Monday, January 28, 2013

Sassy's Documentary

For diagnostic purposes:
These are the right front.

Next we have the LF

X-rays of the RF

(I have copies of the LF that we took last year, but will have to locate them  and update later)

Last but not least the video of her moving is right here.


  1. Sometimes I hate blogger. I just wrote a novel here and then I was stupid enough to go back and look at the pics again and I lost it. So here goes again. :)

    My inexpert opinion is that the hooves don't look terrible but they don't look perfect and I think she's suffering from heel pain.

    In the second x-ray the coffin bone looks misshapen or eroded in front. But I think you said the vet said they were okay, so maybe I'm just seeing it wrong.

    RF toe appears unevenly worn (more worn from 5:00 to 6:00 than from 6:00 to 7:00 if the middle of the toe is 6:00) in the solar view. Outside wall appears longer in the view from the side and back. You can see the hairline is pushed up there. Toe is too forward, as are heels. Bars are folded over, which is probably due to the underrun heels. Soles are flat, not concave. Frog and digital cushion look weak. Not sure about lateral cartilages under the hair, but they don't look very robust. Heels look contracted, but not badly.

    LF: toe is unevenly worn but not as much as on right foot. This hoof is opposite of the right, with more wear toward the inside toe than outside toe. Also opposite of the right - the inside wall is longer than the outside wall. This could be evidence of "handedness" in the trimmer. Or maybe she's asymmetrical. I couldn't tell if she landed more to one side of her hoof than the other in the video. This hoof also has underrun heels and toes too far forward. Long toes can pull the heels forward. Bars are slightly folded over. Digital cushion and frog look weak, although not as bad as the RF - you can tell she favors that hoof. Flat sole, but again, hard to tell in 2D.

    I might treat for thrush/fungus. There are some cracks in the frogs that look suspicious to me.

    In the video she appears to land toe first. Which fits with her having heel pain with the hoof testers.

    Now, keep in mind I'm not an expert and photos can be deceiving so I might be totally off base here, but I think her heels need to be strengthened. That requires that she use them, not land toe first. I don't know how to achieve that if they hurt other than to take care of any thrush and possibly boot and pad the foot (which isn't really healthy 24/7 because the hooves need air), or give her a ton of pea gravel to move around in. Pea gravel is REALLY good for hooves. Promotes circulation and supports. Horses with hoof pain will practically stand on their heads to get their feet into pea gravel. Sand causes hooves to become more contracted so that's not going to help much. Walk her as much as you can. Try to do it on surfaces she feels comfortable landing heel first on. I think movement is going to be key.

    I've had the same sorts of problems before with no happy results. So I don't really have an answer. I'd recommend checking out Nic Barker's book "Feet First." I haven't read it yet but I follow his blog and he rehabs horses with hoof problems for a living with great results.

    I know I just picked apart her hooves and it sounded bad, but really they look SO much better than a lot of hooves I see. Some of our farriers around here are terrible. And a textbook perfect hoof isn't what all horses need. Some horses need their funny looking hooves to be sound. So trimming her to look perfect isn't necessarily the answer. I think there's all kinds of hope for getting her sound again if you can get those heels stronger. I think the experts you're planning on contacting will be able to give you the guidance you need to get this fixed.

  2. Expert or not, that was fantastic! Very detailed, and yes you picked them apart but that is what I needed. Not, "well they seem fine to me", because they obviously are not. I did not know that about sand, so I will forget that idea. Pea gravel I can do. It is unusual to have thrush in WY (as it is one of the driest states in the country and all sand) but not unheard of, although I can say that her feet were totally dry on the bottom until I washed them and then took the bottom pics. Also I think being in a stall more can contribute to that, so I certainly will keep an open mind in regards to thrush.
    When you say she might be Asymmetrical, what exactly do you mean. I should know, but I don't, and having someone explain it to me laymans terms will help. I will google it also and see what I find.
    Andrea, thank you so much, I really appreciate your input. I really think you are on the right track with your findings.

  3. Ah ha, thanks to google, I know what asymmetrical is now. I just learned a ton of stuff not only about Sassy, but about Trax as well who actually has two different front feet. More on him later, but with Sassy's shoulder scar, we could be on to something. Time to get her on some cement and take some more pics!

  4. No problem! Keep in mind I'm not a hoof professional (although that was my plan until I found out how arthritic my back is).

    You can find lots of stuff online and you may have already found these, but they're my two favorites: (Gene O's site) has lots of good info and great pictures. Pete Ramey's site. He's my favorite guru.

    I'd steer clear of anyone who says it's okay to make the horse sore to achieve the perfect trim.

    Oh, and another thing that can be really helpful is if you put your photos in a progam where you can draw lines (I use Paint) and draw straight lines from the center of the heel to the center of the toe, and see if each side of the sole looks the same. There's a lot of mapping you can do using lines and certain points on the hoof. I think Gene O's site has a tutorial on it. If not, it's in his book, which I'd be happy to lend you.

  5. Her RF looks out of balance to me. Is that asymetrical? The vet that I work for, and he specializes in lameness of horses always recommends sand for a horse to stand in if he has foot pain. I do not believe it causes problems with heels. Never heard of that.
    There is an unusual line visible in that rad of the sole view...possible coffin bone fracture? Does she ever kick the walls of her stall? That's a common cause. Not sure, but you could ask your vet to take another peak at it. If it shows up again, it might be a possible cause. If she does have any heel pain, ask your farrier to bob her toes. That lessens the pull on the ligaments in the back of the foot going up into the fetlock. Sure hope you get it figured out. What does your vet say about handwalking her when she's lame? She might need complete rest for a while. Just a thought...
    If thrush was an issue, you can smell that. Very foul smelling stuff.

  6. I agree with Andrea and I would take a real hard look at the frog. She appears to have heel pain and until that is addressed, she will have problems. I have seen several cases now where I have found very deep sulcus thrush under the frog. It was invisible until I took my knife to the frog and trimmed it back. I know everyone says to leave the frog alone, but I have found that I sometimes have to trim it pretty aggressively to get at the infection. Also look hard at the sulcus of the heel, where the frog meets the hairline. Deep thrush in that crevice is hard to spot and causes very bad pain. I have seen a couple of really deep infections recently that have caused pain for years. Run your pick into that sulcus and push down on it, even mild pressure will illicit a flinch if there is an infection. You won't notice a smell if it is deep.

    The heel is under run, which pushes the bars and toes forward. I have had a lot of success addressing this using Pete Ramey's trick of putting a bevel on the back of the heel.
    When trimming something like this, I try to maintain the toe as it is and work on the heels. As soon as the heels start getting better the toe and quarters follow.

    Her feet are also out of balance, looking from the back, the outer wall of the foot is higher then the inner wall. The hair line should be parallel with the ground.

    Pea gravel is the best choice for improving feet, I hope to install some at my place this year.

    I hope you don't mind me picking her feet apart and I hope some of this is helpful to you. I am dealing with these same problems in my friends horse and I will be very interested to see what works for you. Good luck.

  7. The trick I was taught for working out if the hoof is balanced side to side at the heel (ie higher on one side that the other) is to put the rasp across the hairline on both sides of the foot/heel as you hold it back in the usual cleaning position. It is amazing how much clearer an imbalance is when you have the straight edge to compare it to. Once you train your eye you won't need it, but it is really good when first learning.