It has once again been an extremely long time since I updated this blog. This has mainly been because this dating thing takes way more time than I thought it would but is also because while our HR department at work is finally staffed there is a lot of training and still some stress that I’m just starting to get rid of. Feeling like a normal human being again is great!
Despite the lack of updates things have mostly been mostly good with Katai. She has always been so tender footed and with every change in living or diet or anything her feet seem to become sensitive. I was concerned that she was very insulin resistant and I was dealing with laminitic episodes so I had changed her diet completely and was monitoring her very closely including taking her pulse and recording when her feet were sensitive and everything from the weather that day, cold weather brings up the sugar levels in grass, to diet such as how many treats she had. I was having a really tough time finding any type of pattern and she continued to be sensitive randomly.
Finally about three weeks ago she started to shed her soles. It was a scary thing to see and I knew that I needed even more help so I got my previous barefoot trimmer/guru involved through email and text. I sent her a bunch of pictures and she said that the sole shedding was due, in this case, to the fact that she had really bad deep Sulcus Thrush. Her frogs have always been beefy and dry so I’ve never even thought about thrush but deep Sulcus Thrush is usually much more painful then the Thrush that most people hear about because it goes deep into the heel and even the hoof itself. Because of this infection her whole hoof has been compromised and that is part of what was causing her to shed her soles, as well as the dry weather we’ve been having.
Like this photo that I stole off Google
My previous trimmer than gave me a treatment regime that involved cleaning out all of her hooves, since it is in all of them L, every day followed by scrubbing them out with either just water or Dawn dish soap depending on how dirty they were. Then I was supposed to flush them out with a Clorox/water mixture and finally fill the middle crack and each side of her frog with a mixture of triple antibiotic ointment and athlete’s foot cream otherwise known as Pete Ramey Goo.
I have been doing this every day and so far the difference is amazing. Her Sulcus are going from tight cracks to much more open valleys, she is shedding off pieces of frog that were infected, and is already much more comfortable walking and trotting. Basically all of the changes that my trimmer said would occur have been happening on schedule. Slowly I have been weaning her off the Clorox flushing and just filling her Sulcus with medication after carefully cleaning her feet out. As soon as her Sulcus’s open up a bit more I will start to just clean them and then spray them thoroughly with Apple Cider Vinegar which kills bad bacteria while not damaging the good.
Overall, while I’m not happy that she has had thrush for so long, probably since I got her, and I didn’t know about it I am happy because it is something I can fix and it means that once it is better she will stay better as long as I follow some preventative care to keep it from happening again. It is a much better outcome than the laminitis that I’ve feared. It will take awhile for her frogs to literally regrow healthy tissue and as that happens her heels will continue to widen out and she will start to land heel first rather than toe first since she will be more comfortable.
When my trimmer told me what was wrong I asked her why I didn’t know to look for this. I told her how bad I felt that my pony had been uncomfortable and that I didn’t even think to check for Thrush. She said that almost nobody even knows about this type of Thrush and that she has found countless horses with this infection. Some are more stoic than others and it is only because my pony is very honest with me that I even knew that she was uncomfortable. She said that I had been going above and beyond by researching and changing diet, controlling her environment and recording all changes. I also asked why this would happen when she is never in a stall and has been living on sand that drains well for the past year and she said that she thinks that Katai probably had the infection when I got her and that it can happen even in dry, healthy conditions if their immune system is down. The best prevention, according to her, is to clean feet EVERY DAY or at least every other day and to not just pick them out but scrub them out whenever possible. They also need to move around as much as possible and work their entire foot in different surfaces. Finally, if they are out in the wet, or standing in manure or anything that could increase their chances you can help them out by following a good cleaning with a coating of Apple cider Vinegar.
This past weekend I was gone way up North for a wedding and had Dan, the person boarding her, clean her feet out for me. When I got back they looked even better and she was so sound! I decided that a little light riding would be good for both of us so I took her out in the beautiful sun to ride around the field. She felt great and we behaving so well that I decided to work on trotting. So far I’ve only trotted her a couple of steps just to build her confidence and keep things happy and calm. This time I pushed and ended up with four great, long, trots! She was brilliant for all of them and did nothing naughtier than toss her head.
Hopefully I can do some more soon!