Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tommy's been in consistent light work for 2 weeks now, with 3 rides each week.  We've been out about 30 minutes each time.  It sounds so puny when I say it, but we're happy to be out there.  Tommy is particularly happy to be wading through the tall grass.  Tall grass that tickles your nose is made for nibbling, and Tommy is an expert nibbler.

He comes out of his stall a little stiff, but works out of it.  I'm noticing that he has lame steps where there is a sudden rise, or where the ground is rutted up.  I'm guessing that this is the ringbone/side bone finally showing up.  Last summer I never knew what was the arthritis and what was the abscess; so this will be our summer of discovery.

Our next farrier appointment will be coming up in July and I've been investigating some different pad options.  I know Dr. A and The Devil feels that the leather pad is fine and plenty shock absorbing, but I feel if that were the case we'd all be running around on steel and leather Nikes.  I've sent the new farrier a few links and he's given me some as well, so I'm sure that together we can figure out the right pad for Tommy.  My goal is to provide the whole hoof coverage that Dr. A wants, and the best shock absorption I can find for the ringbone.

Here's what I'm looking at right now:

Supracor Hoof Pad

Thinline Hoof Pad

Horse Trax

The Shock Tamer

Anyone have any experience with any of these pads?

Friday, June 10, 2011

A New Abscess

We went back to see Dr. A today.  This was Chuck's first time to come along, so Tommy was happy to show him the ropes.

Dr. A took less than 2 minutes to identify Tommy's new abscess.  It is above and just slightly to the side of the original abscess site, nearest the bulb of the heel.  Dr. A cleaned it out and took off the heel so there was nothing to hold the infection and we were sent on our way. 

I'm so glad that it was not nearly as bad as I was afraid it would be.  I was imagining all kinds of repeat scenarios with the abscess.  We'll be back to riding in no time!

In the meantime I've been going through all kinds of horse tack and equipment and listing it on ebay.  This is what I have listed so far:

Support Tommy Blue Foot's medical habit!

Easyboot Epic Size 7

Easyboot Epic Size 5

Raised V Browband

Trail Stirrups

Moorea Fleece Cooler Size 80

Equine Athletics Eventer Dressage Jacket

Trail/Contesting/Barrel Set

Child's Pytchely Hunt Coat

Child's Miller's Jodhpurs

Child's Show Shirt

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Situation: Much More than Slightly Lame

Tommy's last dose of Bute was Monday morning.  On Tuesday evening he was stiff, but worked out of it in the barn.  I wasn't able to get out Wednesday night.  Today the Bute must be fully out of his system, because he was undeniably limping.

When I went into his stall he was not bearing much weight on it, and turned very slowly and painfully to limp out of the stall.  I walked him down to the cross ties and he wasn't working out of it.  He was obviously more uncomfortable on the concrete in the tie area, and kept lifting his hoof and re-adjusting his weight.  Anita and Bill observed while we did an up and back in the barn aisle.  Normally Tommy would have worked out of it by now, but no such luck.  There is some heat in both front legs, but I couldn't feel anything in the hoof.  His legs are so lumpy and bumpy, that I'm not confident that I could pinpoint a new bump unless it was very dramatic.

I put him back in the ties and we all stood around and stared at him for awhile, hoping for an epiphany, but none came.  So outside he went to see if he'd work out of it again by evening.  Looks like there's another vet appointment in our future.  I can't stop obsessing over what the problem is.

1.  Is it the ring bone/side bone?  If so, why is it flaring up now?  He's been stalled practically all winter and I've never noticed anything other than the occasional stiffness until this.

2.  Is it the new reset of his shoes?  I noticed the lameness 7-8 days after he was re-shod.

3.  He was moved to a larger pasture, but I don't recall the date.  Maybe he was goofing off and injured himself?  

4.  Is it the light riding we've been doing?  Truly it hasn't been much, just walking around for 20-30 minutes.

5.  Is he re-abscessing?  I've cleared out the original abscess hole and there is nothing there to indicate infection again, but could he have a new one?  I can't see the bottoms of the hoof to check since the shoes and pads are on.

