First let me share with you a few extra details about my vet appointment last Thursday. As I expected would be the case, the BM just happened to be there fixing a fence the cows knocked over when my vet arrived. She made sure to check in at different times during my appointment, and pestered my vet with a LOT of questions. I shared in my password protected post that the BM had her farrier look at Lilly without my permission and his "expert" opinion was that she needed to be shod with pads ASAP. So while she didn't actually come out and say it, most of her questions were geared toward confirmation of what her farrier had told her versus what my trimmer had told me. After my vet recommended shoes and pads, I had to listen to the "I told you so's" and "I guess your trimmer doesn't know what she's doing, so you should use my farrier" speech.
At one point when we were alone, my vet asked me why the BM was acting like Lilly was her horse.
Rewind back a few days prior to my vet appointment and you'll find my BM and I engaged in another conversation about Lilly that I didn't want to have. She really hates the feed Lilly is on, which is Enrich Plus (formerly Enrich 32). My vet had me put Lilly on this feed last September because Lilly was gaining too much weight. She was on supplements only, paired with a "handful" of grain, which eventually ended up being way more than a handful. So to take the guesswork out of the equation, we decided to ditch the vitamin and mineral supplement and put her on the Enrich product. Lilly has been doing really well on it. The BMs main concern is that it contains 32% protein and not a whole lot of fiber, which she thinks is contributing to the loose stool Lilly occasionally still has. She's been hounding me to switch Lilly over to Nutrena SafeChoice Special Care. It's a new product made for easy keepers, and has a low starch formula. The SafeChoice has an NSC value of 15%, and the Enrich is 15.5%. The SafeChoice does have a lower protein and higher fiber content, but you also have to feed more of it. Lilly would need to eat at least 2.5 lbs per day, where with the Enrich, she eats only 1 lb.
I could write a whole other post about this crap, but let's just say I wasn't keen on switching feeds for a number of reasons, and the protein isn't what's causing the occasional loose stool. That was an issue way back before we started her on the Enrich, and it was many barns ago as well. Since she wasn't making any headway with ditching the Enrich altogether, the BM also suggested mixing the Enrich with the SafeChoice, but I didn't like that idea either. When she brought it up, I told her I'd give it some thought and discuss it with my vet when she came, and left it at that.
So when my vet was there and we were alone, I told her what was going on with the BM and Lilly's feed and she said she didn't want Lilly on anything but the Enrich. She did say that Lilly has put on weight since she saw her last, and she would prefer that I cut back her turnout time and possibly also the amount of hay she's getting, especially since we're having issues with Lilly's feet.
Near the end of the appointment, the BM showed up again to pummel my vet with questions about the feed Lilly's on and why she wants to change it. My vet said flat out, "no... you leave this mare's feed alone." So while I was upset about how much the BM interfered with my vet appointment, I was happy she was there to hear my vet tell her no switching feed. Now I can say, "sorry... my vet said no." Case closed.
After speaking with my vet about Lilly's weight and perhaps cutting her back a bit (and she also suggested the muzzle again), I was curious about how much weight Lilly has put on since moving in to the new place. I found the earliest picture I have of her, and the most recent, and here they are for you to compare.
All this nutrition stuff brings me to the point of this post... finally, right? After getting in touch with my trimmer and showing her the x-rays, she still thinks there's something metabolic going on. Either a deficiency or insulin resistance that's leading to mild laminitic episodes which are causing her to "sink" and creating/maintaining the thin soles that we've been dealing with. This would explain why Lilly seems ok some days, and other days she acts really sore, and also why she was much happier at the other barn. Even though she still had thin soles, she wasn't having any episodes and was more comfortable. I am on a mission to find out WHY she still has thin soles, and WHY she is more uncomfortable here at this barn. I need to fix it.
So, the game plan. Priority one is getting Lilly comfortable. My trimmer suggested shoes for 6 months, work really hard on getting any nutritional issues under control, and then pull the shoes, but I just can't get excited about shoes. They will do nothing to help the issue, and could possibly set me back a bit as well, so as easy as it would be to slap some shoes on her front hooves, I'm not doing it. I'm not ready to give up yet.
I need to do something for her while I try and figure out what's going wrong metabolically, so after some more discussions with my trimmer (and another great trimmer!) I've decided to go with casts. The last time we casted her, we did an open sole technique because we were going more for support, but this time we're going to try using Equipak CS or a pad (EasyCare or Thinline) to give her some cushion, but also try to stimulate sole growth.
So that's the plan... love it or hate it, I haven't tried everything yet and I want to try everything first. I don't think boots are a good idea because they just don't hold up during turnout, so casts seem like the best shoe-less option out there. I'm hoping she'll be sound enough in the casts that I can ride, but if not on the first set, maybe she'll feel better on the second or third set. While she's in her casts, I'll be frantically researching nutrition and hoof articles, and working to get her metabolic issues figured out.