November 6, 2018 by phicks2012
About two months ago Jason told me that my horses seemed to be having trouble with their feet. Since we’d just had a routine visit from my new farrier (a relatively new replacement for my former farrier of two decades who’d recently retired, but not new to the trade), Jason was convinced that “the new guy” had trimmed the boys too close (which is sort of like pulling off a fingernail in the quick), and had therefore caused the problem. However, since I’d watched the recent trim-job I knew this wasn’t the case and that it wasn’t the farrier’s fault, so I called my vet.
Now, to be scrupulously fair, I haven’t often availed myself of his services over the past 30-odd years because my horses (both the ones I still have and their ancestors and predecessors) were healthy into extreme old age. Also, he has generally sent other vets out from his office rather than coming himself, and that’s probably why I hadn’t realized that he’d turned into a crochety old curmudgeon. He cut me off while I was still trying to describe what I’d observed, and diagnosed “Laminitis” sight unseen, saying that a lot of that was going around because we’d had a very wet spring and summer — causing carbohydrates to build up excessively in the grass and pose problems for livestock. He told me bruskly that my solution was to get my horses off the pasture.
I do not have a completed barn, so that really wasn’t much of an option, but he grudgingly agreed that if I bush-hogged my pasture down as low as possible (to get rid of the offending tall grass) and substituted hay along with the regular feed, that would also work. He then said that if I came by his office I could pick up some meds to give them to clear up the problem — but also pointed out that once an animal had contracted Laminitis they were prone to getting it again, and that I had to be careful what I fed them henceforth. Great!
When I went by to pick up the medications I asked to speak with him to be sure of the treatment, and he quite obviously felt I was wasting his time by asking him to confirm the dosage. I did get the meds though, and for several days the boys got doses twice a day (based upon body weight) of an antibiotic paste, and Bute (an anti-inflammatory) paste. They weren’t thrilled, but they got dosed anyway.
Thor, who by the time we started the meds was walking like an old man (it took him five minutes one day to walk 50′ to the fence to get a horse treat) and seemed to be having trouble picking up his right forefoot, worried me most. But he seemed to be improving a bit over that week, and got gradually better until he was moving normally again after about two weeks. K.C. — well, he was still stmbling a bit occasionally when on uneven ground, but I wasn’t entirely sure that might not just be increaing age.
So when the farrier returned on October 10th I told them the Laminitis story and asked him and his apprentice to really check out the boys’ hooves. They found no trace of Laminitis (past or present), but did find a healed absess on Thor’s left forefoot. Apparently he wasn’t actually having trouble picking up his RIGHT forefoot so much as he was avoiding putting weight on the OTHER forefoot, but the antibiotics and Bute had not hurt and had probably helped to heal up the abscess — so no harm no foul.
He’s now high-stepping around the pasture again, enjoying the cooler weather, and that pleases me a great deal. However, I think it might be time to start shopping for a new vet. Just sayin’.