Sunday, August 19, 2007

A horse hangin'

Day 6: Dexter had an eventful day today. I was out of town yesterday and he didn't get his bute. This morning he was in a founder stance. The first time I’ve seen him like that. I gave him 2 doses of bute and waited two hours hoping I could work on his feet a bit more and finish what I started Thursday. But he will not pick his feet up now at all.

He doesn’t make working on his hooves easy. With the fronts, he goes into the stiff knee routine, and the collateral grooves (sides of the frog) are so sensitive, if I hit the most sensitive spots with my hoofpick, he reacts with a sudden and meaningful kick. He's shocked by the pain.

That reaction makes me wonder if his coffin bones might be rotating thru his soles But there is no way to no that without x-rays and I feel P3 penetration happens more rarely on the hinds then the fronts. It’s not happening on the fronts. But I've never worked on a horse with that much pain around the frog and a sole/frog that looks as normal which his does. I know thrush CAN get that bad though.
I “quickly” applied a powdered antibiotic on the soles and frogs of his hinds. I've seen that done with success on a horse whose P3s have penetrated (coffin bone rotated thru the sole) and was in boots. The antibiotic powder helped keep the frogs dry and the sole covered the bone over with new material. It’s so amazing the healing powers in the hooves.

So I put the sling on him today and lifted him up with the backhoe. It must have felt pretty good because he kept licking and chewing. He wasn't completely off the ground, I just lifted his weight off his feet allowing him to have contact with the ground, but almost no weight on his hooves.. He relaxed all his weight into the sling though and took ALL the weight of his hooves for a few minutes. It must have felt like heaven for the short time, about 45 minutes total is how long I had him up. (I wondered why they didn’t do this in the long term for Barbaro.)

At first he was wondering what the hell I had put up between his legs and then he got this dreamy look in his eyes and relaxed. I got some work done on his right front. I was able to soak all four feet in Epsom Salts and Borax mixture and apply gentle iodine followed by the powdered antibiotic. I couldn't get any trimming done on the hinds.

While I had him hanging, I put Marquis boots on him. Marquis have an air bladder in the back that is pumped full with air snugging the boots on for a custom fit.. The boots seem to provide him with support at the back of the hoof and that appears to be giving him some relief. Plus, I had to take him to the stall during a downpour and he had to walk across some rocks. I was glad he had the boots on.

I must admit, I could not have done this with just any horse. The guy accepts ANY THING I do with him. Except pick up his feet!:0) So I drive right up to him with the back hoe and lift him up and for Dexter a big blow up is to take a few steps sideways and look at you as if to say, “Good Lord, what the hell is she up to now?”. As long as we kept hay within easy reach, he didn't put up much of a fuss.So after he came out of the sling, he moved ever so gingerly. I walked him to the water and he took a couple big drinks. Then he took a pee even though he couldn't get into the gelding pee stance and he took dump. He ate some dinner and the laid down for a bit.It started pouring so I took to the stall. He laid down again. But got up when Rich went out to check on him. I'm so sad to say, he is really struggling with pain. I gave him 3 doses of bute today. Two this morning - one this afternoon. If you go to and go to the story of Druid, you'll see that horses in way worse shape than he's in, have pulled thru, but it takes lots of diligent care and money and they suffer until they are healed. Once they are healed they are not a horse you can care for and feed like any other horse, that's why so many recuperated founder cases re-founder.
I'll continue buting him at a double dose. If we decide to let him go, I'd like to take him out to graze sometimes and just do things to give him as much happiness as possible. It's really a bummer, he's such a sweet boy and I still don't feel like a few days is long enough to say anything I've done might work or not. It's just so hard to see them suffer, but hard to let them go.I'm getting pretty attached to the guy myself and it won't be easy for me either, but he hasn't been my baby for 17 years. This is so hard for his owner, Marci. I can’t imagine what she must be going thru.

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