Pads for Foundered Horse?

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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.
Thank You

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.

***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.***

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.


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.