Founder--To Hell and Back

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Q: Geronimo, my 16-yr-old thoroughbred has been to hell and back...last year he suffered a tibial fracture right above the hock....then he had an OCD removed. Basically he has spent more time in stall rest this past year than anything else. Two months ago he had abscesses in both front we have been battling what my vet calls mild laminitis in all four feet. We did the conventional treatments...Bute, intravenous DMSO, Banamine, Isoxoprine plus the holistic approach of Co-enzyme Q-10, echinacea, garlic, milk thistle to support his liver while processing all these medications, aloe vera juice to protect his digestive system, + MSM, methionine in the form of Farrier's Formula, chrondoitin sulfate, vitamin C, and probiotics. He also gets a monthly injection of Legend and is fed 1 qt bran mash and 1 qt Equine Senior twice a day. For the first four weeks, he alternated soaking all four feet with hot and cold water and poulticed every night. Now we're down to just soaking, he is hand walked 15 per day. His radiographs show no rotation and he moves very soundly. In the beginning we took two insulin tests, the first revealed he was 1 point above normal, the second two weeks later came in at 4.6 which was slightly below normal. He gets better then he gets worse with digital pulses and a very slight heat to his feet. His digital pulses have never been severely or intensely bounding but they're there, some days better than others. Some days his feet are cold to the touch, the next day they are ever so slightly warm...HELP! Have I missed something there something else I should be doing?....My vet says she wants hand made heart bar shoes on him the next time he's shod which is this week. A holistic practitioner says I should be giving him Inositol and Pituitrophen which should correct and stabilize any imbalances in his blood sugar and/or his pituitary functions. What should I do about this advice? My conventional vet says he is definitely on the right track, that he is going in a positive direction. On top of it all, I also have an equine chiropractor and an equine massage therapist work on him because his back and hips are now stiff and sore.

I would welcome any advice or dialog with you concerning my horse's condition. I should let you know that we had started working him again after a year very slowly on the lunge line prior to this bout of laminitis...and for a horse who went through a fracture and OCD operation, he was coming along miraculously well to the disbelief of my vet. He was sound albeit a little stiff from being out of shape and stallbound but definitely coming back. He was a wonderful jumper before his injuries. Is there hope to look forward to?

A: From reading your e-mail, I would say your horse HAS been to hell and back. My advice and dialog is as follows:

You might want to consider having your vet check his thyroid.

Also, if you haven't already shod this horse, and I hope I am in time to give my advice, I suggest that he be shod with ADJUSTABLE heart bar shoes, as opposed to regular heart bar shoes. The farrier should make this decision.

I prefer adjustable hear bar shoes because the amount of support is more accurately regulated by the turn of an Allen screw. The adjustables also require resetting less often, thus eliminating additional trauma of hammering nails into the horse's hoof and not adding more holes in that wall than necessary. If the horse has an excessive long pastern thereby creating excessive phalangeal stress, the adjustable heart bar then would have to be reset as often as a regular heart bar shoe. Even so, it still has the other advantages mentioned above, over conventional heart bars.

***We offer an information package on the adjustable heart bar shoe for sale to qualified experienced farriers only. The package includes instructions for constructing, applying and making the frequent and necessary adjustments to the shoe as well as many indispensable hints for insuring the best possible results. Call 541-459-2609 (preferably at 8 PM Oregon time) or send e-mail message for purchase information.***

Concerning your horse's back and hips, I would highly recommend that you consider egg bar shoes on the hind feet, extending " behind the bulbs. This is, of course, assuming that he is not foundering in the hind feet as well as in the front. Extended egg bars will create a lifting support to the hind end of the horse and has eliminated a lot of sore backs and hips in my practice.

Good luck with your old guy. If I can be of further assistance, holler.


Geronimo Bayard
The American Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon

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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.