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Sore front feet leading to back issues?

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  • Sore front feet leading to back issues?

    Before I start any of this, I feel like I need to say I am working very closely with my vet, acupuncturist/massage vet, and soon to be farrier. I'd just love to get some ideas/suggestions about what might be going on with this horse. Oh, and sorry this is so long!

    I'm leasing a 13 year old gelding who I event at preliminary, and lately he's been having some issues. He's always somewhat difficult on the flat, just generally weak behind and not his favorite thing, but he tries hard most of the time. About 3 weeks ago he suddenly got very stiff, especially to the left which is his worse direction anyway, and generally just seemed uncomfortable-pinning his ears, tail swishing, etc. (which is also very unlike him.) I want to emphasize here that he was NOT lame, not even a little, and has never been lame throughout this whole thing. We thought maybe he was getting a little back sore or maybe needed his hocks injected but my vet of choice was out of town, so we figured a week off wouldn't hurt anyway and just let him be for awhile. Then vet came, horse hadn't been turned out bc of snow and ice so was a lunatic, so he decided not to bother flexing him and just injected his hocks because he could tell they were sore by the acupressure points, plus he was wearing his back toes down unevenly. Gave the horse 4 days off, got on him just to see, more of the angry, tail swishing and hunching his back like he wanted to buck at the trot. Perfectly fine (to my eyes at least) on the lunge line. Vet comes back, flexes him, palpates his back, says he has lower back pain call acupuncture guy. He came out today and said moderately reactive stifles, but mostly he's worried about his front feet. He said the acupuncture points for both front feet were VERY reactive, 4 or more out of 5, and the right was worse. He said possibly because of the hard winter ground he just has some bruising, and the foot soreness could definitely be causing the back and hind end issues b/c horse is compensating. He suggested possibly rim pads or wedge shoes to help, but I'm not sure what exactly those would do. If it's just sole bruising from hard ground, wouldn't full pads be more effective? I am planning on calling the farrier tomorrow, but I wanted to have a little more information about what needs to be done. I know when looking for a bruise you can use the hoof testers to pinpoint it, but this sounds more like widespread soreness, not a localized bruise. Also, I was under the impression that wedge shoes helped relieve pressure on the heels, could this be part of the problem? Obviously farrier will have suggestions, but I'd like to get opinions/advice about what solutions might work. Thanks!
    Emily

  • #2
    Honestly?

    I would STOP right now. Everyone is *guessing* as to what is wrong with this horse and dishing out recommendations that are so hit or miss that it is a little scary sounding. You have already paid to have his hocks injected when *that* wasn't the problem...

    put a hold on it all now and get someone out who will do correct diagnostics - flexion, xrays, ultrasound if necessary. Do rads of his feet and if there are problems, correct the trim AND the shoeing package, don't let anyone just slap wedges or pads on him and call it a day. If you want to get him feeling truly better, with no bandaids, that's what it will take. But really, don't let anyone else waste your money, your time and his soundness!
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

    Comment


    • #3
      I very much agree with Eq Trainer, especially since this horse seems to have a "history" with this ssue.....

      May have nothing to do with the hooves, although could be. It could also be any of the following:
      • Ulcers
      • EPSM
      • Selenium and/or magnesium deficiency
      • Saddle fit

      Comment


      • #4
        For starters - yes, hoof soreness, front or back, can very easily lead to back soreness.

        Toe dragging isn't necessarily hocks - can easily be stifles.

        I cannot believe that hocks were injected purely based on an accupressure point!! How in the world did the vet know which joint(s) to inject?

        Which one(s) DID he inject, and with what?

        Despite him not being head- or hip-bobbing, this horse HAS been lame

        You need a good chiro, and a good massage therapist, just for starters, to work with the vet, to figure out at least the current most sore spot(s) and address those. You're likely going to be "peeling an onion", uncovering problems and symptoms, until you get them all discovered and addressed.

        If "He's always somewhat difficult on the flat, just generally weak behind and not his favorite thing,", then he's been unsound for as long as this has been going on, and getting worse. Horses cannot event at Prelim and be "generally weak behind" without issues surfacing after a while.

        So yeah, you (and the owner) need to find a competent team of folks who can help you find the layers of the onion in order to start peeling them
        ______________________________
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I appreciate your responses, and believe me I am frustrated with the amount of guessing going on right now. I guess I needed to be more specific, though, because this horse has had his hocks injected in the past and it was obvious that even if hocks weren't the root problem, they still needed to be done. So no, I do not feel that was a waste of money, and the vet who did it is a well respected sporthorse vet with his own clinic, not just some large animal vet who doesn't know about diagnostics.

