Bullitt - Body condition and Hoof Questions


Sarah Orlofske
 

Hello All, 

Thank you to everyone who has helped Bullitt and I in his laminitis recovery. I really could not have done it without you all! 

Bullitt has been doing really well, but I have been trying to increase his exercise to see if that helps get his insulin under control but he is reluctant to walk with me. I check for heat and pulses and there aren't any. He does not act lame like he did with his laminitis episode last year. What I have noticed is that he is walking very narrow in the back (legs close to the middle of his body) and that his hind hooves are very uneven. He is walking on the outside of the hooves and there is a noticeable difference between the sides viewed from the sole plane. Is this a result of his laminitis episode last year? Is there some other joint or hoof issue that we are just now seeing because his hooves are now nearly grown out from his laminitis episode last Aug-Sept? Is this uneven growth enough to explain why he is not enjoying his walks like he used to a few months ago? He also seems to wear the front of his hind toes off flat like he is dragging them. Does that mean his toes are still too long? Other than the walking issues he honestly seems to be in the best shape of his life. I am sorry if these are silly questions, but I only have Bullitt and his sister Kate and they are my only two horses and my only experience is with minis so I am still learning about all the hoof issues in particular. I have posted all new hoof photos in case someone is willing to give them a look and provide some insight. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Farrier is coming next week. They are in need of a trim, but I have been dealing with my own health issues and about a week behind schedule. 

Bullitt's case history is also updated. I would also like some opinions on his weight and body condition. I used the ECIR weight calculator and he came out at 363 but body condition-wise he still looks like a 5.5 to me. I am really bad at this since I was conditioned to think that minis are healthy when in fact they are fat. I thought an ideal weight for him would be around 375, but at less than that he still looks a little heavy? The pictures I posted don't show ribs, but I do see them when he moves and they are easy to feel. I think he looks slightly thinner than the photos make it look but he does have a little tough on the spine and a little fat behind the shoulders. Any thoughts about his weight and body condition would be greatly appreciated as well. We have made some diet changes so I want to make sure he is still on target. 

Finally, vet is scheduled on July 24th for new blood work for Bullitt and Kate. I hope this will work to keep us ahead of the seasonal rise. 

Thank you again for your help and support. 
Sarah 
--
Sarah O. 
Rudolph, WI
2020


Lavinia Fiscaletti
 

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for adding the latest photos.

It looks like the hinds are medially high, which is a pretty common problem with minis, as it really takes some maneuvering to get underneath them to get those hind feet properly trimmed. That would tip him onto the outsides of his feet when he walks. There is some flaring visible on the medial side of the RF. How long since the last trim was done?

Yes, people are conditioned to think that minis should look like the cartoon Thelwell ponies, so you're not alone in that. I agree with your assessment of his body weight. To me, it looks like he could still stand to lose a few more pounds - with the minis, a BCS of 4-4.5 seems to be where they do the best.

--
Lavinia, George Too, Calvin (PPID) and Dinky (PPID/IR)
Nappi, George and Dante Over the Bridge
Jan 05, RI
Moderator ECIR


Sarah Orlofske
 

Hello Lavinia, 

Thank you so much for the quick response! I really appreciate it. It will be just about 6 weeks since his last trim. I have been trying to keep him between 4-5 weeks, but with my health issues time got away from me a little. How would you recommend I address this with our farrier? He is pretty easy going and takes feedback well. Should I recommend we try to get the medial sides even with the lateral? Should I be rasping these between trims if I start to see them progress like this again? Yes I agree with the flares on RF as well. I hope we can address this with the trim as well. Any other thoughts? 

Thanks for the reassurance about Bullitt's weight. It is wonderful to have another set of eyes on our minis from this group, especially as I recalibrate what "healthy" looks like. I really want to avoid another laminitis episode to the best of our abilities. 

Thank you again!
--
Sarah O. 
Rudolph, WI
2020


Sherry Morse
 

Hi Sarah,

I'm not sure how your farrier manages trimming the minis but ours finds it easier on him if we put a thick saddle pad down on the ground so he can kneel on that while he does their feet.  It still takes him a bit of maneuvering but I think that helps with the issues that Lavinia mentioned because it gives him a fighting chance of being able to get them done all the way around. 

I also agree with the weight assessment - for a 10 hand mini I'd think closer to 350 for an ideal but it's a bit of eyeballing as well so I'd want to see him a little thinner than he is right now but not super skinny.




Sarah Orlofske
 


Sarah Orlofske
 

Thanks Sherry! 

I appreciate it! Farrier is coming on Monday and I will recommend that and see if it helps. I will try to take post trim photos as well. 

Thank you for the input on his weight. We will make some gradual adjustments to diet and I hope that once we get the trim sorted we can get back to improving his exercise as well, which I hope will also help. 

