Forum Posts

Anya
Admin
May 13, 2022
In Introductions & General
Welcome to the new members here! After having the site crash a while back & me being a bit of a... techno-dunce, I'm envisioning this will be a vibrant place, where people share & learn from eachother!
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Anya
Admin
Nov 24, 2019
In Correcting Hoof Problems
Some people go on & trim to 'ideal angles'. For eg. a German vet called Hiltrud Strasser preached that dorsal toe angle should always be 45 degrees(fronts) and hairline should always be 30 degrees. I don't believe this is a good move. Too many exceptions in 'the real world', for one. But there are a number of angles & measurements it's important to understand & consider... Sighting side-on, the dorsal(front) aspect of the *bony column* should align - as HLG explained, the hoof pastern angle should be a straight line. *But beware that the dorsal angle of the hoof wall may not reflect the angle of the bone inside. Sighting side on, the hairline gives a rough idea of h/p angle, and should be around 30 degrees, relatively straight, sloping down to the (low) heels. *But beware that the hairline distorts easily & may be 'jammed up' if the hoof wall is peripherally loaded/imbalanced. If the hairline is a lot shallower(or even, Dog forbid, sloping DOWN at the toe) this is an indication of forward 'rotation' of P3. The distal(bottom) surface of P3 from side on should be raised at the heel from ground parallel, by around 3-5 degrees. And the *live* sole plane and the collateral grooves should be reasonably equal from toe to heel. *But this is disregarding exceptions such as 'clubbed' feet, too sensitive heels which may 'need' to be a little higher, etc. Fore feet have a lower dorsal hoof angle than hind feet. If this is not the case in a particular horse, it may be due just to hoof probs, but it is often(usually?) an indication of body issues. Based on measurements of many mustang hooves, it was found, by Ovnicek & Jackson(going off memory, don't quote me on actual numbers) that the *average* (meaning normal, but not all) dorsal hoof angle *of those horses* of fores was somewhere between 44-48 degrees & hinds were between 48-53 degrees. Any questions or comments on angles, measurement, balance ~ fire away!?
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Anya
Admin
Oct 23, 2019
In Introductions & General
I am interested to hear from people, not only where they are at literally, geographically ~ region is fine, we don't need to get too 'personal'! ~ but where you're at with your horses, with regard to their health, soundness, what sort of riding/work you do with them, how far into the realm of hoof care have you delved?? Care to share??
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Anya
Admin
Oct 16, 2019
In Correcting Hoof Problems
Part text from my Navicular & Caudal Hoof Pain article you can read fully here; https://www.help4hooves.com/navicular-caudal-hoof-pain 'Navicular Syndrome' has been used to describe unexplained caudal(back of) hoof pain, whereas 'Navicular Disease' was the diagnosis when rads showed bony changes to the navicular bone. These days, it seems that vets tend to call it all 'Syndrome'. Which is more accurate, as bony changes are a *progression* of the 'syndrome' & it's not really a 'disease'. It is also known these days as 'Caudal Heel Pain Syndrome'. The soft tissue strain/damage happens first, but cannot be seen on rads. It can however be evident in ultrasound or MRI. Conventionally, 'navicular' has been thought of as a mystery, incurable & progressive. Therefore conventional 'treatments' are only palliative - they address the symptoms as best they can. Unfortunately, many of these measures - such as shoes with wedges etc - only further exacerbate the underlying problems, so cause the 'disease' to continue progressing. That's why 'treatment' tends to progress too, as regular shoes, then bar shoes, then wedges, higher wedges... etc progressively fail to work. ALL horses are born with weak, fatty DC's that aren't strong enough to support/be shock absorbers for the adult horse in high impact situations. According to Bowker's research on mustangs, [I]in ideal situation/lifestyle[/I], they only *begin* to develop tough, fibrocartilaginous DC's and thick LC's with lots of tiny, shock absorbing blood vessels around 4yo. This is one big reason why I believe we should not put conventional shoes on, or ask for hard/high impact work of immature horses. Adding conventional steel rims can cause them to feel less, but exacerbate damage, especially if on hard surfaces. Too much/too hard work on hard surfaces, especially when shod with steel can be problematic even to mature, well developed feet. Unfortunately, even when not shod or