6.  Is the thrush causing that much pain?  I've been using a syringe to put the Koppertox into his heels and under the pads of his shoes. it Aliens?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Situation: Slightly Lame

Things were going swimmingly for a few days...Tommy and I had gone out on short 20-30 minute rides 4 or 5 times; I was pleased with the new hoof growth as seen in my before and after photos; my Barefoot Tahoe was great; and did I mention we were riding again?  Sigh.  It wasn't exciting.  We were just walking around the pasture, down the road, and along the unplowed fields.  Still, we were RIDING.  

I went out one evening about 10 days after the farrier appointment.  When I pulled him out of the stall he was three legged lame.  Just gimped out of the stall and down the aisle snatching his hoof up as quickly as he could.  I put him in the cross ties and dug the packing out of his hole, but couldn't find anything.  I checked all his hooves and legs; no heat, no tenderness, and no stones.  Hmmm.  I applied the thrush medicine to all four hooves and heels, repacked his hole and taped it up.  Then I walked him down the barn aisle.  He was a little short but worked out of that even as we were walking.  I decided against riding, and put him back in his stall.  When I spoke with Anita and Bill they reported that he'd been perfectly sound when he came in for his grain two hours earlier.  

The next morning Anita called to let me know Tommy was lame coming out of his stall again.  She made up a chart on the board so we could see if there was a pattern to it or if he worked out of it.  We tracked him over the next three days, and every time he was stalled for a couple of hours or more, he'd come out of the stall lame.  He always walked out of it within a 3 - 5 minute time. 

We were all baffled.  Was it the thrush?  The abscess hole?  The shoes being reset?  The ringbone?  The sidebone?  Was the riding too much too soon?  Or had he simply been goofing off in the pasture and strained something?  I didn't know and he wasn't telling, so I put a call in to the vet.

Dr. A has a great vet tech.  Kim and I spoke at length, and she passed it all on to Dr. A.  It wasn't feasible for me to get him up there short of a life or death emergency.  Dr. A started Tommy on a Bute regimen, 3 grams am and pm for 3 days.    He still seemed a bit sore coming out of his stall on the first day, but not really lame.  Today he seemed to be moving around the pasture well, trotting and cavorting a bit.  

Today's lesson is Bute makes horses happy!  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

Tommy had a farrier appointment on Monday, May 23rd.  I was unable to be there due to a work audit, but Anita and Bill kindly offered to hold him as I'd already had to reschedule once before.  During his appointment my sweet Tommy angel developed a case of what I call the Foot Yanks.  We only had to deal with the Foot Yanks one other time, and that was when his original shoe was pulled off the bad foot.  I'd chalked it up to the pain from the abscess, and never thought another thing about it.  Either I was wrong and Tom has chronic Foot Yank whenever shoes are involved, or the hoof is still uncomfortable.  I'm not sure how to work on this with him, since it doesn't happen during my routine hoof care and medication, or his regular trimming.  We'll have to figure that one out later.

Anita assured me that he wasn't truly naughty; but unfortunately he was naughty enough that the new farrier is only willing to work on him until the hoof is healed and not a moment longer.  Since the new farrier hasn't responded to me yet, I'm not sure if he's even still willing to do that much.  Apparently the naughtiness meter is partially dependent upon the size and the weight of the horse - Foot Yank in a pony vs a draft horse are not graded the same!  

Fingers crossed, curb chain jingles, and positive thoughts that I'm not searching for another farrier please!

Here are some before and after photos to show the difference from February/March to May 23rd.  During the day to day cleaning and packing of the hole I didn't feel like it was growing out well, but I feel better after seeing the photos.  I can see a difference on the right side of the bottom of the hoof too.

Februrary 15th

February 24th

May 23rd

And now for the side views:

Feb 24th

May 23rd

And a couple showing the angles right after shoeing:



Thursday, June 2, 2011

May's Vet Appointment

We had a date mixup that resulted in everything being pushed back a week, but we finally got it done.

Dr. A looked Tommy over and was pleased with the hoof growth.  It's growing in solid, and there's no infection remaining in the abscess hole.  Good news!  The bad news is that there is thrush in all four hooves.  I'd already known that the hind two were thrushy and had been treating that.  The front two were a surprise, but seems to be par for the course.  Dr. A talked over some options for the farrier appointment.

Prognosis right now is that we're another 16 weeks away from the hoof being whole enough to be back out on his full time turnout with run in shed; and fully healed by Christmas.  For now he's still able to go outside if there mud level is low enough not to ooze into the hole.

The best news is that Tommy is cleared for light riding!