Best, 
Sarah 
--
Sarah O. 
Rudolph, WI
2020


Lavinia Fiscaletti
 

Hi Sarah,

I've added mark-ups to Bullitt's album:

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=253052

Generally speaking the trim doesn't look too shabby, although it does need a bit of tightening up. Trimming minis can be a bit like playing Twister, as it's difficult to access the medial side of the feet easily and hard to see what you're doing even when the mini is being helpful. I always carry knee pads with me so I can kneel down for longer periods to get a somewhat better view of things. Measuring both of the collateral groove depths in each foot to be sure they are the same will help you to get the wall lengths even in each foot. Also aim to keep the wall length beyond the level of the sole plane even on both sides of each foot and not allow it to get too long overall: 1/8" in a mini is about what to aim for. Toes on the fronts need to come back a bit more, hinds can use a solid roll to them. Medial walls, esp. on the hinds, appear to be longer. Heels are underrun all around, tho improved over a few years ago.

Have a read here on using the collateral groove depths and on how to get the heels to move back more:

https://www.hoofrehab.com/HeelHeight.html

The uneven hoof walls are likely contributing to his hesitancy to walk out briskly. His insulin was still higher than it should be, even tho it was just within the lab's reference range. There may also be a PPID component as his ACTH was barely controlled in May and we are now heading into the seasonal rise, which will pushing that number upward again. It appears you did raise his pergolide dose after the May blood work results but that likely isn't enough to keep his ACTH solidly within the reference range during the rise - another dose increase may be in order. Tightening up his diet would also be in order - which I know you are working to do. If you are feeding any of the hays that are in your case history, none is safe to feed without soaking - and even then, that may not be safe enough as the analyses were done by NIR rather than wet chem methods, so the ESC and starch numbers aren't reliable. Getting their diets tightly mineral balanced to the hay analysis, rather than using a commercial supplement, would help.Or possibly switching to all ODTBC rather than a mix with the hay.

LF dorsal: Yellow lines follow a couple of the growth rings on the medial wall: note the upward bulging areas. When you follow the tubules in those bulges to the ground, you find those areas to be a bit taller than the adjacent wall. Taking them inward to align with relative location of the adjacent walls will alleviate those long-standing disparities. The blue area is where to back the toe a bit more to shift the breakover back.

LF lateral: Orange line shows where the heels should be - which is what you're working toward. Blue area corresponds to the blue area on the dorsal view and is where to move the toe back more, esp. at ground level.

LF sole: Solid blue lie shows where the perimeter of the hoof should be. Blue hashed areas are what needs to be brought inward. Rasp the wall out of weight bearing in the heels, so that only the bar-wall juncture is weigh bearing. See figures 2 and 3 in the above link for more info. Yellow areas are pieces of the frog that are overhanging the collateral grooves and also covering some of the heels themselves, so can be trimmed away. Leave the rest of the frog alone, as well as the sole. Orange lines are where to ramp the heel buttresses back toward the heels to help get the heels to start moving back.

RF dorsal: Same idea as the LF, with similar growth ring bulges present.

RF lateral: Orange line shows where the heels should be. Green line is a visual for where the dorsal wall should align. Blue area is where to back the toe some more.

RF sole: Same idea as the LF.

LH dorsal: Follow the discussion for the fronts.

LH lateral: Same idea as the fronts, just be careful not to lower the feet too much when working to move the heels back, as that is counter-productive.

LH sole: Again, same idea as the fronts. Really pay attention to the wall length so that the medial walls don't inadvertently end up longer than the lateral ones. The broken out areas of wall tell you that the wall length that is beyond the sole pane is too much, so adjust accordingly.

RH dorsal: Similar to the other 3, except the excess wall length issues are more subtle.

RH lateral: Follow the discussion for the LH.

RH sole: Again, same idea as the LH. Add ramps to the backs of the heels in the same way as the other 3 feet.

--
Lavinia, George Too, Calvin (PPID) and Dinky (PPID/IR)
Nappi, George and Dante Over the Bridge
Jan 05, RI
Moderator ECIR


Sarah Orlofske
 

Hello Lavinia, 

THANK YOU So much for the mark ups on Bullitt's album. As always it is super helpful to have your expertise and the other contributions of this group to help me in Bullitt's care. 

I used these mark ups with my farrier and I tried my very best to bring them up in a helpful and supportive way. When we were first struggling with Bullitt's laminitis our farrier was amenable to the feedback and I think overall he did a good job with getting us to our current trim. However, this time my farrier was more defensive and did not seem as interested in following advice. It is my observation that he thinks that Bullitt is fully recovered and that no further modifications to the trim are needed and that any imbalance in the hind feet are due to confirmation issues with Bullitt that he has had all along. He denied that the imbalance was a trim issue at all and said that as soon as he is trimmed they will go right back to being uneven and what I am recommending is more harm than good because he is just built this way. He seemed to think that the toes were fine the way they were, but he filed down a little anyway. Needless to say I was taken aback and very concerned. After all your hard work on the mark-ups and the feedback from this group I am concerned that Bullitt's trim is still not where we want it to be. I posted pictures from yesterday (about 5 days post trim). If you have any feedback on how well this actually meets what we need I would appreciate it. We are concerned that we may need to find another farrier, but it is very difficult to find one that works on Minis here and our current one was recommended specifically because he works well with minis. Are their changes I can make myself that would improve Bullitt's situation?  Is there a confirmation issue I should be concerned about? I really want to get Bullitt exercising again so we can try to address his insulin levels. 

