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Discussion on Shakes front legs during reset

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Susan Bilsky
Member
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 308
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2004 - 3:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Dr.O and all,
I have a 15 year old quarter horse who has a history of long toes/underrun heels giving him heel pain. My farrier has been doing a splendid job of addressing this problem by keeping the toes and the heel back and using shoes and Luwex rim pads for proper support.

What I do notice when my gelding is being reset or reshod is that he will shake and quiver in his front legs for the brief moment that the shoes are off while the farrier is prepping for new shoes or reset. Should I be concerned about ligament/tendon problems with this symptom? It is like he has a hard time standing on his feet until the shoe is back on. Any ideas and thanks in advance.

Susan B.
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Christine Holmes Bukowski
Member
Username: Canyon28

Post Number: 94
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2004 - 7:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

your horse is def navicular. Have your farrier only do one foot at a time, leaving the old shoe on the foot he isnt working on until he has the other foot reshod. I have an old gelding that has slowly gotten worse and worse over the past five years, he is quite navicular now and has not been ridden at all in about four years. I use him to babysit my weanlings and he is very good at that, and gets no stress from them. He used to only limp at the trot, now he limps pretty badly even when walking, but he still enjoys life and the foals and eating and grazing and is on his feet most of the time. Once he starts laying down a lot or acting depressed, I will probably have him put down, he is about 20 or so now, I think. I now have to bute him the night before he is reshod. He has front shoes only, one is a wedge shoe, he is only really bad on one foot, and this wedge shoe set back towards his heels seems to give him enough relief that he still gets around pretty good. If your horse is this shaky without his shoes, he probably shouldnt be ridden anymore unless you bute him before riding.
I think if you havent had xrays done on your horse before, or if it has been a while, you should get him xrayed again. Heel pain is def navicular, have a navicular mare that was left out to pasture for many years as a brood mare and her feet were pretty much ruined by lack of care and overly long toes for long periods of time. She has a short fairly upright pastern, so she needed to be kept with short upright toes, which wasnt done. long feet on a horse with this type of conformation pulls on the navicular and causes damage/change to it over time. She is shod in front only short toes, with a raised heel shoe with a long heel that comes clear back to the back of the ball of her heels. She never pulls them off and has been pasture sound now for over 3 years with this method and reshoeings every 6 weeks. thankfully, none of her foals have her problem, which was entirely man made. We tried the heart bar shoes and they packed up so bad full of mud and manure that this was also hurting her. These standard shoes with a wedged heel work great and she is happy. About 90% of it is how the horse is shod and how the shoes are put on. If the horse is shod incorrectly for his conformation, you will have problems.
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Aileen
Member
Username: Sunny66

Post Number: 625
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Dec 23, 2004 - 9:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Susan,

My horse visibly shook once when being shod when recovering from his road founder...and not just a little, he was in serious pain once they took the shoe off to reset. So far, no navicular diagnosis and no rotation.

Merry Christmas Susan!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11721
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 10:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Susan when your horse comes off the wedges there is increased stress put on the flexor apparatus. This happens because lowering the heels effectively lengthens the distance from proximal attachement to distal attachment of the deep flexor. The quivering occurs because either (1) the knees are pushed forward and so they cannot lock in a stance or (2) the increase stress to the navicular bone and impar ligaments is painful. Both could be happening. I do like Christine's idea of shoeing one foot at a time to decrease this stress. The fact the horse does so well between shoeing is a real tribute to your farriers care. Are you using a 4 week shoeing interval?
DrO
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Susan Bilsky
Member
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 309
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 11:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you Dr.O for that explanation. Number 2 seems to fit this best as I don't really see him trying to stand on his toes. I have had this wonderful farrier for about 8 months and he is carefully taking his time with my horses' feet. My vet is also pleased with the work he is doing. I have used a shorter schedule in the past, (4 to 5 weeks) and found too much foot being taken off. This was also with a different farrier who may have taken out too much sole in order to dump the toe. My present farrier takes very little sole and leaves his frogs intact unless they are about to shed. I have him on an 8 week schedule as anything shorter would leave no foot to work with and lots of nail holes. My farrier drives the nails pretty high going through a layer of shoe and rim pad. Another question that comes to mind is; would the use of Sports Medicine Boots be beneficial or contraindicated?

Christine, we will try your idea of shoeing one foot at a time. I know he is "Navicular" but radiographs are very clean. It is probably time for another set anyway just to see how we are doing in the internal balance department. My geldings shoes sound similar to yours in their application with the heel support in the back. I will also let clean dirt pack in there for passive frog support. I have not tried heartbars as they take a lot of skill to apply properly.

