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Discussion on Foundered horse doesn't want to get up--help!

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Sandra K. Jacobsen
Member
Username: Sandy

Post Number: 6
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 11:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi All,

Once again I need the expert advise of my fellow horsemen. I have a beautiful 6 year old mare who had a terrible bout with laminitis the day she foaled. At first we thought it was just an abscess but later after no improvement and x-rays we found out that she had 18% rotation on one foot and 7% on the other. We don't know what the original cause was, we haven't had her that long, and we certainly didn't know foaling could cause it to happen again. After a month of treating her between my vet and farrier they tried plastic molds that were wrapped on her feet. I don't know if these bothered her or if she developed an abscess in her good foot but she is down 24/7. Now we are fighting sores from her being constantly down. She will lift her head to eat but we have to take it and water to her. My farrier swears he can make her sound but I am beginning to question that. She is on 2 grams of bute both morning and night plus stomach medicine to prevent ulcers. I am feeling hopeless and questioning if I should put her down. Has anyone else ever been through this? How long can a horse stay down even if they are rolling from side to side? Is there hope for a sound horse at this point?

Sandy
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Susan Jeys
Member
Username: Sjeys

Post Number: 67
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 11:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sandra,

First,I used to rescue and rehab founders so I know the your stress level is through the roof. Many layman cannot hack the pain the horse is in and do put them down. There is nothing wrong with that.

Now, a little tough love:

Where is your vet in all this? He has experience with founders and should be working side by side with in treating this very advanced case of founder. If he doesn't have a treatment plan, switch vets. This is incredibly serious. The issue here isn't that she's laying down, its that the rotation is incredibly painful and at 18 degrees is so serious that her coffin bone may drop or push through her foot.

I know some will say that I am scaring you, but suck it up, get off the computer, call your vet and get it together girl! And I mean that in the nicest way. I know that you are stressed and feel terrible, but get it together enough to get some people out to help this horse.

At the very least, bed the horse with deep, deep shavings and much better yet, SAND works wonders. If you use sand and its an outdoor stall, the sand will get HOT so keep it watered down.

You have got to get a plan together from your vet. Founder IS very painful and yes, many 18 degree rotations are put down, BUT if you have a plan and stick with it you might be able to save her.

If you don't trust your farrier yet (which is fine) get that vet and that farrier working together to come up with a treatment plan.

The ulcers are the least of your worries. I'm not usually a fan of bute for foundered horses because I WANT them OFF their feet in a comfy stall, but with that much rotation it may not be a bad idea to make her a little more comfy.

Do you have a vet you can work with? I am stunned there's not more of a plan to support you.

Forget sound...your job for the next year or so as the hoof grows out and hopefully reattaches to the laminae is to support this horse as best you can and to pray that she is comfortable. You or may not get a sound horse out of it. At this point (in my opinion) its about saving a life and thanking god if she's able to be a pasture ornament. That is our goal with all founders and its the greatest thing when the horse is happy and comfortable, even if not rideable. If you get more, consider it a gift.

Okay, I'm ready to be slammed now by all the other members...:-) If I could I'd drive to your house and help you!
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jojo
Member
Username: Jojo15

Post Number: 797
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 12:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

no slamming... right on information...sandra where are you located. let me know and i will try to find a trimmer/farrier that can help.

You need to find a farrier that specializes in this. or trust in your farrier to allow other input, too. no egos allowed at this point.

i say barefoot trimmers because they do have the more progressive thinking that a horse like this CAN BE SAVED....even after rotation. sinking though is what you need to try and avoid. and do you see any physical signs of it? if you have shoes on... take them off. if the feet are hot. ICE them. And if you have the abiblity to put her in a sling. do it... these are a few things you can do so you don't feel hopeless while waiting for the experts to get a move on it...
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Lita Dove
Member
Username: Oakfarm

Post Number: 30
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 1:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm sorry, but I truly believe the kindest action to take for this mare is to stand back and take an objective view of Quality of Life.

