Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On Neil Moore and Candy Widden

Candy Widden(I have no idea if I'm spelling her name correctly) is a woman who loves to spend lots of money on elderly horses(as well as unwanted horses of every description). Keeping them alive, after their normal biology has expired and spending exorbitant amounts of money on medications and blood meals and injectable vitamins and so on, to keep them going. Well bless her heart. I'm not sure how much the old horses appreciate it, but, it makes her feel great. So good for her.

Neil Moore is a fellow who, a long time ago, realized there was big money in, among many other things, confiscating neglected horses. Being who he is, that business also included other schemes such as, when running across other people who had old horses that needed to be put down, "sent off to the glue factory" - an inevitable and very necessary part of the agrarian tradition - he offers to take them instead. Seems pretty noble and humane at the time, and then, after he takes them and is unable to repackage and resell them for gain, he takes them to a Collector named Candy Widden and presents himself as a hero rescuing horses from some shameful frump of a former owner who had been neglecting them. Candy gladly takes them in, again feeling as though she's saved another small piece of the world from abuse or neglect. So we have Neil, occasionally getting lucky and either turning a handy profit, or, we have Candy having her dreams realized by getting more supposedly poor old neglected horses that she can credit herself with "rescuing". A nice back-up plan for Neil when his adventures go wrong.

Well last summer I had two old horses who had both experienced very long and remarkable lives. One was particularly old and out of the necessary tooth enamel to grind her food with. The other was just looking old and used up. The person who sold her to me doubted that she would ever be usable because of her hind quarters. But she was very usable and so was the other one. And they were used. And they were happy. But they both continued to age. And early one summer when after several months on virgin hay field, they both still refused to put on any weight. In spite of the usual deworming and teeth maintenance they were both showing that they were ready to go on to whatever the Lord had for them after this life. This happens to everything.

I had discussed with my friend and landlord the likelihood of putting them down. That's how nature works. Eventually everything dies. And you don't spend money that should be going to your family, your children, or someone else's family or children, on an animal that otherwise would have died naturally long ago had it not been for their domesticated life, and the very expensive technology and advancements that our medical industry has been blessed with. We can put old animals on life support but it is very expensive. And when they've had good long lives, do they really want to be on life support?

Well Neil found this out. Two horses that were destined to be put down that he could no doubt get his hands on. He had found this out while over visiting my landlord. He had seen the two horses and decided he could fatten them up and peddle them to some friends. That is what he told me anyway.

I warned him, reminding him of the tall green hay field they had been in all spring and into the summer. There age. Their teeth. The temptation was too great for him. He wanted them. Said he had two young girls somewhere who could use the two horses. I skeptically consented to giving them a final chance with him. Particularly, I must admit, to save myself the expense of having to put them down. I also suggested to him that possibly the one who should have put on weight, since she still had viable teeth, was having a reaction to the iron in the water (though unlikely). But all of this information was wasted on Neil. Neil is one to create his own facts. According to how he needs them.

Two months later, many bags of senior horse pellets, I watched them at Neil's, and they looked virtually the same. He could not get them to put on weight. So, the fun was over for Neil, it was time for his plan "B" bailout plan, and he gives them to Candy Widden, asks her to take them, and tells her that I'd been neglecting them, and that the was shame on me. And she puts them on life support.

So I walked right into it.

Now. . . I have had several other similar opportunities prior to this to learn that it is not a good idea to get involved with Neil. So shame on me. It is my fault.

So they are on life support. But I believe they were much happier when they were being used. And now that they are not being used, standing around old and achy, are they impressed with our modern medicine? Is keeping them alive at great expense, just to keep them alive, for their physical benefit? Or ours? Our personal emotional benefit?

It does not always benefit them.

Both Neil and Candy still peddle this story when asked about these horses. Candy Widden shares culpability in this scheme as well because Neil has been widely known to do this sort of thing for years. So, shame on both of them. Since. . . , yes, there was at least one other party involved who can validate What went on. The truth is available.

I understand that there has been 3-4 thousand dollars spent on these two old horses to keep them alive(so far).

If your emotional well being relies on keeping these old horses alive at any cost, or as long as the latest technology and state of the art medical science will permit, then (until of course, nature finally takes it's course and they do still die of old age), fine. But do so honestly.

Nobody begrudges anyone keeping their life long pet alive through old age. But remember. . . there are many folks out there who believe there 'is' a limit on what is sensible to spend on a very old animal (unless perhaps it has been your life long pet) and they see the large amounts of money required to do so better spent in other critical directions. Theirs and other's children's education, health, etc. Other needy people. Not to mention other peoples souls.

