What Was A Fire Horse?

Posted on December 3, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, handicap, health, history.

firehousephoto from Detroit News, 1910
Fire horses pulled the fire wagons through town and country directly to the scene of the emergencies. As fire companies grew the upkeep of the horses evolved and transformed to reduce response time to fire alarms.
At first horses were stabled near the stations. When the alarm sounded, it took valuable time to unlock the barn, fetch the steeds and harness them to the engine. Before long, the horses lived at the station and the reluctance to accept them was replaced by a deep affection for the noble animals.
The stalls were positioned behind or next to the rigs. In 1871, a quick hitch was developed. Two years later, Charles E. Berry, a Massachusetts firefighter, created a hanging harness with quick-locking hames. His invention was so popular he left the fire department and sold his patented Berry Hames and Collars nationwide.
Not every horse could serve as a fire horse. The animals needed to be strong, swift, agile, obedient and fearless. At the scene, they needed to stand patiently while embers and flames surrounded them. They needed to remain calm while the firefighters fought the blaze. This was the case in all weather conditions and in the midst of a multitude of distractions.  (courtesy firehistory.com)

Info from New Bern Firemen’s Museum:
Fred was part of a horse team that pulled the fire wagons in the early 1900’s. Fred was bought from a Gastonia, North Carolina, man in 1908. For years, he pulled the fire company’s wagon, marched in parades, and competed against other fire horses. He died on the way to a false alarm, apparently of a heart attack, at age 25. His driver, a man named John Taylor, died only a couple of weeks earlier. Fred’s contemporaries — Old Jim and Ben Hurst — were other fire horses whose legends are preserved in stories. The two belonged to Atlantic’s rival volunteer company — the New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1, which was incorporated just after the end of the Civil War in 1865.
During the war, the Atlantic company basically was inactive, with most of its members away in the fight and Union troops occupying New Bern for three years. After the Confederacy surrendered, some of those Union soldiers stuck around the area and continued their volunteer fire company with about 30 men. The New Bern Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 would eventually be nicknamed the Button Company after it bought a Button fire engine in the 1880s.

Fred, worked nonstop during the worst fire in New Bern’s history. On the morning of December 1, 1922, a fire sparked at a lumber yard and spread quickly. While firefighters toiled to put out the massive flare-up, a separate fire kicked up in a residential area about a mile away. High winds swept the sparks from house to house, and fires multiplied throughout the predominately black neighborhood. A newspaper account of the event in The News & Observer said flames “spread out like a giant fan” until they reached the Neuse River.

shoeing fire horse,1920's

shoeing fire horse,1920’s

Fire horses were replaced by 1929. The Portland newspaper wrote:
“Despite the thrill of watching motor apparatus roaring to a fire many recall the ‘days of real sport’ when horses started for a fire and deeply regret their passing.The horses will be sent to a farm to pass the rest of their days in easy work.” Feb 16, 1929, Portland Evening Newpaper.
On May 13,1929, the Portland News wrote: “[For the past six years] each night at 8:59, 20 juveniles would gather at the fire station to wait for the nine o’clock horn blow. The fire horses would come in, back into the stable for their run harness and the kids would go to the stable door to watch the big horses made ready. The attraction of the animals for the children has never failed during the last six years.Farewells have been said to the big black horses by more than a score of youngsters in the vicinity and tears were falling fast from the eyes of the kiddies in the neighborhood.”

Dangerous Horse at Mealtime?

Posted on September 30, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: health, history, therapy, training.

Some horses are a threat to both people and other horses at mealtime. Behavior disorders that you may see displayed range from pinning ears back and shaking heads to an all out assault as shown in the statue in the photo above. Animals who cannot be trusted are a serious menace to others around them. If they cannot be rehabilitated quickly, they may end up euthanized. Of course, the larger the animal with dangerous behavior, the more quickly the decision to remove it must be made.

Training methods for correcting defensive eaters abound on the internet.For an intelligent and humane approach we recommend the article: “Re-training the Defensive Eater“.  You can also visit our Equi-TV page for some great training videos this month.

Dorsal Wall Lifting

Posted on September 20, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: handicap, health, history, hoofcare, therapy.

Theory of laminitis explained

(exerpts from: equinehoof.co.uk)

The easiest way to explain this new model for laminitis is to look at the hoof as a simplified structure, broken down to its basic components, this enables an easier understanding of what is happening.

