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August 2008

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« Frustrated about Wall Separation | Main | Mini Horse »



We have a 3 year old quarter horse that we purchased last January. In July he turned up very lame on his left front foot, in fact, he could barely walk.

After going through the process of eliminating the usual suspects that would cause such lameness, we had digital x-rays taken, which revealed a rim fracture of P3. In fact a small piece of bone appears to be separated at the edge of the coffin bone. Our veterinarian suggested that the standard treatment would be to put a shoe on the foot in order to stabilize it during the healing process. We elected to continue stall rest and put Epic EasyBoots on him.

Another issue that we've been battling with him since we got him is a great deal of separation at the white line. The x-rays revealed that quite a bit of separation and so we went ahead and trimmed him back to relieve the pressure from the hoof wall. This of course added some tenderness to the mix, as he was walking on his soles.

After about 4 weeks since he came up lame, he was walking without any discernible lameness. We then let him back into the pasture, again with the EasyBoots on his feet. Because of our concern for the whiteline issues, and because of his walking freely, we started turning him out without the boots. We have continued to treat the white line issue during this time and he remains trimmed short to prevent any further separation caused by hoof wall pressure.

This last week, approximately 7 weeks since he initially became lame, we checked him at a trot. He was clearly still off and the left front seemed to be the issue.

We are now concerned that we are doing the wrong thing. We are committed to our horses being barefoot. It is hard for us to believe that nailing a shoe to his foot would be the best thing to do but it is very difficult to find good advice concerning this issue in the context of a barefoot philosophy. In general, does a P3 rim fracture represent a condition that requires a shoe to heal properly? Is there a better barefoot remedy that we've overlooked, or are have we not given enough time to the healing process to be able to expect improvement at the trot?

We want to do what is best for our horse. Any thoughts you can provide would appreciated very much.

Thank you.

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