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Discussion on Sudden onset of lameness

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Darbie Yates
New Member
Username: Yitto

Post Number: 1
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 5, 2003 - 10:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi everyone,

I first would like to say that I love this site! Very informatve and useful.

A brief history first, I am the middle man in this horse deal. A friend of mine has been ill for several years and hasn't been able to do much with her horse, in fact, the horse hasn't been ridden for 4 years. Only basic care, at best. She asked me if I could help find a home for him so he would recieve love and attention.

I took this horse home for 30 days and rode him in the round pen, out on trails and anything I could think of doing with him. He was great, no problems except for some muscle soreness after a long ride to the lake, but that was brief. His only flaw is that he has flat feet, they were long and tough. I didn't mess with his feet just rode him the way he was.

I found him a nice home where he would get the care he needed. The second day of owning him they had shoes put on, I had warned them if they were going to do this to go slowly in changing his feet. This wasn't the case and the farrier went ahead and changed the feet completely to looking like a normal hoof. Things seemed to be fine, he didn't appear to be sore. She took a riding lesson on him a few days after and he was fine. The next ride was a long trail ride, nothing wrong there other than he tripped once, but no lameness.

The following day after that trail ride she noticed him trotting across the pasture and was limping. The farrier came out and looked at him, tested him with hoof testers and found pain in the central frog region, suggested to take the horse to the vet for xrays. Stating it could be navicular. This started the nightmare of she bought a lame horse sceniro.

She didn't take him to the vet right away, but at day 30 decided he wasn't going to get better on his own. The horse was blocked and the vet felt that both feet are sore, gut feeling is navicular, yet couldn't come out and say that is or itsn't. His suggestion was to return horse to previous owner. The second option was to wait another 30 days if the previous owner would agree and if he wasn't better in that time return him then. Also, no xrays as that would be a waste of money at this point?

So, that is where it stands as of today. There has been no mention of what should be done to help the horse at this point. A waiting game doesn't appear to me to be of use, if he is let to be sore. The prevoius owner cannot tend to a lame horse, at least not at this point of time.

Do you have any suggestions as to what or where to head??

Thanks for your time.
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Sara Wolff
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 42
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 5, 2003 - 11:30 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

How can you tell what's going on inside the hoof without an x-ray? Jumping to navicular seems a little quick, imo.
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Christine Holmes Bukowski
Username: Canyon28

Post Number: 26
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 5, 2003 - 11:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

You will never know what the real problem with this horse is unless xrays are taken by a competent vet. If the people were truly interested in him, they would spend the money to see what the problem is. I think the radical changes to his feet have probably made him ouchy, but years of leaving his feet long like that is an open invitation to navicular. long feet pull on the navicular and left in this condition for years, may have caused him to become slightly navicular. He could also have just a stone bruise from the riding. Proper shoeing will also go a long way in making a navicular horse comfortable for many years. I know, because I have a mare that is badly navicular and her feet were ruined by leaving them long in the pasture as a broodmare. Its a shame, because she is also broke to ride and was a really good riding horse at some point in her life. She came to me in bad shape and I had her feet xrayed and the proper shoes put on her and she gets around real well now and has been comfortable for the past three years. It takes shoeing her in corrective shoes every 5 to 6 weeks, but she is a top notch mare and worth the extra money. We also dont know how the farrier shod this horse, he could have shod him completely wrong for his pastern and hoof angle and that has caused the problem.
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Susan Bilsky
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 79
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 5, 2003 - 12:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Darbie,
I have a "Navicular" horse and it did not mean the end of his life. Radiographs revealed the cleanest navicular bones my vet has ever seen, so now we are down to soft tissue strain/injury. His hoof/pastern angle were slightly broken back as again were revealed by X-Rays. On the outside, my gelding had long toes and underrun heels. Supportive shoeing can go a long way in keeping this guy sound. I can't say how you are going to sell this horse for the sick owner, but perhaps you need to be upfront with a prospective buyer and that would entail the original owner having some diagnostics run on him. If he is a well mannered and trained horse, there is no reason why he couldn't go to a loving home who will look after his basic needs and shoeing issues and maybe just be used for pleasure riding. Some horses who have been diagnosed or lableled Navicular are still working. You may have to advertise this horse to a smaller market, but you will never know until owner has this diagnosed. Hope this helps. Susan
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Darbie Yates
Username: Yitto

Post Number: 2
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 5, 2003 - 5:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you all for your response. It has been of help to hear what I suspect to jumping a little to far forward. I am a Vet tech so dealing with medical issues and people often is frustrating to say the least.

I have tried to break this down into what is wrong with the horse NOW, verses 30 days down the road with just watching and seeing. If navicular being the final out come what needs to be done now for the horse. Can we reduce the final big outcome by dealing with the present?

I did put the horse through anything everything to insure he was well suited for the lady that bought him. She even came here and rode him 5 times where he showed no lameness. Somehow, it all went wrong, but how wrong is the real question. I stand on the grounds that the big bad word "Navicular" has blindsighted the fact that nothing is being done to help the lame horse out.
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Katrina Turner
Username: Kthorse

Post Number: 119
Registered: 11-2001
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 5, 2003 - 8:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Could it be something to do with trimming too much and changing his foot shape too much . You did say he was fine until this changed.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: Dro

Post Number: 9417
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Nov 6, 2003 - 8:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think the history sugests the trim is most likely the culprit and probably has thinned the sole excessively in the toe and quarters (done to return a long and low foot to a more upright conformation) which have now become bruised. At least it is a logical and treatable problem. As to what is done next depends on the goals and agreements of all involved.
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