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Mechanical Founder

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  • Mechanical Founder

    I'm not dealing with an acute episode, but would be interested in any info regarding lifestyle/diet/trimming/shoeing a horse that has a history of such.

    Horse MAY have also had grass-related laminitis last year so I suppose that is something to take into consideration as well.

    I really don't have a ton of background info, otherwise I'd offer it.

    Anyone offer any insight? I was going to post on horseshoes.com but figured I'd start here.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

  • #2
    Can you tell me what you mean by a mechanical founder?

    Also a bit more about the horse would be helpful - any information you do have ...age, workload, management, size, if shod, how often shod, age when first shod etc etc.

    Comment


    • #3
      Just to give you something to consider - there are various loading forces acting on the horse's feet - concussive, compressive, lever, torque and shearing. No doubt some engineer will correct me on this but this is my layperson's understanding.

      All these forces are affected by the weight and conformation of the horse, speed, height of footfall, nature of terrain, hoof form/ function, health of soft tissue etc.

      Shearing forces occur as the skeleton is pushing down and the capsule is pushing up (bad scenario = long walls, steep rigid hoof form on hard ground); torque forces when the hoof is twisting (bad scenario = a weakened laminar structure ); concussive/compressive forces when the hoof lands (bad scenario = flat foot on hard ground); and lever forces as it breaks over (bad scenario = long toes, quarter flares etc)

      All of these may exacerbate pre-existing laminar and solar corium damage - and may also cause it.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by George Myers View Post
        Can you tell me what you mean by a mechanical founder?

        Also a bit more about the horse would be helpful - any information you do have ...age, workload, management, size, if shod, how often shod, age when first shod etc etc.
        Hi George... I will tell you what I know. I've only had him 3 months but have been able to find pieces of his history via old owners and barn managers.

        The horse is a 21 y/o TB gelding. He's been doing lessons for at least the last 7-8 years. Pony club, etc. Jumping up to 2'6-2'9. A pretty heavy workload really, in summer months he was doing 2 lessons a day (one flat, one jumping.)

        It is suspected he had a laminitic episode in May/June of 2008 but it was basically ignored and the horse was put into heavy work not long after, in regular steel shoes, until July when he was thrown in a field with a twisted shoe embedded in his RF. No access to food other than a mowed down pasture, limited water source.

        I picked him up in October, he was a body score of 2 and severely dehydrated. His RF was abscessing, and looked like a long oval-- no heel, no lateral or medial wall. Flat sole. A vet had dug out a 2" x 2" section of his hoof in an attempt to drain the abscess. His LF was upright, almost clubby but not really, high heel, bruised soles, atrophied shoulder. Severe thrush in all 4 feet.

        He had swelling in all four legs and some ventral edema about a month after coming to me.

        I fed and medicated him VERY conservatively for the first 2 months. He has been closely monitored by my vet and farrier.

        After that he turned the corner. He's been trimmed about 5 times since I got him. His feet are looking significantly better. The farrier believes he suffered a "mechanical founder" episode at the time when I brought him home. He does not think it is severe, but that the LF is worse than the RF. Rads are forthcoming.

        His feet are looking pretty darn good right now considering where they were 3 months ago. His frog and sole have shed and the new stuff looks healthy and much more "normal."

        The horse is soundish, albeit a little short-strided in front, but he looks awfully happy and he is playful. His left lead canter is an issue even at liberty. Farrier suggested resting him for another 6 months and then potentially trying bar shoes or something of that sort.

        Oh he is stalled half the time, gets regular turnout and I try to keep him out of mud. He's on a boatload of grass hay, and he is being transitioned to Blue Seal Vintage Performance L/S top dressed with Sunshine (30% protein) He also gets probiotics, MSM, magnesium + B1,

        I've never had a horse with laminitic/founder issues so this is new territory for me. First time for everything, I guess.

        Hope that helps. A lot of info considering he's only been mine 3 months!! I wish I knew what happened to him the first 20 years.....
        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by George Myers View Post

          All of these may exacerbate pre-existing laminar and solar corium damage - and may also cause it.
          Yes I guess that answers part of my question.... that it is possible the horse has pre-existing issues that flare up when conditions are less than ideal.

