Buddy is a 12 year old Thoroughbred gelding.
I was contacted by Buddy’s owner who had nowhere else to turn. I went and met with Buddy and his owner to see if there was any way we could help. Buddy has a very soft nature and is extremely affectionate. When I first met Buddy he seemed fine. Walking without issue. He was a little light on for my liking but by no means was he undernourished.
I was informed at this point that there was no more money left in the kitty for further vet bills and either Buddy got a second chance with us or he was to be PTS. I felt that the big fella deserved another chance.
Buddy was bought home and rested for a few weeks. No apparent problems during this stage. The farrier was called in to address the ‘thin hoof wall’ issue but no issue was apparent.
Buddy spent another few week resting and getting to know the other horses on the property. He has been on a shark cartilage supplement as well as ‘hoof factor’. During this time Buddy did pull up sore on a couple of occasions but it did not seem too serious.
I was in contact with an Equine Myofunctional Therapist, who agreed to treat Buddy. Alison’s first consultation was to be last Sunday.
During the last days of that week Buddy became very sore and his lameness did not subside. When Alison arrived on Sunday and saw that Buddy had not improved she decided that it was in Buddy’s best interest to forego the scheduled treatment until the lameness had ceased. Alison has recommended x-rays be done and has also given me some contacts for people who may be of great assistance to Buddy.
16 December, 2010
An appointment was made and Buddy had his big day at the vets.
Well as all things generally go there is good news and bad news.
Primarily Buddy suffers from years of incorrect hoof trimming/shoeing. The initial examination was simply a physical assessment. Buddy indicated soreness in both front legs. The left was far more painful that the right and confirmed the need for the consult. It was difficult to locate the source of the problem so step two was implemented. Step two involved the use of nerve blockers. Nerve blocker are use to isolate different sections of the body. By isolating individual sections of the body it allows the vet to pin-point the problem areas. This saves on both x-rays and guess work. As both of Buddy’s front hooves were treated with the use of the nerve blockers it was quickly identified that the hooves were the location of Buddy’s lameness. It’s now time for x-rays. At the point I was kicked out for a little while.
After the completion of the x-rays I was invited into the consult room for an explanation of what was discovered. During this time Buddy was being treated to a little snack and grooming session by his own personal stable-hand. Not bad huh!
A number of problems were uncovered. As you read on things may sound worse than they actually are.
- Due to constant incorrect trimming, both of Buddy’s Pedal bones are at an incorrect angle to the sole of the hoof. This causes all of the lower leg bones to sit at a lower angle placing quite a bit of stain on the tendons of the lower leg, too much toe on the hoof, a rearward tilt on the pedal bone and way too much sole on the hoof (up to 2cm thick in some places).
- Slight (but visible) Navicular Disease.
- Underdeveloped pedal bones (Common in racehorses. Generally due to a very young start without the opportunity to fully develop).
- Starting to develop Arthritis (Which is also common for a horse of his age). At this point this is of no concern.
So where does this leave Buddy?
If Buddy is subject to “corrective shoeing” this will decrease his toes and sole thickness, level his pedal bones, lift his heels and in turn hopefully straighten his lower leg bone structure relieving pressure off his tendons and minimizing the effects of the Navicular disease issue. All this sounds a lot more complicated that it actually is.
Now for the bad part.
Due to the time period that Buddy has suffered from these undetected issues corrective shoeing may not resolve all or any of his issues. He will require close monitoring and treatment for at least two months. Then more x-rays will be required to determine whether or not the treatment is being successful. Buddy will be experiencing some pain and discomfort during this period but this will be minimized but use of “bute”.
Buddy is now coming up to the one month mark of corrective shoeing. He is wearing specially designed shoes that are taken in at the toe, and styled to support the back of the hooves as they grow. Buddy is showing a marked improvement in his movement and was spotted going for a casual trot across the paddock just last weekend.
He will undergo an assessment at the close of the initial 2 months of corrective shoeing to determine if his hooves have improved. The farrier is confident that Buddy may be able to become a riding horse once more.
February and March 2011
Buddy was extremely lame the week prior to the farrier’s visit, so the 6 weeks between trims, as recommended by the farrier, was way too long. The farrier was only able to trim Buddy’s front left and put the shoe back on. Buddy couldn’t bear weight on his left leg for very long, so the farrier could only manage to remove Buddy right shoe which took a lot of effort and caused great discomfort to Buddy. So his right hoof had to be left untrimmed. Things weren’t looking too good. The farrier recommended injecting his coffin joint to relieve the pain but this only masks a problem and is not a long term solution.
A few days after Buddy’s trim he was moving better and he could put all his weight on his left side for a short duration. He was still very lame but as his condition had improved from removing some of his toe it seemed likely that the main issue was still the shape/balance of his hooves. So what to do? We needed someone who had more specialist knowledge. And by chance we’ve found him. We met Dean during the recent Flood relief. Dean is an equine podiatrist and specialises in treating laminitis and navicular using natural remedies and acupuncture.
Dean and his wife Amanda made the long journey from their home in the Kinglake area to visit Buddy. Dean’s assessment was that Buddy was suffering from a number of problems but his main one being navicular syndrome which should be improved with more intense trimming to bring his hooves back to a correct shape. Buddy’s remaining shoe was taken off, his right side was trimmed and some more toe was taken off his left hoof.
