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Starting To Become Desperate! Pictures & Video

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I'll try and make this a very long story short... some background info:

I purchased a 5 year old Clydesdale stallion (unbroke, but leads, ties, picks feet up, etc) from a couple of states away and had him delivered to me in December. I knew he needed weight (vet estimated 250lbs) and some TLC by what he described when he went to get a health certificate and coggins for me but I expected that since he was cheap.

When I got him, it appeared that it had been several months (if not more than a year) since his feet were last trimmed, and his hind left hoof had been allowed to grow very clubby (I know it wasn't clubby when he was born since I was able to speak to his original owner as a weanling and he was shown - has a docked tail - and she re-affirmed that he didn't have a club hoof then).

The stifle on the same leg with the club hoof always made a loud popping sound, moreso when walking then trotting, and he never appeared to walk totally right from the start. Vet came out and diagnosed him with upward fixation of the patella and said with exercise and proper nutrition that it would go away. He also had his teeth floated and had 1 wolf tooth pulled. I decided to wait to geld him until he was more settled in and put more weight on as to not stress him even more than he needed to be. He's put on more than 150lbs since I got him (vet came back out and weighed him) but still needs more weight and muscling though. I have contacted Dr. Beth Valentine about his nutirtion and he's on a plan that's OK'd by her and she said it would probably take until the summer until he gains all the weight he needs.

My farrier has trimmed him 3 times since I've gotten him - but 4-5 weeks ago he came up very lame, and the club hoof "points" and he physically can't put his entire hoof on the ground. He's always walking on his toe. Vet recommened the farrier put egg bar shoes on both back feet for support, they have been on for about 2 weeks but he has gotten even worse in the last 2 days. After watching some farrier videos online I'm thinking that my farrier has taken too much heel off too fast and that he just can't support his leg. Combined with the sticky stifle - he hops, limps, he's a mess. I'm not sure what else to do?

I'm thinking that maybe the farrier needs to put a wedge on the hoof to "fill in the gap" where you can see daylight when he does put all of his weight on that leg until he's sound and then slowly make the wedge smaller until he's finally without it? After seeing the youtube videos I'm almost certain that this is why he's this lame but I don't see any remedies to fix what's already been done (too much heel taken off), only recommendations that you not take too much heel off too quickly.

So here are some photos (and no, he's not resting his leg, this is a picture of his hoof when he is bearing weight on that leg).

And a video that I've uploaded showing him walking (sorry for my dog bothering him, he gets WAY too excited about horses). You can see he's not real willing to make a turn to the inside and then you can see how he hops from the sticky stifle, but on top of that he's also lame... Any suggestions?



Picture of him when he first arrived:




*I should also note that in these pictures his feet had just been trimmed by my farrier. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of his feet before they were trimmed, but in the second picture you can clearly see that his heel still touches the ground so he is bearing weight on the whole hoof whereas now his heel is shorter and he's no longer able to bear weight on it.

Picture of him taken yesterday:


Video link fixed and I got a new video of him on pavement and without my annoying dog:

Edited by Tab

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Show us some pictures of his hips and back from above and looking down his spine. Somethign may be out of whack. Horse can develop club feet from injury also.

IMO you should contact Dr. Esco Buff. Hes on facebook and is a farrier also. https://www.facebook...?ref=ts&fref=ts

Id forward all this to him and ask his opinion and if he can point you in the right direction. I dont think barefoot is going to work for this particular horse either but this shoe job is not helping him at all. If the horse cant bear weight on his heels after two weeks, this isnt working at all and can even damage the horse further. I think this needs some different shoeing and wedging that can allow the horses body to relax and travel evenly and as comfortably as possible and to level the horses body/hips up if need be. I have been watching Esco's work and he is very good with club feet and flexural issues.

Also, Id push the vet to just do the surgery on his stifle since he cant even move around properly. If she wont, call Dr Blackwelder over in Statesville and get his opinion. He is amazing and they specialize in lameness issues .

ETA, we cant watch your video. It says its private.

Edited by Trinity

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Thanks for the recommendations. I've friend requested Esco Buff and will forward him this thread and see what he thinks. I've also fixed the link to the video, apparently I needed to switch the privacy setting to unlisted instead of private - but I also took another video of him yesterday and he was actually better than the previous video.

My vet has recommened surgery as an option, but we were trying non invasive options first before doing that.

I know that he definitely needs some type of shoe, otherwise he'd wear his toe out completely since he's walking on it, whether or not these shoes are the right fit - probably not, but they were put on the horse on the recommendation of the vet to at least try and see if they gave some relief.

I'll try and get pictures of his hips and back as you described later today.

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Stifle surgery is what Im talking about. Its not invasive at all IMO especially if its the type they only needs a fenestration as that one is super simple and fast healing. If its the one they have to cut, that takes alot longer to heal. (Im not a vet and I dont remember which needs tendons cut and which needs fenestration) Also, depending on the issue, their are various things they can do to help a sticky or lax stifle besides just telling you to exercise a lame horse with issues. There are also medications that help shorten and lengthen tendons that can help.

I would at least call Dr Blackwelder and ask for a second opinion since this case has other aspects to it. He really is amazing and one of the best lameness vets in the southeast. He fixed my friends gaited horses stifle issue in about 15 minutes. He was healed up and going again in 2 weeks and was 90% better. He was 100% better in a month. I have seen some great things out of him more than the average vet can provide.