Fig 1: Normal hoof section growth

Fig 1: Normal hoof section growth
Fig 2: Chronic laminitis hoof section growth

Fig 2: Chronic laminitis hoof section growth

To examine the effects of normal and laminitic hoof growth, a flat rectangle of hoof can be used to represent a section of hoof (Fig. 1), as new horn is produced in equal amounts on each side of the rectangle, the hoof section grows without distortion.

When laminitic hoof growth is examined in the same way, one side of the hoof is growing faster than the other, horn produced under these conditions will grow in a curved or distorted manner (Fig. 2), the lower extremity of the horn will be deflected forward.

By increasing the complexity of the model to a simple hoof capsule consisting of three sides, a front or dorsal wall and two sides that represent the medial and lateral quarters, we now have an approximation to a hoof capsule.

In the normal simplified hoof the dorsal and quarter areas are growing at similar rates and the hoof grows down in a consistent way (Fig. 3).

Fig 3: Normal hoof capsule growth

Fig 3: Normal hoof capsule growth
Fig 4: Chronic laminitic hoof capsule growth

Fig 4: Chronic laminitic hoof capsule growth

In the laminitic foot the quarter areas are growing faster than the dorsal wall and the hoof grows in a curved manner to accommodate this difference (Fig. 4). The dorsal wall now has a dished dorsal surface, caused by the curved shape of the medial and lateral walls deflecting the dorsal hoof wall forward.

A revised interpretation of acute Laminitis

It is proposed that when a horse encounters a systemic disease that is known to cause laminitis, one of the first events will be an increase in rate of growth at the quarters (Fig. 8).

Fig 8: Simple acute laminitic hoof capsule model

Fig 8: Simple acute laminitic hoof capsule model

This increase in heel growth does not initially cause pain but eventually after a period of time, which may be hours or several days, the hoof capsule will distort beyond the limit that can be tolerated by the laminae. The distorting hoof capsule will then traumatise the laminae and tissues that are situated between the hoof and distal phalanx (pedal bone). In the early stages, any hoof distortion may not be obvious to the naked eye but at a laminar level it will cause pain. (Fig. 9).

Fig 9: Acute laminitis hoof capsule growth

Fig 9: Acute laminitis hoof capsule growth

This delay between the triggering event and the onset of pain is consistent with a developmental or pre-acute phase of laminitis, while the trauma induced in the sensitive tissues will cause the symptoms that have previously been identified as a vascular crisis.

In the early stages of the acute phase, distortion will be concentrated at the distal border of the dorsal hoof wall. As the heels continue to grow the dorsal wall will be elevated away from the distal phalanx in a peeling motion as the distortion migrates up the dorsal wall (Fig.10 – Arrow B). Peeling provides a better explanation for the separation observed between the distal phalanx (pedal bone) and the dorsal hoof wall, it is the most efficient method of mechanically separating two strongly bonded surfaces and requires less force, peeling would also be very painful. When the peeling process has separated enough laminar attachment, the distal phalanx will be detached from the dorsal hoof wall.

As the distal dorsal wall is lifted, the solar horny plate will be pulled upward towards the distal border of the distal phalanx. This upward movement of the horny sole will compress the solar corium, causing pain within the solar corium and compromise blood flow by entrapment (Fig. 10 – Arrow C). Bruising is often subsequently seen in this area of the sole after laminitis and is evidence of this trauma to the solar corium.

As the distal dorsal wall is lifted, the proximal border of the dorsal hoof wall will be pressing inward, again causing pain and compromising blood flow (Fig. 10 – Arrow A). Horn growth at the proximal border of the dorsal hoof wall is often restricted in severest forms of acute laminitis.

Fig 10: Acute phase - Hoof distortion

Fig 10: Acute phase – Hoof distortion
By including the hoof capsule in a causal role in laminitis, the qualities of the hoof can be seen as influencing the intensity of pain felt by the laminitic animal. The level of pain experienced during the initial phases of acute laminitis can be correlated to the shape and strength of the hoof capsule. In round feet, hoof distortion will spread from the toe medially and laterally towards each heel, causing the whole hoof to expand open, this will predispose the distal phalanx to sinking as a greater area of laminar attachment is lost. Long narrow hoof capsule shapes will tend to predispose the foot to rotation as most of the distortion will be concentrated at the toe of the hoof.

This new interpretation of laminitis is still in it’s formative stages, it is hoped that further research will be directed toward confirming that this model is a more accurate account of the changes seen in the feet of equines suffering with laminitis. Time will show how accurate this proposed model is. Whatever the outcome of this research, we must continue to look for ways to help the laminitic equine.