          He is a seriously TOUGH horse. I don't know how he is still standing, or how he is still alive. I love him for it, I strive to have that resiliency.
          We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

          Comment


          • #6
            Oh no flash, not founder? what's the rotation in both fores?

            I went thru it with a dex shot with Callie, resectioning and all, and will PM you.

            With your boy, it is probably like other posters have said, he had prior issues, espeically with that right fore shoe, eeek.

            And you have weight issues with him, well actually that is good with founder as you have to keep him skinny to keep weight off the hooves. (My mare was an easy keeper ottb and she had to lose hundreds of pounds after her dex shot.

            good luck. If you have to resection, it takes a year for most tb hooves to grow out. But they will if you work on it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Do you have xrays on him? He sounds like a situation where they would be very helpful in both diagnosing his problem and for your farrier to best trim him.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
                Yes I guess that answers part of my question.... that it is possible the horse has pre-existing issues that flare up when conditions are less than ideal.

                He is a seriously TOUGH horse. I don't know how he is still standing, or how he is still alive. I love him for it, I strive to have that resiliency.
                He's lucky to have found someone who is willing and able to care for him.

                Their resiliency never fails to amaze me. And you have to hand it to those hard working school horses - how they remain happy to be around people is testimony to their tolerance and good nature.

                What is of most concern in a horse with his history and age is the condition of the pedal bone - especially in the flattish foot.

                Personally I'd avoid bar shoes like the plague - all shoes if truth be known but that's your choice.

                Can you post some pics of his feet and body? Solar, heel, front and side views of feet and pics of his typical resting stance.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by George Myers View Post
                  He's lucky to have found someone who is willing and able to care for him.

                  Their resiliency never fails to amaze me. And you have to hand it to those hard working school horses - how they remain happy to be around people is testimony to their tolerance and good nature.

                  What is of most concern in a horse with his history and age is the condition of the pedal bone - especially in the flattish foot.

                  Personally I'd avoid bar shoes like the plague - all shoes if truth be known but that's your choice.

                  Can you post some pics of his feet and body? Solar, heel, front and side views of feet and pics of his typical resting stance.
                  Hi again. I took my camera out today to get some photos of his feet, but of course it was dead. I will snap you some pics tomorrow. He was recently trimmed.

                  There are some general pics here, taken the day he came, and then 6 weeks later: http://community.webshots.com/album/567913187rUctCv

                  I thought I had some older pics of his soles, they were.... crazy... mushy and flat and smashed frogs. They are looking better already, just in 3 months.

                  When he first came he used to stand with his RF parked out, pretty much all the time. He would not do more than walk a little bit around his turnout. Now he runs and bucks and plays. Not always gracefully, but he does it! He is surprisingly sound, I've seen horses with less issues who will not walk a step.

                  I'd love to leave him barefoot as long as I can-- forever would be nice. Truth be told, I don't know enough about corrective shoeing and I am a bit afraid to go down that road with him, mainly because of my lack of knowledge... I like to stick to what I know so that I can keep tabs!!

                  Cloudy & DB, thanks for weighing in. I've wanted xrays forever and vets and farriers kept saying let's get him through the worst first... now we know he is definitely over the hump, we can focus on these "small things" like his feet.
                  We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What a sweet face he has. You are a kind person to have taken him on like you have.

                    I'm kind of surprised that your vets and farrier keep arguing against rads. Usually I want them and the owner is hesitant to spend the money or can't afford them.

                    The pics aren't great but what I can see of the feet does lead me to think he may have foundered. His trim looks pretty decent also from what I can see but without much better pics and shots of the bottom and rads, it's a guessing game right now and the pics don't show nearly enough to give an educated opinion.

                    One thing you might consider is booting him for a while. Get some thick 12 mm comfort pads in a pair of well fitting boots of whatever style fits him best. www.easycareinc.com See if those help him be more comfortable. You will have to take them off daily for a bit to air out his feet, but they may increase his comfort dramatically which in turn will encourage more movement as well as correct movement which then promotes good growth and healing.

                    If you are leary of shoeing him, I'd certainly try boots first.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
                      I've wanted xrays forever and vets and farriers kept saying let's get him through the worst first...
                      That is ridiculous! If you want radiographs, get them. If your current vets and farrier don't see the benefits for a horse with foot problems you'll need to find those that will.

