Apparently Moon and Spooks have very healthy systems because their darned hooves are growing like crazy. Not that that is a bad thing...but since both are shod, it's definitely decreasing the amount of time between resets. Both horses needed to be reset at 4 weeks, but my farrier was out of town, so they had to wait an extra week. Five weeks and it looked like they hadn't been done in a couple of months. Sheez!
The first thing I made sure to discuss with my farrier was Moon's right front foot...wished I had remembered to take pictures (sorry)...
I was a little concerned because he was practically busting out of his shoe in the rear quarters. There was a good quarter inch spread of hoofwall hanging over the edge of the shoe. This was not happening on the left front.
Now, I trust my farrier...or I wouldn't use him. I'm a really fussy bitch about my horse's feet. I don't give a flying crap about 'pretty' or size. I want them trimmed properly and I want the shoe set under the foot properly. End of story.
There is always the off chance that for whatever reason that a shoe may get set a little 'tight'. So I just wanted to bring the noticeable difference to my farrier's attention and talk with him about it a little, especially since he has an apprentice now that is the one that pulls the shoes and probably would not have seen exactly what the foot is doing before the shoe was pulled. I'm certainly not going to insult my farrier's knowledge or skill, but I am not afraid to remind him that I know a bit about hooves myself. Just because I never learned to nail a shoe on, doesn't mean I don't know what I'm looking at.
Open communication is absolutely paramount with your hoofcare professional. I've said it before and I'll say it again...If you cannot discuss your horse's feet with your farrier...FIND A NEW FARRIER!!!
It was very important for my farrier to see what Moon's right front foot was doing because it has a direct correlation with what is going on with his left stifle. I made sure to tell my farrier that the day before, when I ponied Moon in the desert that I had noticed that he was pushing off of his toe on the left hind. That means that Moon is sore in that stifle. I suspected he would be after running in that extremely deep and sticky ground on Saturday. The fact that Moon's right front foot is growing differently than his left indicates that he is struggling to compensate for that stifle again.
Edited to add...To address the immediate problem of Moon pushing off of his toe, the farrier put shoes with a bit of a trailer on his hinds. That will give him more support in the heel area.
Soooo...the conversation moved on to what is the next logical step to mitigate the stifle problem. I don't have any personal experience with having a horse's joints injected and to be honest...I have purposely steered clear of going that route. I think it has become far to commonplace and there is not always enough investigation done by the vets before automatically recommending joint injections. When my vet recommended hock injections for Moon earlier this year...I flat out told him I was not interested.
I'm still not interested in the hock injections...because I don't think Moon's hocks are the problem. That seems to be the only glitch I have when talking to the professionals...they all want to start with injecting his hocks and I am adamant that the problem is the stifle...either the joint itself or one of the tendons. I don't want to hear about no damn hock injections. I think after the farrier did some feeling around and some stretching/flexing...he is inclined to believe me. ;-)
His recommendation was to have Moon ultrasounded as soon as possible. We have to find out what is the problem...joint or tendon. Moon does not seem to be sore in the joint when it is manipulated...however the fact that the Adequan was so beneficial to him indicates that might be the problem. Moon is sensitive to manipulation of the outer tendon, which could indicate strain or a tear in that tendon or the tendon could just be sore from compensating for the joint. Luckily, the vet I usually use, and who has already seen Moon, is the one who has a fancy new ultrasound machine and my farrier said he is the one he would recommend I take Moon to for a diagnosis.
The vet gets back in the office on Wednesday and I am hoping he can ultrasound Moon this week yet. I was planning on taking him to a 2-day race over the weekend, but now I kinda want to know what is going on before taking him. :-/
It seems that in lou of some sort of injury that would require surgery, the standard 'fix' to a stifle is...
If it's the joint...an injection into the joint itself. That is an immediate fix and apparently does not require any time off. It also sounds like it's a one time and done injection. Unlike the annual hock injections.
If it is a tendon problem...there are a few different things to consider...If the tendon is torn...time off...If the tendon is not torn, but simply stretched...A different injection into the tendon which will cause it to shorten. I believe the method is to inject iodine into the tendon.
From what I understand, neither method is overtly painful and the relief is almost immediate.
Still...moving in this direction is a bit scary for me. It was a big step to simply move to using injectable Adequan...now I am considering actual joint/tendon injections? While it would seem that this all revolves around his ability to compete...it's more than that...I have come to the conclusion that Moon is getting uncomfortable in his daily life. I am unable to turn him out to pasture as often as I would like because it seems affect his stifle and keeping him up for too long makes him crabby and unhappy. To remove any unnecessary pain or discomfort he has to deal with on a daily basis would be my ultimate goal and if that means that he can still continue to compete...well, that is just icing.