Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rads -> Abscess -> Laminitis - > Founder...

Right now, I am slitting my wrists battling somewhere between the second and third words you see above.  Ugh, ugh ugh.  One of the boarders txt'd be this morning and asked: 'Did DVME say anything about Laminitis? I had a TB that I had to battle laminitis in for 2 years.' Awesome. 
My response to her was: there is a risk of him foundering, yes. 
She then responded back: Are Laminits and Founder the same thing?  I didn't think they were.
Which got me to thinking...okay, are they the same thing actually, because I know for a fact that they are used interchangeably. However, founder usually refers to a chronic (long-term) condition associated with rotation of the coffin bone. Whereas, laminitis refers to symptoms associated with a sudden initial attack, including pain and inflammation of the laminae.  So because I know absolutely nothing when it comes to managing my event horse, I decided to look into it a little more.

Laminitis - is actually more common then a lot of people think - and by a lot of people, I basically mean me.  Laminitis results from the disruption (constant, intermittent, or short-term) of blood flow to the sensitive and insensitive laminae. These laminae structures within the foot secure the coffin bone (the wedge-shaped bone within the foot) to the hoof wall.  Inflammation often permanently weakens the laminae and interferes with the wall/bone bond. In severe cases, the bone and the hoof wall can separate. In these situations, the coffin bone may rotate within the foot, be displaced downward ("sink") and eventually penetrate the sole. Laminitis can affect one or all feet, but is most often seen in the front feet concurrently. (Thank you Equine Natural Therapy.)
There are a whole WACK of causes that can lead to acute laminitis, in Chester's case - remembering that he is only at risk at this point - it will be one of two things:
a - Excessive weight bearing on one leg due to injury of another leg or any other alteration of the normal gait
b - Abscess or deep bruise
We are treating the abscess, and he is on soft cushy ground, barefoot and if the damn thing doesn't burst within 10 days (9 now) we will start to administer some antibiotics to fight infection; antiendotoxins to reduce bacterial toxicity; anticoagulants and vasodilators to reduce blood pressure while improving blood flow to the feet. Knowing my financial situation at the moment DVME said this is completely acceptable and not a necessity - yet...especially because I just dropped 2 bills on x-rays.
Me: Why are we speaking about laminitis in the first place....?
DVME: Well, because he has a somewhat raised digital pulse in his FR...
Me: I stare blankly at DVME
Apparently checking your Partner In Crime's digital pulse is Horse Management 101.  Clearly, I failed this course.  It can help you to identify pain or inflammation in horse hooves or determine if there are possibly larger issues affecting the horse. When taking pulses, you are feeling the blood flowing through the artery going into the hooves. If there is inflammation in the hoof, then the blood flow is restricted and backs up in the artery. The more inflammation there is in the hoof; the stronger the pulse. Faint digital pulses are normal and indicate there are no major issues in the hoof. An easily felt equine digital pulse is commonly called a bounding digital pulse. The sensation is like a throbbing headache or an injured finger. It is not an increase in speed, but instead an increase in strength. A bounding digital pulse is telling you that your horse may have a health issue. Stronger pulses indicate inflammation and/or pain. If there are bounding pulses going to just one hoof, then it is safe to suspect a localized issue, possibly an abscess or a bruise. More than likely this is a pain response to an injury. Where am I going with all this....? DVME felt a somewhat stronger digital pulse in his right leg yesterday...I tried to feel for them this morning and failed horribly...I will try again this afternoon.
Apparently - as I have yet to find the damn thing -  there are 4 different areas which you should be able to feel your pony's digital pulse:
1. Right above the collateral sesamoidean ligament.
2. Over the ligament. Have to be careful not to put too much pressure here and crimp the artery.
3. Right below the ligament.
4. Midway down the pastern.

