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making a lame (?) horse comfortable on a very low budget (with pics)

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  • making a lame (?) horse comfortable on a very low budget (with pics)

    Long story short, I took on the responsibility of this horse when the owner left him at the barn that I boarded. I'm doing my best to find him a good home but he is very ouchy.

    He's a 5yo OTTB that last raced in July. He got turned out (directly from the track) into a 25+ acre field with his racing plates still on and the owner couldn't catch him so he hadn't been handled in over a month then she left the barn and I decided to take care of him. Owner said he has ossolets (in his LF) but I have no x-rays to back that up.

    I was able to catch him (it took a while!) and pull off his last racing plate. His feet look bad and he has an open wound on his ankle that i've been cleaning and wrapping daily.

    Farrier is coming out asap which I think will help a lot. I can't pin point his lameness, he just looks uncomfortable. He will trot and canter a little in the field, but I haven't wanted to really make him trot for me until his feet were done.

    Pics:

    open wound/ "bad ankle"

    Feet (before I pulled his last racing plate off)


    Body Shot


    There's some more close ups.. he was standing sort of awkwardly b/c 1) it was his first time out of the field, and 2) i think the hard road was hurting his feet.

    I want to try to make him as comfortable as I can but since I don't intend to keep him I really can't invest in x-rays or anything like that.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by 2LaZ2race; Sep. 10, 2009, 10:53 PM.

  • #2
    Nice looking horse. I wonder if he is ouchy from just becoming barefoot again and the hard rock surface. They usually work out on smooth sand. It sounds like the horse is doing his part in not doing to much and giving it time to heal.....

    I am glad you are caring for him and watching out for his best interest. The farrier should be of some help too.

    Comment


    • #3
      Get his feet comfortable and then evaluate what you have. Trotting him out and flexions can help isolate which joints are sore. If anything really pops on flexions, then you'd really have to consider how much time and effort you'd want to spend. Not to mention money.

      If you want to make him just more comfortable in general, previcoxx is cheap, will help, and shouldn't hammer his stomach.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by HealingHeart View Post
        It sounds like the horse is doing his part in not doing to much and giving it time to heal.....

        I am glad you are caring for him and watching out for his best interest. The farrier should be of some help too.
        Thanks.. I have a soft spot for OTTBs. He's doing pretty well about not running around. I see him often standing in the run in shed alone when all the other horses are out grazing. I feel like he's just looking at me saying "where's my groom and my grain and my tiny little racing saddle???"

        The herd is pretty calm. My 2 OTTBs, a tiny app pony (also left by owner but she's in good shape) and 2 paint mares that are so fat they can't move.

        It's a low key pasture board barn where a lot of people "retire" their horses or just put easy keepers. There's no barn manager, no one that feeds or anything.. totally self care. The owners are not horse people and they're thankfully I'm taking care of him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Agreed, I'd bet anything the horse will be A LOT more comfortable after the farrier is out. Will probably go well with at least front shoes, maybe all around. Then I'd see how sound the horse is after the farrier visit, and go from there.
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

          Comment


          • #6
            I second the idea that he's probably ouchy from going barefoot and being "tossed out" with little care. A career ending injury on the track probably would have left him noticeably off. The tincture of time cure is a good one. Get his feet looked at--even front shoes might help him transition (although if he's like my 20 YO TB, he'll never be barefoot and sound) and give him time to let down and learn to be a horse again.
            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Simkie View Post
              Get his feet comfortable and then evaluate what you have. Trotting him out and flexions can help isolate which joints are sore. If anything really pops on flexions, then you'd really have to consider how much time and effort you'd want to spend. Not to mention money.

              If you want to make him just more comfortable in general, previcoxx is cheap, will help, and shouldn't hammer his stomach.
              I'm sort of on the fence about spending time and money. Time I don't mind, but money is obviously an issue. I'm not poor but i'm "horse poor" and would rather spend my hard earned money on my horses.

              On the other hand.. I want to find him a good home and that will be much easier if he is sound (or at least trail riding sound) so if there are some simple steps I can take I will (i have no issue paying for a $30 trim but I can't spend hundreds of dollars on x-rays)

              I was also debating about bute or something like that b/c I don't want him feeling "too good" if he needs time to rest.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just be careful that you don't sink a lot of money into him and get him some ground manners/undersaddle time only to have the original owner reappear and sell him, with a profit from your hard work and generosity.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 2LaZ2race View Post
                  I'm sort of on the fence about spending time and money. Time I don't mind, but money is obviously an issue. I'm not poor but i'm "horse poor" and would rather spend my hard earned money on my horses.

                  On the other hand.. I want to find him a good home and that will be much easier if he is sound (or at least trail riding sound) so if there are some simple steps I can take I will (i have no issue paying for a $30 trim but I can't spend hundreds of dollars on x-rays)
                  Spending a lot of time and effort on a horse that has chips grinding away on cartilage will end in heartbreak. I promise--I've been there. Same thing spending a lot of time and effort on a horse with a minor tendon tweek that needs rest.

                  These things can LOOK very minor...until they're not. A chip horse can go from a 1 lameness-wise (it can be very subtle) until the horse has no cartilage left and is bone on bone and then it will be DEAD LAME. And will not improve. Not even enough to just trail ride.