Trimming the Laminitic Hoof

Posted on September 19, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, health, hoofcare, therapy.

laminitis effect on hoof

Crucial information from: johnthevet.co.uk

Remember that when the clinical signs of laminitis are seen, separation of the laminae is already occurring.
• Prompt attention to your horse is imperative to try to minimize these changes.
• If your horse develops laminitis contact your vet.
• If the horse will pick up its feet easily, apply frog supports.
• Walking the horse is contra-indicated but may be necessary to remove the horse from the cause of the laminitis e.g. from pasture.
• In this case it may be safe to walk the horse a short distance, with frog supports on, if it can walk relatively easily.
• If the horse is very reluctant to walk, wait for your vet’s arrival.
• It may be necessary to box your horse back to the stable.
• Stable the horse on a deep bed so that it is happy to lie down if it wants to.

When deciding on what angle the feet are trimmed, the question that we have to consider is whether the pull of the deep flexor tendon is of more significance than the effect of the weight of the horse on a tilted pedal bone.
It would appear that most are agreed that the aim [of the trim] is to establish weight bearing “along the entire solar surface” (O’Grady), or to “all parts of the hoof capsule” (Strasser) and that this is brought about by trimming the foot with a P3 solar surface that is parallel to the ground.

If we trim the feet with a ground-parallel pedal bone:
As weight is applied down the leg, the load is spread more evenly around all the laminae rather than particularly down the dorsal wall.
It will also reduce the pressure applied by P3 on the solar corium at the toe.

This will hopefully reduce the pain in the feet and with it the reflex contracture of the deep flexor muscle and thus reducing the tension in the deep flexor tendon. (I now advise massage of the deep flexor muscle following trimming of the heels).
There should be less pressure applied by the extensor process of a rotated P3 on the coronary papillae of the dorsal hoof wall and this should allow more even growth of the hoof.
laminitis
There will be a more even pressure around the whole of the coronet and this will mean that new horn growth is more likely to grow down parallel to the dorsal surface of P3 allowing the basement membrane that has not been irrevocably damaged to bind, as best it can, the epidermal and dermal laminae together providing a stronger and more stable foot.
Chronic founder cases are unlikely, certainly initially, to be involved in great athletic activity, but when there is sufficient new hoof growth and stability is achieved we can then trim the foot to a more “normal” angle.

However, if we lower the heel we will have a toe that is “long”, particularly if there is already distortion of the dorsal hoof wall. It is imperative that the toe is taken back sufficiently to allow easy break-over and thus avoid any pulling on the weakened laminae by the dorsal wall otherwise it will be pulled away from the bone.

If we leave P3 rotated:

  1. The centre of mass is moved posteriorly, thus putting more weight down the dorsal wall and pressure on the solar corium.
  2. There is likely to be more distortion of the coronary papillae of the dorsal hoof wall.
  3. This will, in turn, result in slower growth of horn at the toe compared to the heel.

Coffin Bone Remodeling

Posted on September 14, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: handicap, health, history, hoofcare, therapy.

Healthy Hoof Interior

New information regarding the changes in the coffin bone of the hoof have been released. The Fischer Equine Lameness Group have provided their in depth results into the remodeling of bone in the hoof during the time it remains shod. This information is a must for all horse owners!
From the “Heal the Hoof” web site: Sheri and her husband Mark, an orthopedic surgeon, fly internationally and present lectures on Wolfs Law of Orthopedics and how this affects the equine distal limb.  Their presentations have been given in Europe and throughout the US.  Recently, Sheri has lectured to the veterinarian students at the University of Minnesota and several veterinarian clinics throughout the US.

“Bone Remodeling of the Equine Distal Limb”
(We strongly recommend reading the complete article)

