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Discussion on Mare is "gimpy"

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debbie
Member
Username: Chanda

Post Number: 14
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 - 5:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi All, I have a 14 yo Paint mare that has always had very solid feet and has never been lame to my knowledge.

Approximately 15 weeks ago my trainer was riding her and said that she was having trouble "breaking out over her front feet". She felt the mare's feet were too long despite the fact I had just had her trimmed 3 weeks earlier.

I called my farrier of 14 years out and he agreed she was long and was amazed at her growth in 3 weeks. We longed her and she was showing signs of "gimpiness" at the trot on both sides but more when her right was on the inside. My farrier felt she was very stiff in her right shoulder and found her sensitive in one spot on her left hoof. It did not abcess. He trimmed her and no shoes were put on.

She continued to show this gimpiness pretty consistently during the next 5 weeks. My trainer still believes she is too long in the toe and her heels are contracted. I had another well respected farrier look at her feet and he said that she was trimmed out correctly.

I also had a vet/chriopractor look at her and he ran a blood test and the results are that she is selinium deficient (Michigan). I have had her on Farnam's Vit. E and Selinum for about 3 weeks now. He said that she was sore in the tendons and heels due to the deficiency. (A little confused here because as I understood the article on this site for selenium def. there are really no symptoms other than possible tying up). He said that he felt there was no problem with her trimming.

I had my farrier back out after that trim at 8 weeks (2 weeks ago) and he trimmed her and found that she is now bruised in the right front hoof. He wants to wait another 8 weeks to decide if he will shoe her fronts. He is hoping that the deficiency has caused this and with the supplement it will be taken care of. She has remained gimpy at the trot since this last trim.

My trainer continues to believe that her heels are too low and that is causing the problems with her gimpiness at the trot. She says I should shoe her now.

I do not want my mare hurting and I am so confused by the conflicting information I am getting from my trainer and farrier both of whom I have known for 14 plus years and respect.

Should I be doing something else? Should I have her xrayed? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, Debbie
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Melissa Boschwitz
Member
Username: Amara

Post Number: 66
Registered: 7-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 - 5:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

anyone recommended a lyme test?...

as a barefoot advocate, i of course, would say no shoes, but i know there are others who's opinions differ!,...
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Melissa Webster
Member
Username: Mwebster

Post Number: 390
Registered: 5-2001
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 - 8:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Can you post a picture of her feet? Also, tell DrO what kind of work she's in.
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Elizabeth Donahue
Member
Username: Paul303

Post Number: 389
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003 - 10:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, a hoof supplement could help, with the right ingredients. There are still some farriers that leave too long a toe, but you have three agreeing opinions: 2 farriers and a vet.

If she's mainly been barefoot, and doing well, I'd hesitate to shoe. If she's been growing a lot of toe quickly, then her weight gets shifted back to her heels and her pastern-hoof line is off. This stresses the hoof and all the supportive structures of the front leg. But in this case, I'd expect the heels to be underrun, not contracted.

I'm unclear as to your trimming schedule, but keeping her angle as stable as possible is important. A strict 4 to 6 week schedule but no more than 6. Perhaps your farrier could slowly start to square her front toes to ease her breakover.

Learn to recognize the optimum pastern - hoof angle. It gives you the security of knowing that a trim is needed or overdue...and it stops you from stressing your horse's legs unknowingly.

In the meantime, if abcesses have been ruled out, bute might give her some relief. If you should shoe her now, and the problem still remains, you might now have the problem of ruling out a whole other set of parameters brought into the mix by the shoes.

If your horse has not had foot problems in the past, then persue the Vit. E and Selenium, along with proper angles ( perhaps squared toes ) and frequent trims. If these steps don't help, then forge ahead -

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 9324
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 - 7:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Debbie,
Your first job is to localize which leg(s) and where in the legs the lameness is coming from, only then can further diagnostic / therapeutic steps can reasonably be discussed. For information on this see Equine Diseases Lameness The Diagnosis of Lameness in the Horse.
DrO
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debbie
Member
Username: Chanda

Post Number: 15
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 - 9:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dr. O, Melissa and Elizabeth,

No, no one has suggested a Lyme test. And, yes, I can get pictures of her feet and try to upload them.
She is basically in retirement. I pleasure ride her maybe 2-3 times a week when I can ride her; otherwise she gets turned out in pasture and longed.

