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Discussion on Toes of hind feet wearing down

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Sheila Benner
Member
Username: Sheilab

Post Number: 14
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 7:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My Dutch Warmblood dressage horse goes barefoot primarily for two reasons; first, she has excellent feet and secondly because my farrier has told me she is incredibly hard to shoe in the back because she won't hold herself up for him. I have begun to notice her hind feet are wearing down dangerously, almost making her hooves appear 'boxy.' My farrier says it's because she's dragging her feet when we ride, which surprises me because we only ride in a rubber-footing arena. Besides having her shod all the way around, can you suggest any hoof treatments or protection against this wearing?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10463
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 8:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sheila if your horse is wearing her feet this way I am not sure you want to stop it and instead encourage it. If there is a lot of toe dragging going on this is putting stress on the upper leg. By allowing the toe to get as short as possible you minimize stress and tripping.
DrO
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Sheila Benner
Member
Username: Sheilab

Post Number: 15
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 1:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

But what about the fact that her feet are getting smaller and smaller?! Obviously, riding dressage should encourage her to pick her back feet up; not drag them out behind her so I am hoping this is a temporary problem anyway
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Janet Schmidt
Member
Username: Sparky

Post Number: 81
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 1:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sheila - have you ruled out any back issues as you state that she won't or can't hold herself up on the back end for the farrier? Is this attitude or something physical? Are the dragging the toes and not supporting the hind end related?
Janet Schmidt
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Sheila Benner
Member
Username: Sheilab

Post Number: 16
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 7:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Janet - Those are some very good points! She does have OCD in her left hock but is on Adaquan injections to maintain soundness, and she does pass hock flex tests. She is definitely a marey-mare so I tend to think it's more attitude than anything.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10470
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 9:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

If this is a new way of going for your horse you should be concerned about lameness or pain issues. If you cannot see lameness you might try a 2 week course of phenylbutazone to see if the toe dragging improves. If it does you should consider further testing. Also the lack of willingness to pick up the rear legs is associated with EPSM, for more see Equine Diseases Lameness Diseases of the Upper Rear Limb Tying Up, Rhabdomyolysis, and Shivers (EPSM).

If it gets to the point where the toe is worn down to the white line you may have to protect them while working. If shoes are not a good option perhaps a good boot like Old Macs could be used. However this will lose the naturally rolled toe. I cannot think of any reason that the boot cannot have the toe rasped out of it to provide the roll while leaving enough to protect the toe.
DrO
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Sheila Benner
Member
Username: Sheilab

Post Number: 17
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Thursday, Jun 3, 2004 - 12:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just had my mare's hocks x-rayed yesterday which showed significantly more arthritis than the previous x-rays I'd taken several years ago. My vet injected her (IV) with Legend and we have her started on 2 grams of bute twice a day for 5 days, then we'll decrease it to 1 for 5 days and eventually keep it a 1 - once a day for as long as she can maintain soundness. This coupled with the monthly Adaquan (IM) injections and the Legend (IV) when needed will hopfully keep her more comfortable. I'm glad I got the x-rays done; at least I know what I'm dealing with now and I know her condition is treatable. We're no where near having to inject her hocks and hopefully won't have to for years and years!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10561
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jun 4, 2004 - 7:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Be careful with assuming that you have a good handle on the problem. Radiographic lesions do not correlate well with pain. This may or may not be the cause. Assuming you have found the trouble see Equine Diseases Lameness Diseases of Joints Arthritis and DJD: An Overview.
DrO
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Sheila Benner
Member
Username: Sheilab

Post Number: 18
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Thursday, Jun 10, 2004 - 12:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Do you have any more suggestions about how I can maintain her soundness?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10618
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jun 11, 2004 - 6:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

How did the horse do while on the bute Sheila did you see a significant decrease in toe dragging?
DrO
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Sheila Benner
Member
Username: Sheilab

Post Number: 19
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, Jun 11, 2004 - 6:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

She definitely picks her feet up more once she's warmed up and engaged. We've been working over ground poles and she's not hitting them so I would have to say she's better - not fantastic, but definitely better.
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Leah Hinnefeld
Member
Username: Belhaven

Post Number: 213
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Friday, Jun 11, 2004 - 7:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sheila I have one that drags his toes behind as well...or he did for a very long time (he had changes in his hocks so I assume it was pain related while his hocks were fusing)...and depending on the day, his dragging comes and goes.

I also have mine barefoot and he is better soundness wise without shoes.

One thing I do, is keep his rear toes as "ovaled" as I can-in other words, without invading his white line, I try to keep the foot shaped up...I find the keeps the square toe wear from getting worse and worse-but doesn't let it grow to the point that he becomes uncomfortable.

Does this make any sense? Maybe your farrier could show you with a rasp how to keep him shaped up between trims. Mine will still square it a bit, but for some reason it doesn't seem to wear down as bad as it used to.
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Leah Hinnefeld
Member
Username: Belhaven

Post Number: 214
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Friday, Jun 11, 2004 - 7:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I had one afterthought...I did speak with 2 different trimmers about this and both said they have seen horses that drag so bad, the foot gets worn well into the white line...the trimmers said, funny enough, none of these horses seemed uncomfortable even with such wear.

Of course Dr O may have found a different result...but this is was they shared with me.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 10623
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jun 11, 2004 - 12:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No Leah, I too have seen such horses: no discoverable lameness issues but drag to the point of squaring off the toes. If Sheila sees an improvement following bute administration then it seems likely hind limb lameness issues are present. Sheila, certainly the most likely issues are chronic arthritis so I would follow our recommendations for long term management in the article on arthritis, Equine Diseases Lameness Arthritis, DJD, OCD, and Joint Diseases.
DrO
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 255
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Jun 11, 2004 - 4:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Can this be just a lazy attitude issue? I have seen horse, especially laid back, overly plump ones that do this, but don't when under saddle and really pushed forward with the rider's legs.
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Sheila Benner
Member
Username: Sheilab

Post Number: 20
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Monday, Jun 14, 2004 - 12:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Funny you should mention that, Sara because my mare is definitely on the lazy side - which is why I mentioned that she definitely goes better when she's engaged.
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