in high impact work, domestic horses very often do not develop strong caudal feet, due to 'cushy' paddock management & lifestyle. When they're asked to do something 'hard', their feet - and then the ligs, joints, tendons are put under too much strain. So it is not ONLY unhealthy hoof form that can cause this pain/damage. There is much evidence, according to Dr Bowker, that sadly once the damage is done, once hooves have been chronically damaged or the horse reaches maturity with little development of the caudal foot, it can never become really strong and damaged tissue may never repair. Therefore it is in our and our horse's best interests to ensure good, healthy foot development from early life and do what we can to avoid factors which damage these structures. Thankfully though, it does tend to be a quite slow progression, and if the *causes*, that we now have pretty good understanding of, are also addressed, esp if it's caught early, then the 'disease' can generally be prevented from getting worse, if not actually healed or at least improved. **Bony changes won't change back to how they were, but this doesn't tend to matter in the scheme of things. So I'd highly recommend you look to theory/practice that aims to *heal* hooves. You can always go back to palliative only measures if the horse is 'past the point' of anything else working. The only way I know of to *successfully rehabilitate* 'navicular syndrome'(as opposed to palliatively manage) is to keep shoes off. To keep hooves trimmed in a physiologically ideal manner with short 'breakover', low heels and aligned phalanges(P1, P2, P3). To protect and support hooves where necessary with hoof boots or alternatives like Eponas or Easyshoes, with or without padding. To use something for pain if absolutely necessary in the short term and give the horse a break from any work for a while, to allow the soft tissue damage a chance to heal. Then there's a good chance the horse will return to being sound enough for regular work. Then, so long as they can be comfortable to land heel first and and use their feet optimally, give them lots of regular work! Low impact exercise on firm footing is the best way to develop those heels! If you don't use it, you lose it. ...or fail to develop it in the first place! ​ Contraction & Weak Caudal Foot ​ Weak &/or contracted heels are associated with 'Navicular Syndrome for good reason. While there are a few different hoof conformations which are more 'susceptible' to developing Caudal foot pain & 'Navicular', weak heels are extremely common, and so reluctance to use them properly, leading to toe first impacts and the damage that can cause, along with damage done to underlying structures when impact is through the caudal foot, make it the leading cause of further damage. ​ Hooves are contracted when the back of the frog is squashed together. The central sulcus is no longer wide and shallow, but a deep 'bum crack' down the centre. Heel bulbs above are also squeezed together. Essentially this happens because of lack of function and movement of the heels. It can be exacerbated, even caused by thrush, if it's bad enough to make the horse tender. It can be caused from being shod conventionally from a young age. ​
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Anya
Admin
Oct 10, 2019
In Laminitis / Founder
This is part of the text from my Laminitis article that you can see in full at https://www.help4hooves.com/laminitis I think most know this one! Acute Laminitis is a medical emergency. It is severe and obvious pain from current significant inflammation of the corium/laminae. The horse will have bounding digital pulses & (likely) hot feet. It can often be 'sudden onset' and characterised as the horse in 'founder stance' or being seriously lame in one or all feet, or unable to walk or stand. It is often classified as the initial 'attack' which happens before any mechanical breakdown occurs, whereas 'Chronic Laminitis' is what eventuates from the Acute when P3 becomes displaced. And it may well be the case. But with further understanding of factors at work, of hoof form and function, I believe there are some important changes that should be made to that classification; Acute Laminitis may be sudden onset with no prior 'warning' ~ the initial 'attack' which happens before any mechanical breakdown occurs. Often an 'attack' of Acute Laminitis happens due to unrecognised or unmanaged 'Low Grade Laminitis' ~ it is not without precursors, and the 'sudden onset' is purely the 'final straw' situation. Mechanical breakdown and other distortion can be going on long before 'Acute' or 'Clinical' Laminitis can be diagnosed. Often an 'Acute attack' comes from long term problems gradually worsening, causing the 'final straw' situation. First Aid