Dr. O, thanks for the information. I found that area after my post and I hope to be able to determine which leg. I found the description of the rising poll to be very helpful because I just was not sure how to tell which leg was the problem. I will try to figure that out tonight and let you know. Thanks everyone, Debbie
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 9331
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 - 6:18 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Debbie,
I missed the Lyme reference above. Melissa and I have had this discussion before and I am skeptical about the relation between the relation of disease in horses and Lyme exposure. Run a search for several involved discussions on this.
DrO
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debbie
Member
Username: Chanda

Post Number: 16
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 - 4:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Dr. O,

I did my best to try and determine which leg seems to be the problem. I believe it to be her left leg which has the hoof with the sore spot and the brusing at the toe. She has remained consistently gimpy since the last trim almost two weeks ago. I have not seen any change.

I tried to find heat on both front legs starting with her shoulders and working down to the hooves. I could not detect any heat.

When I watch her longe, she appears to not want to reach forward with her front legs. As I mentioned earlier my farrier thought she felt "tight" in her right shoulder but the doctor said her shoulder was fine.

She has not seemed as goosey when grooming her the past week so perhaps the selinium is helping the muscle soreness.

Melissa, I am going to try and post some pictures of her feet.

Could the deficiency be causing this or should I get my local vet out to check her over? Perhaps someone specializing in foot problems....or wait a bit and see if it is the selinium? Thanks, Debbie
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Susan Bilsky
Member
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 68
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 - 4:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Debbie,
I would pursue the correct diagnosis first, so you know what it is you are treating. The term "underrun" and "low" heels can be frequently interchanged and misunderstood. If you go to Care of the Horse in the left sidebar menu and then go to Hoof Care you can read articles and posts about hoof care and farrier work. Another link up is the Classifieds and Ads where you can hook up to the sister site of The Farrier and Hoofcare Resource and The Anvil. The other one is as Dr.O suggested and that is Equine Diseases/Lameness/Diseases of the Hoof. I can kind of picture what you are presenting on this post as my guy "Quarter Horse" has long toes/underrun heels. He always dropped his right shoulder going on the inside according to riding instructor. He has had his unfair share of gimpiness or really sore issues because of hoof imbalances. A good pair of shoes, whether they are hand forged or "designer" and applied correctly will go a long way in making your mare comfortable. I would like nothing better than to have my guy barefoot, but without his shoes or support system he is too heartbreaking to be with.
Like your mare, his feet are tough as nails, and from the underside everything appears to be in place, but they are just not holding him up in the right place. I would also agree with the selenium/vitamin E supplement if your horse is living in a selenium poor area, however, is the hay harvested and grown in same said area or is it imported from elsewhere? Hope this helps. Susan Bilsky
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debbie
Member
Username: Chanda

Post Number: 17
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 - 4:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Melissa,

My first attempt at the pictures did not work. I am trying again. DebbieHooves1Hooves2Hooves3Hooves4Hooves5
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Susan Bilsky
Member
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 69
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 - 5:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Debbie,
A couple of more questions. Does your mare have difficulty turning in tight or small circles? Does she ever toe stab or appear to be tripping on reasonably flat ground? If so, the sore shoulder might be a symptom of something going on in her feet or lower leg. Susan B.
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Rick Obadiah
Member
Username: Onehorse

Post Number: 3
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 - 8:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Debbie,

I've just read your messages (and the responses) regarding your 14 year old paint mare. I'm not an expert but....

The problem appears to be something I experienced with my horse last year.

It was diagnosed as 'sheared heels.' Basically, it's correctable with appropriate shoeing.