Aileen, previous X-Rays came pretty clean as far as the navicular bone goes. Laser does show a slightly broken back hoof pastern angle. Rotation wasn't really evident either. Although there was a tiny difference in balance from one foot to the other. I think that is due to the way he is built and his front feet will never look exactly the same. I don't need to have pretty feet, just feet that work .
You too have a very Merry Christmas .

Susan B.
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ANN COLLIER
Member
Username: Dres

Post Number: 456
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 12:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Susan we do my gelding every 4 weeks like clock work.. he does have some navicular problems too.. if the angle starts to change one bit, he becomes a little short strided.. my farrier does not really take too much hoof off this often, its more of just rebalancing the shoe.. he wears aluminum shoes they wear wonderfully well for making a good breakover for him.. BUT also they wear fast and need to be replaced every 4 weeks too.. maybe if you fed you horse a hoof supplement as well the nail holes would not be an issue.. they are not an issue on this gelding..

good luck , your farrier sounds wonderful.. * mine is too*

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with SPOTS../

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Susan Bilsky
Member
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 310
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 1:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Ann,
My boy is on Farrier's Formula at the maintenance level. He has had Natural Balance shoes on in the past with pads and frog support. He was pretty sore with those. I am not sure if the previous farrier was applying them correctly or that type of application was wrong for my horse. The shoes were aluminum and I did notice the faster wear. I will discuss with my farrier again about a shorter shoeing schedule. My farrier is quite the nice and knowledgable young man and will make the extra effort in figuring my horse out.
Will see if I can get some pics of these problem feet.

Susan B.
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Barbara Sly
New Member
Username: Bsly

Post Number: 1
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 1:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello & Merry Christmas.

Susan's situation appears similar to mine, with a 14 yr old quarterhorse mare who has been shod with wedge pads since age 4 because she had low underrun heels.

Like Susan's horse, the xrays were pretty clean, so I would like to 1) share the MRI findings, which may apply to Susan's horse (a $1,700 test!) and 2) ask Dr O if he has any comments on neutaceuticals which might help (he mentioned Acell in another post). I hope the following is appropriate to this discussion. If not, perhaps Dr O will move it to a more appropriate location.

My mare is} used for pleasure riding and mounted Search and Rescue. In May 2003, age 13 she suddenly came up lame in pasture. New horses had been brought into an adjacent pasture where my horses were boarded and my mare had done a lot of posturing, bucking and running around.

I had the vet out twice, in May and June to identify the lameness. Though she's a good vet in most medical matters, with this situation, I lost faith in her ability to diagnose lameness. Her initial diagnosis, in May, was to pull the shoes, and say the lameness was caused by white line disease. My farrier came out to put the shoes back on and said the white line diagnosis was wrong..the vet was seeing normal sloughing of hoof/sole materials.

He used hoof testers over the frog (the area she hadn't tested) and found extreme pain there.

He mentioned pedal osteosis, a bad rock bruise or possibly her slamming a rear hoof into the underside of the most obviously painful left front. He said it could take several months to resolve, and put full pads on to protect her sole.

Three weeks later my mare appeared to have a bowed tendon on the same leg. The vet came out and did an ultrasound which showed good tendons but fluids in the area of a suspensory, so I thought this meant an additional suspensory problem and 6 to 12 months of slow recovery.

After 5 months of trimming the farrier saw all evidence of bruising had grown out, but the lameness never completely disappeared. He recommended WSU: in his experience they had done a better job of diagnosing lameness (he also uses my vet).

In January 2004 I hauled my mare to WSU, where they did xrays which did not explain the level of pain and lameness, so we proceeded to an MRI. The MRI showed torn/lacerated deep digital flexor tendons in both front feet. The left was a 2" tear between the navicular bone and the P3 attachment. The right foot had a 25% laceration higher up in the hoof bulb area.

The WSU Vet said upwards of 60% of lower heel pain without obvious navicular bone changes are proving to be DDFT problems and there is not enough history (because the technology hasn't been widely available for long) to predict healing or prognosis for lasting recovery.

My mare's tendons were injected and her shoing prescription increased the wedge slightly & moved the toe back a bit. My mare was put on a 4 week shoeing interval and 4 to 5 months of stall rest & handwalking. I've ridden her at a walk and put her into a few short, slow sitting trots, and she feels good, but is now very out of condition, and therefore inclined to be heavy on the forehand. I am fearful of really pushing her and undoing the healing which has occurred, but recognize I need to get her condition back.

