanical founder and the rotation. The new growth needed to be growing down at approx. a 45 degree angle, give or take. With a compromised hoof like your horse had, it is critical to get the heel height correct to prevent rotation from happening. A tall heel and overgrown bars will lift the coffin bone at the back and push the weight onto the tip. When the hoof is compromised with long toes and poor white line connection (like your horse had), the laminae connection is not strong enough and it gives way, allowing the tip of the bone to drop even further.

        If diet has played a part it any of this, it is possibly because a horse with healthy feet can withstand a lot more without tipping it into laminitis/founder. Diet is even more critical with compromised feet.

        Apart from the farrier not seeing this, I'm just as concerned that your vet thought the left hoof looked worse - so perhaps they couldn't see what was happening either.

        As mentioned by others, you need a new farrier (and probably vet if they can look at those feet and not see what needs to be done). Those heels need to get trimmed down immediately, or you risk ending up with the coffin bone penetrating the sole.
        Last edited by Postandrails; Aug. 12, 2019, 02:09 AM.


        • #64
          Out of curiosity, what did your previous farrier want to do that was different to your vet's advice?


          • #65
            Originally posted by Hopeless View Post

            I am really confused as to what happened. He was very lame in the right front, which sounds like is not normal in a case of laminitis, he would have been equally lame in both front feet. So maybe it was case of an abscess . . . how that led to his coffin bones rotating more is a mystery to me.
            The horse clearly had an established founder condition when you acquired him. You and your care team did nothing effective to address this. So the founder is getting worse. No mystery there. That's what happens. It gets worse until either you find a therapeutic farrier/ trimmer who knows their stuff, or you have to euthanize the horse.

            As far as the top inch of hoof looking tight, thats typical. It will start to flare below that. You aren't growing in tight hoof that will stay tight down the hoof. You can't with these hoof angles.

            You need to go find Pete Ramry's books and website.



            • #66
              Originally posted by Hopeless View Post

              I am really confused as to what happened. He was very lame in the right front, which sounds like is not normal in a case of laminitis, he would have been equally lame in both front feet. So maybe it was case of an abscess . . . how that led to his coffin bones rotating more is a mystery to me.
              The lameness in the RF is most likely due to the rotation that happened as a result of the laminitis episodes. Just look at how the bone is positioned.

              I would get a 2nd farrier and vet opinion ASAP. This cannot correct itself.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Postandrails View Post
                Out of curiosity, what did your previous farrier want to do that was different to your vet's advice?
                I have only had one farrier and he did nothing different than what the vet advice. In fact when the vet was out he said that my farrier was doing a really good job trimming him.


                • #68
                  Originally posted by Hopeless View Post

                  I have only had one farrier and he did nothing different than what the vet advice. In fact when the vet was out he said that my farrier was doing a really good job trimming him.
                  I can't address this, are those pictures of his feet new or old?

                  We had a pony that had a laminitic episode. Thankfully it was his first and only one. I do not have the pics or xrays on hand but could post them later.

                  This is what we did:

                  1. Vet and farrier looked at xrays and discussed shoe and trim plan
                  - he had minimal rotation and we did not have baseline xrays
                  - he was lame for a very very short period
                  - blood work done to check for cushings/etc
                  - vet checked in on a regular basis after
                  2. Pony was put in round full circle shoes with a pour pad (that didn't last long- just to get him through the first few days)
                  3. Pony was bedded deep
                  4. Pony was given bute and something else I can't recall at the moment.
                  5. Pony never, not ever goes out near a blade of grass without a muzzle
                  6. Pony never, not ever will be out on true pasture again. My one area in which is goes out (now) is not pasture, it is basically a dry lot that has scribbles of grass pop up. Too bad- he's still muzzled.
                  7. Episode was last October. Pony was stall bound all winter. When he was comfortable I let him wander in the aisle of the barn- but barely.
                  8. Vet re xrayed- no additional rotation
                  9. Pony just started a very limited modified turnout (with his Hannibal Lecter mask)
                  10. Regular and I mean regular farrier check in and work
                  - if he pulls a shoe (and he does because = pony) farrier will be out within the day . The one time he couldn't get there pony was bedded extremely deep again and I attempted a boot with padding (which pony immediately pulled off because = pony)
                  - every visit farrier is checking the angles
                  11. Pony just started being walked under saddle.

                  So- we took an abundance of caution with him. There will be no real work for him until he is about a year post episode.

                  As per the farrier and vet- with his foot growth- the foot will have grown down almost completely out by then.

                  I am lucky, as mine are kept at home so his care is basically tailored and adhered to by me.

                  I know we took is very very slow for a pony who was never quite totally lame during the episode and was sound almost immediately post treatment. He is a very fancy green medium so we are doing everything in our power to allow him to heal so he can remain sound hopefully for the rest of his life. But we'd treat almost any of ours the same.
                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Hopeless View Post

                    I have only had one farrier and he did nothing different than what the vet advice. In fact when the vet was out he said that my farrier was doing a really good job trimming him.
                    Then you need a new vet and a new farrier .

                    Because the horse appears to have founder when you acquired him, and the founder has gotten worse over the past year. So whatever you've been doing isn't working.

                    Btw what was the treatment plan for the founder that was implemented when you got the horse last year? I understand you did not get x-rays then?

                    And do you know if the horse had a hot laminitic episode this year, did you actually catch one and if so what was the emergency be treatment for that?

                    Just taking all the information here my deduction is that the founder has been progressively getting worse due to lack of effective tteatreat.

                    And while soft bedding is important for foundered horses, lurching around in mud is not good.

                    You also note that you weren't able to see the horse regularly over the winter and dpring and that the barn owner is an idiot.

                    Honestly you have a horse in a health crisis and you really need to step up your game, self educate, and become an advocate for your horse.

                    I would move him out of Muddy Acres to a place with a knowledgeable barn owner who understands the issue. I would fire existing care team and find the best lameness vet in your region, and the best therapeutic trimmer. I would go online and read everything by Pete Ramey who is probably the current expert on rehabbing founder.

                    OP you took on a horse that was sent to the kill prn because he had chronic health issues. His feet have got worse under your care.

                    I'm not exaggerating when I say your choice is to either step up and take responsibility for this horses recovery or end up euthanizing within a year.

                    You can't fix founder passively relying on a vet and farrier. You need to be the active adbocaad involved in the horses care and monitoring it's effectuvess.


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Hopeless View Post

                      His feet were suspect. I'll post pictures. Without background, my farrier was unsure if he had over grown hooves that lead to how his feet looked or if he had foundered.
                      I lost track of this thread after the original post was edited and the situation was revised to sound like a non-emergency.

                      But those feet! Did a farrier really look at the feet pictured in post 62 and think they might be simply overgrown, but otherwise healthy? A farrier who could think that is a farrier I'd fire on the spot, and certainly not one I'd trust with addressing laminitis-related hoof pathology.

                      OP, your horse needs better quality help to have a shot at recovering from this. I hope for horse's sake that you are willing to get second opinions from a farrier and vet with more experience specifically with laminitis/founder.


                      • #71


                        • #72
                          Oh I see that those photos in post #62 are dated March 2018. The horse clearly had long standing and severe founder when you acquired him. The horse was already in medical distress. And your vet didn't insist on x-rays and your farrier thought it was just a bad trim? And your barn manager didn't start shrieking in horror when as they saw these feet?

                          OP it seems evident your care team is incompetent for whatever reason. You need a new care team immediately. Horse is just going to go downhill year by year.