Friday 21 January 2011

Isha and the amazing hole-y hoof

Isha has also been enjoying the weather this week - it is so much more effective to swish your tail and bat your eyelashes at the boys when the sun is shining, after all(!).

I've been meaning to post some photos of her hooves for a while but last week's mud and wet didn't make for very good conditions for photography, so they were delayed till now.

When she arrived here, she had been on a prolonged period of box rest and had a clear toe first landing, as well as being obviously unlevel on her RF.  I've posted all her video footage here, for reference.

Her landing improved over the next few weeks but the first thing that happened, within a day or so of her arrival -  and possibly as a result of the increased circulation following her starting to move around after her box-rest - was that she developed an enormous abscess in her RF.   "Developed" is probably the wrong word, as it had obviously been brewing for a very long time - my guess would be weeks and weeks, given the extent of the infection.

Abscesses are, in my experience, uncommon and certainly don't happen routinely when horses come out of shoes.  In fact, I can only remember one other occasion when a rehab horse had an abscess, and that was a tiddler compared with this one.
Isha does not do things by halves, though and hers was an absolute stonker - the worst I've seen - and it not only made her very lame for 2 or 3 days but also - as you can see - damaged the whole lateral side of her RF.   She is a tough girl, though, and once there was a clear exit hole she recovered rapidly.
However, as the damage grew down it became clear that there had been some sub-solar damage as well - those holes under the bars and at the toe aren't normal(!)  Fortunately they are old damage and don't cause her discomfort any more but they are evidence of how big an issue the original infection was.
By contrast, her LF (above) appears to be a very healthy foot - despite the toe first landing when she arrived - and it shows how good her hooves are likely to be in future.

Looking again at the worst foot (LF) -  here it is from the lateral angle - the line of the old damage is obvious.  It will take time to grow down, but that hoof is becoming stronger and healthier by the day.
Although the old damage doesn't cause her pain any more, the holes make a hoof like this relatively fragile, and I wouldn't expect Isha to work on the toughest ground for a while, not least because solar damage of the sort she has suffered leaves weak areas which are prone to injury and bruising for several weeks.  But knowing Isha, I really don't think she will hang back for long...


Barbara said...

off topic - We removed Nina's hind shoes 7 weeks ago. She was wearing them down like erasers for a while but now she is growing some heel and more comfortable. She has little to no natural cupping of her soles, she is walking on the sole and while she looks normal when free, she is just very slightly short stepping when under saddle, which I attribute to sore feet. Is there anything I can do to improve the condition of her soles? Colorado is high altitude, low humidity and very very hard ground.

Nic Barker said...

Hi Barbara,

Of course, its not really possible to be specific without seeing a horse yourself, but a couple of things would be worth looking at.

Firstly, and at a bit of a tangent, if she looks fine free and shorter under saddle, perhaps try working her fron the ground just in case you have a saddle issue rather than a foot issue.

If you are confident its sole sensitivity, then my first port of call would always be a very careful look at diet. Sole sensitivity is usually caused by dietary issues - commonly sugar levels or low levels of some minerals (particularly magnesium and copper).

Barbara said...

I am pretty confident that it is sensitive soles. I have been tweaking this horse's diet since I got her (she was about 300# underweight). She is on a high fat, low starch diet. She does not get a 'hoof' supplement, she does get extra magnesium. Can to point me to some information about copper? Thank you so much.

Nic Barker said...

The basic recommendations are in the National Research Councils "Nutrient Requirements of Horses" which is a collection of core research on all aspects of equine nutrition. The problem is that you can't simply add copper to the diet (unlike Mg) without knowing existing levels - which means having a mineral analysis of your forage as well as knowing what's in any additional feed you give.

Its quite a complex area although easy once you've got the info! Lots more details can be found at Sarah B's site, or google Eleanor Kellon for more nutritional info.