Monday, November 10, 2008

Founder isn't fun!

This is Cricket. She's been the subject of other posts. She came here as a founder case, and was rehabbed and sound for awhile, but something happened while I had her on a borrowed pasture and I found her in the acute stage of laminitis (inflammed sensitive (dermal) laminae.)

So I brought her home just about the time apples were ripening. Neighbors often don't understand how detrimental sweets can be to certain horses. She was offered a few two many apples over the fence and that sent her over the edge to founder. The laminae has been destroyed and she will need to grow out new hoof capsules and if everything is right, she may be sound again. We'll see.

Cricket has been spending most of her time for the past few months in the stall. I've been feeding her differently types of hays and some beet pulp mixtures, MSM, and a product called Remission. I've been trying to keep her trimmed, but it's been difficult for her to completely unweight one foot. She's not very cooperative anyway, but this makes working on her feet so much more difficult!

For the first few months after the initial laminitic episode, she lived in the Soft Ride Comfort hoof boots. Which work very well in these cases, because if they're fitted well, they don't rub. But when I took her out of the boots she could barely take a step.

So we lined her stall with some recycled mats that Rich was able to get from a school renovation job. They work really well. Very cushy and more comfortable for her since she was laying down a lot for a few months.

Another benefit of these mats is they are very thick. I took a picture of the bottom side, but managed to delete it from my camera. I'll get another one and load it later. This stall usually floods in the rainy season. So we don't have to worry about that happening again. Nice. The urine drains better with these than with regular stall mats also.

Yesterday, I decided that if I was going to get her feet trimmed and treated for the nasty thrush infection she's developing in her frogs, I was going to have to lift her up off all fours. So I pulled out the horse sling that we invested in when I had my first serious founder case here for treatment. This sling cost $1,000. Rehabbing horses isn't cheap!

Here is the sling laid out and ready to go. The white padded tubes at the top go between the horse's hind legs and the fleesie pad at the bottom goes around her chest.

This is her with the sling partially attached. We have a ways to go and she wasn't real happy about the padded tubes between her hind legs. But I didn't get a picture of her with that part on. Once we had the entire sling on her body, Rich got concerned about how she would react when she realized she was attached to the back hoe and lifted her up a bit too quickly.

When she felt the tubes zip up between her legs she freaked out. The area we were doing this in was too confined and well, Houdini would have been proud of how she managed to get most the way out of the sling, before she allowed us to detach it from her body completely. What a disappointment.

What did we learn from this situation? Sedate the victim? In her case, we probably should have done that.

Go slower with the lift? Yep, equine wedgies are not well tolerated by frisky mares. Geldings don't seem to mind them. Go figure.

Make sure the area is clear of everything! Yes, Cricket busted a rasp in half during the freak out! A rasp! It was a Save Edge rasp though. A Heller Legend probably wouldn't have broken!:0) That's why I recommend the Hellers!

Well, more about Cricket at a later date. I figured I haven't shared any shots of Neenah for awhile. Here she is! Having a rest!


Rachel said...

Wow - what a story!

I'm sorry, I got the giggles as soon as I read the word "backhoe". I was just picturing the scene and my mare would have flipped out before the backhoe was even on the scene...

Pat said...

Hi Rachel! How is your lovely mare doing?

Funny how Cricket didn't mind the back hoe at all. It was sitting there next to her running that entire time. My horses are around heavy equipment so much around here though, I guess they are accustomed to it. So that helps.

I may give this another try, but first I think the sling needs a few repairs. Shoot!

firecoach said...

Hi Pat!
I was wondering why the mare needed to be lifted up? I would think soaking boots would work fine with less trauma. Cowboy tends to have thrush and I have to soak his feet with Clean Trax. I also have pea gravel that I have found is very helpful. When Cowboy gets ouchy I lunge him in the pea gravel for a bit, working it longer each time until Cowboy says he is done. If there is quite a bit of heat, after I lunge him, I soak his feet in cold water to take the heat out. It takes about a week before I see some improvement.

Pat said...

Well, she is a pretty severe founder case. She won't allow me to pick up a hind leg for even a few seconds. She rocks back, rears, kicks...and just does whatever she can to keep from having to manage the weight from the lifted leg and transfer to the other hooves. She will allow me to pick up a front, but just for a few minutes. And I can't touch it.

I have trimmed and soaked her fronts recently, which seemed to help. I used a combination of Oxine and Citrus Acid and water. Not sure yet how I feel about that mixture, but it cleared up the thrush on the fronts in one application.

To use a soaking boot on the hinds is going to be trickier. I'm pretty sure she won't stand in the boot. She'll kick it off. But my next attempt is to just let some water run in the grass and stand her in it, too clean the bottoms of her feet.

