Hoof Balance X-Ray--Yikes

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Mcdreamer, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    Got a program horse with a fairly pronounced club foot. Took hoof balance x-rays and look what we found!

    What are your opinions on 1) Proper shoes for this horse or proper foot trimming? 2) Did he founder at some point in his life?

    Horse is young and otherwise healthy. Used for light trail riding.
     

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  2. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    Yikes. Let me see hoof pictures!
     
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  3. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    Don't have any good hoof/hoof critique pictures of his tootsies yet. Will have to get some. henry.jpg
     
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  4. Arem

    Arem Senior Member

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    It’s hard to tell without hoof pictures. My vet said that minor rotation can be normal in a club foot. I’m not certain if that’s within normal ranges or not. Leaning towards not.

    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of sole depth there. What I can tell from the X-ray is that the toe is run forward and flared and heel is likely too tall.

    All of that toe in front of the first nail? Can/should go.
     
  5. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    Thank you, Arem! I should have also said that since these x-rays have been taken, there has been a new farrier who does a much better trimming job. I'll be back to work on Tuesday and will get better picture of his tootsies.
     
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  6. RoozerCruizer

    RoozerCruizer Senior Member

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    Late to the party.

    I take x-rays on people, but I'm curious. What do you guys see on the x-rays that is concerning? I don't know what a healthy foot should look like on an x-ray.
     
  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Do you see the last bone in the leg/foot, the one with the sharp point, the large(ish) bone that is entirely inside the hoof and is the end of the 'bony column' of the leg, and points toward the ground?

    Ideally, the edge of that bone that faces the front wall of the hoof, should be parallel to the front wall of the hoof. Exactly parallel.

    This one is not.

    If you look at the overall, outside(visible) shape of the hoof itself (rather than the bones inside it), you can notice several important things.

    One is that the front wall of the hoof is 'dished'. It's not straight. It should be straight.

    Now look at the heel of the hoof (again, its outer, visible shape). Notice something? The heel is very 'deep'. In other words it appears to be rather - long. If you measured from the coronary band(that's the line between hoof material and hair) to the ground, at the heel, that distance would be much longer than on the other front hoof.

    Look at something else. That coronary band? Shouldn't it slope DOWN toward the heel? Yes. But it doesn't. If you compare this foot to the other front foot - because typically only one front hoof is a 'club foot', you will find that this club foot is much more upright than its mate(this means that if we put a protractor on the foot, with one arm of the protractor on the sole of the foot, and the other arm on the front wall of the foot, the 'hoof angle' is much bigger on the club foot - the front hoof wall is closer to perpendicular to the ground than is ideal). And the heel is much deeper. The front wall of the hoof is dished, too.

    Now look at an xray of a 'normal' or 'ideal' hoof. In fact, look at a club foot and a non club foot, both front feet, on the same horse. Do you see the difference? The right forefoot looks not ideal, but fairly 'normal.' The heel isn't so deep. The coronary band slopes down toward the heel, a proper amount. The front wall of the hoof isn't dished. On the other hand, the club foot - the left forefoot, looks like a 'box'. The coronary band barely slopes down toward the heel. The heel itself, look how deep it is. Look how far the coronary band is from the ground, back at the heel. Look at the curve in the front wall of the hoof.

    HorseAdvice.com Equine & Horse Advice: 22 months old with a club foot


    That all said, what's the problem here? Most horses with club feet aren't lame. Most do alright. The farrier keeps after it, making small adjustments to it, but wisely, pretty much, lets it be.

    So what's the problem, then?

    Look again at that bone in the hoof in the first xray. Remember how it's not parallel to the front wall of the hoof?

    Here's the problem. You don't know if that foot was affected by laminitis or not. You don't know if that's just how that hoof is, or if that hoof got that way due to laminitis.

    Further, you don't know something else. Was that club foot acquired in an adult? Because...think about this....A club foot can be acquired rather than just be something the horse is 'born with'. HOW does a normal foot wind up looking like that?

    Because the horse had pain in that foot, for a long time, and that foot is clubbed - and the other foot more flattened out, because the horse has been taking weight off that left foot and shifting it to the right foot, because of pain. For a long time.

    And ideally, if a horse is 'born with' a club foot, it's dealt with very early on in that animal's life - in the first weeks and months, because after that, you can't do anything but cause trouble by trying to radically change it.

    The farrier makes miniscule adjustments to the foal's hoof over a number of trims every 5-6 weeks. The goal isn't to make it perfectly match the other foot, this isn't about how it looks - but to make it more functionally like the other foot.

    The bottom line is this. This horse has a club foot. You don't know how or why it got that way. Was he born like that, or did that hoof get that way because he took weight off it due to pain, for months, or years?

    And you also don't know if the bone in the foot is actually tearing away from the front hoof wall and rotating its tip to point downward due to laminitis, or club foot. Or what.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  8. RoozerCruizer

    RoozerCruizer Senior Member

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    Wow, thanks for the detailed reply :) I learned some new stuff here!
     
  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Did you go down the page on those xrays I posted? They are amazing, I think for showing how that internal anatomy affects the outward shape and function of the hoof.

    And if you look at the side pictures on that link I posted, despite the deforming of that last bone(compare it to the 'normal' bone - see how 'bumpy' its outline is? the other bone is a lot smoother), do you see that it's still parallel to the front wall of the hoof?

    You have to lay a straight edge on the front of that hoof, since the wall is dished, but yeah, that bone is parallel. Maybe because it's a 2 year old and the foot hasn't yet been stressed? Or the animal had no injuries or laminitis....

    That's right. That's why, when you look at the OP's xray, you have to ask yourself, how did that rotation downward of that bone come about?

    That's the thing with the club foot. It MAY not respond well to stress. A hoof has to be flexible, to a certain degree, pliable. A club foot is more rigid. It might be fine....or not.

    A gal I rode with had a horse with a really severe club foot. I used to sit there and just stare at how that foot would sling around in the air and then crash to the ground with every step. That one hoof made a beat that was so loud as it hit the ground...it was amazing. Clippity-CLOP. Clippity-CLOP. WOW. The club foot MAY be under a lot of stress.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  10. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    That's the game we are playing with this fella's feet. He's quite young. Only 7. And I apologize I haven't gotten current feet shots. It's a muddy mess here and the weather just isn't cooperating. Supposed to get another snow storm on Wednesday. I day dream about the beach a lot...

    For this guy it has been a constant battle to grow a decent foot to begin with. He doesn't grow hoof, his mane is pathetic and his tail is a little toothpick. Not only does he not grow a lot of hoof, the hoof is not the strongest. I've tried just about everything I know to help him out. When I first acquired him he had 4 shoes on. I immediately had his hind shoes removed and that was about 2 years ago. Those feet are beautiful. They don't grow but they're nice a strong. Front feet? Look a lot better than they did. The farrier that was being used when I came in really liked tight teenie tiny feet which didn't help his hooves out at all. So they're much fuller now and the heel is much improved. But with an x-ray like that there is not way of knowing if this horse is going to need shoes for the rest of his life (which as a 7 year old is a long stretch of time for his feet to never have a break from nails).
     

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