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An excellent post Trimity, with links for better help.

My first thought was patience. He was in a sad state of affairs when you first got him. He'd consumed much fat off his body and looks to me like he'd been standing crinched up in pain for a long time. The muscles look very flacid. I think you've handled the aspects of his recovery beautifully so far. Patience, I see improvement already, as I know you have.

When a horse is in this condition, the thoughts of his feet are last in line with recovery. He has more important issues body-wise that needs his attention first. You are getting the nutrition into him and he is improving. He's using that nutrition to fuel the recovery to everything, but it takes time...much more time than it took him to lose it.

I see the clubbiness of the foot as a resulting end of the line of pathology further on up. I do see lack of flexibility in the stifle, but am not convinced that this is the root of the problem just yet. When I look higher, I see a topline that is crinched and not working as well either and suspect that his spine is also crinched and not allowing proper movement. It hurts him to extend his foot back, so he didn't, and now the hoof is just being what it needs to be and the DDFT has contracted in response = club foot. Its very possible that the stifles are only like the foot and are a symptom of pain, that the real problem could up at the spine (sacro-illiac/ top most elevation of the rump), and forward of that, which on him is the top most elevation. Everything else is tucked into a pelvic tilt before it gets down to the stifle. Before surgery or anything drastic, I would call a chiro in for a full assessment. Pathology always has a path to it and as you follow it you will find pinch points down the line of it.

Walter was moving just like this guy, only worse. I thought it was an abscess, then thought it was the stifle, then found out it was the sacro-illiac in my investigation going up that path of pathology. The 2nd visit from the chiro did the trick. With that appt. he was released and could suddenly put that leg back in stride and for him, put that hoof on the ground and start using it properly and in full stride with the other leg. Now that things were released and working properly, it was my job to do exercises to strengthen and re-educate the muscles to hold the fort properly. The chiro found him out at the sacro-illiac, out at the poll and out at the withers on the diagonal side from that foot. His whole body was a mess from crinching up in pain and that's what this horse has been through. Release first, then muscle education to keep it. I looked up the path of pathology, but the chiro helped me look farther. Once he was unlocked and allowed to move properly, the foot took care of itself.

I don't agree with this shoeing. it has forced him to suddenly stretch his DDFT and is not gradual. I'm thinking this hoof should have had a shoe extension on the toe to support it. I would have lowered the heels gradually to coax comfortably, not dictate it in one complete drop. To me, there has been a drastic measure to correct the end of the line pathology when the problem is up at his spine. Release it and you get the lengthening with the pain gone and heel support to coax it in the meantime. Walter moved like this, only he was three-legged lame for 8 months, while the vet said abscess and stifle. Turns out the stifle was just one of the those pinch points along the path of pathology. So, before you think surgery etc., I would definitely urge you to call in a chiro and have a look at the whole horse. It certainly created the end of our nightmare.

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Of course I agree thaT the pathology of that club foot is higher up the limb, and needs to be addressed.

At the same time, drastically lowering the heels of a club foot , to try and make it match the angles of the opposite foot is very detrimental and encourage severe rotation

I would get a different farrier for sure!

Treating a higher grade club foot by drastically lowering the heel and counter indication:

In very soft footing, the laminae and hoof capsules move simultaneously with the flexion of the joint. Anything that changes the free flow action creates a resistance that is directly proportional to the forces at play. Basic ways to increase the counter forces placed on the muscle, tendon, bone, laminae and hoof wall network are:

    1. Lower the palmar angle without decreasing the digital breakover. Lowering the heel in an effort to treat the high-heel club significantly increases the tension within the network.
    2. Increase the length of digital breakover. Extend the toe using a shoe or composite also increases the forces within the network.
    3. Lowering the heel and extending the toe tremendously increase the tension on all structures.

Listed above are three basic treatment plans that are often used in an effort to minimize the high heel/no toe growth syndrome. The counter-pull mechanical plan can be effective on low grade clubs, however it can create a devastating sequence of events for the higher grades. This reinforces the reasons to have a meaningful scale. It allows us to customize each treatment plan to the specific demands of each case.

The grading system for a club foot horse is quite simple,

Here is the link for the entire artical

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poor boy...if only they could talk :( are we sure this wouldn't be an abscess..oops ok he's been lame for a while

Edited by rvs

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I wanted to just give everyone an update on Laddie. First I wanted to thank Trinity for recommending Esco and I had spoken with him and he found me another farrier that was closer to me that I also was able to speak with as well.

Unfortunately Laddie had too many bad days in a row and I didn't even get a chance to use the farrier and took him to Tryon Equine Hospital where the surgeon took x-rays of both stifles and noted that both stifles had severe inflammation due to both stifles being malformed and irregular. Even with sugery, at this age and size, there was nothing that he said he would be able to do to make a significant improvement and that he would probably never be sound.

After speaking with him and my local vet, I've made the tough decision to go ahead and have him put down as there's no long-term way to keep him comfortable and pain-free, not even for pasture turnout. He can only live on bute for so long before that starts giving him issues... :(

Thank you for all of your advice and help and I just wanted to give eveyrone an update since I know I hate reading threads with problems and there's never an ending to see what's happened to the horse.



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I'm also sorry to hear this! He was looking better in the last pics as well. He was lucky to have you, even if it was only for a short time.

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