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Long term hoof pain

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  • Long term hoof pain

    I apologize for the lengthy post, here it goes.

    I have a horse that I currently own, actually recently purchased from the client of my neighbor for a "quick sale" price due to it's condition. She was brought here from Europe as a 1.15 horse, nothing overly special in talent but a heart of gold. A horse who is not the 1.15 horse that I would look for but will be very happy staying around the 1.10. She was a younger horse who in my opinion endured quite the workload for her age while in Europe. She's about 8 right now and from ages 6-7 she wasn't necessarily over shown, technically not over jumped, but due to her honesty and demeanor she was the confidence booster for the yards riders. Like a schoolmaster here for us or a horse with a generally honest personality, however they're not typically 6-8 years old and are not pulled out of the field when needed and jumped a 1.10+ with a rider who has no eye. Now this is something we were not aware of, we weren't aware of the extent anyway. I could get into this but it's a completely separate story that has minimal relevance to this topic.

    The horse was brought in for a junior rider here to serve as a medal type horse and to cruise around in the jumpers. The horse was a plea from the parents for the child to continue riding and conveniently the child fell in love and still continues to ride. This rider who was rather competitive in her mind but not the most successful and certainly rarely accurate, threw the same unique distances at the horse that she was accustom to, however these were around the 3' height rather than a 3'9-4' which the horse previously experienced. She passed the vet check with minimal problems, very minimal having nothing to do with the front end, according to the trainer and based on what i've seen both the vet and the horses trainer were not worried about this.

    Fast forward to a year into the horses showing here, we start seeing issues. The horse has always had a choppy gait you can say, never an open stride with a point of toe at the trot, but certainly not a gait that looked abnormal, and a gait that was very consistent, no change. I happened to be present for day 3 of the horse show, not jumping over a 1.00 while the child does the lower classes. Horse is pulled out of her stall, groom notices nothing while walking to the prep barn, trainer gets on and we are both blown away. The horse wasn't head bobbing or limping but was walking as if it was on glass. Fast forward again 3 months later, trying everything, looking into everything, nothing solved the problem. Somewhere between there and where we are now I acquired this horse, knowing full well the situation but having the time, funds and appreciation for her while she was still working her condition didn't bother me. After the treatment her previous owner did in hopes to help her, nothing was a success, even with time off, slowly working back to jumping small fences which eventually turned into an incredibly short stride and only wanting to jump from the base, I assume this was when they were back to square one again. At the beginning of my journey with her my first idea was a bone scan, the only thing that showed significance was her neck which was addressed and treated immediately after. Hoping this would solve the problem as i'm sure anyone knows how much a horses neck can effect its entire way of going, we had high hopes. Horse came back to work, again very slowly and only on the flat, she showed much improvement. About a month into my trainer and I jumping her over smaller fences she started showing identical signs. Struggle to move downhill, although she would it was clearly taking more effort than most, her stride started to shorten again, step was worse than before, and the work stopped there. Here I am with the horse I originally ended up with. Frustration only coming from my putty for the mare. I have no reason to give up on her or get angry as I knew what I was getting into. My ultimate goal is getting her to where she can be comfortably. I know this is a solvable issue, or I assume there is based on her vetting and a second set of x-rays that I neglected to mention, there were no changes. My vet suggested an anti-inflammatory trial to see if there was change, of course there was significant improvement on the flat. Both my vet and I obviously refuse to continue this while working as it will only mask the pain for a period of time, while also doing no justice to the mare. End up to where we are today, this horse has had the best care, the best maintenance I have given any of my horses. For an 8 year old this is far too much, but with the workload she induced before import I can see the need. To be quite honest I was surprised when I was told and shown the clean vetting, even after speaking to the original vet.

    I've given up per say when it comes to trying to pinpoint the problem. Certainly not given up on what is now my horse, but given up on trying to assume and solve. I'm very sure my vet has other opinions and ideas. The funds on my end are there to peruse these ideas, but an opinion from a larger group of people who have all experienced different situations here, rather than only a couple vets and some of my friends seems to be an idea before we go further. My assumption is the hoof, I can't express to you how much everything else has been treated. I will admit we have not had a chiropractor in case it could be coming from somewhere else that leads to more strain on the hoof itself. Right now the mare is having a vacation at my place, we recently as in a couple weeks ago shod here with equithane which could very well solve whatever problem was there, but I will always be curious to hear opinions.

  • #2
    Something about your writing style makes it hard for me to understand. Has this mare had blocks and a FULL lameness workup at a clinic? Or has everything been piecemeal/done a bit at a time by the local vet? I think she sounds like a super horse and worth the money/time/effort to haul her to the very best clinic in your area (New Bolton would be the one near me) and have them start over from scratch looking for the issue. It could really be anything. If there's a soft tissue issue in the hoof, it may need to be diagnosed via MRI. But blocks would be the first step.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Sorry for the confusion. An MRI is my next step and was suggested by my veterinarian. She has had a lameness exam, I believe this was what you asked. The exam was basic however. Not at a clinic but at my home and had her procedures done at a clinic. Veterinarian is highly reputable and used by a majority of the well educated trainers and quality programs in the area. He travels outside of state, I would call him "sought after" and I truly believe in his work. Rather not say the name as he is well known and I would assume he would like to steer clear from his name being online.