Excerpts from their article:   Wolfe’s law refers to how bone adapts itself to a variety of influences. Bones can remodel in a generalized fashion – that is, affecting the whole bone, or even the whole skeleton; or they can remodel in a very specific fashion in response to a local influence. It is important to remember that bone remodeling is a balance, and many factors can influence the balance, so that the net effect is either bone gain or bone loss. Most of the clinical situations we encounter in both human and equine situations involve bone loss to an extent to which problems occur.  According to Wolfe’s Law, failure to stress and stimulate bone by the mechanical forces generated by weight-bearing and muscles results in the activation of osteoclasts, leading to generalized loss of bone content and ultimately strength. The importance of exercise with respect to bone strength is well known in many human studies. This would suggest that any program which includes any significant amount of stall rest would promote the loss of bone. In a similar manner that cast treatment or immobilization can protect bone from stress, resulting in bone loss, application of a mechanical stress-sharing (i.e., aiding the bone in bearing a stress) device to bone can have the same effect. An example of this would be the use of horseshoes. An example of altered hoof weight bearing stresses affecting bone would be a deformation of the hoof capsule resulting from the horseshoe. The horseshoe puts direct pressure on the sides of the hoof, causing contraction and then bone loss due to altered stresses. Removal of shoes, depending on the timing as well as other influences, may allow the coffin bone to remodel. It seems obvious, however, that promoting a situation which several million years of evolution adapted the coffin bone for – that is, not applying horseshoes and keeping the coffin bone ground parallel within the hoof capsule – would make the most biological sense. In other words, never putting shoes on the horse, and keeping the coffin bone ground parallel for even distribution of stress along the edges of the coffin bone, would make the most sense for the bone according to the arguments advanced in this report.

In most cases, bone loss is recoverable once the conditions are changed to promote physiologic stress on the bone and to allow for the inflow of nutrients.

Hoof Deviation Terms

Posted on September 6, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: handicap, health, history, hoofcare, therapy.

 

coffin bone dropping into sole

coffin bone dropping into sole

The above x-rays indicate the horse’s struggle for soundness when the coffin bone is affected.
Many readers have asked for more information regarding the terms used for hoof deviations.
The following should help:
Rotation of coffin bone: the coffin bone (P3) of the horse has dropped downward toward the interior bottom (sole) of the hoof. This means it has separated from the flesh (laminae) that hold it to the toe wall. In extreme cases the sharp point of the bone can fall far enough to cut through the sole of the hoof. The bone is still connected to the interior laminae on the sides, or quarters, of the hoof. Most cases can be fixed through correct trimming and hoof boots.
Sinking of the coffin bone: the coffin bone is completely detached from all the laminae of the hoof wall. The coffin bone rests on the interior sole of the hoof. Correct trimming and boots ease this problem but I have no documentation of a full correction yet.
White Line Separation: the flesh (laminae) are in process of separating from the coffin bone. Again, fixed through correct trimming.
Flaring: in most cases,the laminae have finally separated from the coffin bone resulting in rotation, or dropping, of the toe portion of the coffin bone. Oftentimes flaring and white line are used synonymously though there is a difference.
Mechanical Founder/Road Founderof the hoof: This is the term used for sinker & rotation of coffin bone which came about due to hard ground,shoeing,or the daily wear of a long toe that eventually separates the wall from the coffin bone.
Laminitis Founder:the laminae (flesh holding the coffin bone to the hoof wall) become inflamed and dropped their attachment to the coffin bone. The source of the inflammation must be determined to stop the founder in this case. Typically the cause is the diet and the shoeing of the horse; other causes include recent trauma,squalor conditions,abusive handling.
To understand in depth the care and trim required for Founder read Marjorie Smith’s full explanation.

The Military Horse of 1863

Posted on September 3, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, health, history, training.

Sherman

General Sherman

The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War since it ended the Confederate General Robert E Lee’s advancement northward to conquer New England. The State of Massachusetts had sent among its troops the 9th Battery Mounted Division with Captain John Bigelow in charge, who was severely wounded early on during the battle on July 2nd. The Mass Battery brought 110 men: 10 were lost, 18 wounded;  but of the infantry mounts – 88 horses of the 9th were killed on the battlefield. The Northern, or Union Soldiers, were 90,000 in number; they lost 30,000.  The Southern, or Confederate Soldiers, came with 75,000 men; they lost 27,000. Horses estimated killed in battle at Gettysburg: 1.5 million horses dead. Said Capt Bigelow: “The enemy opened a fearful musketry fire, men and horses were falling like hail…. Sergeant after Sergt., was struck down, horses were plunging and laying about all around….”

Horses from Battle at Little Round Top/Pictures from Library of Congress,Civil War Collection


Requiem for the War Horse

No battle fought was theirs by choice, nor came victory from their breath,

But they trotted forward just as ordered – into bullets, swords, and certain death.

Their brave hearts beating in silent courage, in fear that no voice would tell

They stood as targets, lay down as barriers to protect riders from being killed.

They labored for our liberty, they forfeited their lives,

Faithful military horses one and all — felled by cannons, bullets, and knives.

They bore the blows and fatal wounds to save their mounted friends–

Who had only saddles but no horses, when each battle came to end.