Buddy’s problems will not be a quick fix. Dean and Amanda have very kindly offered to assist Buddy and care for him at their property to enable them to administer more regular treatment, so the following week Buddy was floated up to Kinglake. After a few weeks Buddy condition has improved. He is still sore but more content, willing to move and put weight on his left side. Dean also believes Buddy has arthritis as his movement can start off a bit stiff but then he loosens up (the older human generation can easily relate to this). Amanda, an equine herbal specialist, is giving Buddy a full herbal treatment to improve his circulation. Buddy could not be in more capable and caring hands.
TREW is deeply appreciative of Dean and Amanda’s time and effort. They are true horse lovers and committed to improving the welfare of equines.
Amanda and Dean are taking exceptional care of Buddy.
Dean was concerned that Buddy hadn’t achieved his expected improvements and believed there must also be some other underlying problems. In late April, Dr Mark Curtis was called in to examine Buddy. What he discovered wasn’t good news. Buddy has arthritis in his knees and ligament damage in both front feet. The small impar ligament at the back of the hoof is detached from the bone in both hooves.
Buddy was given a course of Pentosan to see if this would help.
Unfortunately things didn’t improve. The Pentosan helped his knees but not his feet. The lameness persisted, but he can’t be that much pain because he can do playful bucking, putting all his weight on his front feet and throw his back end way up in the air. Dean and Amanda were not ready to give up on him and have enlisted more specialist help.
Buddy now has another admirer, Lea Smart. Lea and her husband own and run Smart Bowen Therapy International College. Lea is donating homeopath treatments; covering the cost of tissue salts and sponsoring Buddy’s upkeep.
A big welcome and thank-you to Lea.
A new treatment – Tissue Salts
Lea has been receiving excellent reports from her Bowen colleagues throughout Australia on the effectiveness of tissue salts and their capacity to restore balance to mineral deficiencies that horses may incur through poor pasture, management or neglect. Many of these deficiencies have a direct effect on bone, cartilage and consequently joint formation and function, add to this problems encountered through hoof management and the problems can quickly mount but remain elusive to treat.
Lea believed tissue salts could help Buddy, so she has obtained specialist assistance from Alex Sutton, who is a biochemist based in Queensland and specialises in the inorganic elements of the organism and practices the clinical science of Biochemic Therapy – in accordance with the teachings of Dr. Schuessler and the principles of the Biochemischer Bund Deutschland (German Association of Biochemistry (BBD).
Schuessler Salts are a specific application and formulation of mineral salts that the body can easily uptake and utilise.
When Lea ran Buddy’s case past Alex, he believed that Buddy certainly presented with mineral deficiencies in several areas, many of these are overlapping and are having a bi-effect on his ability to uptake and utilise nutrient. This is why Buddy, despite being fed high energy food, does not maintain weight and due to his inability to utilise the food properly in turn causes a deficiency in the ability of the body to provide healing nutrient to the cells. Buddy’s metabolic system does not know what to do with the feed it is receiving. Alex believes we can turn this around and he also believes we can improve his feet and joints, which in turn will reduce or alleviate his discomfort. Coupled with the ongoing hoof maintenance that Dean is providing, we should see rewards in a short space of time.
Buddy is on the following diet of pills:
- Calcium Phosphate
- Ferrum Phosphate
- Kali Chloride
- Magnesium Phosphate
- Natrium Chloride
Buddy has been on the tissue salt program for about a month. He is doing really well. We are all hoping for a positive outcome.
Lea, Alex, Dean and Amanda are confident that they will be able to get Buddy to a point where he is content and a more affordable prospect for re-homing. Everyone who meets Buddy falls in love with him. He loves life and loves his humans.
Buddy has now been with us for a year. Although his progress has been amazing and he is comfortable and happy, Buddy is going to need ongoing specialist care for the rest of his life.
Although everyone at TREW have been working extremely hard at fundraising, outgoings are still in excess of incoming funds. To help us continue our work with him, please consider sponsorship of this lovely boy to assist him to live out his days in a loving home.
Buddy is such a character and everyone who gets to know him soon falls for his charms. He can be loving, he can be grumpy, he can be playful and he can be mischievous….all in the same day!
He is still enjoying his regular swim in the dam and is often to be found caked in mud on one side. Buddy has been teaching his paddock mate to also play in the dam, cheeky bugger.
Buddy will never be 100% sound, but he continues to comfortably enjoy life.
Although Buddy is available for adoption, only homes with extensive horse knowledge will be considered as he will need an owner who is sympathetic to his needs.
Until that point, Buddy is available for sponsorship.
In Loving Memory – TREW Buddy – May 2012
Don’t cry for the horses that life has set free
A million white horses forever to be
Don’t cry for the horses now in God’s hand
As they dance and they prance in a heavenly band
They were ours as a gift, but never to keep
As they close their eyes forever to sleep
Their spirits unbound, On silver wings they fly
A million white horses against the blue sky
Look up into heaven you’ll see them above
The horses we lost, the horses we loved
Manes and tails flowing they gallop through time
They were never yours, they were never mine
Don’t cry for the horses they’ll be back some day
When our time is gone they will show us the way
Do you hear that soft nicker, close to your ear?
Don’t cry for the horses, love the ones that are here
written by Brenda Riley-Seymore