To minimise ongoing inflammation and further damage, these emergency measures are very important. The first thing to do is call your equine vet! This IS a medical emergency and if not treated quickly and effectively, will result in more pain and significant damage to the feet, which may, even in this day & age, be incurable and result in the horse needing to be put down. Immediately getting the horse onto soft, deep footing, or if that's not possible, padding their feet – even with styrofoam & duct tape, if that's all you've got in a push. Avoiding walking the horse on hard ground, especially unpadded and not forcing any exercise. Allowing free movement/exercise is good, but do not make them do more than is absolutely necessary and ensure they're in an environment where they're willing and able to just rest, and lie down comfortably if desired. Icing or cold hosing feet – or standing the horse in an icy stream – can reduce inflammation and therefore further damage, so this should be done as soon as possible. Removing the horse from pasture or sugar rich feed – which can include grass hay – and feeding only plain, low sugar forage. This is because high Non Structural Carbohydrates and Insulin Resistance is such a common cause of Laminitis. If the vet is expected soon, withhold all feed until he arrives & says it's OK. The horse may well benefit from pain killers/anti inflammatories such as Bute. This should really only ever be given on advice of a vet, and should be minimised, used as little as possible. For eg. If the horse is in pain standing in the paddock, but he can be comfortable lying down in a well bedded stable, then you may be able to avoid giving it all together. It is though by some vets, that when breakdown of the laminar connection 'sling' to the wall occurs, then it is the Deep Digital Flexor Tendon which pulls P3 out of place, into a 'rotated' position. Therefore some vets will advise raising the heels immediately and significantly in order to relax the tension on the DDFT & therefore laminae. As is discussed in the Hoof Form & Function pages on my site, I don't hold with the 'lamellar sling' theory and so don't personally think this measure is helpful. Indeed it can cause further damage through mechanical imbalance and more weight on the toes. There is evidence that dosing a horse with magnesium can reduce inflammation and therefore pain and further damage. Even dosing with epsom salts(tho this is not very 'bioavailable', and supplements such as 'Remission' can be good first aid measures, as well as ongoing treatment, particularly if the horse is Insulin Resistant or overweight. Treatment Treatment depends a lot on the cause(s). If you're lucky, and the Acute 'insult' is indeed the initial problem and the cause does not persist, the above first aid measures may well be all that are needed. But usually, as it is more often the 'final straw' and there are often a number of different factors, it takes a lot more special care. First and foremost, keeping the horse comfortable and able to exercise freely, as soon as possible, with boots &/or padding, or ensuring they are on yielding, comfortable footing is vital to rehab. Don't lock your horse up unless it can't be avoided, and encourage(but don't force) as much exercise as possible, while ensuring their feet are protected and comfortable to do so. If the insult is due to, or exacerbated from drugs, toxins, disease(such as Lymes for eg), nutritional imbalance(such as iron or selenium overload for eg), these factors need to be uncovered and dealt with promptly upon vet's advice. If the 'disease' is the result of insulin resistance, obesity, too rich feed, I go into this in detail on the Dietary & Metabolic Causes & Triggers article. Dietary changes are obviously the biggie. Amount of sugar(Non Structural Carbohydrates) is vital to keep low. Amount of feed & calories is important, if the horse is overweight. The Henneke Condition Scoring System (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henneke_horse_body_condition_scoring_system) is a good source of reference, and for optimal health, you should aim to get/keep your horse at around the 4.5-5 score. A horse's digestive system is built for small and very frequent amounts of feed continually going through the system. Feeding hay in a 'slow feeder' or using a grazing muzzle will allow for free choice eating but greatly slow consumption, which reduce/remove gut damage as a cause of Laminitis. If there is mechanical imbalance, peripheral loading or deformation, this needs to be addressed assertively. I discuss this in detail in Mechanical Causes & Treatment of Laminitis(TBA). Mechanical changes may need to be made before it is possible for the horse to exercise without doing further damage.
