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Farriers & anyone with hoof anatomy knowledge....wtf?

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  • Farriers & anyone with hoof anatomy knowledge....wtf?

    Brief (ok long) history.

    Horse was purchased at 4, and did have thrush. Treated and no other obvious issues. Over the years, one hind hoof has been more affected by thrush on and off. It had always gotten better then relapsed. Years later, when picking out the foot (this was a time where no visible thrush was evident) the hoof pick went directly through the collateral groove and instantly the horse was painful and there was significant bleeding.

    Farrier debrided the area and exposed some necrotic tissue (although not a large amount), and was able to take it all off. At first treated symptomatically with items such as white lightning and metronidazole. The area seemed to heal over slightly (but there was still a fairly deep hole in that collateral groove). Randomly while riding, the hole would open up and the horse would bleed. Tried "letting it be", not irritating the hoof too much, just brushing out the dirt and avoiding the hoofpick. Well, that didnt work either, more time went by and the hoof would still bleed.

    Vet/Farrier put on medicated (metronidazole) pads on both hind feet for 12 months to allow healing. After 9 months in, the foot was looking no better, actually worse so we stopped the pads and pulled off the hind shoes.

    Horse seemed to do fairly well with semi- neglect (about a year) with maybe a bleeding episode once every 2-3 months, otherwise a sound happy horse. I had been applying a product recommended by our farrier a few times a week and felt the hoof was doing better.

    Recently, the hoof became necrotic again and more of an area needed to be debrded. It did not appear thrushy, but the sole felt spongy and was white/porous. After that was cut away, the hole in the collateral groove just started getting deeper and deeper.

    Now, we are right through the hard sole. We have something pink/fatty exposed and its very sensitive to the touch....very. About two years ago, there was a small amount of white fatty material just barey visible (but it did heal over), now it looks so bad

    http://i46.tinypic.com/29lk9df.jpg (Current photo)

    - Some notes regarding the photo: The area around that hole is not actually black, its the normal sole colour but looks dark because I had flushed it out with saline and an antibacterial flush.
    - His feet are dirty, he was outside and then in the arena. I didnt wash off his frog, legs or the rest of his foot.
    - Yes he does have contracted heels (better than they used to be).

    I DO HAVE A NEW VET working on this. She will be getting some radiographs this week and doing blocks and some probing to see whats going on.

    Im assuming there may be some coffin bone damage, and inner hoof issues...but I really no nothing about the anatomy of the hoof to really grasp how bad this is. I know its bad, but for the time being Im enjoying my ignorance. On a good note, horse is sound. On a bad note, I have a feeling this isnt good...and isnt likely to heal.

    Can anyone help me make sense of this, and tell me WHAT structure this actually is, what lays underneath it, and what are some best/worst case scenerios?

    Appreciate it

  • #2
    Without exploring with my own knife I'm just guessing based on the picture and your brief history. With that said, it appears to me that the lesion is right at the junction of the bars and the sole. Possibly this started as a bar crack that damaged the lamina of the bars and/or the junction of the lamina with the solar corium. Also possible that there is proud sole or canker.

    It is most likely this needs surgery to repair permanently Preferably this sort of surgical procedure should be done by a board certified veterinary surgeon with a black belt in podiatry. There aren't many vets with the expertise to competently handle this sort of thing because it is very rare.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks for your reply!

      Despite how the picture looks, we dont feel its canker as its been (hides in shame) 9 years of on and off healing. Although the picture looks like the fatty tissue is herniating through the hole, its not.

      If there is damage to the lamina, is there any chance that hoof will regrow in that area?

      I am lucky enough to work with a boarded radiologist who is going to look at the radiographs. Our farm vet is great, she is going to start the workup (rads, etc) and then yes...boarded surgeon it is if thats whats needed. I work with a large group of small animal boarded surgeons and know its worth the extra money to go to someone with the education and experience behind them!

      Hoping it wont come to that...he's a very expensive pasture pet!


      • #4
        Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
        . . .If there is damage to the lamina, is there any chance that hoof will regrow in that area?. . .
        Not without surgical intervention. The problem is in the structure that generates the horn, not the horn itself. That is why it is so important to have an expert foot surgeon.

        There are 3 distinct dermal structures that all meet in that area. Frog, solar, and lamina of the bars. Anatomically it is one of the most complicated parts of the foot because of the 3-way junction.

        You are probably also going to need your farrier to build bar shoe fit with a hospital plate . . .

        Also, none of the structures I am talking about will show up on a radiograph. IMO you're wasting money on imaging once you have ruled out any radio opaque foreign object - and there is no bone in that area.


        • Original Poster

          Of course its complicated lol....

          Sigh, I have a feeling this is going to be $$$. Figures the 3'6 hunter is happy go lucky barefoot, and the semi-retired pet who really doesnt do anything needs major foot surgery, bar shoes etc. cha ching cha ching cha ching.

          Horse lives outdoors too...doesnt do well in a stall. Worries a plate/bar shoe isnt going to hold up well. I didnt think there would be good news

          Glad to hear there is no bone in that area though. I was a little concerned that there may be some necrosis of the coffin bone due to the on an off infections in the foot for the past too many years.

          I think the xrays were to look at angles (one vet mentioned negative plantar angle?) and to ensure the coffin bone was not infected. But, it its a waste of money I can skip these.


          • #6
            I would want the x-rays to make sure there is not a foreign body in the hoof that is causing it to be perpetually infected. When my horse had a longstanding (several months) infection in a hind hoof, the vet suspected that he had stepped on a shard of metal that had lodged in the hoof, caused the infection, then dislodged.


            • #7
              Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
              I would want the x-rays to make sure there is not a foreign body in the hoof that is causing it to be perpetually infected. When my horse had a longstanding (several months) infection in a hind hoof, the vet suspected that he had stepped on a shard of metal that had lodged in the hoof, caused the infection, then dislodged.
              Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
              Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
              "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


              • #8
                Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                I would want the x-rays to make sure there is not a foreign body in the hoof that is causing it to be perpetually infected.
                Not all such objects show up in a radiograph. Three views, lateral, skyline, a/p ought to be enough to cover the situation.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                  . . .Horse lives outdoors too...doesnt do well in a stall. Worries a plate/bar shoe isnt going to hold up well. . . .
                  Um, a bar shoe with a hospital plate is supposed to be applied so that the horse can be turned out in the elements regardless of how dirty or rugged the terrain.

                  Here is a picture of a proper hospital plate. It bolts over the bottom of the shoe. Allows medication to be changed by unscrewing the bolts, removing the plate . . . lefty loosey, righty tighty.
                  Last edited by Tom Bloomer; Nov. 14, 2012, 10:50 AM.