Saturday, January 23, 2016

Holistic Horse: Bertie's White Line Disease - part 2

In my last post I discussed Bertie's white line disease and how he had to have a moderate resection of his front hooves to help eradicate the infection. This resection left his hooves unstable and sore, and so Bertie was put on stall rest until we could find a way to help stabilize his hooves. Part of the problem with this is that by being stalled, Bertie is getting significantly less blood flow to his hooves than if he were out and moving around. Less blood flow means that it is more likely that his infection will reoccur, since the body's defenses are limited.

Our equine podiatrist is always finding the coolest new naturopathic remedies. Her latest find has been "Artimud" which is a green-clay based hoof putty that includes anti-microbial ingredients to keep the surface of the hoof free from fungal and bacterial infection. We discussed the possibility of packing his resected areas with clay and then casting them with a breathable cast to see if that helped keep him sound while his hooves grew out. Neither of us really knew if it would work, but it was certainly worth a try! Check out the photos below for the various steps of the process. Before she arrived, I re-soaked and wrapped his hooves with CleanTrax to assure there was no nook or cranny hiding fungal or bacterial infection. I then gave his hooves a quick rinse and some time to dry out. 

The first thing she did was clean up the resected area and made sure the only tissue exposed was healthy tissue.

Then, she packed the hole with Artimud clay, taking care to push it into all the irregular edges of the hole.

She then wrapped the hooves in a breathable cast (which you can see on his white leg). This cast had to be set up with a heat gun because of the cold temperatures, and Bertie was a champ and only balked at it once! 

After this, I stuck him back in his stall and crossed my fingers...

Two days later I thought I'd take him to the indoor arena for a spin. First I walked him in hand and then lunged him lightly, and when he appeared sound I figured it was time to cut the apron strings and let him run!

Posted by Emily Jenkins Bastian on Friday, January 22, 2016

Time will tell if this is actually a solution for his hooves while they re-grow. One potential roadblock that I think I've found a solution to is that while walking through the snow to the arena we are introducing wet conditions into his hooves again. Not only is this bad for eliminating the infection, it may cause the clay to soften and seep. My solution? Since Bertie is an incredibly tolerant and level-headed boy, I've been putting ziplock baggies on his hooves for our walk to the indoor arena. No, he can't be turned out in them, but he can make it to and from the arena without issue! 

Posted by Emily Jenkins Bastian on Friday, January 22, 2016
Fingers (err... hooves?) crossed! 

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