          And I do understand the concern, but the horse has NOT been lame before this happened. Obviously something has been going on for awhile, but he is a very stoic horse and good at hiding pain. He did not get progressively worse-one day he was fine, the next obviously uncomfortable. Weak does not equal "off", and we have been working on strengthening his hind end and building topline so flatwork will be easier for him. Don't get me wrong, this horse has gotten low 40s scores in prelim dressage tests, I was just pointing out it's not his best phase

          Anyway, it seems like the next step is fixing whatever is going on with the front feet, and I am NOT going to let someone just slap pads on him, that is why I posted here. Honestly, my farrier will not do that without figuring out what the problem is, but I want to be more informed myself so I can be involved in the decisions. So, if anyone with more knowledge about shoeing would care to explain exactly WHY you would use rim pads, sole pads, or wedge shoes and HOW they help, I'd really appreciate that!
          Emily

          Comment


          • #6
            Again, to decide if you need any of those things, you really do need radiographs.

            Let me give you an example...

            I trim a horse who has *beautiful* textbook feet. He routinely sees the chiro, is ridden well and his owner is a horse masseuse. He also gets sore in his right hip and almost always needs the same adjustment from the chiropractor.

            Last week he was at my barn when my vet came to do some rads. We got to talking about it and I expressed my concern to the vet that even tho' his feet are gorgeous, the hip makes me wonder if there is something else going on in his feet - particularly since when I began trimming him, his feet did NOT look so good. Two laterals later and it's revealed that he has a negative coffin bone plane on that right hind foot - which is what I suspected.

            There was no way to know that without radiographs. He had none of the normal markers for a negative coffin bone. I was able to get a single degree change by lowering his toe wall but he then needed equipack and a wedge casted onto that foot. The other foot is fine. If we had randomly padded or wedged anything, we could have easily made a serious mistake. And of course, analysing the trim was vital before doing anything else - it may have been that I could have gotten *more* than one degree and not had to wedge him, that would have been really nice

            I am not trying to treat you like an idiot, I am just trying to point out that diagnostics are your friend in these cases and will hopefully stop you from going down a road you perhaps don't need to. The horse I mention above, would have surely ultimately become very sore - probably back sore, probably hock sore, from this. But looking at those things in exclusion would not have helped him and by then, it would have become more confusing.

            My last thought is that the directive of maybe he needs a wedge, maybe a rim pad, is really not helpful for a farrier at all. He too is most likely going to want radiographs and if the vet is going to be involved he will probably want them to tell him *exactly* what to do - particularly since if he has already been shoeing this horse, we have to assume he has been shoeing it to the best of his ability and in the horses best interest, based on how he reads the foot.
            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
            ---
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              EqTrainer- Thanks so much for your input. That is the kind of thing I'm trying to learn! And as you said, I'm sure the farrier will want more diagnostics as well, and I'll make sure to put radiographs on the table.
              Emily

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                Again, to decide if you need any of those things, you really do need radiographs.

                Let me give you an example...

                I trim a horse who has *beautiful* textbook feet. He routinely sees the chiro, is ridden well and his owner is a horse masseuse. He also gets sore in his right hip and almost always needs the same adjustment from the chiropractor.

                Last week he was at my barn when my vet came to do some rads. We got to talking about it and I expressed my concern to the vet that even tho' his feet are gorgeous, the hip makes me wonder if there is something else going on in his feet - particularly since when I began trimming him, his feet did NOT look so good. Two laterals later and it's revealed that he has a negative coffin bone plane on that right hind foot - which is what I suspected.

                There was no way to know that without radiographs. He had none of the normal markers for a negative coffin bone. I was able to get a single degree change by lowering his toe wall but he then needed equipack and a wedge casted onto that foot. The other foot is fine. If we had randomly padded or wedged anything, we could have easily made a serious mistake. And of course, analysing the trim was vital before doing anything else - it may have been that I could have gotten *more* than one degree and not had to wedge him, that would have been really nice

                I am not trying to treat you like an idiot, I am just trying to point out that diagnostics are your friend in these cases and will hopefully stop you from going down a road you perhaps don't need to. The horse I mention above, would have surely ultimately become very sore - probably back sore, probably hock sore, from this. But looking at those things in exclusion would not have helped him and by then, it would have become more confusing.

