Wednesday, August 15, 2007


As many of you who know me knows, I get excited about Pathlogy in horse hooves! (Pathology – any condition that is a deviation from the normal.)

Not that I want to see horses suffering. Just the opposite. I love the challenge of seeing them through to wellness again. I’ll try anything that common sense tells me might work.

For founder, most vets will tell you to lock the horse in a stall and don’t allow him to move about. Some will tell you to put sand in the stall also. I like the sand idea - especially deep, moist, cool sand. That’s got to feel good on hot aching hooves. But locking them up, is exactly the ass-backwards thing to do!

It’s almost as illogical as the common practice of raising the heels in founder cases. The coffin bone (aka P3) which ideally should be nearly ground parallel, in founder cases it’s sometimes rotated down at the toe. So let’s raise the heels! Huh? I’m not even a smart person and that doesn’t make one bit of sense to me! Why would an educated person think that it’s a good idea to take something that is already wrong and make it more wrong?

I would think that lowering the heels in an attempt to stabilize P3 at its natural angle would be more correct. Yes, the shoes and pads used to raise the heels may offer the foundered horse some pain relief initially, but that’s because, as I’ve been taught, shoes numb the hooves! Take away the flexibility of a flexing thing and it won’t feel as much pressure from the outside world.

But I equate that practice to putting alum on a toothache. Many younger people have never felt a toothache so they can’t identify with toothache pain, but take my word for it, a bad toothache over a long period of time is like the world’s worst torture.

But put a little alum on it (a spice in most kitchen cabinets) and the pain is completely relieved. But only for a very short time, and when the pain returns, it hits with a vengeance. There is nothing like the throbbing pain of a toothache. Now imagine 4 toothaches, if you can, and you have to put all your weight on your teeth. What a drag that would be.

When the feeling returns to the horse’s hooves after the shoes can no longer mask the pain, the horse is deemed too far gone to help. When really, if help had come in some other form, the horse might have improved.

I’m not saying natural hoofcare can cure them all either. But we usually get the call as a last ditch effort for a horse that is completely worn out and is about to be put down. If we could just get to them sooner, we could probably cure more than we do.

Stay tuned for the story and updates on our first Hoof Recovery Center patient. (Those are his hooves in pictured above.) Dex is a 20 years old, big, beautiful, stout, quarter horse (former show horse) who had never been sick in his life. His problems now include founder in all four feet and Cushings. Keep your fingers crossed for him.

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