Or even just plainly, younger animals needing a start in another direction.

So there is what you won't hear from Neil or Candy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

An Overview of Laminitis.

We refer to, "an episode of laminitis", also as, "founder".

One of the benefits of the tragic demise of the great racehorse Barbaro is the greater awareness and subsequent surge in research of this disease. There are now more numerous research facilities, institutes, and campaigns dedicated to the opening up of the 'mystery' of laminitis than ever before.

Here's the way one freelance writer and equine industry editor characterized laminitis:

Quote: Laminitis continues to be an all too common, devastating mystery - extremely painful for effected horses, frustrating for those treating them and sometimes ruinous to equine businesses.

And just as the instances of cancer, diabetes and other toxic environment borne maladys have been on the rise for years, so will instances of equine laminitis. Or such is my opinion anyway.

Laminitis is a metabolic disorder, brought on by both external and internal metabolic stress, which results in an unexplained insult and injury inside the foot of the horse.

Sudden lameness in more than one limb at the same time.

Generally manifests itself in the front feet more than hind. Possibly because of the extra load which the front feet have to bear, and their unique design making them less able to deal with the effects of laminitis than the hinds.

Hind feet often will come up underneathe the horse more than usual(to provide relief), and the front feet will get extended out farther in front of the horse than usual. This allows the hind feet to pick up some of the load bearing down on the sore front feet.
Methods of treatment:

1.) Decresing the pull of the deep flexor tendon on the coffin bone.

*Making adjustments to the frog in relation to its support of the bottom surface of the coffin bone, along with adjustments to the angle of the hoof.

2.) Unloading the laminar interface.

*this simply means to reduce the load on the effected hoof wall by transferring it to other parts of the foot such as the frog and sole.

3.) Reducing inflammation.

*The careful use of anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce tissue damaging inflammation while controlling the physical activity of the horse at the same time so the horse does not worsen the laminitic injury through the overuse of its damaged feet.

*The most common anti-inflammatory drug is the analgesic called phenybutazone. Be careful how you use Bute.

4.) Easing the breakover.

*That is, beveling the toe to reduce the force it takes for the horse to breakover or "step-off".

5.) Protecting sensitive tissue.

*The sole may be very sore and need a pad or clog for protection.

6.) Providing Support for the bony column.

*Giving the horse a uniform base of support, if needed, in the way of a pad, clog or shoe.

7.) During the early onset (acute stage) of severve cases, styrofoam is very useful for support and pain relief. sometimes followed by a pad.
Other treatments include:

1.) Soft footing and/or bedding.

2.) Initial stall confinement or bedrest - so to speak - to help initiate the healing process.

Anything that causes stress the internal systems of the horse. As with humans each horse will be different.

There is a whole list of potential causes:

Genetics appear to play the largest role in determining whether a horse will become laminitic or not and seems to increase with age.

Potential triggers include:

1.) Carbohydrate overload.

2.) Toxins in forage diet.

3.) Sudden shocks to the system. Such as illness, vaccinations.

4.) Obesity. The excess fat cells remanufacture naturally occurring hormones and release them into the system as toxins.

(I'll fill this section out as time permits)

Long Term Effects:

1.) Neuropathic pain (nerve damage, pinching, sensory neuron damage,etc.) may be a part of chronic pain often found in laminitic horses.


So what is actually going on inside the hoof that causes this?

That's the big mystery. But I will fill you in on what we know according to the findings of the Fourth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, within the next week or so.

And Avoidance:


*Insulin resistance and the pre-diabetic condition can be genetic predispositions to the eventual onset of laminitis

Ponies are a challenge.

Another pony article here

Nice web site here on natural treatments.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Frogs: To Cut or Not to Cut?


Frogs come in all sorts of descriptions these days and like the rest of the horses foot are completely dependant upon either the importance given to them in the breeding process of it's last few hundred generations, or just sheer luck. Breeding programs have not been kind to the horses frog. The lucky few who have been left with healthy natural frog conformation have a nice wide tough frog that grows robustly with shallow commissures on each side. On the other end of the spectrum is the 'almost no frog' which refuses to grow much. Or a tall frog that tips over when asked to bear weight and is just a nice habitat for bacteria and rot.