                      The horse is very lucky he's fallen into your hands for sure. It's scary how much he looks like an OTTB I used to board with for many years named Casper. That would make him a 1980 model though!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I know I kept saying I WANT RADS but everyone said no, no just wait it out a little while.... Truthfully there was so much going on with him at first that just getting him stabilized was the challenge. The plan was to get the rads done before we even moved him but the old owner gave me a 12 hour window to move him so that did not happen. I will be the first to admit that I didn't think he'd survive the trailer ride from his old home!

                        The pics of his feet in the album was taken in October. He had all kinds of weirdness going on, strange flares and such. Really they look so much better now... so even though my farrier uttered the words "mechanical founder" to me yesterday, and I did momentarily freak out, I'm feeling better today.

                        RL - He is a very kind soul, and really, I am lucky he found me.

                        DB - I did order some castle boots but don't think they will be suitable for eventually riding him in. Thanks for the link, I will peruse!! I've talked with EqT about the benefits of casting him, so that is an option.

                        I'll get you guys some updated pics of his feet tomorrow.
                        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
                          I know I kept saying I WANT RADS but everyone said no, no just wait it out a little while.... Truthfully there was so much going on with him at first that just getting him stabilized was the challenge. The plan was to get the rads done before we even moved him but the old owner gave me a 12 hour window to move him so that did not happen. I will be the first to admit that I didn't think he'd survive the trailer ride from his old home!

                          The pics of his feet in the album was taken in October. He had all kinds of weirdness going on, strange flares and such. Really they look so much better now... so even though my farrier uttered the words "mechanical founder" to me yesterday, and I did momentarily freak out, I'm feeling better today.

                          RL - He is a very kind soul, and really, I am lucky he found me.

                          DB - I did order some castle boots but don't think they will be suitable for eventually riding him in. Thanks for the link, I will peruse!! I've talked with EqT about the benefits of casting him, so that is an option.

                          I'll get you guys some updated pics of his feet tomorrow.
                          "Been there, done that" as far as wishing for things to have been done differently, and I don't have to tell you that you are at where you are at and that's all there is. Big jingles to the horse and big hugs to you!

                          No doubt from what little bit that I saw this horse is going to need serious caudal support like mine needed, and I don't know that the rear of the boot is going to reach beneath the weight of the fetlock quite like it should. Sorry for the redneck explanation there. Maybe someone will have a better way of explaining it. Been a long day(s).

                          Low NSC diets are NEVER a bad idea, I put my new guy from Jaye on one immediately. Partly because of his breed, partly after the BS I went through. Either way, I make sure Bobby is fed, at a healthy weight, and Bobby looks fit (even while not ridden, work is in the way). I think I have a gift on making non-working horses bulk up. LOL!

                          And here this from me....x-rays are NEVER a bad idea. I WISH I had them on Bobby since at some point I'll be trimming him.

                          Either way, best of luck and since I fought a mechanical founder and won (with Jaye's help), I'll be glad to help in any way I can.
                          RIP Bo, the real Appassionato
                          5/5/84-7/12/08

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Don't you just love those gentle old greys - I've known more sweet natured greys than any other colour of horse I think.

                            Xrays will help establish the current condition of the bones - the most critical thing is if there has been any bone erosion or demineralisation - or if there's articular cartilage damage etc. If he has reasonably good bones he'll come right with good food, good management and good trimming. If the bone is demineralised and/or has eroded - well then it is a bit more of a lottery but lots of horses live perfectly healthy useful lives with way less than optimal skeletons- just like us.

                            Protection from concussion is important but so too is movement on a firm surface to get the circulation going. That's where boots with a comfort pad can be very helpful. But they need to fit well and in my view should only be viewed as a temporary aid - you want him walking on his own feet asap.

                            Reducing carbs may be advisable but don't cut out the protein - and the horse still needs some carbs for energy. Like us they need a balance between all the major food groups - with an even greater need for fibre. I am not convinced about the replacing of carbs with fats - especially with the sort of oils you buy from supermarkets or - worse still - feed stores. Oxidised and rancid mostly. All oils should be stored in a light proof container - well, the high quality oils I buy for my own consumption all are.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              George, thank you for the very thorough and thoughtful responses. I really appreciate your input.

