Saturday, 3 March 2012

Frogs are the key...

If you have a  horse with a caudal/palmar hoof problem - and that includes any horse diagnosed with navicular, DDFT damge, collateral ligament damage or just generalised caudal hoof pain - then the key to improving soundness is getting that area stronger, fitter and functioning properly again.  

This part of the hoof is designed to be loaded and worked hard.  Its supposed to be a shock absorber, to flex and expand and to give the horse detailed neural feedback about the surfaces he is moving over. 
Critical to all that is the frog.  Without a healthy frog, the whole caudal hoof is weak and vulnerable.  Remedial shoes, like those Buster arrived in (above) are designed to stabilise the damaged area, which is fine as far as it goes, but they don't allow this area to do its job, so don't allow for rehabilitation.
 Look what happens to the same foot when you start to give the frog appropriate stimulation and begin to send it back to work.  Buster still isn't landing as well as he should be, but you can see that he is well on the way to a much healthier hoof and one which will be strong enough to allow him to land heel first.
Here is the same phenomenon happening with his other foot as well, and these photos were only taken 3 weeks apart.
The sole shot tells a similar story from a different angle - here too you can see the heels and frogs beefing up as they begin to do their job again.
This foot has a long way to go before its as good as it will be,  but Buster isn't hanging about.  As always, I'm amazed at how fast hooves can change!


amandap said...

I've been wondering Nic if you treat thrush in frogs if it's present or do you find it resolves with your environment and diet?

Nic Barker said...

No, the only thing I use lotions and potions for is a really split central sulcus - then I get out the White Lightning (chlorine dioxide) and use that regularly to get on top of the infection.

amandap said...


Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Nice to hear you use WL, I'm a big fan of zapping areas clean when transitioning hooves. Especially in our case where we had open wall with exposed stretched laminae that wicked in muck (I didn't want to stall him once I made the barefoot change). I love a big juicy frog :) Means the hearts are pumping!