Eva will be going home at the end of this week and its about time for a recap on her feet and their progress. When she arrived her veterinary report stated she was 3/10 lame RF and this was supported by MRI which showed a severe DDFT tear running from mid-pastern to insertion.
The MRI report gave her a poor prognosis and had recommended extended box rest as the best means of improving her lameness but her owners and vet felt that this would not be suitable for her - and having had her living here for the last 3 months I think they were quite right!
Eva had been shod with remedial shoes and pads but they had not been successful in improving her soundness. From this angle its interesting to notice that the shoes are distorting the loading of her foot, particularly the medial side, which looks as if it is collapsing.
By comparison, her foot today (at the top) is loading much more evenly and this is reflected in her improved soundness. It also looks a whole lot healthier today.
This is the same foot part way through her rehab. With the shoes off you can see the split in the central sulcus which is often a by product of long term shoeing and heel contraction. Its harder to spot when a horse is in shoes but its always a cause for concern.
Lots of time on good surfaces which are supportive but stimulating has enabled Eva's hoof health to improve dramatically. The photo at the top and this one - from today - are 14 weeks apart. With injuries like hers its absolutely essential that the horse is on comfortable surfaces and has support. Equally without stimulus the palmar hoof will be slow to develop, which is where our tracks are critical.
These shots are interesting because they show how long her toe was in shoes. The wedged heel and pad were intended to "support" the heel but in fact a more effective way to provide that support was to take the shoes off and allow her to build a stronger palmar hoof using the tracks and surfaces here.
Compare the profile of her foot today. The toe is shorter, the heel less underrun and the hairline is no longer distorted. Instead of teetering toe first on her wedged shoes she is planting her foot solidly heel first.
And here we go with the sole shots...day one...
...part way through...
...and today. The frog has massively improved, as you can see, but equally important is the better medio-lateral balance. I tend to think that this is the best angle for assessing hoof balance, as looking at it from the sole gives you the clearest idea of how the foot is loading on the ground.
Here are her sole shots from a few days after shoes (on the left) and today. The red line is the mid point of the frog and the green line middle of the heels - together showing where the hoof is loading.
I hope you can see that the load in the recent photo (on the right) is more balanced and that the heels are much further back and more supportive. Of course its not perfect yet as she still has several weeks of hoof capsule growth to go before all the old hoof is grown out but its heading in the right direction.
These shots illustrate that good hoof balance looks very different from the sole, as compared to from the top of the hoof (where we are more used to judging feet). On the right, her foot is loading better and is more supportive of her limb instead of being twisted and overloading medially.
Of course, this has led to much improved soundness, as I reported a while ago, with footage of her on a circle looking very much better.