      That being said everything has been done a bit at a time rather than all at once, could't tell you why exactly but it's what i've been used to, not what you and I would most likely consider a "local vet". I am starting to consider a third opinion or third vet. This might sound novice but she was blocked, both front, pinpointed to "the hoof". This was done by a previous veterinarian, not necessarily one i'd consider the "local vet" but definitely not of the same category as my current. Starting from scratch at this point seems like the best move.

      Would I be the only one who finds it odd that it was so sudden? I will admit I did not see the horse at the show until day 3. But as I said, she was pulled out of her stall and seemed to look identical to how I had always seen her, until she was mounted.

      I have made a tentative appointment with my veterinarian. He is in Wellington at the moment but as soon as he returns we'll bring her back from her brief vacation and continue trying to solve the problem. From there i'll have to look into an additional opinion. It's so strange that we're having such a hard time with this one. I've had him look at several of my horses in the past that had problems and he's always been spot on.

      While I have always felt that I knew lameness types, things to look for, and comprehended what the veterinarian says. I feel in this situation we've tried so much that i've almost dumbed myself up.

      Comment


      • #4
        At this point in time I would wonder what has taken you so long to get an MRI.

        Lameness has a nasty habit of coming on suddenly. Even though she has a history of a not quite as expected gait. You have continued to muddle along even after blocks have showed that it is the foot, and obviously not demonstrable on radiographs, which BTW you don't mention, except perhaps inferred in "a full lameness workup".
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't mean to cast aspersions on a "local vet" I was more driving at the fact that (1) there was not a full head-to-toe-lameness exam ALL AT ONCE; and (2) the limitations of diagnostic tools in the field rather than in a clinic setting. I also use a "local vet" who I happen to think walks on water... but there's a difference between what he's set up to do and what New Bolton is set up to do. No matter how great he is, in some ways he's limited in terms of his tools. At a place like New Bolton they can throw everything at a problem with a million sets of eyes and only your finances as limitation. And they will look at everything if you want them to, from shoeing on up. I think there's a lot of value when you can't quite put your finger on the issue and it's been lingering to going to a clinic and starting fresh. Jog, to blocks, to diagnostics on up... let them take on the puzzle from the beginning. There's a lot in your hypo that suggests to me soft tissue in the foot and that would probably be best diagnosed via MRI- so since you're going to the clinic and spending big bucks ANYWAY once we're talking MRI-- why not let them start from the groud up? The scattershot approach hasn't worked so far.
          ~Veronica
          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
          http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

          Comment


          • #6
            MRI sounds like a good idea. Also, personally, if she is a warmblood (which I assume she is), I would do a muscle biopsy for EPSM. Not very expensive and EPSM can cause the short striding you are referring to....actually so can the neck...so it is possible what whatever is wrong with her neck is so bad that whatever you have done to address it is not enough.

            Comment


            • #7
              Bone scan should have been followed by MRI, if your insurance or wallet permits. Assuming you already blocked the foot and horse went sound. I just went through this. The lameness came on suddenly, but in 20/20 hindsight it has actually been brewing for weeks (the horse was getting more and more difficult to make canter).
              In the end it proved to be a bruised coffin bone... lit up like a Christmas tree, and confirmed by MRI. Rest and bar shoes behind while it heals for a couple months, and using caution the stay away from frozen an/or bumpy ground seems to be working. No visible lameness, but still likes to swap off the sore foot behind at the canter (in indoor for a few strides only). So rest for months may work, but you may drive yourself crazy if you are impatient like I am. I am glad to know nothing is broken and no soft tissue injury. Horse is coming 5.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                At this point in time I would wonder what has taken you so long to get an MRI.

                What OP posted regarding vet care during the short time she has owned the horse

                At the beginning of my journey with her my first idea was a bone scan, the only thing that showed significance was her neck which was addressed and treated immediately after. Hoping this would solve the problem as i'm sure anyone knows how much a horses neck can effect its entire way of going, we had high hopes. Horse came back to work, again very slowly and only on the flat, she showed much improvement. About a month into my trainer and I jumping her over smaller fences she started showing identical signs. Struggle to move downhill, although she would it was clearly taking more effort than most, her stride started to shorten again, step was worse than before, and the work stopped there. Here I am with the horse I originally ended up with.
                OP's intended next step is MRI - she's just asking for any ideas others may have ...

                FWIW met a horse that is now free to good home after every available diagnostic & injections & what not, & horse is far from sound

                Comment


                • #9
                  So you guys did block as part of your lameness exam and that's how the vet decided the problem was somewhere below the coronet band?

                  The traditional way to proceed, then, is to consider all of the structures within that part of the body and look at them as best you can.

