Saturday, 12 October 2013

Oh Remi . . .

Remi was v reactive to farrier's hoof testers Thursday morning. Feet v soft as well frighteningly soft. Farrier suggested keeping him in. Only he won't stay in. Am getting stuck. Won't stable for more than short periods, and the short periods are with very bad grace and impatience. Sore soft feet. Sore SI and back.

Farrier said didn't exactly have laminitis but similar - itis of his feet. That he was compromised in someway that was effecting his feet. That his feet were weak,soft and looked like not getting nutrients. Suggested blood tests.

I need him comfy on his feet, to be able to do rehab work for SI and back. Which should remove pain and mean he puts weight back on. I need to find the underlying metabolic problem, but might take a while.

I feel desperately stuck in a cycle of horse that is sore and underweight - sore feet, sore SI etc. He needs to work to keep loosened up and build muscle to protect SI, and because he stiffens up not in work. But it isn't much good if he is footsore. I could probably boot him behind. But the implication is that he is footy in field too.

I really need his feet to be functional enough that he can hack and school, so that I can work on the other issues that are higher up. And it is likely that foot pain is causing tension which is linking to the back and SI pain.

I don't really understand - Thursday 19th he started adlib higher sugar haylage, Thursday 26th - he wasn't reactive to trimmers hoof testers, but was moderately footy. Wednesday 2nd he was v reactive to vet's hoof testers and v soft soles. Friday 4th he moved on to lower sugar haylage. Hacked him with front boots and pads Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Thursday 10th he was v reactive to hoof testers and v soft soles (both in front and behind). His hinds have been good, solid, hard, strong for last 4 months. What is going on? Field is fairly sandy and is not wet.

Now it could be the autumn grass? (gut says it isn’t and trimmer agrees). It could be that he has cushings? It could be he has another metabolic disorder? It could be a problem with replacement haylage. It could be that he has a virus (farrier said this could affect feet)? It would he has pain caused ulcers. I just don't know. I am desperately short of time, energy, and finances. He looks bright, and very opinionated about hating his stable.

Vet says shoes to relieve foot pain, to enable further diagnostics - but he doesn't  really believe in barefoot so, he is hardly objective. Though he does think letting him find his own foot balance has helped him and not to change that.

Farrier says tricky - would shoe if his as is so sore and feet weak. Ideally like Mac (Epona rubber shoes) but admits he doesn't pay for shoes £185 a set! Realistically - he would shoe him all normally all round to relieve soreness. Probably with some form of pads. He'd chose to significantly rebalance feet.

Neither of them are telling me what to do though - which almost makes it worse.

I know shoeing him wont hide there is an underlying problem. But might buy some time / space. He isn't right and I don't know how to fix it / if I can fix it. Mac is bright, perky, growing lots of foot and generally great. On an identical regime to Remi.


Have spoken to vet twice, trimmer and farrier. And yard owner.

Have booked for cushings blood test tomorrow.

Clear from all 3 there is an underlying metabolic issue. But probably not obvious normal cushings. (That would be too easy and he doesn’t have enough symptoms).

Concluded - shoes on (Eponas in front -, , normal behind).

If negative to cushings test but no better in few weeks discuss second more sensitive hormone stimulated cushings test or drug trial of prascend. (Can't test in October as not enough reference results. So have to wait til November.)

Bodywork ASAP if improves in shoes.

Shoes are a test. He may improve in them. Or they may be a temporary crutch whilst we get to the bottom of his metabolic issues. If find a problem and fix it they can come off.

Said 1-2 cycles of shoes won't set him that far back in terms if barefoot development. Vet and trimmer adamant – that is to be perimeter shoeing – shoes on existing foot balance – rather than feet rebalanced.

It may be he stays in shoes. Or it may be shoes buy him a bit more time but the end is in sight. I am struggling with the amount of effort, bodywork, rehabilitation, and extra stuff he is getting, it isn’t sustainable. 

I could stable him 12-24 hours a day, but he doesnt want to be in for 2 hours - never mind longer. Last time I had him stabled for a few day, he stopped drinking. And his other issues mean he is coping badly with being stabled - legs fill, joints stiffen up etc.

I could use boots all round to hack, and maybe hoof castes / pads taped on in the field. But lets be realistic, we are heading into winter, we have had 6 hours of heavy rain last night. 

Please keep your fingers firmly crossed for him, and me as I navigate the choices and decisions for him. 

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