Tag Archives: farrier

What a Difference 3 Weeks Can Make

Tilly came to me from a slaughter auction in Texas after 17-ish years as an Amish workhorse.  She was thin (she still is), sick (upper respiratory infection) had cracked hooves, had never had her teeth floated (they made a horrible grinding and clicking sound when she ate), and apparently had never been clipped or bathed or worn a blanket.  I do not think she had ever even had a treat (she still won’t take an apple or carrot).  

SYMPTOMS:

  • Rumbling gut
  • Cow pie stools
  • Grinding/clicking teeth
  • Cracked hooves
  • Dull coat
  • Underweight
  • Running nose

PROFESSIONALS:

  • Farrier for evaluation and trimming
  • Dentist for power float of teeth
  • Vet for physical, blood work, and fecal

TESTING/RESULTS:

  • CBC: all in normal range aside from her creatinine and protein suggesting dehydration. These values normalized after about 1 week)
  • Fecal: Minimal

FEED:

  • Triple Crown Senior Feed (Low sugars, low starch, high fat)
  • Tons of water with Horse Quencher added
  • Salt block

MEDICATIONS:

  • Exceed injections (2 total a week apart) then SMZ for 2 weeks
  • Banamine
  • Brewer’s Yeast (Stomach)
  • BioSponge (Gut health and to tackle her loose stools)
  • Electrolytes (To help with dehydration)
  • Strongid wormer 

 

 

Top to bottom:

Tilly on her way from Texas

Tilly when she first arrived in Virginia

Her feet upon arrival

Getting her teeth and feet done

Tilly after being clipped and bathed!

Spotting Lameness: The Game Plan

Spotting Lameness: The Game Plan
— Read on horsenetwork.com/2018/10/spotting-lameness-game-plan/

When it rains…

ker.com/equinews/white-line-disease-requires-early-diagnosis-and-aggressive-treatment/

Ice Packs & Horseshoes

When it’s hot outside and you are getting your feet done, it’s imperative to have an ice pack on your head. 

I have a limp!

Resources on how to diagnose, treat, prevent, and handle lameness in horses

Your Horse Has a Swollen Leg – Why and What To Do | EquiMed – Horse Health Matters

All About the Fetlock

Fetlock Lameness – It’s importance… | The Horse Magazine – Australia’s Leading Equestrian Magazine

Causes of Equine Lameness | EquiMed – Horse Health Matters

 

Common Causes of Lameness in the Fetlock

fetlock lame

 

Equine Podiatry

Medical History


  1. DDFT Lesion on right hind
  2. Cervical Spine Arthritis
  3. Hip discomfort due to past fall

Past Treatments Tried


  1. Stem Cell Injections: Healed the DDFT lesion in right hind until recently the lesion began to reappear
  2. Ozone Therapy: Assists in the healing of tissues
  3. Shock Wave Therapy: Assists in the healing of tissue
  4. Chriopractic adjustments
  5. Acupuncture
  6. Supplements

Initial Consultation


Chance showed decreased movement in his right hip and a audible cracking noise at the suspensory joint.  He has edema of both hind fetlocks, Pastern, and Pastern Dermatitis.  Chance was unshawed on both hinds due to his inability to stand for long periods of time and his decreased mobility.  However, his front adorned clips.

Due to the length of Chance’s front toes and the height of his heels he was unable to evenly distribute his weight (60/40) to his front and hind ends.  This would most likely cause increased tension on the DDFT tendons and corresponding ligaments resulting in an increased likelihood of tendon and ligament related injuries.  The uneven distribution of weight could also inhibit the horse’s range of motion through his hips resulting in his body compensating for this injury and causing ataxia (balance issues), pain, arthritic changes, and cervical spine misalignment.

By shortening the toe of both front feet, the heel will rise allowing a more even distribution of his weight.


Front


IMG_3193

IMG_3196


Final Product: Front


Trimmed feet to corrected to the following specifications:

Foot   Beginning Angle & Toe       Corrected Angles & Toe   Total P.C.

