Q: My horse foundered over
two years ago. He was doing great until this spring.
He got foot sore and still is. We have been doing hot soaks and my vet said his
x-rays show no changes in one foot and the other one has only a slight change in
it. We have him wearing pads with a frog support. I am desperate to find some
way to help my horse. My vet says according to the x-rays he should not be
having problems. My farrier has the toe shortened and taken off as much heel as
he can. I have been going crazy trying to get some relief for my horse. ANY
input you have would be very much appreciated.
A: Concerning the x-rays showing
a slight change--your vet says your horse should not be having problems, but he
IS having problems. Maybe the slight change is more of a concern than the vet
thinks it is. Also, if you have read my web site Q&As and my article on
founder, you will note that at no time do I mention pads for foundered horses,
with or without frog support.
I am not there to see your horse, so your farrier shortening the toe and taking
off the heel is not something to comment on except to say that even horses that
have not experienced laminitis will very often need the toes backed up. I am a
little hesitant to agree with taking off as much heel as he can because that was
an old procedure that was used in an attempt to get the coffin bone horizontal
with the ground. It proved to not really be in the best interest of the horse.
We have discovered in recent years that removing the heel puts greater tension
on the deep flexor tendon and actually causes more rotation of the coffin bone.
Backing up the toe is fine, but by and large your farrier should simply be
concerning himself with balancing and leveling the horse's foot. Also, bony
column support should only be attempted with heart bar shoes, either regular or
adjustable. I am partial to adjustable. With a slight rotation, I would say that
a hoof wall resection is probably not called for in this case.
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Hot soaks are not a bad idea.
As I tell everyone who e-mails me on their problems with laminitis, I must
remind you to read all my Q&As on laminitis and founder. If you do not find
the answers you need for your horse, then e-mail me again.
Once again, before closing, I want to repeat: Nowhere do I recommend the wearing
of pads of any kind for horses that have laminitis and who are foundering.
I hope I have been able to help you get some relief for your horse. Get back to
me and let me know how things are going.
The American Blacksmith