In terms of your other valuable feedback beyond the trim I appreciate that too. Financial and veterinary limitations have hindered us, but here is our current plan. Our vet thinks we are a bit overboard on the doses and thought we were fine from the last bloodwork so we have been trying to educate her that we want both horses on the lower end of the reference range. We are having bloodwork pulled July 24th and hoping we are not to late to make any adjustments heading into the rise. I will post results and get input here as soon as we get that back. Our vet is rather young and I am hoping that her experience with us will be a good learning experience for her too. 

We do feed this hay currently and don't feed anything to Bullitt without soaking. Bullitt gets the hay that tested lowest as well, even though I do recognize now that it is not as accurate as recommended testing methods. Our plan is to plead/beg/bribe our neighbor who cuts our hay to do so as early in the morning as possible to try and get a cutting that is less S&S than what we have. We will get that tested the proper way and then get that new hay balanced directly. I am also considering taking the class to learn to do it myself. It seems like overkill for just the two minis we have, but since we grow our hay it seems like that may be a better long term investment. I agree that proper mineral balancing will be helpful. I also want to admit to having had a devil of a time getting them to eat anything remotely close to the recommended amounts of minerals (as evidenced by the case history of changes we made and all of the tricks I tried). The last Prascend dose increase really made a huge difference in both Kate and Bullitt's appetite and willingness to eat the recommended amount. It has been about 2 months now that they have been eating well and I do think that has helped as evidenced by hooves and coat. I am hoping that this will be a good stop-gap until we get our new hay in. 
 
I hope that sounds like a good plan and any other feedback is welcome. 
--
Sarah O. 
Rudolph, WI
2020


Kirsten Rasmussen
 

Hi Sarah,

Sounds like things are going reasonably well....there's always something!  Lol

There seems to be 2 schools of thought: "they are built that way and changing it will cause bigger problems", or "that conformation is wrong because of the trim and means the trim needs to be fixed".  Now you know where your farrier stands on that.  There is probably a bit of truth to both, depending on the situation, but slowly changing the trim and watching how Bullitt responds might tell you which way is best for him.

There's no reason you can't buy a good quality rasp (ie from a farrier supply, not from a hardware/feed store) and do the adjustments Lavinia shows in her markups.  Just a little at a time.  Your farrier probably won't notice, and if he does just tell him you do a little mid-trim touch up.

Very interesting that increasing the Prascend helped with their appetite.  A few members have mentioned that, although usually we associate it with inappetence.  I wonder if that's a sign the meds are helping them feel better and the dose is just right? 

--
Kirsten and Shaku (IR) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
 
Shaku's Case History
Shaku's Photo Album


Kirsten Rasmussen
 

I believe you also want to cut your hay before seed heads emerge, or after they drop (although that will leave you mostly with straw and it will not have much nutrition or digestibility), but not while they are on the plant.  I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong...  There is information on that if you search past messages about when to cut hay in terms of maturity, weather,  time of day etc. 

Dr Kellon's NRC Plus course is excellent.  It will give you the knowledge and confidence to balance your own hay for years to come. 

--
Kirsten and Shaku (IR) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
 
Shaku's Case History
Shaku's Photo Album


Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

The early stages, before heading, can also be high because fiber is low. Most important thing when planning hay is to cut very early in the morning or after a few cloudy days. Most timothy hay has empty seed heads in it but it can still have plenty of nutrition for an EMS horse. Definitely avoid any that has very thick stems and is straw colored.
--
Eleanor in PA

www.drkellon.com 
EC Owner 2001


Cindy Q
 
Edited

Hi Sarah

As you mentioned that he drags the hinds and walks narrow, I was wondering if you ever got him any bodywork eg. massage or chiro. In any event, you may want to look up on youtube Masterson Method. He (Jim Masterson) has several introductory free videos on how can you do some tension release for your pony yourself. Start with the bladder meridian one! I've done the workshop when he was in Australia but he's from the states.

About doing yourself, if you want to remove those flaps on the frogs that Lavinia had marked out (yellow hedging near the widest part of the frogs), I find that bonsai nippers work very well for that! Tian Bonsai Nippers are on amazon and are often recommended/sharp/good quality. I've also used them to nipper back a little section of long/uneven toe on ponies sometimes. I have this one with a straight but slanted edge https://www.amazon.com/Branch-Mu-Tian-Concave-Straight/dp/B00HANNN5O/  . Good rasp yes from any farrier shop. If you have a local one good. If not, I buy online from Well Shod (flat shipping 10 USD). Hellers and Bellotas are pretty popular. You will need basic workman gloves. A good resource to learn with is Pete's DVD series Under the Horse. Wondering how long your usual trim cycle is. You did mention this one was one week overdue.

--
Cindy and Glow (over the rainbow bridge) - Sep 2017, Singapore
ECIR Primary Response