Saturday, July 4, 2009

The vet visit: Helping Riley get better

I met with the vet and the farrier today. The good news is, he does not have a coffin bone fracture. The bad news? Well, it's a muddy picture, but there are some issues in Riley's toe region. Take a look at this short video of what his hoof looks like right now...

Here are the findings from the visit...
  • The radiographs showed a tract running along the front of the toe, from near the bottom to near the top. It looks like a tract of infection, maybe an abscess, maybe the aftermath of bruising, maybe even gravel or a foreign object. This tract was also present in the radiographs we took in March -- back then it looked like an abscess.
  • There is evidence of bruising, from either repeated concussion or one-time trauma, it's not 100% clear.
  • There is a definite soft spot/infection area adjacent to the tip of the pedal bone.
  • From the infection, there is some demineralization of the pedal bone -- pedal osteitis. Not bad, caught very early, but not what I wanted to hear! It developed between the March radiographs and the June radiographs. It is useful to have a baseline.
The treatment protocol..
  • He's on antibiotics to reduce the infection near the bone.
  • The hoof was notched to get closer to the area of infection and treat it. It should also relieve any pressure on the toe and the toe is rolled to assist in breakover.
  • He is now on stall rest with hand-walking for at least two weeks, and possibly until the hoof notch above grows out.
  • He is shod with a bar shoe fitted with a pad that acts like a medical treatment plate. See the video below to see how the hoof is to be medicated every day or so.
  • We'll re-radiograph in two weeks. At that point, based on what I hear, we may go to a clinic.
In order to do these treatments, I'll need to move him to another facility where I can get assistance with handwalking and treating the foot. Here is how he needs to be wrapped...

The vet thinks that shoes will make a world of difference, and she expressed a good deal of optimism. I derive hope from the fact that he has been 100% sound until now.


  1. I was worried about you and your ponies. I am sorry that Riley has to go through all of this but he's so lucky to have such a great mom. Hopefully you can sit back and enjoy watching him improve from here on out and that this will soon all be a distant memory. Get better Riley!

  2. I thought something like this was up based on your post yesterday. Horses often get through this kind of thing just fine - it sounds like you have excellent vet and farrier care. His baseline soundness is a good indicator. Best to you and Riley - keep us posted on his progress.

  3. Oooh, all too familiar. Fortunately, my guy's problem was discovered sooner than Riley's so we managed to manage it, so to speak. I've had the toe notches done too, over the years.

    I once had a removeable pad put in a shoe, not quite like that one, to treat a bout of thrush. Can't quite remember how it worked, but this one is definitely interesting.

    I am a duct tape on the foot expert. Whatever did the horse world do before its invention?

    Looks like a good bit of work, but when Riley recovers it will be well worth the effort.

    Sending you both good wishes for a speedy recovery.

  4. I'm glad that the vet is so optimistic and that there is a treatment plan in place. Remember Pepper's problem hoof with his "orthotics"? Even with the fact that he'd broken his pedal bone as a yearling, he made a pretty darned good recovery thanks to good care. I'm figuring that Riley's case will be much, much better than Pepper's.

    But moving him to another facility? Will this be the same barn that Harvey's at or another location?

  5. Genius idea to video the foot wrap demo - the staff at your new barn will get a first hand explanation of how it is supposed to go on (and you have a reminder to hand too).

  6. Poor Riley! I hope his little footie gets all better soon.

  7. Sending healing thoughts for Riley.

  8. Oh Wow! This is exactly the same thing the vet did to ours! The farrier mentioned it when he came out, but didn't want to do it.

    The Vet did it almost immediately. The next day she really, really didn't want to put any weight on it.

    The Vet recommended the Davis boot - which as I mentioned in my other comment - is what we ended up with.

    The Epsom Salt Poultice really seemed to help. It is some strange stuff though...reminds me of silly putty with attitude!

  9. I am so sorry to hear about Riley's problems. I totally sympathize with the walking and wrapping business. It's such a pain! But he's young and I'm sure he'll bounce right back.

    I hope your next vet visit brings good news. And I think I'd go with Option C. Maybe you won't need to keep him there for that long and it won't put too much of a dent in your savings.


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