As I understand it, sheared heels develop from poor trimming...one side of the hoof is slightly higher than the other (particularly towards the rear by the bulb). What happens is when the hoof comes down one side touches the ground before the other side does...as the weight of the horse continues to come down the tendons and/or muscle tissue in the heel stretches allowing the other side of the hoof to touch down. As the hoof grows this unevenness is intensified causing the stretching in the hoof to get worse and the lameness to increase. There's little or no heat caused by the problem.

On my horse (who also has contracted heels) he started to get slightly gimpy in the front and the problem worsened over time. Because of his age (16 at the time) various vets who examined thought it was age, arthritis, even nerve damage...but nothing seemed to make sense or work to resolve the problem ...and eventually became barely ridable.

I finally took him to Equine Vetinerary Associates to visit Dr. William Stone who diagnosed 'sheared heels.'

The remedy was better trimming (changed shoers, lol) and a 'bar' shoe to protect the heel and add more support in the back of the hoof. He was put on bute twice a day for three weeks to ease his discomfort. The problem slowly dissappeared and my horse is fine now. However, he remains shod in the front hoofs with the 'bar' shoe.

According to Dr. Stone the problem was simply caused by poor trimming.

Talk to your vet about this. I hope this helps.






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Rick Obadiah
Member
Username: Onehorse

Post Number: 4
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 - 8:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

debbie,

I also looked at the pictures you posted before writing. Your horses front hoofs looks similar to what my horses hoofs looked like...particularly in the heel area.
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Elizabeth Donahue
Member
Username: Paul303

Post Number: 390
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 - 10:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

From your pictures, those heels don't look so great. Shoes may be necessary. If you decide to go that route, do some intensive research for an awesome farrier. My best farrier recomendations have always come from my vet.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 9347
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Oct 24, 2003 - 9:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Because the picture of the foot lifted up off the ground is a bit fuzzy, I am having trouble telling exactly what I am looking at paricularly on the lateral side of the foot. Combined this with the picture being taken just a touch lateral to the saggital making evaluating balance is tough. The symmetry of the coronet at the heel does not suggest sheared heels to me. The cleft in the sulsus in that picture does suggest the heels are appear a little contracted.

But none of this is diagnostic for your problem and I do not know if supplementation with Se is going to be of benefit: is this a reported problem in your area.

Susan has it exactily right and I too strongly suggest you involve your vet to figure out what is going on with your horse, it is the surest and quickest way to figure things out.
DrO
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debbie
Member
Username: Chanda

Post Number: 19
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Saturday, Oct 25, 2003 - 8:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, thank you all for your input! I so appreciate it. She continues to show no improvement (nor is she worse, thank goodness!). I will get with my vet. I am hoping to get a specialist in leg and hoof problems. I will let you know what happens.

Thanks again for all of your help. Debbie
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debbie
Member
Username: Chanda

Post Number: 20
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Monday, Nov 24, 2003 - 8:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Everyone, I just wanted to give you an update on my mare. I did find a lameness specialist that I wanted her to go to but after he canceled me the 3rd time, I was on a hunt for a new one. I have since found a new doctor that comes highly recommended but in the meantime, her vet/chiropractor was back for a follow up. This time he said that her suspensory ligament was very sore in the leg that has the sore spot and brusing. He advised that my farrier change her angle from 51 degrees to 54 degrees. He was in hopes that my farrier could do it without shoes.

I had my farrier out and he was able to change her angle without shoes to the 54 degrees by "rolling her toe". However, my farrier still thinks something else is going on because she is still sore on the inside front quarter of her sole. She still has never abcessed there. He does not feel that the soreness in the ligament will cause the sore spot in her hoof.

I was told to give her 2 weeks to see if there is any inprovement. Also, to put linament on the ligament. It has been less than a week so I have not seen any improvement.

Just wanted to let you know what was happening. Thanks for your help, Debbie
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 9525
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 25, 2003 - 5:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

A simple dilemma to solve: do a nerve block at the appropriate level. See Diagnosis of Lameness for more.
DrO
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salley moorhead
Member
Username: Unis11

Post Number: 8
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 5, 2004 - 9:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Have you considered Navicular disease?
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