My only reminder here is that frogs shed naturally-they just come loose and fall off-several times a year. You can see a video of that here. Many times when this happens they will dangle around for weeks and when your farrier shows up he will have to cut it off. If the horse were traveling and browsing for 20 miles a day as they were once designed to then the shed frog would quickly find its way off the foot. When they don't they can sometimes cause sores on the sole of the foot.

Sometimes the normal frog will be infested with rot, from the hooves not being picked out once in a while, which will then eat its way into the foot and eventually get to sensitive material, causing the horse pain, and to limp. This is called thrush. These rotten frogs also need to be aired out and cleaned up by the farrier.

But frogs are meant to be left intact to serve the important function of absorbing and cushioning impact, as well as helping to pump blood the long distance back to the heart.

So ideally the frog needs to be left fully alone by the farrier and owner unless these several other factors come into play.

And the central part of the heel, the cleft of the frog(central culcus), is the most popular place for rot to start and needs to be picked out occasionally as well. Some horses don't have much of one while others have cleft's which are very deep. The deep ones, staying moist and airless are the lush breading grounds for rot causing bacteria, leading to painful lameness for the horse. Sweep it out with your hoof pick and occasionally pour some Clorox in there while holding the foot up and letting it soak down in. For horses with painful sores already that cause them to kick out at you when cleaned, you'll use something less harsh like Thrush Buster. Among other things Thrush buster has in it iodine, Clorox, and a drying agent which will leach out that all important moisture and kill the bacteria in only one or two applications.


Monday, January 7, 2008

On the Nature of the Vet/Farrier Relationship.

There was a statement made by William E. Jones, the executive director of the International Association of Equine Practitioners, in the July/August 2003 Farrier's Journal, which goes a long way toward clearing up any confusion associated with the distinction between the role of the veterinarian and the role of the farrier in the treatment of the horse's foot. His statement during an interview in that edition of the Journal was, "Most aspects of shoeing normal horses are out of the realm of equine practice and no veterinarians want to do it on a routine basis." Jones says. "Few veterinarians have as much farrier knowledge as the typical professional farrier".

If you wish you can view that article by clicking here.

This is critical to keep in perspective. The farrier relies on specialized knowledge and experience which can only be aquired through operating on each individual foot, through time, and observing its individual response to variuos techniques of balancing and maintainance. At least he's supposed to. The vet then has to gain that information from the farrier and the horseowner to become a meaningful player in a situation. That, in theory, is a simple process and makes for a well-equipt partnership to then head towards successful diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

It's obvious that what must also be factored into your expectations of the job performance of any farrier, or vet, or any professional service person, is that there is no guarantee of care or integrity or knowledge. This is probably the single most complicating factor in getting good work done. The best way of dealing with this problem is to take responsibility as a horseowner by way of learning about horse behavior and care through experience, and from widely accepted reliable sources, even getting second opinion, therby gaining a solid foundation from which you can judge things for yourself. And then the more able you will be in contributing to the solution during any hoofcare issue you may be faced with.

Hopefully this quick overview will be useful toward avoiding confusion in this area.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Time to Get a Horse Seat in Your Car?


The horse has sort of taken a back seat in this video (click on 'back seat' to view the video).

Thanks Carol for finding this video.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Potential Treatment for Difficult Skin Conditions and Possibly Even White Line Disease: Chlorine Dioxide.


Treatment for white line/thrush, cancor, scratches, rainrot: Clorine dioxide at 20,000 ppm is activated using 1 deciliter chlorine dioxide, 1deciliter of vinegar with 4 liters of water. Or about 6 oz. per gallon; or as per manufacturers recommendation for use on livestock. Mix the 6 oz. of chlorine dioxide with 6 oz. of vinegar 5-10 minutes, turning it yellow, activating it to a higher strength.

I came across this recommendation in a magazine article written by a veterinarian a couple years ago and finally am getting around to testing it on a customer's horse that has a stubborn fetlock area skin condition. While this veterinarian seemed to have a lot of success with it, I'm still testing it. I purchased the chlorine dioxide on-line at Air solutions, phone # 515-577-9979, for $26.00/gal. Let me know how it works for you.

I've also found another very useful article here where they mention this supplier: Grand Circuit, www.grandcircuitinc.com. The sell it under the brand name, White Lightening.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Mosinee Chiropractor Does Equine Thermal Imaging On Horses.


Dr. Jennifer Blahnik, 715-692-5000, Mosinee, WI.

Thermal Imaging is an extremely useful tool in equine chronic lameness diagnosis. Click on this useful link.