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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Some Questions Answered

Riva had her vet visit yesterday.  After 5 views of x-rays, lameness exam involving trotting her in hand for our vet and free lunging in their round pen, hoof testing and general exam - and many $$$$'s - we have some answers.

First off - our vet examed and hoof tested both front feet.  She noticed right off that her left knee is larger than her right and there is a slight bow to that leg from the knee down.  She did not get any pain reaction from Riva, on either foot, when she hoof tested her.  All the vet said at first is her feet look terrible.  (Riva had lost her right front shoe when we went to pick her up yesterday - and husband had pulled the left front days ago because it was bent and loose).

Out vet had me take her out and hand trot her.  She couldn't see much of her true movement from this and I can't run fast enough to really get Riva moving.  We took her to the round pen for me to free lunge her both ways.  After watching her - our vet said she is off both directions - off on her right front when trotted to the left and off on her left front when trotting to the right. 

We put her back in the stocks and vet said we have 3 things going off - something is wrong with her left knee, left front foot, and right front foot.  She wanted to take x-rays of the knee, and both front feet.  She started with the right front foot and the left knee.  She went over the x-xays with us and then took another view of the left front foot.  We ended up with 2 views of the left knee - 2 views of the right foot - and 1 of the left foot.

The knee - Riva has sustained trama to the knee at some point, vet believes as a weanling or yearling.  The growth plate is uneven and has closed that way.  This is causing the bow look to the inside of her leg from the knee down.  There is inflamtion and vet said she will develop arthrisis in that knee somewhere down the road. 

The left front - her toe is too long and the heel too low.

The right front - her toe is way too long and heel way too high.  Good news is, the thrush is gone and the deep central sulcus is no longer painful - no infection.  She did have heat in the right front foot after hand trotting her on soft ground and in the round pen free lunging on soft ground.

What the vet suggested:  Cosequin ASU for the left knee.  She believes this will keep the inflammation down, relieve pain, and keep her knee from develping arthrisis as long as possible.  She also said she probably will never be able to be jumped.

Both front feet need radical changes in the way they are being trimmed.  Her right front toe needs to be cut way back and her heel brought down.  Her left front toe needs trimmed back and her heel slightly raised.

Vet gave us options for the trimming.  She works a lot with our current farrier and said she would meet with him and go over the x-rays and tell him how Riva needs trimmed and shod to correct.  She said we can have another farrier do also and she would phone consult and send x-rays.  Regardless, she wants to see Riva back mid-June after farrier work and see how she compares.

Husband called our current farrier on the drive home (our horses were already scheduled to be re-shod this coming Thursday).  He told him what our vet said - our farrier was very receptive to the info and said he will get with our vet before Thursday and go over her findings and recommendations.  We are going to try this and see where we are at re-check in mid-June.

So - for now - no riding - Riva can be turned out.  Will be putting her on Cosequin ASU - good lord that stuff is expensive!  Wait for Thursday for farrier to radically changed her feet and see where we stand mid-June. 

I will be posting progress pictures as we go to monitor.  I plan to take pictures when we are out to the barn tomorrow as a starting point - knee, and both front feet.

I shed a few tears at the vet but our vet was encouraging that this can be changed and improved immensely with the right care.  Riva was great at the vet - first time in stocks, first time in a round pen, first time traveling anywhere by herself.  Ok, we had to try a few times to get her on the trailer to go home - but all in all, she was a star.


achieve1dream said...

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all of this. It's so frustrating dealing with lameness. I feel the way your vet does though that it can be greatly improved.

If she were my horse I would definitely not put shoes back on her. I would also research club feet and talk to my farrier about it to see how he answers the questions and if he knows how to work with club hooves (or if he just thinks he does). From what the vet said I think he's making a common trimming mistake when it comes to club feet. You don't trim to make the hooves match each other. The club hoof will probably always be straighter than the other one. I'm still learning about it, but if you can you need to do as much research as possible. Having blind faith in vets and farriers can have devastating results. You need to educate yourself on what's happening so you know when to say 'hold on, I think there is a better way', etc. I'm not trying to scare you, but I learned a long time ago to know as much as a I can about health related things (learned this with my own health and just apply the same principles to Chrome) and not to always trust doctors/vets/farriers/etc.

I'm sorry you can't ride right now. I know how awful that is.

If you have any other questions please let me know. And if you have time please browse through He has a whole article on club feet that is very enlightening. And no I'm not a paid sponsor. I just like the way he thinks and what he does for horses. Good luck!!

Amy said...

Long term it sounds like it is good news. I am so sorry you won't be able to ride her. It is great you are taking all these steps to keep her pain free.

SprinklerBandit said...

I agree with the above. You are your horse's advocate and you need to educate yourself. It's easy to just say, "Well, the vet/friend/BO recommended this farrier." It's hard to say, "based on my horse's feet, I know this farrier is not working out.

I'm not a crazy barefoot believer, but when I saw pictures of Riva's feet, the first thing I thought (other than what I posted) is that she needed to be barefoot and get some turnout. A lot of turnout.

Most of all, you need to learn what a good trim looks like. If you're staying with your current farrier or if you're changing to another one, ask LOTS of questions. Ask what he's doing, why, how, and what results he expects to see. Photograph, document, keep track. He may find it annoying, but you need to learn.

Plus, he may actually enjoy having an owner who is present and cares. Best of luck--the hoof problems are correctable. Don't think much about knees, though.

Kelly said...

Thanks all!

Riva was barefoot until a year ago - farrier wanted her shod when I started riding her,,,now I question that theory. If we stay with this farrier, I do have lots of questions.

As far as turn out - she is out in a large pasture, every day for 8-10 hours.