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Anya
Admin
Oct 10, 2019
In Laminitis / Founder
This is part of the text from my Laminitis article that you can see in full at https://www.help4hooves.com/laminitis What is it? Many, many different factors can cause inflammation of the corium and stress of the laminae of the horse's feet. Most of them may be 'mild' and cause no great problem of themselves. Some of these are feed changes, too rich feed, too much feed, iron overload or other nutritional imbalances, gut problems, medication, serious mental stress, physical stress or injury, especially to the feet, from imbalance, peripheral loading, concussion, strain from long toes... etc. **It is important to realise many cases of Laminitis are not classed as 'Clinical' – which means the horse is suffering further complications requiring medical/special care. Clinical signs of Laminitis include lameness, foot tenderness, increased digital pulses and temperature, 'founder stance', difficulty moving... It also seems to depend on the vet as to what they may class as 'clinical' – some do not diagnose Laminitis unless the horse is in the 'Acute phase'(obviously painful with hot feet & bounding digital pulse, 'founder stance' or they're seriously lame), or chronic and major distortion. It is generally when these 'mild' issues are chronic, long term, or, as is very often the case, there is a combination of 'mild' issues at work together, that it becomes an *obvious* problem – or 'Clinical'. So while the issues may not be big, may cause no obvious lameness or big distortions of the feet, it's vital to recognise the minor 'signs' and consider them and manage accordingly, to minimise them and their effects, if we want to avoid 'Clinical' Laminitis. Recognising 'Low Grade' or 'Sub Clinical' or 'mild' Laminitis These are some of the 'signs' that a horse is/may be also suffering from inflammation which can damage the laminae; Horizontal rings or ridges on the feet, even if not major Pink rings in white hooves Yellow or pink in the laminae when trimming 'Stretched', widened laminar 'line' or separation at the ground surface Horses who frequently 'fidget' at rest & don't just 'plant' their feet Flat & thin soles Flared feet Tender after a trim Reluctance to work on a hard or rough surface Peripherally loaded or badly balanced feet 'Short' or 'mincy' or 'pottery' stride Difficulty on circles/corners or doing 'high impact' or fast exercise Being overweight or long term 'good condition' or in a 'rich' paddock Attention to diet & management is also vital, to ensure dietary, nutritional & other gut/systemic issues are in order, and appropriate environment/footing and hoof care is taken care of. Working a horse hard on hard ground, particularly if shod(conventionally) or otherwise peripherally loaded, should generally be avoided/minimised. Insulin Resistance and chronic overweight/obesity which is a major cause of laminitis, among other health issues, can be considered a 'management issue'. Medications, such as bute, may well be a 'necessary evil', but it's important to realise, especially if given for extended periods, this can perpetuate or even cause laminitis, so should be minimised and other measures taken to ensure further damage to the feet can be avoided/minimised when it's necessary.