L/F    47 Degrees at  3 7/8 inches   53 Degrees at 3 inches         6 Degrees

R/F    45 Degrees at 3 3/4 inches    54 Degrees at 3 inches         9 Degrees


Hind


20160604_160438


Final Product: Hind


20160609_153622

 Return visit to trim and shoe Chance’s hind feet with #2 OBRHB Wedge shoes.Trimmed hind feet and corrected to the following specifications:

Foot   Beginning Angle & Toe       Corrected Angles & Toe   Total P.C.

L/H   48 Degrees at 3 7/8 inches    54 Degrees at 3 1/4 inches    6 Degrees

R/H  46 Degrees at 4 1/4 inches     55 Degrees at 3 1/4 inches     9 Degrees

Note: Chance needed to be sedated by veterinarian to complete the trim and shoe his hind feet due to preexisting hip and DDFT issues.

Rubber. And aluminum. And plastic. Oh My!

What type of shoe should I use on Chance’s back feet?

I am looking for something that is glue-on, provides support and comfort, that has good grip, while providing protection for his hoof from the rocky terrain.

After some research, I found GluShus- a company out of England. Their shoes sound fantastic. They have an aluminum shoe set in rubber that glues onto the hoof.  Read more about these shoes by clicking the link below.

GluShu

I’ll let you know how it goes!

One Very Lucky Horse

I spoke to John- my right hand man- who said Chance was fine this am. No stiffness, swelling, or lameness! Chance went outside for a bit. When John came to let him back inside, Chance apparently was ready to go and ran up the hill to the barn!

Chance is one very lucky guy!

Lessons learned- get break away cross ties ASAP, don’t use cross ties while the farrier is working on my horse, and invest in a huge pad 😉 for Chance to stand on at all times!

The Luckiest Unlucky Day Ever

Today was not the greatest of days….but I will say that we had the luckiest unlucky day ever!  And, of course, it was a full moon tonight which means I should just stay inside.

Today we met with a new farrier.  I have been doing some research on shoes that provide comfort, support, and do not mess up Chance’s hooves like nails tend to especially when a horse is on rockier terrain.  I spoke with my vet who suggested to,   “put shoes on all 4 hooves with a 1 degree wedge pad on both hind shoes.  Set all 4 shoes back from the toe of the foot by at least a 1/4th an inch.”

I went to the farm a bit early and gave Chance a bath, some Equinox for pain, and got ready for the farrier.  The farrier arrived and Chance was great!  He stood on the cross ties and ate hay like a champ.  For some reason I decided to lengthen the cross ties.  I am not sure why exactly but thank God I did.

My dad and the farrier were with Chance while I went to feed Lucky his dinner.  Well, after I fed Luck, I turned the corner and saw that Chance was on the ground!  Yes, you read correctly, he was on the freaking ground…all 17.1 hands of him!  The moment I saw him our eyes met- I know it sounds like the beginning of a love story- and he immediately took a deep breath and calmed down.  I walked up to him and he slowly got up and stood there right in front of me with his head resting under my arm- breathing heavily and he had the beginnings of sweat covering his body.

I stood there and just spoke to him- calmly- telling him he was okay.  Once a few minutes had passed, and he was calm, I walked him forward to make sure he was okay.  Sure enough, he was fine…aside from some surface scrapes.  I cleaned his scrapes up and walked him outside to eat some grass.  After about ten minutes, I walked him back into the aisle for the farrier to finish up.

According to both my dad and the farrier, Chance was having his back left shoe nailed in when the nail hit a nerve and he flinched.  I guess the farrier didn’t realize this because he hit the nail once more.  That was when Chance reacted and went down.  Thankfully, the farrier got out of the way & removed the nail midair (so that Chance wouldn’t go down on the foot with the nail and drive it deeper).  Think of a splinter going under your nail…and then hitting it again, deeper under your nail….ouch!

