Thursday, January 28, 2010

Update on Eddie's Foot

Unfortunately this is not a happy or pretty post. I wish I could only concentrate on the positive, and I guess I could put these things aside and not mention them at all, but I think as sad as neglect is, discussing it can be a very positive teaching tool, on so many levels.

It also gives me a place to vent, in all honesty. I will try my best to report only the facts, but please excuse me if I inadvertently have an emotional tone to my writing. For those of you who know how much Eddie means to me, you will certainly understand.

As I mentioned yesterday, when Eddie returned home I sadly discovered his foot had not been trimmed in a very long time. It's impossible to tell when. I was told back on November 7th that he was trimmed then (which would put him at 12 weeks), then I was told on December 29th that he was at 6 weeks (which would put him at 10 weeks), then I was told on January 12th that he was at 41 days (which would put him at 8 weeks now).

I think it's pretty clear that none of these were true. The above photo is today, without any work. The photo below is the same, showing the lack of support he has now that the hoof wall has collapsed. His toe is very long as well.

This is a back view. I drew straight lines to give a point of reference.

Below is the hoof cleaned out. The black circled area is packed with thrush. The red circle indicates where the hoof wall has grown into the frog. The purple circle indicates where the hoof wall has folded over and collapsed. The shelf is gone.

Below is my first pass at trimming him. I've cut away the hoof that had grown into the frog, opened up the collapsed wall and trimmed down the wall on the left as much as possible and gave it a significant roll to ease any pressure at all that it was putting on his knee (this is the inside of the foot and it was pushing his bent knee outward, putting even more pressure on it).

Obviously there is a very long road ahead of us. His frog is just plain gross--it is rotten and deteriorated, so I have a lot of cleanup to do, plus I have to keep trimming on his toe and the left side, while encouraging the right side to rebuild the shelf it once had (to support Eddie's weight).

I understand that some people don't think that hoof care is all that important and certainly with some horses, especially during the winter when hoof growth is naturally slow, trimming is not neccessary until 8, 10, or even 12 weeks. I've honestly had broodmares that had self-trimmed their entire lives and they were so seldom handled before I got them that I didn't bother trying to retrain them to accept trimming. I did try on some and I got as far as a dislocated thumb and stopped.

So why is this important? Why am I so disappointed in the condition of Eddie's foot?

For Eddie, hoof care IS important. He has no room for error. He can't get a new leg when this one goes. He can't stand on his hind legs so I can trim his other foot. Frankly, he is on borrowed time as it is. Below is the report from K-State detailing the injuries he sustained before I got him.

It says, "Diagnosis: Severe arthritis of left front carpus with accompanying carpal varus and fusion of right front pastern." The report is from August 6, 2004--over five years ago.

Five years ago Eddie was diagnosed with severe arthritis in his bent leg. One day that arthritis will become too painful and I will have to euthanize him. It's not if, but when. Dr. Arnold estimated that time would come when he was about five. I've been incredibly blessed that Eddie is now approaching his eighth birthday. We've had a lot of luck, but I've also been diligent on his care--especially this bent foot.

So you see, it's not completely out of line to say when this foot is neglected, it takes years off his life. It's disheartening to see all my hard work to keep Eddie as sound and healthy as long as I possibly can go down the drain, all because of pride, excuses, neglect, apathy, or all of the above.

The following pictures demonstrate how the angle of the hoof wall affects the pressure on Eddie's knee. The first picture is from Texas, when he was in my care.
Notice the bend in the knee is minimal and you can see the stripes in his hoof is almost completely verticle.

Below is before today's trim. Compare the angle of his white leg with the photo above. Compare the stripes in his foot. Compare the length of the hoof.

It's clearly apparent that the length and angle of his neglected hoof has caused additional strain to his knee.

Here is today's "after" photo.

Again, still a long ways to go, but you can already see an improvement in the angle of his leg.

Thankfully Eddie is a very strong boy and I pray that I can get things back to the way they were before he left my dear friend Vicki's care (who understood the importance of his feet so much that she had me draw diagrams for her farrier). I'll never really know if this episode has shaved any time off his lifespan. At this point all I can do is try to rehabilitate the foot and enjoy every minute I have with Eddie back home--where he should be :)


Triangle A said...

oh shit I am so sorry.
Poor Eddie his knee looks so much worse
I know you can fix his hoof

Krazy Cindy said...

Oh Jessie, I'm just sick about this. It's hard enough to keep them safe and fit without dealing with neglect, too. My Caly was one of those I never had to trim, her feet were just naturally perfect (although if I said that to anyone it sounded like I was neglecting her). Jazzy, on the other hand, does best with trims every six weeks because she gets flairs quickly on her hind feet (due to funky conformation).

I hope you can get that hoof back into shape before poor Eddie's knee gives out :-(

Sydney said...

poor guy! That is so horrible. How can you trust anyone with your horse after you get issues with care like this.

slsqhs said...

Oh Jessie, I'm so sorry to read this:-( I pray for both of you that this is just a bump in the road and isn't a long term setback.

Jessie said...

Thank you all!! I agree, his knee is worse. I just hope it's not too bad. He's always gone longer than I expected and I hope he does this time, too.

I feel sick as well. It hit me hard tonight, watching him shift his weight to relieve the pain. I hope my worry is for nothing.

I really have found out the hard way I cannot trust anyone but my closest friends anymore. Between losing Paula's momma and this, it seems like anything I care about is so easily destroyed by others. It sadly has killed any belief I had in others.

I'm doing what I can for now, and just trying to stay positive that he can make it through another setback. One thing is certain, I will never forgive myself for letting him leave Vicki's. She took such amazing care of him. I should have done anything I could to bring him straight home. :(