                              It is kind of ironic, my first horse 17 years ago was a grey. That horse was a saint. My friends sometimes accidentally call Win by my old horse's name, they are quite alike in demeanor and conformation!

                              Regarding diet, it is funny, I remember being told as a kid that protein was the devil... But I think the good quality protein is a must-have. I guess the fat/protein/carb balance in general is important... everything in moderation, as my dad likes to say.

                              Appassionato, I am glad you popped up! I was just thinking of you. Thanks for the info, I know you have a wealth of experience on this stuff after all your trials with Bo. How are things going with Bobby?

                              Alright headed out to the barn in a bit so hopefully the camera will be in working order. Sometimes it dislikes the cold weather!!
                              We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Mechanical founder is rare, dietary founder much more common, which I suspect this horse probably experienced.

                                I totally agree with Daydream. I would want to know if there's been any damage to the CB from previous possible laminitis & founder episodes. I would insist on at least getting those as a baseline. Find another vet if yours is not accomodating!

                                There's also no reason why this horse needs bar shoes. They are usually only a short term solution anyway and tend to make things worse over time. Caudal heel pain is usually caused by any of the following:
                                • Unrecognised frog infections (check frog with hoof pick, especially deep crevices - if horse flinches at any point, he has an infection in the frog)
                                • Heel weakness from years of toe loading (lack of stimulation), usually created by leaving heels too high and toes too long
                                • Heel contraction, causing internal tendon/tissue irritation around the navicular bone similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in people

                                What is much more important in the case is that the horse is trimmed correctly. The LF is still too high in the heels. I know they cannot be taken down to normal levels all at once, but I hope this effectively being addressed!

                                Best wishes!!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
                                  Mechanical founder is rare, dietary founder much more common, which I suspect this horse probably experienced.
                                  Diet is but one of a group of several initiators of Metabolic Founder. And it is true that metabolic founder is more common than mechanical founder . None the less, correct treatment of the condition is necessary regardless of founder 'type'.

                                  I would find a different veterinarian who is willing and able to take rads of your horse's feet. Even if no 'field service' is available, you can always haul into the clinic.

                                  There's also no reason why this horse needs bar shoes.
                                  You haven't seen the horse in person, ergo you have absolutely no idea whether or not the horse requires bar shoes. To counsel against them under that circumstance is irresponsible and displays a lack of knowledge and understanding about their use(s) and usefulness.

                                  They are usually only a short term solution anyway and tend to make things worse over time.
                                  Absolutely and egregiously incorrect.

                                  Caudal heel pain is usually caused by any of the following:
                                  <short list deleted>

                                  YOu have, yet again, omitted several other potential causes of heel pain.

                                  Though you raise a couple of valid points, taken in toto, your response should be totally discounted and ignored. YMMV.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Regarding mechanical vs dietary founder - the two go hand in hand - or hoof in hoof.

                                    Scenario - constant, low grade mechanical irritation of the laminar and solar coriums from unbalanced feet, high impact landings, lever forces on long toes etc - over time can cause structural alterations to the laminae which weaken the bond between hoof and capsule. This increases the effects of shearing forces on the hoof which will be greatest at the point of highest impact.

                                    In a steepened hoof this could be at the toe - the pressure of the bone on the solar corium gradually reduces the quality and quantity of solar horn in the region - which allows the bone to rotate away a bit further which increases the mechanical irritation and lever forces and so on. Or it might be to one side if the imbalance is medial/lateral - or all over if the horse tends to land flat.

                                    Bone yields to unphysiological pressure but needs load to be healthy (Wolf's Law). Vascular tissue also will be damaged by unphysiological pressure eg if the pedal bone and laminar corium is being compressed in the quarters from inward turning heels you may get white line problems and bone loss in the quarters. If the solar corium is being compressed by a poorly suspended, slumped (forward/sideways or all over) pedal bone, its ability to produce high quality horn in sufficient quantities to match normal wear (abrasion and degradation from pathogens) is reduced -> thin sole.