If this mare belonged to me, I would humanely put her to sleep, taking the responsibility for the love we give and get, and see her safely over The Bridge, where she can once again run around, healthy and secure in the knowledge that her humans loved her enough to let her go, with dignity.
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Shirley A. Johnson
Member
Username: Shirl

Post Number: 392
Registered: 2-2002
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 1:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sandy Dear,
I tend to agree with Lita above, been there done that, and my mare told me it was time. Look in her eyes, are they sad, down-cast? Does she look humiliated at her situation? Would you want to live in such a state? These are questions to ask yourself. So many times (and I had to guard against this myself) we keep these beloved animals for us, not them. Please take a deep breath, look at things realistically and I pray the best will be the outcome. She knows you love her and wish her not to suffer.
Blessings,
Shirl
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Susan Jeys
Member
Username: Sjeys

Post Number: 68
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 1:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is where your vet comes in. Since we haven't seen the horse, we cannot tell you if she needs to be put down or if it is within humane limits to save her through a lot of work and sacrifice on your part (and hers).

A lot of this also depends on you and your tolerance. I've seen vets put down laminitic (no rotation) horses for people that say, "Hey, I cannot stand to see this horse in pain and I cannot do what is required" and that is the best choice for that owner because the owner would not be able to take care of the animal at the level that is required to rehab it. There is nothing bad or wrong with this choice; you are making a choice to let the animal "go in dignity" as Lita says instead of suffering.

If however, you and your vet have a plan and your vet says to you, "If you want to put in the work, here's how its going to go and I will support you during this" then that is the best choice for you. I relied heavily on my vet and I've found that the vet will usually offer that choice right up front (to let the animal go) if he feels that you can't/aren't able to/don't want/aren't experienced enough to handle this. If he hasn't said anything, call him and ask...tell him what you are feeling and that you are terrified in handling this on your own.

Vets typically have at least some experience with founder and will usually give you a roadmap on what to expect.

The other thing is that you could do everything right and not be able to stop the rotation; you need to be aware of that as well.

The "Quality of Life" issue is one for you, as an owner, to decide. I had a lot of folks who said of my first founder rescue, "Oh, poor, poor horsie...it cannot get out of the stall (a 12 x 16 stand stall) for a year..." Well, I trusted my vet and a great farrier and that horse is now beatifully sound, 2 years later. If it had been up to the "poor horsie" people they probably would have buted it and let it out of its stall and she would have continued to rotate past her already poor 13 degrees.

We are here for you...the decision is yours, but get a good vet involved. Most will come immediately when you say "18 degrees rotation, down and I don't know what to do."

Get with your vet and come up with a plan that you are comfortable with. Good luck and I know you will make the right decision for you, your horse and your family.
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: Vickiann

Post Number: 338
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 2:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My farrier helped a horse whose founder had caused the coffin bone to fall through the bottom of his feet. This horse is now perfectly sound and is competing. I am sorry you are having to go through this, because I know it has to be very stressful for you and the mare.
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Angie
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 668
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 6:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sandy,

Excellant advice from everyone.

Sometimes this is what I do:

I make a list of the the plusses(+) and minuses
(-) of the situation at hand.

Negatives would be the time, (daily and long term) cost, amount of help you have or don't have, condition of mare, etc.

Positives would be: is she worth trying to save for a a brood mare? Is she a high dollar horse with a career in front of her? And whatever else applies to your situation.

Sometimes when you put things on paper, it gives you a black and white perspective and seperates the heart from the brain a little.

The longer list is your answer. And look into her eyes after you compile your list.

A tough spot, been there, done that, still miss our special ol' girl too.

(((HUGS)))
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Angie
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 669
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 6:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh, and I think she will stay down as long as she needs to, to answer your question. Which may be forever.

At least she is interested in eating, a good sign.
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Catherine McCourt
Member
Username: Kstud

Post Number: 24
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 7:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Sandra, You poor thing this is terrible for both you and the mare. We had a mare that did the same thing the day after foaling. Even though the placenta was checked she must have retained a tiny fragment. We flushed her uterus out with litres and litres of saline and gave her large doses of steroids. Despite this she rotated badly on both front feet. Like you we maintained her on bute, cold hosed her feet constantly and put circular shoes on her feet. At one point she lay down for several weeks and it was agony for all of us, we got an inflatable cow mattress and kept moving her on it. The best thing we did though was put her back in foal, it really really works. I thought it was just an old wives tale but her improvement started from then and now 5 years later she is still breeding and very happy and with no reccurence. However I think that whatever you decide it will always be a personal decision and I am sure that you will do what is right because I think that deep down we always know when enough is enough. Oh we used AI by the way on our mare. If you go to the cut foal discussion she is in the background of the picture, the chestnut mare. Good luck whatever you choose,
Catherine
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Erika L
Member
Username: Erika

Post Number: 333
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 8:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

So sorry, Sandra. There are many things that can be done to make the mare more comfortable.