The war horse asked no questions, sought no medals, nor decorated pins

Just blinked an eye and charged ahead, trusting they’d go home again.

We salute with honor their deeds of valor: their sacrifice, pain, and torture.

For they were more than just mere transport….

They were the humbly silent:  Equine Military Soldiers.

Reader’s comment: I read once the way they trained the horses to charge into the face of fire was to have them charge a line of men. Then when they reached the line the men would pet them and praise them. They worked up to firing blanks when they charged. Then they would be petted and praised again. By the people firing as well as their riders, of course. There is an excellent video which documents the use and sacrifice of the 75,000 mules and horses that participated in the battle at Gettysburg. It is called, appropriately, “The Horses of Gettysburg.”

One correction, there were not 1.5 million horses and mules killed at Gettysburg alone. The estimate of horses and mules killed during the entire war are 1 – 1.5 million. In further news, for those interested in the incident with the 9th Mass. artillery, there is a good book titled “History of the Ninth Massachusetts Battery” by Levi W. Baker. Baker was a member of that battery. The illustrations are by Charles Reed, their bugler.

The sacrifice the men and horses of this battery made, stopped the Confederate Army from pouring through a large gap in the Union lines. There is actually going to be a reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg in July 2013 (150 yrs) in which the 9th Mass. Artillery will reenact their part. Another interesting book for cavalry buffs is “The Battle of Brandy Station”, by Eric J. Wittenberg. It is North America’s lagest cavalry action ever, and took place just almost a month before Gettysburg. Mahalo, Steve

Thanks for your correction on the number dead for the whole war. Will look up your references also! Jerri



 

Quartermaster and Horse Keeper

Posted on June 12, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, equipment, handicap, health, history, military, therapy.
76th Brigade, 1917

76th Brigade, 1917

The land, or Army, Quartermaster Department is the unit responsible for organizing and distributing supplies to our troops. The availability and volume of materials they control provides the means for military operations. Its inception here in the United States was just before the Revolutionary War in 1775.  It became a powerful role in the equine development of our country. Our first Quartermaster General, prior to the breakout of war in 1776, was appointed by the Continental Congress whose members included two future presidents: George Washington and John Adams; it also included the business/philosopher Benjamin Franklin; and the famous freedom fighter,Governor Patrick Henry.  Their first appointee, General Thomas Mifflin, tried for nearly two years to run the new department but eventually became overwhelmed with the sheer enormity of the job, especially since the lack of supplies to provide, and roads to bring them to the troops, nearly lost the war more than once.  The first Quartermaster General resigned in 1777.
A  young Rhode Island Officer, Nathaniel Greene, was appointed his successor. Edward Payson writes of Maj. Gen Greene (in the 1950 Quartermaster Review): “Throughout the winter he [Greene] had vigorously protested against conditions in the Quartermaster General’s Department, particularly the shortage of forage for horses, hundreds of which, he pointed out, had starved to death. ”
Gifted with leadership and organization, Greene established a transportation system for stock and wagons, agents to examine and purchase animals and equipment, and multiple sites for forage depots in an effort to keep soldiers and animals from starvation while out in battle. The results had an immediate beneficial impact and strengthened our position in the war, earning the Officer some of George Washington’s highest praises.

Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene

The availability of horses during wartime was always a problem.  Equine casualties were grossly high, ranging into the multiples of thousands of dead horses. Because of this it was impossible to maintain enough mounts.  When regional supplies of horses available for purchase were exhausted, private horses would be seized for military use. During the Civil War, for example, the approach of Northern troops into a southern town meant raiding of the horse barns, as well as their food pantries. Many southerners used their crossbred horses for battle and left their valuable breeding horses at home. When these were seized, the bloodlines of some of our founding breeds were lost forever.
Eventually, the Quartermaster Division realized the need to establish their own equine division which would include their own breeding farms. This Division can easily be called the predecessors of the US horse industry. When the field quartermaster soldiers who had worked with both mules and horses, returned to the private sector they entered their communities with well honed horsemanship skills. They regenerated the field of horse services. Also the retired Calvary Officers left their posts to become competition judges and were a powerful influence on the core principles of horsemanship and horse husbandry, principles which are still widely practiced today. During peacetime the military equine division brought about mutual competitions, establishing  3-Day Eventing Competitions and eventually becoming international, which ultimately led to participation in the Equestrian Olympics.

Horses for Healing

Posted on June 4, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: equipment, handicap, health, military, riding, therapy, training.