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Anya
Admin
Oct 07, 2019
In Correcting Hoof Problems
'Thrush' is essentially the same as 'seedy toe/white line disease' except that's what you call the infection in the frog instead of the hoof wall. It is caused by 'opportunistic' soil organisms which can be fungal or bacterial or protozoa. This is why just antibiotic treatment or just anti-fungal doesn't work reliably - so a 'broad spectrum' antiseptic is best. While infections in the hoof wall(dead, insensitive tissue') can benefit from being hit hard with heavy chemicals, esp if deep, thrush is often in/close to live tissue, which can be hurt & damaged by strong chemicals. *including straight essential oils*. Something like 'Petes Goo'(USA) which is a mix of dry cow antibiotic & athletes foot fungal cream which is also gentle enough not to damage live tissue is one good option. These organisms live in soil & everywhere. They are almost always anaerobic - meaning they thrive in airless environments. Being 'opportunistic' mean they take advantage of compromised feet to take hold. That's why some horses in similar environments cop it while others don't. Why certain conditions(warm, wet...) which weaken hooves are renowned for thrush/seedy. Why nutritional deficiency/imbalance can be a factor. Why hoof mechanics, trimming, function can play a big part... None of them *cause* it but do help allow it to thrive. A horse who is 'prone' to infection usually has a combo of above factors working against him. Good trimming & hoof management, to address mechanics & allow optimal function, trimming the frog as minimally as possible, but opening up infection to the air, removing 'daggy' or flappy loose bits of frog, and good diet & nutrition are all important factors in treatment along with any topical. Any questions, comments, stuff to add?? By all means, ask away!
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Anya
Admin
Oct 07, 2019
In Laminitis / Founder
This is part of the text from my Laminitis article that you can see in full at https://www.help4hooves.com/laminitis Fat ponies and rich feed is the most common cause of laminitis. Much of this comes down to the same reason us humans - and our domestic pets - commonly suffer obesity, Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Too much of 'a good thing' is just... not a good thing! High sugar and carbohydrate diets, combined with too little exercise means we are overdosing on 'high octane fuel' and not burning it off. Our cells stop being able to absorb the sugars and become 'resistant' to insulin - termed Insulin Resistant (IR) and in horses, Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). This leads to high blood sugar levels & excess fat being stored first around the organs, before it becomes obvious on the outside, as obesity. **This is NOT really a disease! It is the body's natural response, to saving energy in the 'good times' for 'hard seasons'. Trouble is, in the 'First World', for both humans and our pets, those 'hard seasons' just don't come, and it is the chronic, continual excesses that cause major health problems. In horses, this includes Laminitis. ​ **A horse does not have to be 'fat', but even being in 'good condition' too long term, without 'hard seasons' or hard work to use up excess fat stores can cause Insulin Resistance. Other causes such as long term steroid use or chronic stress & Cushings Disease may also cause Insulin Resistance. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In addition to the above, high sugar/starch feeds can cause laminitis for other reasons. Any gut damage can cause laminitis. Lets look at some different factors of horse digestion & feeding & how they effect the gut. A horse's digestion is built to digest small, frequent amounts of fibrous 'low grade'(compared to modern feeds) roughage. The stomach is the main place digestion occurs especially for carbohydrates, through enzymes. A horse's cecum or 'hind gut' continues to digest fibre through bacterial fermentation. A horse's stomach is small. It can only hold around 8-15 litres. It empties quickly, in only around 12 minutes. It also empties if it gets about 2/3 full, so food needs to be easily broken down and fed in small quantities. Stomach enzymes cannot easily break down cereal grain in that time unless it's well processed, and large or rich meals can pass through without being well digested. The cecum and it's resident bacteria is not built to cope well with large quantities of undigested carbohydrates and this can lead to 'hind gut acidosis', caused by mass die off of bacteria. This acidosis is a common cause of hind gut ulcers, and through these legions, toxins leaking into the bloodstream. Stomach enzymes are produced constantly(unlike our own which are triggered on eating... or seeing or smelling food) and can do damage(stomach ulcers) to an empty stomach. Horses should be fed free choice or little & often, to prevent them having an empty stomach too long. Specific enzymes and hind gut bacteria can die off when not 'fed' frequently enough and the horse is then less able to digest certain ingredients without gradually developing more. That is why feeding any particular ingredients regularly, and changing/adding ingredients gradually is important for gut health and proper digesion. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Along with basic diet are considerations of nutritional balance. It is arguable that any certain nutrients directly cause laminitis, but there have certainly been many associations made. Deficiency of, and therefore supplementation of minerals such as magnesium and chromium have been found to help treat Type 2 Diabetes in people, and 'EMS/IR' in horses, by 'resensitising' the body to insulin. Excess iron levels have been commonly associated with laminitis, and excess iron also inhibits copper and zinc – 2 nutrients which are commonly lacking and important for hoof growth. Deficiency, or oversupply of Selenium(this has a very small margin for 'the right amount') can have catastrophic effects on hooves and cause complete breakdowns in horn growth. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Treatment If the 'disease' is the result of insulin resistance, obesity, too rich feed, then dietary changes are the biggie. Remove grain and other 'high carb' ingredients – which may include rich grazing and even hay, and ensuring hay and supplementary feed is very low sugar and starch ~ NSC(pref. No greater than about 10%). If your hay cannot be tested and you think it might be too high sugar(as is hay from most 'improved' varieties and pastures) then you may need to soak and drain it in clean water before feeding, to leach out some of the excess sugar. *Hay/grass does not lose much sugar when processed/dried, so the grass hay that's been sitting in your shed for some time could be just as high NSC as that rich, growing pasture next door! Amount of feed & calories is also of course important, if the horse is overweight. Laminitis and Insulin Resistance are not the only health problems associated with the... chronically well fed! The Henneke Condition Scoring System (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henneke_horse_body_condition_scoring_system) is a good source of reference, and for optimal health, you should aim to get/keep your horse at around the 4.5-5 score. If your horse is much fatter than that, cutting down on his calories is important. This may mean reducing grazing or hay, or just cutting out supplementary feeds. More exercise, to burn those calories will also help. **Again, a horse's digestive system is built for small and very frequent amounts of feed continually going through the system. A horse's stomach empties in around 15 minutes, and it's not great for them to have nothing going in. Therefore, while cutting down on quantity may be necessary, they still need either free choice or little & often access to feed – that's why soaking hay to leach sugars rather than just feeding a lot less may be appropriate. Feeding hay in a 'slow feeder' or small holed hay net will allow for free choice eating but greatly slow consumption. Using a grazing muzzle on a horse at pasture may also be adequate. Supplementary Magnesium, Chromium, cinnamon have been found to help, first from human trials, before people started to use it on horses. Magnesium has been found to 're-sensitise' the body to insulin in human and horse trials. Nutritional balance is also important, as so many nutrients and minerals act and interact with each other in metabolic and inflammatory problems. As I've discussed elsewhere, high iron and low magnesium are two considerations, but far from the only ones. I highly advise having your horse's diet properly analysed if you can, so you KNOW what supplements may be necessary or ones to avoid. If your horse drinks from groundwater, such as a well, dam or bore, you should include that as part of your analysis. ```````````````````````````````` That's the gist of it. Go for it, to discuss, question, add to this subject here. If you want to go into detail about a particular laminitic/foundered horse, then you can post some hoof pics & info and create a thread in this section.
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Anya
Admin
Oct 06, 2019
In Introductions & General
I am going to be posting articles & info on the forum for members, rather than under different 'banners' on other pages, so stay tuned!
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Anya
Admin
Aug 14, 2019
In Introductions & General
Welcome! I anticipate this section being busy and would like give a few reminder guidelines. Hoof pictures can be tricky, even for the experienced. Please see my page on taking good critique pictures; https://www.help4hooves.com/best-angles-for-critique-pics BEFORE posting any here. Please keep each thread to a single horse, for the sake of clarity. Please post as much information as you think relevant, including diet & management, vet reports, other issues, etc.
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Anya
Admin
May 01, 2019
In Introductions & General
Hello members! I'd like to thank you for joining and I hope you get a lot out of your membership. This is all so brand new for me - running a forum, not just this particular one. Don't be shy to help me get the ball rolling! We're at the tail end of autumn here now, but still so dry! Hoping for some good rains this winter so we won't be feeding out from late spring again - pic below was early summer!
Brand new website & forum for me! content media
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