velessa: (Horses - Waldo 1)
I haven't really mentioned much of anything about this, but Waldo has had some white line separation in all of his hooves for a long time, I believe since before I got him (hard to tell from the crappy pre-purchase pics I took). Up until recently, my trimmer and I haven't really done anything to remedy it as it doesn't appear to bother him or cause him any pain or lameness. The only issue I've seen is when he occasionally picks up a pebble in one of the gaps, then he immediately starts limping until I pull it out. But since the gaps are always packed with dirt and crap, and that can lead to infection (white line disease), it's really not good to just let it stay there.

We'd been hoping the issue would eventually resolve itself, but it's still just as bad or worse after nearly a year. Separation is caused by environment (too wet -> mushy feet) and diet (food too rich -> laminitis). His feed has been analyzed by an equine nutritionist, so that shouldn't be the problem. I thought for a long time it was just a matter of him adjusting from wet Oregon to drier California. Every time it was dry for a while we'd get another big rainstorm, which I thought was messing up that adjustment. But it's been completely dry for at least three months, I think the separation ought to be gone or at least diminished by now, and it isn't. My trimmer is stumped as to what else the problem could be, other than that he's just a big horse with feet that are a bit small for his size.

So for the last few weeks we've taken a more proactive approach to getting rid of the separation. Since the laminae can't reattach itself, the only thing you can do is cut the hoof back and get rid of as much of the separation as possible, keep the gap as clean as possible, and let the laminae grow down from the top. So first he had an aggressive trim (7/16), then another one a week later (7/25), then another one two weeks later (8/8). He'll get another one in another two weeks probably; his feet grow really fast!

I have to keep an eye on him for soreness, and I have to keep the gaps cleaned out as much as possible. I've also started scrubbing an antibacterial/antifungal mixture into them to try to stave off any possible infection. The trimmer thought I might want to keep him in a stall with mats for a day or two after the first trim, but thus far he's seemed fine out in the pasture. He gets his hoof boots on for anything else, though. The ground around the ranch is really hard and rocky, so he needs them on just to walk around; I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of them now. He's very comfortable in them and steps out nicely as long as he's wearing them. About a week ago I did try taking them off to ride in the outdoor arena, but as soon as I did, he was clearly mincy and ouchy with every step, so I put them back on and he went back to normal. That arena is full of dirt clods and rocks, so I wasn't really surprised. I haven't tried taking them off to ride in the soft indoor sand arena; no rocks there, it was cleared of them when it got the new footing a few months ago.

We've been at this for four weeks now, and while it's a bit disconcerting that the separation is still there, it is definitely improving. Likely it's something we'll always have to keep on top of, but I hope we'll be able to get it grown out altogether.

Progress Photos )


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May 2014

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