                  I don't think the purpose of the test with systemic anti-inflammatories is unfair to the mare. After all, it is meant to be diagnostic. But that's for pain anywhere.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Yes, x-rays were done during her lames exam, identical to purchase x-rays and nothing seen after radiologist and veterinarian looked them over. She tested a 1 on the right front, 1 being very subtle. Flexed fine on the other 3. After blocks were done it was narrowed down to the hoof. According to her vet-records she had coffin joint injections before I received her, the injections apparently helped and seemed to have things back to normal until they weren't once again. Bone scan was easy on the eye only the neck lit up significantly, fetlocks were the only thing that showed any sort of discrepancies, these were injected too. Each treatment that was done showed great improvement, then went back south.

                    The only thing that i've done recently is change her shoeing giving equithane a go. As silly as it is I'm considering bringing an equine communicator out to see what other ideas the mare could be having. I never dabbled or cared to believe in it but what can it hurt?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If it's in the hoof, the MRI is your best bet + an amazing farrier. Good luck and keep us posted

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ummm, what exactly was diagnosed and "treated" in the neck???? And what was the treatment???

                        You may have multiple problems. A clean vetting somewhere along the line only means it was clean that day and probably did not include anything with the neck. A whole lot of things can go wrong after that including compensating for pain in one place making them sore someplace else.

                        Horse needs a full work up in a clinic setting. It's cheaper then chasing what is not the real, root cause of the issues.

                        This horse very well could have fallen down out in the field or gotten cast in the stall and got back up on it's own with nobody the wiser. Some type of neck or shoulder damage can easily result, not unusual and the devil to pinpoint with all the compensatory stuff going on.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You might want to consider posting this in the Horse Care forum.
                          I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            try barefoot

                            look up steffen peters barefoot on google.
                            shannon his wife had a horse that was NQR and they couldnt figure out what was wrong. they pulled the shoes and the horse is sound now.
                            they pulled the shoes for Ravel right before the olympics to fix a qtr crack that threated his olympic entry.
                            if you cant find anything wrong with this horse, maybe try barefoot. i decided to leave shoes off my horse after a woman told me a story about an champion appalosa that her neighbor had that she couldnt keep sound. very expensive shoes. they retired the horse. took the shoes off and horse went sound. and now is ridden barefoot.
                            it may be worth trying to see if the horse would respond to being barefoot. good luck!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by TSWJB View Post
                              look up steffen peters barefoot on google.
                              shannon his wife had a horse that was NQR and they couldnt figure out what was wrong. they pulled the shoes and the horse is sound now.
                              they pulled the shoes for Ravel right before the olympics to fix a qtr crack that threated his olympic entry.
                              if you cant find anything wrong with this horse, maybe try barefoot. i decided to leave shoes off my horse after a woman told me a story about an champion appalosa that her neighbor had that she couldnt keep sound. very expensive shoes. they retired the horse. took the shoes off and horse went sound. and now is ridden barefoot.
                              it may be worth trying to see if the horse would respond to being barefoot. good luck!
                              This is something I have highly considered based on all of the positive experiences i've heard of. Not sure as it would work for her but if an MRI doesn't show anything I will most likely try this. She has impressive feet, my farrier and the mares previous farrier were impressed. My personal farrier does not recommend it but he also does not specialize in it. I know that it can be quite controversial and many people strongly disagree with it.

                              She is a jumper which wouldn't work for this ring when it does come to grass. I feel a happy and sound horse who cannot serve her exact purpose is better than an unsound and uncomfortable horse who cannot serve her exact purpose.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If it's been narrowed down to the foot with blocks, MRI is your next step. Perhaps along with new contemporaneous films. I feel fairly sure it's going to give you some answer.
                                ~Veronica
                                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                                  If it's been narrowed down to the foot with blocks, MRI is your next step. Perhaps along with new contemporaneous films. I feel fairly sure it's going to give you some answer.
                                  Grateful for your help along with everyone else. Moving forward this coming week with an MRI. Will keep everyone updated if you'd like an update.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Good luck with the MRI! I had similar issues with a horse of mine.. the MRI pinpointed the problem, and with stall rest, corrective shoes and a great farrier, a horse the vets told me to put down, has now gone on to have huge success in the equitation ring! Best of luck with your mare.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      In my horse's case the vet felt that it was the neck issues that was driving the front end (collateral ligament damage) issues.
                                      The Evil Chem Prof

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Roxx View Post
                                        If it's in the hoof, the MRI is your best bet + an amazing farrier. Good luck and keep us posted
                                        This. As Peggy noted, though, maybe explore the neck a bit more too.

                                        My mare is comfortable and seems to be improving with careful corrective shoeing, although she's also 20 so I'm not expecting miracles and really just want her to be comfy enough to play out in pasture and go for the occasional hack. We didn't explore the neck angle because of her age, but based on her history I wouldn't be at all surprised if she does have an issue there. She does get Pentosan.
                                        Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!
                                        http://www.etsy.com/shop/PellMellFeltPads

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