I received the following email from a new client the other day –
I wanted to give you a quick update on my (horse type deleted) that was so sore before you started working on him. I have been noticing that he is moving more freely in the pasture than I have seen him since he came to me almost a year ago. Last night I rode him on a short trail ride in which he did very well. I then did just a bit of ring work. Typically in the past he has shown more of a head nod at the trot in the ring but not this time. He was more sound there then I have ever seen him! He still has a bit of healing to do because I can feel he is not quite there 100% but getting pretty darn close – especially considering the awful dx that he would of been labeled with just 2 trims ago!!
Thank you again! It is amazing to see him move more freely and to live without chronic pain. I also can see his heels beginning to spread out and fill in! Yah!!
When the client first called me in April, I was convinced from the description that I was going to be working on a horse with chronic laminitis. And when I saw the horse, he did, indeed, exhibit the typical “founder stance” – his front feet parked out in front, and his rear feet tucked underneath him to shift more of his weight onto his back end. But a quick walk around him revealed no “cresty” neck, obesity, or distorted hoof capsules. What caught my eye, though, were the dark lines running up the backs of his feet between the heel bulbs and up past the hairline. “Your horse isn’t laminitic,” I said, “but he does have a bad infection in all four feet!” The client, of course, wanted to know why neither the veterinarian nor the farrier had caught it – in fact, as the email alludes to, the vet had misdiagnosed the horse as having laminitis.
I can’t answer that, but I can tell you that I’ve now seen this type of infection go undetected by veterinarians and farriers a number of times; the horse is often very lame, and yet “no one” seems to be able to figure out why. And the horse owner has every right to expect more from their equine professionals. But the sad reality is that most vets and farriers simply aren’t properly trained to diagnose hoof problems. For more information on this problem from a veterinarian’s perspective, check out my friend and colleague Dr. Neal Valk’s website.
And let’s celebrate that another horse with a less-than-wonderful prognosis is finally receiving the treatment he deserves!