                  So a hundred bucks to radiograph a joint that pops sore on flexions or the ultrasound a tendon that palpates off can be very, very well spent. I'm certainly not saying to go hog wild, but spending the money can sometimes be really worth it.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by smm20 View Post
                    Just be careful that you don't sink a lot of money into him and get him some ground manners/undersaddle time only to have the original owner reappear and sell him, with a profit from your hard work and generosity.
                    She gave me his papers so I'm hoping she won't be back to claim him.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 2LaZ2race View Post
                      She gave me his papers so I'm hoping she won't be back to claim him.
                      Simkie has very good points -

                      IMO the best route would to have a good farrier check him out soon. He can maybe put hoof testers to him and give his opinion on if he is currently foot sore or not (that could be why he acts uncomfortable) - decide to try barefoot or front shoes.

                      Then I think you can take a couple weeks to attend to the wound - get that cleared up and evaluate if he is still lame or not. Sometimes just giving them time to chill does wonders. If he is still lame, then it's time to take more serious measures, but no need to panic now!

                      BTW, good for you - for giving him a second chance!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Personally I would get a basic vet assesment to see if the horse can be made sound. I would think it woulld be really challenging to find a lame horse a home right now.

                        You could try some hoof testers and if tender some shoes with pads.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If he were mine

                          I'd get him trimmed ASAP.

                          I'd use venice turpentine on his feet to toughen up what he has.

                          I'd put him on either Previcoxx or Bute and an ulcer preventative. Ranitidine is cheap, but them some really old skoolers might recommend baking soda.

                          I'd deal with the ankle cut.

                          I'd wait a couple of weeks (at least).

                          I'd take him of the pain meds for a couple of days and then do my own, down-home lameness exam:

                          Trotting on a straight line toward me, away from me and by me. Trotting on a circle in both directions, on deep and shallow footing if I had access to both. Flexion tests. Palpate the suspensories and flexors, knees, stifles.

                          From how he is standing and the osselets info, I'd be careful. He looks like he'd rather not support himself on the LF. Could be the foot pain (most likely) but then the boney problem.

                          You need to take care of foot pain before you try to evaluate him for soundness anywhere else.

                          Best of luck.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            he's a gorgeous boy. props to you for trying to help him. i hope everything goes well and he starts feeling better soon.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by mvp View Post
                              I'd get him trimmed ASAP.

                              I'd use venice turpentine on his feet to toughen up what he has.

                              I'd put him on either Previcoxx or Bute and an ulcer preventative. Ranitidine is cheap, but them some really old skoolers might recommend baking soda.

                              I'd deal with the ankle cut.

                              I'd wait a couple of weeks (at least).

                              I'd take him of the pain meds for a couple of days and then do my own, down-home lameness exam:

                              Trotting on a straight line toward me, away from me and by me. Trotting on a circle in both directions, on deep and shallow footing if I had access to both. Flexion tests. Palpate the suspensories and flexors, knees, stifles.

                              From how he is standing and the osselets info, I'd be careful. He looks like he'd rather not support himself on the LF. Could be the foot pain (most likely) but then the boney problem.

                              You need to take care of foot pain before you try to evaluate him for soundness anywhere else.

                              Best of luck.
                              I think this will be my plan.

                              I know many people have suggested a vet exam but if it's just his feet or the cut or just "I was a racehorse 25 days ago" syndrome I really don't want to drop $500 for a lameness exam and x-rays.

                              I understand the issues that could come from with bone chips or more serious conditions but under the circumstances I think I need to play it by ear for a while.

                              I'll keep everyone updated

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'd probably put front shoes on, just to see if that helps him not be sore. And I'd treat the cut.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Would the owner be willing to sign him over to you? Or could you bill the owner for what needs doing?

                                  Good for you for taking him on.
                                  Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    He is a great looking horse and lucky to have someone willing to try and get him sound.

                                    In my opinion his front legs are far from clean, especially his ankles. I would believe that having ossolets would be a best case scenario looking at the photos. If that is his problem then you can hope that they are green and when they have time to set he may come sound on them.

                                    If it were my horse and time were not an issue I would get his feet in shape, treat the cut (which doesn't look at this point like a cause of lameness), and wait. If after a reasonable amount of time he doesn't come sound then I would start x-raying up the front legs in particular. That said, if the horse isn't comfortable enought to be turned out without pain management I would have to go ahead with the lameness exam now rather than later.

                                    Good luck and again he is a lovely horse.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by 2LaZ2race View Post
                                      I was also debating about bute or something like that b/c I don't want him feeling "too good" if he needs time to rest.
                                      Resting is hard to do when you're in pain. That myth of "no pain-killers equals they'll be quieter" has been debunked fairly well. A vet lost his license for not giving pain killers to a dog after surgery. Humans and animals heal better when they're comfortable. If he's been out in a pasture for over a month the damage is already done.

                                      Oh, BTW, I've got three OTTBs that I got just like you did. Welcome to the club!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Does he officially belong to you or not?

                                        In the interest of not wasting time and money, or getting your hopes up, I'd also get the ownership issued cleared up with the owner before I paid any pro to do anything to the horse.

                                        Remember that you are losing money and starting to love him every day you feed him. For that reason, you might want to set a reasonable time limit for how long you'll give him to "just be a horse" before you start expecting him to be more sound. You don't want to wait, say, 4 months and find yourself looking at a still lame horse and wishing you had cut bait 90 days/and those dollars earlier.

                                        Your farrier can help you decide the quickest way to resolve foot pain for this horse. Again, I think that's your very first job. It may be that it make sense to pay for shoes up front if he thinks that trimming plus toughening up the soles will work for this horse.

                                        Just remember that time is money and time is a chance to get way attached.
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat

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