The gunk that gets up in her hoof, just sits there, because she won't let me clean them. I have tried to force her to let me keep her foot up, but it turns into battle royal, and that's not fun for either of us.

So because it's so painful for her to hold up one foot, I thought the sling was a good way to keep her from having to support her weight on 3 feet.

I think it would have worked, if we had just taken it a bit slower. It's worked in the past on founders quite well. When I lifted Dexter (way old post) he jumped once and then just relaxed all his weight into the sling. He was in heaven for a bit. It was the only way I could get his foot up long enough to get a boot onto!

Rich is going to build a shallow above ground trench with concrete and rubber mats that I can fill with treated water and just walk the horse into and let them stand in it and drain it. That's our next project.


Pat said...

To clarify how I trimmed the fronts recently. We pretty much forced her to let me work on them. She wasn't happy about it and the job was very quick.

The hinds which really need trimmed cause her more pain, and she's more actively resists. I get tired of forcing her to sustain the pain of holding up a foot.


firecoach said...

I have not tried the Oxine and Citrus Acid yet.Bobbi Jo wants me to try it. I find the light lunging or making them walk on the pea gravel helps stiumlate the hoof and it also helps to clean. I find if I clean out the hoof and then lunge on the pea gravel, the hoof smells like I used an emory board on them.

Pat said...

You're doing a great job. Pea gravel is an awesome way to treat things like thrush and keep the hoof stimulated!

At this time, all of our paddocks graveled, but not with the pea, with 5/8's crushed, which is a bit more abrasive. Too abrasive for a founder.

Although, keeping a founder case on pea gravel is a great way to go for them, Cricket's front soles right now are as thin as paper, so I don't think she could tolerate it just yet. Soon, I hope.

firecoach said...

This maybe a stupid question, but couldn't you give her some banamine to relieve some of the pain and inflammation to be able to trim them to where they need to be? I hate to give banamine, but sometimes they need to have the pain relieved to be able to function.
FYI, I drive Bobbi Jo up the wall too with questions.

Pat said...

Heck Marla, questions don't drive me crazy. Sometimes people hit on something that I haven't thought of and I have one of those "Well Duh" moments:0)

I haven't tried Banamine or Ace. I have tried bute and kind of heavy doses of it and it doesn't seem to help. In fact it's only when I've buted her up pretty good that I even attempt to work on her.

Still, sometimes I wonder if she's in pain, or if she's just being a pain. But I can kind of tell, when they're just being stubborn or if they're in so much pain, they can't tolerate lifting a hoof.

I've worked on the hooves of chronic founder cases and some seem to just accept the discomfort of standing on 3 legs. But some founder cases are in seriously acute pain and standing on 4 legs is tough (so they lay down a lot.) but standing on 3 legs seems to be impossible. And you can tell.

The sling really was my last resort. I've even worked on her feet while she was laying down, which isn't easy, but she won't stay down long when I try that.

There is only one thing I haven't tried with her is having a vet knock her out completely. Which may be my next step.

I have long talks with her and I've told her that if she won't just try to tolerate some pain for a few minutes, she might end up being put down. I don't think she's comprehending:0)


firecoach said...

I found with Cowboy, Bute did not touch the pain, only Banamine did. My pea gravel is in a round area so I can walk/lunge him. As Pete says each hoof is like a little heart and it is important to get the blood moving. So walking on the pea gravel does help stimulate the area. Each fall around September, Cowboy gets ouchy. Each year I panic thinking he is having a relapse. Then I find an old email and realize that this happens each year. You would think I would learn! But what brings him out of it is consistent little exercise. I feel it helps get rid of the lactic acid that accumlates in the feet when they have inflammation and helps the healing process.
I have been though the gamut with Cowboy, even bringing him to Pete Ramey's clinic in Boise, Idaho in July of 2007. Cowboy could hardly walk at that clinic but he is doing great now, he almost has normal hooves now. We are just sorry we do not have before and after pictures!

firecoach said...

Ok another dumb thought, have you talked to an animal communicator? The one I use is pretty good, she has been helpful in quite a few of my horse's issues.

erik said...

Hi Pat. Sounds like Rainier Hoof Recovery Center is growing from day to day. When Rick builds your "shallow above ground trench with concrete and rubber mats that I can fill with treated water and just walk the horse into". It may be useful to build somewhat the same but with pea gravel to walk your horse through. just a thought! You sure have a wonderful big and warm heart Doc. I love reading your blog! e.

Pat said...

THAT'S AN EXCELLENT IDEA! I think I'll be suggesting that. Thanks E!