However, he landed somewhat gracefully, but due to the cross ties not being break away and the concrete not allowing Chance to gain any “grip” with his newly shod feet, he began to panic.  Upon seeing me, he calmed down, and he was able to get back up.  I can’t help but thank my lucky stars that I had lengthened the cross ties so that he had some slack, and that I came back inside when I did…had I not, he would have kept flailing.  Had I been in there when the nail hit the nerve it may not have happened because I would have said something to the farrier.  However, had I been in there when it occurred, things may have also been far worse…since my dog, Sadie, is always right by Chance’s or my side at all times.

We ended up deciding to forgo putting hind shoes on until later (a few weeks) and the farrier removed the one evil hind shoe and trimmed up the other hoof.  Chance stood quietly and allowed him to complete his job.  I was so impressed with my old guy!

I have emailed my vet to see if she is able to come check on Chance tomorrow just in case…hopefully, Chance will just be a bit sore in the morning and nothing worse….:(

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New Concerns Have Sprung

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Chance greeting me as I drive up

The days are finally feeling like spring!  The grass is green, the blankets put away, the sun is shining, and the horses are shedding.

Chance is continuing to gain weight, although as I said in the previous post, he still needs to put on a good 50-75 lbs.  As the days continue to get warmer, Chance’s arthritis seems to become more manageable for him; his stride is longer and he runs around (mostly after Lucky) more frequently.

Unfortunately, when the farrier came out about two weeks ago Chance was too stiff to get his back right shoe on. The farrier decided to come back out to try and re-shoe him and, during that time in between, Chance must have tweaked it…AGAIN! 

 While Chance did not have a shoe on his back right I kept it wrapped to provide some protection and also even out all of his hooves.  However, when I arrived I noticed that Chance was significantly twisting his back right leg inward at the walk & it had some swelling.  The swelling was not horrible but it was noticeable. I cold hosed his leg for about 45 minutes while I groomed him & gave him a dose of Equinox (pain medication) and Ulcer Guard.  I put on his back leg wrap to help with reducing the swelling and provide some extra support.  Chance did his neck stretches effortlessly and was baring weight on his back hind. 

But as I was grooming him I noticed, on the left side his chest, he had patches of hair loss and dandruff.  The area did not look red or inflamed, nor did it seem itchy or painful.  So I continued grooming him and decided to put a call into the vet to come and check his leg and the hair loss.

Of course, I turned to Google to try and find out what exactly could be the cause of the patches of hair loss.

image

According to a handful of sources, there are a few possibilities for hair loss- mites or Lice, a vitamin deficiency, rain rot or crud, or even just his natural shedding tendency. A skin scrape would help to confirm what may be the cause. 

 As for the swelling of Chance’s back right leg, I decided to call our previous vet who collected and injected Chance’s DDFT with stem cells to heal the hole in his tendon. We have some stem cells left over and I wanted to see if injecting his leg again would be of any benefit.  I also would like to get an ultrasound recheck to ensure that there is not another injury to his DDFT tendon sheath again.

The twisting of his back hind leg is worrisome as well.  

Everything I have read about EPM states that horses can have a relapse in symptoms after treatment is complete. My concern is that the twisting are due to the neurological symptoms coming back since Chance’s EPM treatment has been finished for a little over two weeks…. 

 Our current vet believes that Chance’s ataxia and twisting is not due to EPM but his cervical spine instead.  Could the twisting be worse due to the swelling of his hind leg?  Or is the swelling and the twisting two separate issues all together?

Therapeutic Shoeing 

By: Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM

Any discussion of therapeutic shoeing in the horse must begin with a discussion of what therapeutic shoeing is–and what it is not. According to Stephen O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, professional farrier and owner of Northern Virginia Equine, in Marshall, therapeutic shoeing (or therapeutic farriery) is “the science and art of affecting/influencing the structures of the foot.” It is not a cookie-cutter, “apply shoe A to foot B” magic bullet in the war on equine lameness. To understand how the foot structures can be influenced, we should first have a clear picture of those structures and the forces that act on them.

“In an ideal world, you would begin from a diagnosis,” says Andrew Parks, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, professor of Large Animal Medicine at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “From that diagnosis you would get your treatment goals. By goals I mean the big picture concepts for treatment. You need to have principles (a range of techniques) that allow you to implement your goals.”

