I met Levi on July 6th, 2009. He had recently been taken to the veterinarian for radiographs of the front hooves and was diagnosed with incurable founder.
In the words of his owner Priscilla, "On June 4th, '09 we went for a second opinion. After looking at the x-rays, the vet looked me in the eye and said "I can give you no hope for him, he is not safe to ride". I thanked him for his honesty, paid my bill and left with my horse. Approximately the 1st of July, I was able to contact Blaine. Over the phone he was giving me instructions on proper feeding. On July 6th of '09, Blaine came for the first trim. At that time he recommended the blood test and to remove the stall mats and put in pea gravel for footing. The first time we had the gravel down, Levi romped and played in it. That was the first time in months we saw him playful. Blaine has been a real God send to us and Levi."
Priscilla had heard about me from another veterinarian and a trainer in Cheyenne, so she gave me a call.. I asked to have a blood test done to determine how bad his insulin/glucose ratio was. I advised the owner to take him off grain, and start soaking his hay to eliminate the excess carbohydrates in his diet and level off his metabolism. I suggested that she provide an area of pea gravel for him to stand in to help support his coffin bones and provide stimulation to promote new sole growth. She filled the barn floor and paddock area with 4" of small pea gravel.
On the first trim there was 3/4" of exposed red keratinized lamelar wedge showing between the sole and the hoof wall. I followed the founder trim protocol (as set forth by the studies at Auburn University in conjunction with Pete Ramey and Debra R. Taylor DVM, MS, DACVIM ). I removed the load bearing forces on the hoof walls and lowered his heels to bring the coffin bone back into proper alignment. This made Levi much more comfortable. The load bearing forces will be kept off the hoof walls until complete reconnection of the dermal laminae of the coffin bone, and the epidermal laminae of the hoof wall has been achieved. There are two important reasons for doing this. One is to place the break over in the correct relationship to the coffin bone. This will allow for proper movement of the horse. The other reason is, that without a strong connection of the hoof wall to the coffin bone, it can not reattach to the coffin bone, and the hoof wall can not physically carry any load without constantly pulling further away from the coffin bone. When the hoof walls attain reattachment to the coffin bone with healthy laminae, they will then be trimmed to the appropriate length to equally share the load with the sole and frog.
Priscilla started exercising him on a regular basis using Easy Boot Epics with 1/2" comfort pads. She started with 20 minute walks and was riding him several miles within a few weeks! The following pictures show the progression of healing. As of January 2010 he is completely sound with only 1/2" of detached hoof wall left to grow out.