Chronic Founder Older Mare Case Study

Mare with Chronic Founder

An older mare with chronic founder was brought in to the rescue looking like this. Her front feet showed severely jammed coronary bands, active bruising all over the feet, and evidence of significant rotation. No X-rays were taken in the initial evaluation. She was extremely uncomfortable but able to move around.

Note: this was not an acute case of laminitis, but rather a mare that had previously has laminitis (or “foundered”) and was neglected. We do not know the exact history of her case, but the hooves often tell a story. Judging by the appearance of her hooves I believe that she had had multiple episodes of laminitis (or founder) over the past year — or more. Often founder is not a singular event but rather a series of systemic inflammatory responses to am unsuitable diet and/or unresolved metabolic issues.

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(front hooves)

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(Hind)

Her hind feet would actually tip backwards and she would walk on her heel bulbs, because of the excessively long heels. Her posture before the trim showed tension in the shoulders, chest, and hindquarters, she was trying to alleviate pressure on her heels by shifting as much weight as possible to her back feet.

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Posture pre-trim. Notice the angle of the shoulders and withers, the shortened length of the topline, and the angle of the croup. If you aren’t convinced that hoofcare can influence conformation, check out the next picture!

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Posture about 45 minutes later, post-trim (after only 1 trim). Note the relaxation in the entire body as she can now stand comfortably. (Again, this mare was not in a state of acute laminitis, she was recovering from neglect and previous founder.)

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Hind hooves after one trim.

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Front hooves after one trim. Jamming in the coronary band has lessened greatly, but will take a few more trims to completely resolve. This mare was adopted out before we were able to trim her again.

Typically in a case like this the initial damage has been done to the hoof wall and the important part now is to rehab the actual hoof capsule. This mare was not at high risk for foundering again, but as always managing weight and monitoring things like blood sugar are important. If this had been a horse I wanted to rehab completely, I would have prescribed a 3-6 week trim cycle depending on her rate of hoof growth, and recommended chiropractic at the first 2 visits at least (due to her posture and long term compensation for painful hooves). In general, with proper care, a horse like this could be ridden or worked within the first month. It would likely take 6-18 months before she was fully sound and had “normal” hooves.

Side note: I firmly believe that horse who have foundered are capable of being rehabbed back to a normal hoof! I have seen this first hand countless times. Want to hear more? Contact us!