O’Grady concurs: “In order to be proficient at therapeutic farriery you must understand the forces that affect the foot. Excess forces or stresses on the hoof capsule lead to deformation, and excess forces or stresses on the internal structures of the foot lead to disease. Everything we are trying to do with therapeutic farriery is to change the forces on the foot.”

For Want of a Foot …

“There is no definition of a perfect foot,” says Parks. What’s considered a “normal” equine foot differs among breeds and disciplines. Thus, when evaluating trimming and shoeing options for a horse, owners and farriers must first consider foot conformation–what you see when you look at a horse standing at rest. Also evaluate limb conformation, which can affect how the horse’s foot bears weight and the way a horse wears a hoof or a shoe. Both limb and hoof conformation might alter the horse’s stride and landing, affecting the forces upon the foot structures. For instance, a club-footed horse’s high-set heels will alter weight distribution, placing more pressure on the toe and heel. While farriery might alter the distribution of the load on the foot, one misconception that O’Grady would like to correct is the idea that you can “change limb conformation by trimming. After 6-8 months (of age), conformation is conformation,” he says. Rather than attempting to make an atypically conformed foot or leg appear “normal,” O’Grady stresses the importance of trimming “for the cards the horse has been dealt.”

Forces affecting the horse hoof

Figure 1: This illustration shows the forces around the center of rotation (the black dot) in a horse at rest. The ground reaction force is transmitted upward through the lamellae to the bony column. The extending force of the coffin joint is balanced by an equal flexing force generated by the deep digital flexor tendon. 

The Foundation: An Appropriate Trim

According to O’Grady, therapeutic shoeing must begin with an appropriately trimmed foot. While much is made of hoof “balance,” O’Grady dislikes the term as he feels it is not clearly defined among practitioners and farriers. He prefers to work from a set of landmarks as clear guidelines to trim each individual foot appropriately:

1) Pick up the foot, and draw a line across the widest part of it. This line will fall just in front of the center of rotation (at the coffin joint). A well-trimmed foot should have approximately even proportions of hoof on either side of that line.
2) Look at the frog. The heels should lie approximately on the same line as the widest part of the frog.
3) Stand the horse on a hard, flat surface so his cannon bone on the leg you’re addressing is perpendicular to the ground. A line drawn down the front of the pastern should be parallel to a line drawn along the dorsal (toe) surface of the hoof wall. This is the hoof-pastern-axis (HPA). A broken-back HPA, in which the front of the foot is angled less steeply than the pastern, shows up in low heels; a broken-forward axis manifests in high heels (club foot).

According to O’Grady, anyone can use these three parameters to assess a horse’s trim. “Trimming is the mainstay of therapeutic shoeing,” he states. Thus, any benefit to be derived from therapeutic shoeing must have a basis in an appropriately trimmed foot. “The first function of a shoe is to protect that which is trimmed and also to complement it,” he says. “Then you can add mechanics … to that trim.”

Physics and the Equine Foot

Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Similarly, the support and movement of the equine foot depends upon a system of opposing forces. Understanding these forces is key to understanding the principles of farriery.

In the standing horse:

1) The ground reaction force (GRF, as pictured in Figure 1) is the force transmitted from the ground to the ground surface of the foot, into the hoof wall, and from the wall through the lamellae (interlocking leaflike tissues attaching the hoof to the coffin bone) to the bony column.1 Think of the GRF as the ground pushing up as the foot lands. The GRF extends (i.e., an extensor motion rather than flexor) the coffin and pastern joints and is centered at the center of rotation.2 The GRF is counteracted by two forces.
2) The first of these forces, the weight of the horse, is transmitted down the cannon bone through the fetlock. Since the GRF and the weight of the horse through the cannon bone are both vertical but not aligned, they cause the pastern to rotate so the fetlock becomes closer to the ground.
3) At rest, the horse’s anatomy counters this effect by the upward and backward force of the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT)–the flexing force illustrated in Figure 1. Picture a string attached to the back of the coffin bone and pulled upward over the navicular bone, over the fetlock, and along the back of the cannon toward the knee.