(Thank you IronFreeHoof)
He was much much happier this morning, I turned him out into the arena and he was walking out much better and there was no hesitation in his step. He trotted and bucked even...speaking of which.  There is absolutely no possible way that I will be able to keep a poultice on him for 48 hours.  He had already torn the toe of his duct-tape boot off when I showed up at 8:30.  So, I had to reapply a new poultice.  He has a all-phase bag, vet wrap, duct-tap and now a poultice boot on...which I borrowed from BO....which I apologized in advance for Chester ruining...her response: It was $12 for the pair, I'll get over it.

Here are a few Rads from yesterday:

This was the first view she took - and when
I saw all the shadowing - I freaked -
For no good reason.

He has perfectly symmetrical
joints, bones and a
very thick sole.

He didn't flinch the entire time his foot was
positioned like this.
So - I am headed back to the barn shortly to see if he has torn apart the poultice boot, walk him in the indoor and find that damn digital can run pulse, but you can't hide!...Actually, maybe I won't be able to find it and that will be a good thing.  I'm still somewhat frustrated because, the only thing the Rads showed were well, NOTHING, meaning that we aren't even sure if his lameness is being caused by a damn abscess in the first place!!!

In the meantime, send us all the Good Karma you can spare!


  1. Hey - so sorry to read of the mystery lameness. I don't think there is anything more frustrating or worrisome. As a champion wrapper of feet (I rarely have a bootie come off!), I have a few suggestions for how to keep Chester's wrap on and without it wearing down.

    After you soak the foot, put your poultice pad on then wrap with vetwrap. Next put on a baby diaper (weird I know but it helps!). Now for the really important part - get yourself some Gorilla Tape. You can find it at wal-mart or Lowe's (I believe you are in Canada so hopefully they have it up there) - it's much tougher then Duct tape. Rip off strips and wrap using segments instead of just winding the tape around and around the hoof. Make sure you place a couple of segments on the toe where he is most likely getting the most wear. If he is supposed to keep it on for longer then a day, just add some more gorilla tape each morning.

    I turn my horse out in this and have even ridden him with one on. Believe it or not, there is almost no wear to be seen.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that Chester is on the mend!

    - Sarah

  2. Sarah - THANK YOU!!! We have tried everything except the diaper!! AND - I HAVE heard of gorilla tape...good call. For now, knock on wood - the poultice boot seems to be holding.
    Thanks so MUCH for the diaper suggestion. His poultice gets changed this afternoon so I will use the gorilla tape and even the diaper perhaps!
    Thanks for the fingers crossed...greatly appreciated!

  3. Oh - and YES...I am in the Great White North!!

  4. How is your horse doing since Feb? In looking at the rads and the pic, I can tell you that part of his problem is that his toe is very long and making his breakover very far forward. Every time they take a step it puts tremendous leverage on the coffinbone pushing it twords the ground and stretching the laminea. the toes needed to serriously be beveld back giving him proper breakover and taking all the stress off the hoof. When the toes stretch too far forward it takes the sole with it, stretching it and thinning it forward. The sole tubuels cannot grow straighter down to the ground and thicken the sole. When the sole get's thinned in this way, as well as most often farriers parring out the sold to make it concave, it leaves the horse susceptable to bruising and hence also abcesses. rolling the toe back and taking the leverage of the wall completely away at the toe will start to shorten it and bring the sole area back under the coffin bone. Relieving the bearing wall at the ground will take much of the stress created durring movement, that stresses the laminea and causes slow mechanical laminitis. Truth is that it is common trimming practices carried out by farriers, that elongates the toe, leading to the mechanical breakdown of the structure, and eventual fulblow laminitis when the hoof just can't take it any more. Many owners are led to believe it "just happened" suddenly, but the truth is, it had been in the process of happening for some time due to the way their horse was trimmed by the farrier. Good luck with your horse, and please watch my videos on bringing back the toe and hoof anatomy. I have successfully rehabed several severely laminitic horses by understanding hoof growth and structure. thehappyhoof on youtube.