Don't you all think it is too early to expect this horse to stand for a farrier? I think if you tape some styrofoam to the bottoms of her feet, she will get a lot of relief when and if she stands. Use duct tape and cut the styrofoam to the shape of her foot.

You have my sympathy, but your horse isn't hopeless. I got a 17 degree rotation case back to perfect soundness. Just find out what you can do to make her more comfortable, possibly different pain meds, or even acepromazine if your vet recommends it (mine did). They also gave her DMSO intravenous. She stunk to high heaven, but the vet said it would help.

I'm sure you have everyone's sympathy here no matter what decision you make. Whatever you decide will surely be the right one.

Erika
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Jane W Johnson
Member
Username: Bravo

Post Number: 10
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Monday, Aug 7, 2006 - 10:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sandra, lots of special people are giving you some great ideas which should help. When we have this situation we immediately put the horses in about 12 inches of soft sand; put on lilly pads with duck tape or we use very thick rubber pads cut to fit the hoof and duck tape these on; we always get them on a double dose of LAMINASAVER morning and evening for at least a month. It really does work; we have used it for years. For a minimum of 4 hours daily we soak them in cold muddy water or stand them in a stream to keep the heat out of the hoof. You can take a OB plastic sleeve and tie the fingers together - drop 8 - 10 ice cubes inside and ties the other end - then tie it around the hooves and leave it for 30 minutes. (I had to pay $15 per hoof for a famous equine hospital to do that to one of our horses once!) This also helps to keep the heat out of the hoof. We cut them down to only 1/4 cup of moist grain just to get the LAMINASAVER in them and grass hay only! A starvation diet is necessary at this time. I like to use the photonic therapy light on the pressure points in the hoof - once per day. Thank the good Lord, but we have never had one that we cannot get out of it. They are all sound and doing fine. Our very best to you - you can correct this! Go for it! JJ
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Erika L
Member
Username: Erika

Post Number: 336
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 8, 2006 - 7:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sandra, in case you didn't see it there was a question very similar to yours last week. That horse is up and standing now.
Go to "last week posts" and look for "Discussion on Recumbancy Question". Might give you a little hope.
Erika
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Sandra K. Jacobsen
Member
Username: Sandy

Post Number: 7
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 8, 2006 - 9:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I cannot thank all of you enough for the encouragement. I needed to hear that there is hope for her. I am using the number one vet in the state of Delaware and our farrier is very experienced with foundered horses. We have her on over a foot of shavings which seems to help the sores somewhat. Right now we have styrofoam taped to her feet. It is of great comfort knowing I am not alone in this process. When I look in her eyes I know she hasn't given up yet so I am willing to try. So many of your suggestions sound great; the sand, cow mattress and the ice bags/water soakings, and the Laminasaver. God bless you all for your advice.
Sandy
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 16345
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 8, 2006 - 9:44 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Sandra,
Even if we could examine your horse Sandra, we could not answer your question will your horse make it through this. These type cases are done a day at a time. It is a hard decision to know when but I think between your veterinarian and farrier, you will make good decisions. The founder almost certainly came from a infection that in the uterus following birth that apparently was not remarkable other than it caused the founder. If continued treatment is the goal I would consider seeing if there is still evidence of fluid in the uterus and giving her a good flushing with antibiotic and saline.
DrO
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Sandra K. Jacobsen
Member
Username: Sandy

Post Number: 8
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Friday, Aug 11, 2006 - 11:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O,

Once again you have wonderful words of wisdom. I will look into having her flushed. Thank you much for this wonderful resource that allows us to come together in support of each other.

Sandy
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