On 14th Dec 2007 my much loved horse was put to sleep for irreversible coffin joint deterioration. I bought Lady Limbo an unhandled, neglected 3 l/2 year old chestnut thoroughbred mare. At this point I knew nothing about Applied Equine Podiatry (AEP). I sought professional help to begin handling and training Limbo and Lindsay came to assess her in Feb 08. This is simply the best thing I have ever done.
When Lindsay assessed Limbo, her Spectrum of Usability score was low at 2-3. Years of hoof neglect had resulted in under-run heels, weak internal arch, and compensatory flare with fungal infection in all frogs, wall separation, and golden line (white line) infection. Splits in her hoof capsule, one particularly huge one, showed clear evidence of repeated, untreated abscessing. We made a date to Clean Trax and implemented a hoof rehabilitation schedule to combine with Limbo’s training.
Two weeks after Lindsay’s initial visit I noticed a smell and small hole in the sole of a back hoof. The emergency vet felt it was serious, "a penetrating hoof injury”. Limbo was sedated, nerve blocked and had a large amount of rotten tissue excised through the sole of her hoof. She had antibiotics, dressings, box rest and went for x-rays. I was told if the injury affected the deep flexor tendon she would have to be euthanised. The good news after x-ray was no deep flexor tendon involvement.
I updated Lindsay who expressed concerns about the repeated excising of internal tissue by the vet, and she also explained that ethically she couldn’t continue to help Limbo unless the vet’s treatment changed due to the unnecessary level of invasive removal of healthy tissue and stress this was putting Limbo through and the risk to her long term recovery.
The abscess track had turned into a wound with a white area bulging down through her hoof, which was so sensitive that when a strand of my hair fell on it Limbo flinched! My horse was in pain and Lindsay felt this was corium bulging. On Lindsay's advice I got a second veterinary opinion, Lindsay was right it was prolapsing corium. A joint plan was made by Lindsay and the new vet to; Clean Trax, keep the hoof immaculately clean, use pressure dressings to push the hoof corium back through the sole of her hoof to encourage re-growth of protective horn. This took over 17 weeks. I learned that the original vet approach was reactive and invasive leaving Limbo’s hoof structures damaged and highly vulnerable to secondary infection and trauma.
Limbo had other acute abscesses to her other hooves which have released with poulticing and minimal inconvenience to Limbo & me, via natural migration up and out through the coronary band. Her hooves are each amazingly 3" smaller in size than when Lindsay first visited in Feb 2008 and continue to improve. Limbo has received further training to become safe to handle (especially when trimmed), has been backed and is in light work.
All of this was avoidable. My emotions run high when I think of the pain caused to my lovely young horse, but my message is simple, if you have a horse that is repeatedly abscessing DO NOT allow anyone to "dig" for the abscess to release it, it is unnecessary. Try something different and call an Applied Equine Podiatrist. If you love your horse like me you would do anything to help get her out of pain in a non-traumatic way.
Lindsay has been my rock throughout this, supporting me and always helping Limbo. She says I am a dedicated horse owner to have managed all of this. My message is simple, become an empowered horse owner so you can make informed decisions about the treatment and care of your horses feet. Try a non invasive treatment for hoof abscesses, your horse will be pain free and sound much faster.
17 months on Lady Limbo has good quality hooves, is no longer in pain, is calm and happy in work and living proof that there can be quality of life for your horse after acute and chronic abscess problems. I strongly believe that Thoroughbreds can have good feet too! JACKIE WITH LIMBO