Wednesday 25 September 2013

Long toes, collapsed heels and what to do...A Dylan update

I don't normally post updates on horses within the first week because usually there aren't enough changes to make it worthwhile. I'm making an exception for Dylan because his feet were rather ugly when he arrived and have already changed.
Although he arrived a week ago I only posted his initial photos yesterday. They generated quite a few comments on Facebook and on HHO and some explanation is due, but its important to realise that Dylan's feet aren't anyone's fault.

His vet was prescribing a recognised remedy for horses with DDFT damage; his farrier was following the prescription and his owner was following the advice of professionals she trusted. Everyone had Dylan's best interests at heart and was doing the best for him that they could at the time. Although his shoes and hooves looked ugly he was sounder than he had been when he was first diagnosed.
So why did his vet and owner (and farrier) decide to try something else? Because they wanted a long term solution and they all knew that wedges don't provide that. The fact that they stuck their necks out and sent him here shows that they were willing to think outside the box and not just do what they had always done - well done them!

A week later his feet are already changing and the fact that he is able to move comfortably is a vital part of this.
On his initial photos he definitely had long toes and under-run heels. Lots of farriers and trimmers would have tried to address the external appearance by radically shortening the toes and his feet would certainly have looked prettier afterwards - but at what cost? 

Looking at this angle you can see that there isn't lots of dead tissue - his whole foot had stretched forward. 
I am sure that Dylan's farrier realised this. Backing up the toe would only have overloaded his very weak frog and heels and would have required an aggressive trim which would have left Dylan very uncomfortable. His farrier was between a rock and a hard place.
As it is, although his feet are still ugly one week on, he is astonishingly comfortable as he stomps round the tracks and up the fields and I am sure that in a few weeks his feet will look a lot healthier. 
Of course its now up to Dylan and us to prove to his owner, vet and farrier that they made the right decision...Watch this space!


BruceA said...

You know Nic - sometimes you sound a bit like a social worker!

Hats off to his vet and farrier for realising the tools in their box weren't up to the job.

Nic Barker said...

I can honestly say that no-one has ever likened me to a social worker before, Bruce...ROFL!!

amandap said...

Go Dylan!

Unknown said...

Echo Bruce.. Nic your diplomacy and generosity are truly admirable.

C-ingspots said...

Wow...those are some sad-looking feet. Amazing that he's comfortable. Can't wait to see what you can do with him!
Unrelated question: when you speak of pea gravel as a good medium for horses to walk in, especially around wet areas and as mud control...are you talking about pea-sized, round, river rock? That is what we're hoping to add into an especially muddy zone leading to an outside shelter and water trough. We're removing our navicular mare's shoes, not trimming until later and hoping for the best. Would you agree with this Nic? Just as a sidenote - my farrier and my vet are against it, but I am going to give it a go.