                                    Obviously there are many factors entering into the scenario - but as a general rule, when a horse whose feet are routinely exposed to these sort of unnatural pressures and loadings encounters a trigger which results in inflammation of the vascular tissue, a build up of wound secretion in the feet - 'founder' - results.

                                    This creates pressure - which is hugely painful and is worst in the areas of maximum pre-existing damage to the laminae. Typically, the worst areas of damage in a classic founder are in the areas of pre-existing unphysiological load - eg the toe.

                                    It also has the effect of 'floating' the capsule away from the bone. The more damaged the laminae are, and the thinner the sole, the worse the episode will be - in terms of pain and subsequent damage.

                                    Repeated low grade inflammatory episodes caused by diet may have the same outcome as mechanical irritation - and each amplifies the other's effects - but horses who have optimal hoof form, good conformation and lots of appropriate exercise are far less likely to suffer catastrophic effects from an acute dietary or toxic laminitis.

                                    I've yet to see a horse that has been judged to be IR - who had what I would judge to be good feet, correct conformation and optimal lifestyle. (I'm not saying there aren't any - just that I have yet to see them)

                                    I have my own ideas about the modern explosion of metabolic / endocrinological disorders in horses - and the key is in the accompanying explosion of the same in humans and companion animals. You are not just what you eat - you are what you do - or don't do - or can't do - or aren't permitted to do.

                                    What we know about the neuro-endocrine and peptidergic nervous systems of the horse is so rudimentary in comparison to the complexity and subtlety of their operations - that to try to rebalance them though an artificial diet is - well, hubris?

                                    Balancing macro nutrients is simple - it's the vital micronutrients that allow the animal to utilise the macro nutrients that is the hard part.

                                    I retreat to common sense in the face of dogmatic assertions about diet - the horse evolved to graze, head low (that's when it is able to carry its great body mass optimally) on a variety of grasses and broadleaf plants.

                                    The problem is not just with sugars (starches) - it's with the processed sugars added to make manufactured feeds palatable, the pulses, maize and soya added to bulk it out or raise the protein levels; it's in the lack of variety in forage, in too much legume relative to grass, or the imbalances in the soils typical of modern industrialised farmland - especially in the US which is paying for its post war reliance on maize and soya production.

                                    We've come a long way in 6000 years of social evolution - well, some of us have - but we are still the same biological beings we were back then. Same with the horse - we've selectively bred for qualities we want but it has the same basic species needs it's always had. Same with dogs, cats, sheep cows etc.

                                    Horses are hugely adaptable - unlike panda or koala bears - they can adapt to a range of terrain and food types. Given time (and the evolutionary scale is a loooong one) they maybe could adapt to a high sugar, low fibre, low variety, high chemical diet - or - maybe they'd die out.

                                    While I'm up here on my soap box - if you want to see the effects of unnatural life and diet on production animals - look to the dairy cow and the list of muscular-skeletal, digestive and metabolic problems that affect high yield, intensively farmed cows. It's no surprise that one of the scariest outcomes of industrial farming (BSE) occurred in dairy herds.

                                    My mantra with all my animals is :maximum variety, keep it simple, ensure it's whole and always look to nature as your guide.

                                    And before people try to trash that by taking up extreme oppositional arguments - by 'look to nature' I just mean be creative. Use that thing we're supposed to have that separates us from other animals - our intelligence - to work out ways of keeping animals that allows them to make at least some of the choices nature equipped them to make.

                                    Time to go to work. All the best with the lovely lad.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A good and interesting post George.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Pandora's Box

                                        http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...04109739OXhYXx

                                        That link has updated foot shots, from today. They aren't the best, I have a bum leg at the moment and have a hard time bending etc. but I think they will at least give a general idea.... His soles look insanely different than they did even a month ago-- he shed so much crap off his sole/frog it is kind of crazy. I know there isn't much to be said off of photos but would be interested to hear whatever feedback people had.

                                        In watching the horse move today, he does look more comfortable and is reaching more though he appears to be landing toe first. Could just be he's adjusting to the trim?

                                        George, thanks for that explanation of mechanical vs. dietary founder. That's just the kind of info I was looking for. Also glad you did "get on your soapbox," your opinion was interesting reading. Thank you.

                                        I love this old guy, and he loves life, so it is important to me that I am able to keep him comfortable.
                                        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

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