Beau is a 23 year old Arabian gelding. His owner brought
him to our facility in November of 2003. He had been laying
down for the previous 4 months after an acute laminitic
episode, and presented as an Obel grade 4 lameness,
Cushings syndrome horse with refractory laminitis. He was
currently on 2-4 grams of Bute per day and still laying
down most of the time. His blood work revealed that he was
a true diabetic/insulin resistant.
As you can see from
the pictures, his feet looked fairly good from the exterior
lateral view. The only problem was, he couldnít walk on them.
Beauís feet showed some abscess tracts on the bottom.
Radiographically, Beau had distal displacement of his coffin
bone and a significant lamellar wedge.
We began by preparing
a base at the back of the foot and rockered the toe to allow
the large subsolar abscess to drain. Please understand,
this is not live, healthy tissue. It is stretched, necrotic
tissue with some stretched vasculature, hence the red. It
is called "a lamallar wedge".
We did a coronary
grooving to his left front to take the stranglehold off of the
coronary band and to offer relief to the extensor process of
When the coffin
bone is a sinker as well as rotates, the hoof capsule above
P3 shrinks and the hoof can no longer accept a load up
through the back of the foot through the frog and digital
cushion because the extensor process gets "jammed" against
the now smaller hoof capsule at the top. By relieving the
stranglehold at the top, we are able to give the coffin bone
a chance to come back up in the hoof capsule, through
introducing a healthy load at the back of the foot.
We then applied
dental impression material and Purple Podiatry Pads (3Pís).
The next couple
of weeks we maintained him in 3P support and made daily
modifications with the 3Pís stacking and wedging to try to let
Beau give us some indication if his feet could handle a load up
through the back of the foot. It has been our experience that
if a horse can get to the point where he can accept a load up
through the back of the foot, then he has a significantly
better chance of getting well.
In the middle of
December we added a heel block to the left front, then came
back 2 days later and added a window Double Nail Pad (DNP)
system to a base prepared at the back of the foot, and added
another heel block to aid him in achieving a load up through
the back of his foot.
can see the significantly different hoof angles between what he
had, and what he needed to have, once we got the base prepared
at the back of the foot.
On December 19th, we grooved his right front and applied an EDSS system to that foot. While Beau could now stand up, he
still could not stand on one foot, so we applied the EDSS
system to his right front while he was laying down.
He now had a
modified, high heel DNP system with a window and rocker toe to
the Left Front and an EDSS system on his right front. After 5
months of laying down, Beau was now standing up for longer
periods of time, however he was reluctant to walk and we were
quite concerned. For the next week Beau didnít get any worse,
but he didnít get any better either. We decided on Christmas
eve to sadly make the suggestion to Beauís owner that it was
time to let him go. But Christmas morning when we went out to
feed, Beau took 6 whole steps, better than he had done in over
5 months! Encouraged, we didnít make the dreaded phone call.
Beauís feet had begun to turn around.
In January we adjusted the DNP system about every other
day, tweaking it to continue to provide support to the back
of the foot. Towards the third week of January he was doing
so well, it was time for an EDSS system on the left front
with tall rails and a tall frog insert. His foot was now
accepting the load up through the back of the foot, and
with the resected toe pillars and the coronary grooving,
the coffin bone was able to be lifted up and forward in
what was left of the hoof capsule. It may have looked ugly,
but he was now using his foot.
what is a ďprettyĒ foot? He had pretty feet when he came but
he couldnít use them, so to us a pretty foot is one the
horse can stand on and use.
Beau continued to
show dramatic improvement. At the end of January we put a new
EDSS system on his right front and aggressively thinned the
dorsal wall. We removed the heel block from the left front and
also thinned what was left of that dorsal wall.
For the next
year, Beauís owner continued to bring him to us every 4 to 6
weeks for follow-up. She is now riding him on the trails.
Horses that have
recovered from severe laminitis will often have a nicer foot in
both function and appearance than they had prior to the
laminitic episode, if appropriate support and protection is
offered. As you can see from these pictures taken 7 months
later, Beauís feet have done significant remodeling and are
quite healthy. He was leading us in a BIG trot up and down our
As you can see
from these pictures, first one in March and second one in
June 2004 (4
and 7 months later), Beau's feet have done significant
The coronary grooving is
almost completely grown out, and notice how smooth the
wall is coming out of the coronary band.
Owner comments -
ďThank you again for making Beau a part of Soundfest and
everything else you have done for him. Iím still amazed at his
continued recovery and so thankful that he is still with me.
When we returned home yesterday, I turned him out with his
favorite mare and he walked around the whole pasture. His walk
was purposeful and happy. As I was watching him, he decided to
canter across the pasture and he did so with such ease and
confidence that it made me cry. To a bystander not familiar
with the challenges that this horse has had to overcome, it
would have seemed rather ordinary, but to me it was a moment
that I will never forgetĒ. Beauís owner.
We should note here that when Beau first came he seemed
on the verge of giving up on life. He was in pain, his
eye was dull and he was not only reluctant to stand, but
also reluctant to eat. We had just brought home a little
goat (Sasha) as a companion for one of our horses who
refused to eat. Sasha is a miracle in a small package.
She seems to have an uncanny ability to pick out the
sickest horse and attaches herself to him/her. Sasha
decided to attach herself to Beau. She slept with him,
ate with him, curled up next to him, butted him, crawled
around on him and generally gave him something to live
for. Within a few days, his eye brightened, be began to
eat, and he began to have a reason to live, which bought
us enough time to begin to get his feet turned around.
Mental well-being is also a huge part of the healing
process and should not be overlooked. As another of our
and Sashaís clients has said, ďThat is one amazing goatĒ.
caution owners; horses donít get this lame overnight, and
fixing them can take months or years, and depends on
several factors. While we have had a lot of successes,
there are no guarantees. Our philosophy is that we will
try, as long as the owner and the horse wants to try.