So, for Susan, and others whose horses have navicular symptoms but comparatively clean xrays, the DDFT may be involved, but it's my understanding that only an MRI will pinpoint the problem.

Now finally I've come to #2: I've been giving my mare 100mg hyaluronic acid, plus two expensive neutraceuticals from Figuerola labs: jointsaver (glucosamine HCL, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, SAMe, vitamins, collagen complex) and Suspensory Saver (a proprietary formula they call glycoStretch-MP)...Dr O mentioned Acell.

Is there any place where one can find out what is best for the DDFT situation and what is merely high priced snake oil?

Many thanks for providing this site, Dr O...you obviously invest huge amounts of uncompensated time helping horse owners to take care of their animals.

Barbara
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Christine Holmes Bukowski
Member
Username: Canyon28

Post Number: 95
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 5:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

A while back in "the Horse" magazine there was a small article written about a study done by the AAEP, that said, in effect, that feed though glucosimine doesnt work in the horse. I dont recall if they also named msm and chondroitin as not working either. I do know they made a study of a group of young race horses, and there was no difference in the ones that were given feed through supplements of this nature and the ones that were given a placebo. The only products that work are adequan and legend or their generic counterparts if available. these must be injected, either into the muscle, joint, or vein, as warranted by the manufacturer. a friend of mine bought a young horse, he was 4 at the time, a few years ago that promptly came up lame, he was diagnosed with a cyst on his deep digital flexor, dont recall how this could happen, but he had one. He was treated with injections of hyaluronic acid over a period of a few months and also shod with a very elevated heel on a special made shoe. He finally did recover and is sound today as an 8 or 9 yo horse.
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Susan Bilsky
Member
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 312
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 6:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Christine,
My horse does get IV injections of Map5 which is a product similar to Legend. I have talked about this before in other discussions. It does seem to help as it permeates all the joints and doesn't have to go through the digestive processes. He gets one about every two months. I am not certain how this could help tendon/ligaments though if this is the problem.

Susan B.
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Susan Bilsky
Member
Username: Suzeb

Post Number: 313
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 6:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Barbara and welcome to HorseAdvice

I would be interested in knowing some of the details about your horses MRI procedure.

Susan B.
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Barbara Sly
Member
Username: Bsly

Post Number: 2
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Friday, Dec 24, 2004 - 7:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Susan - I can't provide a lot of detail about the MRI beyond this: in January, when the proceedure was done at Washington State Univ. Vet teaching hospital, I was told there were only 2 facilities in the world with a machine large enough for a horse: Pullman WA (5 hours from me) and Newcastle England. I understand Guelph Ontario is now the 3rd. I believe there are smaller units which could accommodate a leg, though I do not know specifics. Perhaps Dr.O can add more info on this.

The proceedure required the mare to be anethesized, laid on a gurney and rolled into the MRI room for the images to be taken, then brought to a padded recovery room.

Besides the $1,700 cost, the thing that bothered me was that over 4 days of her being there, shoeless, they didn't have a farrier available to replace the shoes so I had to trailer the mare back wearing easyboots with her wedge pads stuffed inside...not an ideal situation for a horse with her type of injury.

Like your horse, she was sensitive to not having the pads on while being shod, so my farrier was carefull to do one foot at a time. He also appreciates knowing the MRI diagnosis: he says he now recognizes similar problems in other horses and knowing her injury was DDFT motivated him to do a lot of personal research on the subject.

Regardless of the cost, I am glad to have a definite, reliable diagnosis instead of a series of vet guesses, each guess running into the hundreds of dollars. This diagnosis has prepared me for the possibility that the mare may need to be retired to pasture - but I hope, by not subjecting her feet to heavy loading (trotting), she will be comfortable at the walk.

Barbara

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11726
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Dec 27, 2004 - 7:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

MRI of the lower leg of horses has become routine at a number of equine hospitals so it should not be too hard to find one without too much travel. Concerning the use of nutraceuticals we have information on glucosamine and chondroitin at Equine Medications and Nutriceuticals Anti-inflammatories (NSAID's, Steroids, Arthritis Rx) The Joint Protective Treatments. For those areas that a tendon runs through a synovial sheath there is a place for these joint products. I am not aware of a nutriceutical that is an improvement over just plain good nutrition for chronic tendon injuries.
DrO
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