                My last thought is that the directive of maybe he needs a wedge, maybe a rim pad, is really not helpful for a farrier at all. He too is most likely going to want radiographs and if the vet is going to be involved he will probably want them to tell him *exactly* what to do - particularly since if he has already been shoeing this horse, we have to assume he has been shoeing it to the best of his ability and in the horses best interest, based on how he reads the foot.
                EQ - this is very interesting to me because two years ago I found the same thing with my horse. It appeared as hind end stiffness which varied between bad and really bad. I had some similarities to stifle lameness but just gradually got worse. I finally had the feet radiographed and low and behold negative coffin bone. After adding wedge pads we haven't had any issues. I will be radiographing the feet again this spring just in case we need to change anything. In the meantime I have been trying to encourage more heal growth because the pads seem to have a bad effect on growth over the long term.

                Comment


                • #9
                  EqT do you have those rads on your computer? and hoof photos? I would so be interested in seeing this...by email would probably be best.

                  You have my wheels turning on that one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    FWIW I, too, agree with EqT.... not just because it's sound advice based on real experience but because what she's recommending is getting to the root of the problem so it can be treated and HEALED. Just wedging or padding a hoof won't heal the problem....it is just a band-aid to cover it up.
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ChocoMare View Post
                      FWIW I, too, agree with EqT.... not just because it's sound advice based on real experience but because what she's recommending is getting to the root of the problem so it can be treated and HEALED. Just wedging or padding a hoof won't heal the problem....it is just a band-aid to cover it up.
                      I agree, plus the fact that it can generally be seen even without x-rays, as it was the case with EqTrainer as well.

                      All one needs to do is look at the hoof form. Excessive low heels and almost or bulging dorsal hoofwall and most likely there's a coffin bone with a negative palmar angle.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
                        I agree, plus the fact that it can generally be seen even without x-rays, as it was the case with EqTrainer as well.
                        Not sure if you really meant what you wrote, but in ET's case the feet looked perfectly fine, no outward sign of a negative P3. it was only the xray that showed that it was.

                        All one needs to do is look at the hoof form. Excessive low heels and almost or bulging dorsal hoofwall and most likely there's a coffin bone with a negative palmar angle.
                        As per the example, "all one needs" is not necessarily the case. Low heels are not the only thing that can case a negative P3 - having a too-high toe plane can as well, and that doesn't have to look, from the outside, too high.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And sore front feet could be exacerbating the hind end issues. One of the initial signs of trouble in Star's front end (what turned out to be strained collateral ligaments) was that the farrier had trouble with the RH when he worked on it. To the point that my normally easy-to-shoe horse became problematic.

                          So, agree with everyone that says you need a full work-up, not starting with any assumptions on the part of the vet or anyone else..
                          The Evil Chem Prof

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes, you do need the horse to have a full work-up. FWIW, sometimes the root problem may not even emerge until some of the subsidiary problems are addressed. Just as an example, a horse that is more or less equally sore on both front feet may not look lame; but if you block one hoof, then suddenly the lameness on the other hoof will become apparent.

                            Or, the soreness in the front hooves could actually be a result of the horse overloading the front because the hind end hurts so much.

                            Particularly if the original problem has been undiagnosed for a long time, there can be quite a few other problems that have developed as a result.

                            Good luck in getting it sorted out.
                            "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              JB - thank you the horse had NO exterior signs of a NCBP. And both of his back feet match, which makes it even more interesting, since I never trim purposefully to match them.

                              LMH - yes, I have the rads.. but I'm not posting them here, it's not my horse. I'll try to send them to you if his owner says ok.
                              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                              ---
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Shame you aren't able to post the xrays - every case of negative plane pedal bones I've seen has had pretty obvious external signs eg toes too long (vertically) heels too low (trimmed too short or underslung) weak frog/ bulbs and DC etc. And horse usually stands camped out trying to unload heels - so for there to be no signs is unusual - in my limited experience at least.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by George Myers View Post
                                  Shame you aren't able to post the xrays - every case of negative plane pedal bones I've seen has had pretty obvious external signs eg toes too long (vertically) heels too low (trimmed too short or underslung) weak frog/ bulbs and DC etc. And horse usually stands camped out trying to unload heels - so for there to be no signs is unusual - in my limited experience at least.
                                  I know. The vet really thought I was off base, wanting to get rads of his feet since they look so good. I had some clues tho' that she did not - one being that he used to stand sickle hocked, as you note and that he used to have very *high* heels behind.

                                  I am often in the situation of not being able to post pics and/or rads because they are of clients horses. Not everyone wants their horses to be famous

                                  It does make me wonder tho' how there is a NCBP and no one knows because there are no obvious exterior signs.
                                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                  ---
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                  Comment

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