Sorry for my absence, I've not written much lately about Louie. The reason is because he has not been doing much of anything lately. He was having some soundness issues, moving very short strided and toe-first with both front legs, and lately becoming even more uncomfortable and actually lame on the right front. Argh. So I did what it seems like the vets always have me do and I gave him time off, like about a month, from any type of work. But alas after several weeks of rest and no improvement in his soundness, it was time to bring him in for more evaluation.
So I brought Louie back to Dr. Turner for a lameness exam. It seemed like he did a lot of looking/testing; in addition to the basic lameness exam and flexions, he blocked Louie's right foot, and Louie improved. He got X-rays of both front feet, and came up with a plan, and gave Louie a cortisone/hyaluronic acid shot in his coffin joint. Basically, the diagnosis is soft tissue inflammation around the coffin joint. The reason- Louie's uneven front feet. Right now if you look at Louie head on, his right knee is about a centimeter higher than his left. This is because his heel is so much higher on that side. One would assume that that much of a leg-length discrepancy would cause pain all the way up the kinetic chain, in the fetlock, knee, shoulder, back, etc.
So, we've got some plans for corrective shoeing. Louie's right front foot is at a 55 degree angle. His left front foot is only at just under 48 degrees. So, the plan is to correct the angles to make them both the same, increasing the angle of the left front by 4 degrees and decreasing the angle of the right front by 4 degrees. The way Dr. Turner wants us to do that is to trim the foot to decrease the angle of the right front by 7 degrees and increase the angle of the left front by one degree (this should make him just about even), then put Louie in plain shoes with a 3 degree wedge pad on both front feet. Of course with how fast Louie's feet grow (and therefore how fast his angles change), we'll have to have him re-set at least every 6 weeks to maintain these angles.
The disappointing thing is that I won't be able to show Louie in Saddlebred Hunter Country Pleasure with wedge pads on. When I talked to my farrier, he did mention that he has aluminum wedge shoes, which are thicker at the heel, that I could use instead of the wedge pad. This might be a possibility to put him in these shoes later this summer, but for now, we need the pads to allow the feet to heal as quickly as possible.
Well, while that isn't awesome news, I'm glad that it didn't turn out to be anything bad like navicular disease or laminitis- always things that run through the mind when dealing with front end lameness. I'm hopeful that we can get him feeling better and I feel that we have a really good plan to get Louie sound and moving right again. My farrier is coming out on Monday to adjust his angles and put the high heeled shoes on. Now it will be up to Louie to keep them on in the mud and all.