Friday, October 9, 2015

Riding on the Coal Train

Today, October 8, 2015, a new horse arrived here at the farm.  His name is Coal.  

At the vet

Coal is a grey gelding, right around 14 hands high.  He might be a stock horse breed (Quarter Horse?) but there's no way to tell for sure.  I have not much to go on as far as his history.  My vet guesses him at around 10 years old.  Coal is badly foundered.

My vet gives Coal between 5%-10% chance of a full recovery.  His Body Condition Score is 3.  He has a 25 degree rotation of the coffin bone on his left front, and a 32 degree rotation on his right front.  We didn't get X-rays of his hinds as we didn't think we could hold him up to do so, he is foundered in the hinds as well but they are not as bad as his fronts.  My vet recommended that he be put down, but if we insisted on trying to rehabilitate him, he would need metal eggbar shoes and pads.

I'm going to take him in a different direction, and I'm confident that he will do well with the Barefoot method that I have learned and been providing, not only for my own horses, but those of several clients as well.  This will be my first rehabilitation case study since becoming a hoof trimmer.  I have been avidly studying Pete Ramey's methods and the functional information that he has revealed with the help of a team of veterinarians for a couple of years now, as well as apprenticed with a wonderful barefoot trimmer with Pete Ramey and Jamie Jackson training and apprenticeship under her belt.  I've spoken to my mentor about Coal, and she told me, "You got this."  Indeed.

Right Front - 32 Degrees Rotation of the Coffin Bone
Left Front - 25 Degrees Rotation of the Coffin Bone

All four hoof soles are abscessed and rotten.  If you press with the hoof pick, the hoof pick penetrates his sole.  He is a sinker, both P3 is showing through the sole of both of his front hooves.  There is no bone loss, so that is a very good thing.

The vet, checking out the extent of the damage

The odd fact that his BCS is only a 3 is working to his advantage, as if he had more weight it would make his recovery that much more difficult.  Usually, foundered horses are extremely overweight.  After picking him up today, he went straight to the vet to get checked out and X-rays.  He came to the farm with a very bleak prognosis, but try I shall.  My mom has been assisting in his care.  We had a clean stall waiting for him when we arrived.  Fresh hay in a slow feed hay net (which he will have access to 24/7) and a bucket full of cool, fresh water.  

Coal is covered in cow feces, and his hooves were packed and rotten with it as well.  He needs a bath something terrible, but the weather won't be warm enough to give him one until Sunday.  So far, he has the most perky, interested and bright demeanor I could have ever imagined for a horse in his condition.  His eyes are bright, ears always perked and curious about what you're doing, what you have, etc.  

Once he settled into  his new clean home, I set about to give his hooves the trim that they so desperately needed.  It's very painful for him to stand on all fours, much less on 3 legs while I trim on one of his hooves.  But, he was a real trooper and was completely willing to cooperate with having it done.  I gave him lots of breaks to rest (about every 30 seconds).  I was able to remove quite a bit of toe length, but was not able to remove as much as I felt was needed.  I took them back as far as I could without cutting into the spongy sole material.  I decided that it would be better for right now to leave that bit of solid hoof material there rather than completely take away the tiny bit of hoof that was supporting him.  Lord knows his soles aren't.  His frogs are also very rotted and full of thrush.

Front Right -Before Trim
Right Front - After Trim
Left Front - Before Trim
Left Front - After Trim
Right Front - After Trim
Left Front - After Trim

I really wanted to take his toes back farther on this first trim, even though he did seem much more comfortable with what I did do.  I couldn't take his toes any farther back without getting into his very soft soles, and I didn't want to go there just yet.  He will be on a weekly trimming regimen for a long while until his hooves are going in a better direction.  His new Easyboot Cloud Boots will be in on 10/10/15, and he will use them instead of his duct tape booties.  He will stay in those with daily care until he is comfortable without them. 

After his trim, he got to rest for a while in the deep shavings in his stall and we prepared a couple of tubs to give his hooves a soak.  Upon my vet's recommendation, we used a mixture of Dreft detergent and Epsom Salts mixed into warm water.  He stood with both front hooves soaking for at least a 1/2 hour.  I think it felt pretty good.  Once he stepped out of the tubs with his front hooves, we put his hinds in to soak.  Once again, he stood there with his hinds soaking for about a 1/2 hour before he decided to step out of the tubs. 

Front hooves soaking
Back hooves soaking

We fed him his dinner, which consisted of 1 cup of Empower Boost, 1 cup of Empower Balance, and one cup of black oil sunflower seeds.  He also got some hoof supplement and an ulcer treatment in his dinner.  He wolfed it down.  This boy LOVES food!  He has also been thoroughly enjoying his salt block and the loose minerals that we offered him. 

After letting his hooves dry some, we packed the abscess holes in the bottoms of his front hooves with wrung out cotton balls that were soaked in vinegar, covered them with paper towels, wrapped him in vet wrap, added a thin plastic cover to the bottom of his hooves, then more vet wrap, then made boots out of duct tape.  This method is what we will use to keep his hooves protected until his Easyboot Clouds come in.  I decided to get him these special boots with super soft cushion inserts that are made to provide relief and support to foundered horses.

His teeth are a mess.  They are so sharp, you can feel the edges through his cheeks on the outside of his face.  The dentist has been called and he will be out to take care of Coal's teeth either Sunday or Monday.  Also had the vet send a fecal sample in for Coal to see what his parasite load is.  

Before heading into the house finally at 10 pm, we added another bale of bedding to make sure his bed was extra soft and comfy for him to stand and lay on.  He is currently all tucked in, nibbling his hay and sipping his clean water.  Tomorrow morning when I go out to do chores, hopefully I'm greeted with a nicker like he did earlier today.

Ride safe all,

~The RoadQueen


RANTWICK said...

I wish you the very best in treating Coal; I am not a horse person and so had to look up what foundered meant. It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend... I'm thankful for this moving post, among a great many other things.

RoadQueen said...

Thank you so much, Rantwick. All positive energy and thoughts are much appreciated. Happy Thanksgiving!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Very interesting post RQ. So the excess degrees of rotation of the coffin bone is due to the hoof wall growing out of control because of no trimming?

Looking forward to meeting Coal.

Red Horse Mama said...

You've got your work cut out for you with this one....But I admire your willingness to rehab him barefoot. My mare foundered in all four a few years back (not to the degree that this boy is, thank heaven~!!) and I kept her barefoot, toes backed up and heels lowered, while she recovered.
I wish you all God's blessings and the luck of the Irish in your endeavors.