Monday, April 22, 2013

Seedy Toe?

Seedy toe is a separation of the horse’s hoof wall from the underlying sensitive laminae at the white line, resulting in a cavity which fills with crumbling dirt, horn and debris, and is prone to associated infection.

My trimmer thinks this is what Lilly has, and I tend to agree. Since she emailed me back with her diagnosis, I did a bunch of research and looked at hundreds of pictures, and this seems to be what's going on with her hoof. Seedy toe can occur in non-laminitic feet with long toe/low heel conformation, where the hoof wall separation and subsequent infection are the primary features. It may also occur in feet with poor front to back balance and may be predisposed by poor quality hoof horn.

All the articles I read make it sound like I'm doing a shitty job as a trimmer for my horse. I work really hard to keep her hooves balanced and to keep her toes short, but clearly I'm doing something wrong. And now I have a pretty big issue to fix. My trimmer said she's seeing this a lot because we've had such wet weather that past couple months, and something as simple as a little toe crack can allow bacteria in where they work their awful magic.

So probably what happened is, the bacteria got inside her hoof wall and chewed away until her hoof wall was compromised, and perhaps when she was out goofing off, she managed to break off that piece of hoof, exposing the now giant crater.

She recommended I use a dremel to cut away all the diseased areas until I hit solid wall, and then treat with oxine. There's no way I feel comfortable using a dremel on her hooves, so she said my hoof knife would probably be just as effective, so I went out today to cut away the hollowed out area. I could only find oxine online and it'll take a while to get here, so I bought a soaker boot and a gallon of apple cider vinegar.

Soaker boot...
Soapy water and ACV.
Looking pitiful with her boot.
I cleaned her hoof really well before putting on the soaker boot, and while she was soaking, I looked very closely at her other hoof. I found a few spots there as well that looked like they might be the start of white line/seedy toe, so I worked on those areas and then switched her soaker boot to the other hoof. I soaked each hoof for about 25 minutes.

Here's her hoof after I was done trying to chop away the diseased areas:

Giant crater even giant-er.
I can still see a hollow area near the crack, but I can only do so much with my hoof knife. I used a shoe nail to dig out the gross stuff from inside there and I'll take a look at it tomorrow. Perhaps I can get some more off then, or maybe it'll look better from being soaked.

I'm working with my trimmer long distance, but I feel a little in over my head. And I feel like I let Lilly down. I just hope this is as bad as it gets and I can get her back on track. It's going to take a while for this to grow out, and I'll have to pay really close attention in the future to keep this from happening again.

16 comments:

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    1. Thank you! Her hooves seem to grow pretty slowly, but I just hope she isn't uncomfortable for very long.

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  2. I'm so sorry :/ I know how you feel too. Things will get better.

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    1. Thanks, Emmi... I hope she's feeling better soon.

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  3. It's ok, you're making her better now! Don't fret.

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    1. I feel like I'm always learning with her... sometimes I just catch on too late. I'll definitely do my best to keep it from happening again, though!

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  4. You're doing a great job with her feet, don't beat yourself up. I know it looks awful but it will grow out in no time. And now that you know what you're looking for, you'll be extra-super vigilant about it.

    We have a hard time here with that sort of thing too. It'll be super dry, then we'll get rain and their feet fall apart, seemingly overnight. Thrush, chips, footy on gravel - and yet before the rain they were rock-crunching. It's frustrating to keep a horse barefoot sometimes, but you're doing great!

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    1. Thanks Jen... I feel awful, but I'm trying not to let it get me down too much. Like you said, you can bet it won't happen again!

      All this wet weather is just crazy! She was doing so well over the rocks and now her hooves are so soft that she's having a tough time with them. And the giant crater doesn't help either.

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  5. Crap happens, don't beat yourself up. It'll grow back and she'll be fine. Did you get the citric acid to activate the oxine?

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    1. It just takes so long for those holes to grow out... I wish I could have done something sooner. I read that you can also use vinegar, and I was having a tough time finding the citric acid, so I just got the oxine. I hope it works! Have you used the oxine before?

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  6. Seedy toe was the first thing I thought of when I saw your photo yesterday. Poor pony. Sending lots of healing thoughts.

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  7. We struggle with it a lot up here in the great northwest. The wet does make it super hard to stay on top of every little separation and opportunity for infection. Don't beat yourself up, I've seen way worse with way more hoof missing and the foot recovered surprisingly quickly....

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    1. This seems to be one of the down sides to barefoot ponies. Their feet just soak up all the moisture from the ground. I guess that can be good when it's dry, but bad when it's wet. I can only imagine how soggy it gets up in your area.

      I did see some pretty scary seedy toe photos during my research. I think it traumatized me!

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  8. I doubt you're doing anything wrong. Stuff happens! That looks like a great soaking boot. I usually end up using old saline IV bags. Always classy!

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    1. I'm ready for the rain to go away now!!

      You know, it's funny you should mention that! I debated for a good 20 minutes about buying that boot. I still have an Easyboot Trail that I thought I could use for the bottom half, and then I was going to buy ziplock bags at the store for the top half. Then I said "what the hell!" and bought the soaking boot. I figured I'd be soaking a lot, so I wanted it as easy on me as possible. :)

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