Combat veteran Rick Iannucci with Cowboy Up!

Photo:Melanie Stetson Freeman

On June 8,2018 the U.S. House of Representatives passed bill: HR 5895, (the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act of 2018), which included an amendment to increase funding for the Veterans Affairs’ Adaptive Sports Grant Program for equine-assisted therapy. The amendment, introduced by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) increases funding by $5 million for fiscal year 2019. The funding will enable an expansion of services that use equine-assisted therapy in conjunction with mental health care treatment and services to veterans.

excerpts from article by April Reese in Christian Science Monitor:

For 2-1/2 years, a stream of Iraqi and Afghan war veterans – many carrying both physical and psychological scars of combat – have found their way to Mr. Iannucci’s Crossed Arrows Ranch, about 15 miles south of Santa Fe, N.M. After first learning to groom and walk the specially trained quarter horses, the vets work their way up to mounting and riding them around the arena. As the veterans bond with the horses and learn how to “read” them, they begin to heal and feel connected with the civilian world again, Iannucci says.  “Horses are so in tune with you – if you’re uptight, they’ll know,” he explains. “They coax a certain level of contemplation out of you. They demand for you to be in the now. When the vets start working with the horses, they immediately start calming down.”

Some arrive with physical disabilities, such as limited use of arms or legs wounded in combat. Others are dealing with traumatic brain injuries, a result of roadside bombs or sniper attacks. Many have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “We call it ‘post-traumatic spiritual disorder,’ because we think the thing that happens to people in war is a wounding of the spirit,” Iannucci says. “Our goal is to find that [wound] and start working on it.”

Iannucci, a compact man with a purposeful demeanor and a walrus mustache, grew up in horse-racing country in southeastern Pennsylvania. From about age 12, Iannucci trained and rode quarter horses his family kept at his cousin’s farm. After retiring from his job as a US marshal working in Colombia, he moved to New Mexico and returned to horsemanship in earnest. He bought the ranch and built a horse arena, initially to provide a place for children to ride. A few years later he started inviting veterans to come and work with the horses. Word about Cowboy Up! began to spread. Brig. Gen. Loree K. Sutton, former director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, visited the ranch last year. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D) of New Mexico has also paid a visit. “Rick doesn’t hesitate to take on a challenge, but he’s also a very humble and patient person,” Mr. Lujan says. “The program is truly impressive. Just to see the faith these men and women have is incredible.”

 

Dr Stephen O’Grady:Flexor Tendon Flaccidity

Posted on April 3, 2019 by Jerrilee.
Categories: breed, handicap, health, hoofcare, therapy.

tendons

Flexor tendon flaccidity or tendon laxity is a relatively common limb deformity seen in newborn foals usually involving the hind limbs although all four limbs can be involved. Weak flexor tendons is thought to be the cause which results in digital hyperextension where weight-bearing is placed on the palmar/plantar aspect of the proximal phalanges and the toe of the hoof is raised off the ground. The condition often tends to self-correct within days after birth as the foal gains strength and is allowed moderate exercise. However the tendon laxity often persists and it is not uncommon to see a fool that still has digital hyper-extension at 4 weeks of age.

Treatment is sequential depending on the severity of the tendon laxity and the response of the foal to treatment. Therapy begins with controlled exercise allowing the foal access to a small area with firm footing for 1 hour three times daily, the toe of the foot can be shortened and the heels can be rasped gently from the middle of the foot palmarly/plantarly to create ground surface and a palmar/plantar extension can be applied if necessary. This extension which extends approximately 3-4 centimeters beyond the bulbs of the heels immediately relieves the biomechanical instability. A cuff-type extension shoe is commercially available or a small aluminum plate extension with clips. In either case, the author feels that either type of extension should be attached with adhesive tape rather than a composite if the foal is less than 3 weeks of age as this avoids excessive heat being applied to the fragile hoof capsule as the composite cures and prevents contracture of the hoof capsule at the heels. Regardless of the method of application, the extensions should be changed at 10 day intervals. Bandaging the limb is contraindicated as this will further weaken the flexor tendons.

Photo: uncorrected adult legs in 7 year old mare

Angular limb and deformities are common limb abnormalities in foals that require early recognition and treatment. The pathogenesis of this problem is not clearly understood. Angular limb deformities can be classified as either congenital or acquired in the first few weeks of life. The primary lesion is an imbalance of physeal growth; for various reasons, growth proceeds faster on one side of the physis.

equi-works

equi-works