Friday, November 18, 2011

Zombie Hooves

They're scary. They're ugly as sin. And they're slowly being brought back to life. Zombie hooooves!

At Tiff's last Farrier trim on Oct. 7th, her shoes had been pulled, her front hooves had been basically chopped in half, and she was padded with dental impression material and wrapped with Elastikon. While I felt it was 1/4 of a step in the right direction, I could see that Tiff didn't feel any better--because the trim was not done in a way to make her hoof balanced and comfortable.You can pad up a hoof with the most squishy, high-tech, cutting-edge material known to man, but it isn't going to make a lick of difference to the horse's comfort if the trim is incorrect.

So, when Judy asked Candy to take over Tiffany's hoofcare, I was ecstatic--literally jumping up and down and squealing like a school-girl giddy. Finally, after months of feeling powerless to help Tiff, I had managed to ensure her recovery. I'm so grateful that Judy was willing to go out on a limb and try something completely different. There are many people who would have either given up or been too closed-minded to listen to the hippy weird-o barn girl and strike out onto a new, uncharted path. I'm also extremely thankful that I had a knowledgeable, highly skilled, passionate trimmer to explain things so clearly to Judy and convince her to take a leap of faith. As Candy later remarked, "You served me up on a silver platter."

Since Judy had been brave enough to leap in with both feet, Candy wasted no time--she had another trim appointment at a barn around the corner, but afterwards she came straight back in order to get started on Tiff. As she cut through the dirty mummy-linen wrappings on Tiff's hooves, we all wondered exactly what horrors we would find under there.

Right Front Before

Note the extremely long heel. Oh, and the giant chunks taken out of the wall. ;-)

Yep, that's a Mummy Hoof  pre-de-wrapping/trim ^^^

Right Front After

Much better! The heel has been lowered significantly and moved towards the back of the hoof, where it belongs

Here, you can see how thrushy and "rotten" these hooves are. When the wrappings were taken off,
we all took a step back because the hoof smelled like a mostly-rotten corpse. Yep, Zombie Hooves!

The place Candy is pointing to with her hoof knife is an area of separation so bad that you can see the live laminae

Left Front Before

Yes, these hooves had been trimmed one month prior; and the farrier had left this giant flare--why?!?

No, this photo and the next two were not taken at a weird angle--that
huge flare on the medial side makes the whole hoof  look twisted

Left Front After

This is Tiff's most painful hoof--as you can see, she's reluctant to put weight on it

Wow--it's actually hoof-shaped!

Lots of bruising

Tiff's spiffy red temporary Cavallo Simple boots--these are at least two sizes too big
(hence the padding & Vetrap), but they're a loaner pair she'll use until her new Sport Boots arrive

What Farrier failed to do in nine months, Candy managed to accomplish in one trim--Tiff walked away from that washrack much easier and more comfortably than she had walked onto it. And later that evening, I came back to the barn and Tiff was still standing. She had been up since 12:30 in the afternoon and didn't lie down until after 8:00 pm, whereas before she would spend the better part of the day lying down. Over the next few days, she started finishing all her feed and whinnying for more, instead of  barely eating half of her ration and then lying down. Most importantly, the life and spark came back into her eyes; she finally wanted to live again.

Here's a video of Tiff that I took the night after her trim:

As you can see, she certainly isn't cured. She has a long road ahead of her and it's going to take months of hard work to get her sound.. But at least now she's headed in the right direction. (And, yes, I backed into a poll and made a weird squealing sound in the video. I'm quite graceful. ;-D)

And here's a video from one week after the trim:

There's really no way I can express how completely overjoyed I am. To know that I played a part in saving this sweet mare and making her life better...well, it's a bit overwhelming. And while there's still much work to be done for Tiff, I've already got my eye set on my next target. There's a whole legion of zombie hooves out there and I'm ready to fight. Farrier, prepare to lose another client.


Anonymous said...

That is just amazing! Congratulations on getting her started on the road to recovery - keeping fingers crossed that she continues to improve.

Amy said...

Wow how sad how badly they were done by the previous 'farrier'. I too will have my fingers crossed that she continues to improve.

Alana said...

Really, I am pretty amazed the poor girl's feet look as 'good' as they do, specifically the frogs. Don't get me wrong...they are still absolutely horrid, but I am surprised the thrush had not eaten away all frog.
I want to kick the old farrier. Hard. Repeatedly. *sigh*
Kudos to you for all your hard work getting her to this point!!
And the curse of being the weirdo hippie girl. I share your pain (and on that note, awhile ago I had mentioned I was interested in the Paddock Paradise, I set one up! 3 slow feeders, and the ponees move SO much more! Rascal is looking less like he is about to keel over and die, and Bailey is looking like she actually gets exercised! (Ta'ceyewi looks the same, he moves constantly regardless) I don't have rock in yet, but it is still a pretty cool, positive change!)

achieve1dream said...

That is so awesome!! Her hooves look so much better. I'm glad she's on her way to healing and not being in pain anymore. No horse should have to suffer like that because some dumb*** was to proud to admit he didn't know what he was doing. I'm so glad you stepped in and saved Tiff.

eventer79 said...

Wow. I have to confess, I am still not sure the horse should not have been put down -- having spent that long in pain and barely able to walk, that is no kind of life. Of course, the horse doesn't know any different, but we do. I can say I am glad that owner has decided to have new trimmer step in and change the course of things. Would I take the same course of action? Probably not -- but I can respect that it's not my horse and I hope that she gets some years of happy comfort.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Wow, that sweet thing. I'm sure she appreciates all the love/time/care you are giving her. Is Saley jealous??? ;)
And to your above commenter; Alana-PLEASE share pics of your paddock paradise; that is my dream set up for Laz if we can ever get our own land!!

smazourek said...

WOW, founder strap, rot, and bar all over the place- Candy has her work cut out for her!

What has the owner's response been over such a noticeable improvement?

Frizzle said...

eventer, since things are going in the right direction, we're all just staying positive. :-)
This whole thing actually came about because Judy didn't want Tiff to suffer anymore; since Farrier was making zero progress, she said she was going to give Tiff until January and, if she hadn't improved significantly, she would be given a painless and peaceful end to her suffering.
BUT, since she is so much better already, I don't think that will have to happen. Candy had Judy get rads pulled (NONE had been done--?!) and they actually don't look too bad. There is some rotation (especially on the LF), but she has a ton of sole to take off and there is no demineralization, infection, fractures, etc.
Kristen, YES, Saley-boo is jealous, despite the fact that I still spend a ton of time with him. ;-) I'm a traitor!
smaz, Judy is over-the-moon happy to see Tiff doing so much better! In fact, everyone at the barn is ecstatic about it.

eventer79 said...

I know it is always harder to be in the situation that to see it from afar. I am very happy that positive action is being taken for this stoic little horse and I hope so much for her recovery.

On another note, if you don't give us a Salem update, we are going to mutiny. ;-)