Friday, 25 July 2014

Filly's feet

Filly is (another!) chestnut thoroughbred who arrived on Monday but due to haylage taking over the blog its only today I've had the chance to post her initial photos. As you can see, a weaker digital cushion than the left.
There is quite a difference between her left and right feet with the right being particularly under-run with a weaker digital cushion than the left. She's had remedial farriery with pour in gel pads but those didn't suit her so she arrived in ordinary shoes.
Again, comparing right (above) to left (below) its clear that the digital cushion on the right foot is weaker and more pinched than the left. It looks from this angle as if the hoof wall on the left foot is distorting. MRI showed that Filly has bilateral lameness, worse on the RF. 
She was diagnosed with an impar ligament tear on the LF and DDFT lesions and navicular bone damage on both front feet. 
To add to the complications, she has an old injury to her right shoulder which has left her with a slightly twisted limb flight on her right foot. It will be interesting to see how her feet change over the next few weeks. 
A few hours out of shoes its a lot easier to see whats going on. Filly has weak, flat feet as you can see from the shallow collateral grooves and the bar which is extending to the apex of the frog on this foot. 
This is her better foot in some ways but the frog and heels are still contracted. She is landing slightly better on this foot but neither are heel first. 
As always, I'll be looking for improvements in these feet over the next 4 weeks so there will be more on Filly soon. 


Unknown said...

I'm slightly confused by your diagnosis of a weak digital cushion. the digital cushion is not visible externally, it fills the space between the wings of the pedal bone and is hidden laterally by the co lateral cartilage. the digital cushion can be seen here in the centre of the picture


you can see how deeply within the hoof the digital cushion is contained. I'm not sure that this is the structure you are actually referring to. I'm actually away this weekend, but would be happy to chat about it when i return.
atb, N Kilner

Nic Barker said...

You are right Nick - its not visible externally but you can see from the outside whether its robust and well developed in the same way that you can see externally that a horse has a well-muscled back without need to peel off the skin.

If you look back through this blog you'll see lots of comparison photos and both in lateral and caudal photos you can identify changes in the digital cushion.

Unknown said...

actually i don't think what you're seeing are visible changes in the density, or 'robustness' of the digital cushion. you might see changes in the shape of the frog or the hoof capsule, but you can't really see changes in the digital cushion itself without the use of an ultrasound. the vast majority of it is contained too deeply within the hoof capsule. In fact the only place that you can get close to palpating any part of the digital cushion is in the hollow between the co-lateral cartilages at the bulbs of the heel, and then only just because the area is intertwined with other structures.
So whilst you can see a significant proportion of the muscles in a horses back to gauge how well formed they are, you can barely palpate the smallest fraction of the digital cushion. therefore the same really cannot be said to apply.
Quite apart from anything else, the digital cushion is actually a very soft, fatty, gelatinous mass, which in itself has very little structure and a limited blood supply. if you've ever dissected a hoof capsule, then this is quite apparent. its more sponge like than anything, and of itself has virtually no inherent 'strength' in the healthy foot. it's this almost jelly like form that allows the digital cushion to absorb shockwaves so effectively.
in my opinion, it would appear to be changes in the horny and cartilaginous structures around it that are giving the form that you see in the pictures. the digital cushion simply fills the space between them. it may help to think of it more like a water balloon, it will compress and expand as the foot changes shape, but the actual mass remains predominantly unchanged.
i hope this helps to clarify the situation
kind regards

Nic Barker said...

Nick, you said: "if you've ever dissected a hoof capsule, then this is quite apparent. its more sponge like than anything, and of itself has virtually no inherent 'strength'"

This is the massive difference between a hardworking bare foot and a shod foot. On dissection (and yes, I've seen comparisons done and there are photos in "Feet First" as well) there is a clear difference in texture, blood supply and strength. I think Tim has the book - get him to show you the comparison photos. They are (IMO!) quite fascinating. You can actually feel (palpate) the DC as well and changes are evident this way. You need a really hard-working bare foot though to get a feel of what a healthy DC really feels like.