What on earth would cause the bond between the hoof wall and the coffin bone to become inflamed and potentially come apart?
#1 CAUSE - METABOLIC
- Insulin resistance (“Equine Metabolic Syndrome”)
- Grain overload
- Pasture rich in carbohydrates (fructans, starch)
- Enteritis (duodenitis/proximal jejunitis)
- Potomac Horse Fever
- Any acute febrile diarrhea (Salmonellosis)
- Retained placenta
- Septic metritis
SEVERE “TYING UP” (Rhabdomyolysis)
SUPPORTING LIMB LAMINITIS (Barbaro)
ANY CONDITION WITH FEVER – including post vaccination
- Rattlesnake venom; excess selenium (oversupplementation or Se-accumulating plants)
ADMINISTRATION OF CORTICOSTEROIDS
- (dexamethasone, prednisolone/prednisone, triamcinolone, etc. )
WHITE LINE DISEASE (when severe)
ABCESSES – esp. dorsal wall/toe
DISTAL LIMB EDEMA (moderate to severe)
These are just SOME of the many potential causes but we will focus on the first two – the metabolic causes, since these are by far and away the most common. These are the diseases Dr. Nielsen deals with nearly every day, and very likely one of these conditions has or will have affected your horse or someone’s horse you know.
Notice one thing here: all of these conditions, with a couple exceptions, involve parts of the body OTHER than the hooves - laminitis is caused by a disease process far from the hoof! LAMINITIS IS NOT A PRIMARY HOOF DISEASE AND THEREFORE WE ARE NOT GOING TO FIX IT BY FOCUSING OUR ATTENTION SOLELY ON THE FEET!!! A farrier can do the most perfect trim and/or shoeing but it will not mean a thing if the CAUSE is not addressed. We cannot trim/shoe our way out of founder. If your vet or farrier does not look for AND ADDRESS a cause, get another opinion immediately. We cannot hope to gain a handle on this disease in an individual horse if we only work on the feet without finding and treating the underlying cause. I am being repetitive because I cannot stress this enough.
That said, there are rare cases where the underlying cause is a mystery despite an in depth search. There are also cases where the cause is a one-time event that has come and gone but left the horse with damaged hooves. In these senarios all we can do is treat the feet.