My horse is "sick" :(
He's been sore on his front feet for a couple weeks now. At first we thought it was a hoof abscess, and treated it as such. He started to get better, then stopped getting better, but didn't get worse. Then he started to get worse, he was moved to the barn where the footing was softer, and the farrier took a look at him. Farrier said he had thin soles, and put shoes on him (he's never had or needed shoes before). He was ok yesterday (when the shoes were put on), but today he was worse off than he's been yet - actually laying down and not wanting to get up. So we called the vet... Vet said his feet actually look good, and wants to treat it as laminitis. My horse is now on three medications: 2 shots 3x a day, and bute once a day.
I was out this eveningn to give him his shots, and he actually looked a LOT better already! A lot of that has to do with the medicine, I'm sure, but I'm glad to see him showing improvement already. He is still a little sore, I could see it when he walked, but his spirits were better, and he was happy to see me and more willing to move for me. I'm going to have to wake up extra early in the mornings to give him his morning shots, but the people at the stable will give him his afternoon shots for me. He's also on stall rest with extra bedding for a month. These first few days his exercise is going to be limited, but if he shows improvement I can start hand walking him. If he continues to show improvement he can be turned out in a small run for short periods as long as he doesn't try to run. If he does try to run, he'll have to be restricted to hand walking.
I really can't think of what actually caused the laminitis. Although the farrier did not find an abscess... I'm wondering if perhaps it started as an abscess. That would explain why he initially showed improvement when it was treated as such. He was mostly sore on his left front, and when I checked his feet I found a tender spot just behind his toe. Every time I check it was the same spot. He didn't have any tender spots on his right. When he started to get worse again it appeared that his right foot was more sore than his left, and as of today both front feet seem to be sore, as he shifted from left to right before the vet saw him. If it did indeed start as an abscess, I suspect that maybe putting more weight on one foot to compensate for the soreness maybe put too much stress on it and started the laminitis. When the abscess foot improved, he started putting more weight on it to compensate for the soreness created in the other foot... then perhaps started the laminitis in that foot. Now he's sore on both front feet! Getting the shoes yesterday probably just exasperated it. The vet pulled his shoes today - said the nails aren't going to help the sensitive, tender parts of the hoof heal. If he absolutely needs shoes, we'll put the glue-on kind on him, but I really don't think that's going to be necessary (like I said, he's never had shoes before).
I am happy he's showing improvement quickly. If it is actually laminitis, I don't think it's at the bad stages yet, considering his temporary improvement and quick reaction now. The vet's reasoning for treating it like laminitis is that it would be the "worse" diagnosis, and the first we'd want to treat. If it's not laminitis, the treatment shouldn't make him worse. If he shows no improvement, he'll be re-evaluated, and go from there.
Here's hoping for a quick recovery!