Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Theory Room

Tonka seems to be increasingly sore on his front right despite a careful diet, proper barefoot trimming and a natural lifestyle. While maintaining a philosophy of "wait and see" I do have a couple of theories about his discomfort. First, the shape of the right hoof is changing rapidly when compared to the left one despite more severe rotation of the right coffin bone. I suspect this is putting pressure on the sensitive navicular bone that lies along the connection between the deep digital flexor tendon and the coffin bone (or distal phalanx below). His preference for keeping weight off his heels is consistent with this theory, though it's heartening to note that all steps recommended for natural rehabilitation from founder are also recommended for natural treatment of navicular problems.

Second, some pain appears to from the knee, even though I can't find any heat or swelling. Tonka has the knees of a wrecked race horse -- excessively large, forward and knobbly. I assume this comes from years of moving awkwardly to reduce laminitic pain, but there might have been other factors in his history. Regardless, rapid changes to the shape of his hoof are likely putting new stresses on those already-compromised joints so that pain is coming from multiple places. Don't get me wrong -- he is largely comfortable and healthy, but he will not be under saddle any time soon. He remains very handsome:

No comments: