Tuesday, 18 October 2016

New feet, 'nother new horse

These feet belong to Lenny, an eventer who arrived at the weekend. When you look at hooves from this angle its pretty clear which one he has not been using...
 ...its his LF, of course, which has been diagnosed with DDFT and collateral ligament damage on MRI.  However from the top (which after all is where we nearly always stand to look at feet) he looks a lot more symmetrical; a change in angle can be a useful viewing point.
 The sole shot shows a foot which isn't too bad, although flat and lacking structure.
Interestingly if anything the LF has better media-lateral balance than the RF, although the back of the LF is a lot weaker. The MRI also showed collateral ligament damage to the RF, which fits with what we can see in the photos. 
This is a more robust digital cushion than the LF but the foot looks as it is overloading medially. We will see if this changes once he is out of shoes.
 Lots to like about these feet, and there will be more on Lenny soon.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Remedial shoes for support

The other new horse to arrive at the weekend was Joey, an eventer who has been diagnosed on MRI with a "significant" injury to his DDFT as well as navicular bone damage and bursitis. 
Joey was shod in remedial bar shoes which are intended to (and here I quote directly from his veterinary report): "to provide heal [sic] support in the long term". 

I took a photo of his feet from this angle because it illustrates perfectly the problem with using remedial shoes to support the back of the foot. The "support" is at ground level but the internal structures  - digital cushion and lateral cartilages - are completely unsupported.
In fact when you look at the left leg from a different angle its clear that the shoe is already out in front of the palmar hoof and the toe is running forward - not very supportive. 
Intuitively, as I've said before, we like to think that the metal acts as some sort of scaffolding, pinning the foot together, but when you look at the weight-bearing surface of the foot its actually reduced by the shoe rather than increased.  Joey was only standing on a narrow strip of metal when shod - loading his bodyweight onto the edge of his foot - whereas now he has the whole palmar hoof to load. 
This photo clearly shows a weakened digital cushion; the hairline is distorted and the back of the foot is collapsing over the back of the shoe, as you could also see in the first photo. This is often the first place where we see improvement over the initial weeks of rehab and I hope Joey will be no exception. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Feathery Ted

 We have had a busy weekend with 2 horses going home and 2 new arrivals. First was Ted, a coloured cob who has been diagnosed on MRI with collateral ligament damage and coffin joint inflammation.
He was shod with remedial shoes and given a period of box rest but his lameness recurred once he started to come back into work, despite careful and controlled exercise.
He is a fairly laid-back character who has settled straight in with the rest of the horses. 
Feather is not my favourite thing as it does make it harder to get good hoof photos, but at least his sole and caudal hoof shots will still be clear!
His owner had already made changes to his nutrition and his feet are reasonably strong despite his shoes so I hope we will be able to get him back into work quite quickly.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Something to think about

A study which was published earlier this week caught my eye and I am sure many of you have seen it as well. The National Equine Health Survey 2016 found that 38% of horses in the UK had heath issues and that lameness was the most common problem (the detail is here: Blue Cross Equine Health Survey).

I saw this study the day I got back from our reunion.
The horses attending that had all been diagnosed in the past with serious lamenesses which should, according to traditional veterinary experience, have limited or ended their ridden careers. 

Yet in fact the vast majority of the horses who go through rehab - including those at the reunion - have been sound and working at the same level or higher than before they went lame, not just for a few months but for for several years since their rehabilitation at Rockley. 

The horse pictured below came to us in 2008 with a deep flexor tendon injury and had been given a 5% chance of returning to work. He is now 17 years old and 9 years after his diagnosis is still going strong. 
Now of course even for these rehab horses life is not entirely trouble-free. Some owners are also dealing with metabolic issues like PPID; some horses also have problems like kissing spine or arthritis to contend with. Most owners need to manage their horses' diets carefully to ensure their feet stay in the best possible health. 

But overall, and despite their previous injuries, the rehab horses are ovewhelmingly sounder than the majority of horses in the UK.

In fact at our reunion one instructor - who had never seen any of the horses before - commented on how sound they were and how freely they moved compared to the majority of horses she taught. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

RRR 2016 - the video

Here's a short clip of some of the exploits from the weekend - hope you enjoy it and its here if you want the direct link: https://vimeo.com/184543481

RRR 2016 from Nic Barker on Vimeo.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Rehabs' reunion 2016

We had a great weekend at the reunion, with kind weather and horses on fantastic form. 
Its always an inspiration to see horses getting better and better as the years go by - confirming my long held belief that "navicular" is not properly a degenerative condition. 

The reunion is the place where we see this proved year after year in horses of all shapes and sizes, and long may it continue!

For more photos and video check out the Rockley Rehabs' Reunion Facebook page...

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Deutz' 6 week update

With the computer tentatively back  - or at least in recuperative mode - lets try and get some photos and video footage up...

Deutz has now been here for 6 weeks and although he arrived with really quite nice, strong feet, there are still changes to be seen. His nail holes have grown out and there is better-connected growth at the top of his hoof, as you could see in this post
His frogs are definitely developing and his palmar hoof is stronger. He had a heel first landing when he arrived so didn't have a chronically weak foot but there was obviously still room for improvement.  
This is an interesting shot I think because it demonstrates that heel height is not necessarily the same as palmar hoof strength. The hoof wall is actually shorter now and the foot is less boxy but has a stronger heel and frog. 
As with the left foot, no drama but a more balanced foot. 
These feet will of course continue to change over the 6 months or so that it will take Deutz to grow a whole new hoof capsule. The fact that he had reasonably good feet to start with has certainly given him a head start and has enabled us to give him a good level of work right from the word go. 
Deutz' footage is below which shows his landing on the day he arrived and today. Because he already had a heel first landing there is no radical change in the slow motion footage but I am including it for completeness.