Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Conclusion of Rock's Lameness

I've been chalking up Rock's frequent lameness issues to hoof abscesses, but several people have suggested laminitis may be the cause since his episodes are so frequent.  My farrier did see evidence of past laminitis in his hooves when I bought him, but said he didn't appear to have problems with it since I've owned him.

However, that little seed of doubt got planted, so I started feeding him less grain.  He's not on pasture, and while there are many causes of laminitis, he didn't seem to have any of them.  Just a couple of days ago, he began walking better.  Today I cleaned out his hoof the best I could and found this...

It appears as if an abscess has blown out through his heel.  There was also a deep hole on the same side of his hoof, but through the sole.  The hoof as a whole is a mess, but he's due for a trim this week, so most of that should get addressed.  At least now I know it wasn't laminitis, so I can fatten him up again.  The poor guy's ribs started showing just from being fed more hay and less grain.

9 comments:

TeresaA said...

Irish had a laminitis 'like' episode years ago ( due to a bad trim). For a few years after he was really prone to abscesses. For the past two years he was abscess free. But for a while it seemed like he had abscesses all the time.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

TeresaA - That is interesting. I'm curious about the details of the bad trim. My horses have been getting a lot of abscesses since this latest farrier began working with them. I attributed them to him not smoothing out the sole and leaving cracks and chips and holes behind to allow bacteria avenues to enter the hoof. What kind of trim problems did Irish have?

Brenda said...

I'm glad you discovered it was "only" an abscess and not laminitis. Yes, abscesses aren't any fun but laminitis is...well, it's laminitis.

Ian H said...

As a farrier, I would be looking for a second opinion from another fattier, if I were you. That hoof is way overdue for a trim. I tried to file out, or cut out any sole cracks that could cause a problem. I would also look at how he is putting his feet down. To blow out a heel, he may be putting too much weight on the heel, causing stress. That is fairly easy to correct by trimming. Hard to say more without watching the horse walk, and handling the foot. Are you on sharp gravel at all?
Get a second opinion!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Ian - Way overdue? It's been 7 and a half weeks since his last trim. Yes, he puts more weight on his heel because his previous owner kept metal shoes on him for too long, and his toe grew ahead of his heel, causing the entire hoof to be too far forward and out of balance. We've been trying to correct it for years. Thanks for the information. The horses have been walking on sand all summer. No rocks or gravel, except for when they were ridden in the cooler months.

Laura Lee said...

Absess on the heel! OUCH!
I'd have to agree on the overdue for a trim comment above :) Definitely get another farrier out....good farriers are far and few.

However....I've taken to filing my horses hooves about once a week myself about 5 months ago. All of them are fine and it's alot easier than the farrier makes you think---that is if the hooves are ok to begin with. Anything complicated I'd be getting a farrier out.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

So, my farrier came out and I watched how he trimmed the horses' hooves closely. He did everything right and did smooth out the soles without me having to prompt him. I talked with him about the chronic abscesses, and he began asking me questions to try to narrow down the cause. It turns out that in the summer months, Rock stands with his front hooves in the water trough, and the ground is often wet and puddled from monsoon storms, which creates a moist environment for thrush to form. The thrush leads to the abscesses. He found thrush in both Rock and Lostine's hooves, and those are the two horses who like to stand in puddles. The gray horses hate water and avoid it at all costs, so they had no evidence of thrush.

He said not to squirt the thrush treatment all over the bottom of the hoof, because it can burn the white line, but to paint it on the affected parts with a sponge brush. I have had farriers point out thrush in the past, but they cleaned it all out and said I didn't need to treat it right then. I probably should have been treating the hooves in the weeks following the trims, but was either too busy, too hot, or forgot to do it all together.

Working on my own horses hooves is not an option in the summer months. I tried simply picking out their hooves in 112 degree heat and only got half a horse done. At my age and with my neurological condition, my hands don't have the strength to trim, cut and file. Intellectually, I understand the logistics of barefoot trims, but have to get someone with man hands to do it for me. I have made small repairs in the past, but doing the whole shebang is another story.

Also, since he gets more abscesses in the summer months, the farrier thinks he is getting heat abscesses. His feet have a sensitivity to heat, which is probably why he likes to stand in water.

I was happy to hear the farrier say that Rock has good hooves. I asked him to elaborate, and he pointed out all the positive things. That made me feel better. He said there is no evidence of laminitis. He has grown a whole new hoof on each leg since he had it before we owned him.

Stacey C said...

Tomorrow (http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/tomorrow-dry-cow-mastitis-treatment?cm_vc=-10005) will take care of that center sulcus infection. I've had it come up with Wes and Mochi with periods of a lot of rain and it gets rid of it every single time. Works great!

achieve1dream said...

I don't know if you've seen the posts on my blog from when we first got Rocky, but he was extremely lame from a thrush infection. It can get bad. The soaks we use work really well, but they are labor intensive.. I can't imagine trying to do it in your heat. :\

In the past I've used salt water to prevent thrush. I just mixed salt and water in a spray bottle and spray the bottom of his hooves, making sure to spray all of the dirt out of the hoof. It worked great. When I stopped doing that... I started getting thrush, but I also moved at the same time... so I'm not positive which is the problem. This place does get a lot boggier than the other place. Hmm. Anyway I hope Rock is doing better!