And the news is cautiously good!
Commander does have some added rotation since his 2006 x-rays, but it is only a bit, and he still has enough sole to do fine once he’s over the acute phase. He’ll be going into heartbars on Wednesday. That’s the shoeing that worked for his previous founder, and my vet and farrier agree it’s the way to go at this point. His previous owner tells me that with heartbar shoeing Commander went from “Is it time to put him down?” to riding sound in six weeks.
With no bute in him since Saturday midday, you could see he was less comfortable, not moving quite as freely as yesterday; but Commander was and is still bright-eyed, eating and drinking well, sucking up to any human who’ll scratch his proud neck, and very willing to follow me out of his stall – heck, whenever we were pointed toward the exit he tried to drag me outside. He stood calmly with his front hooves up on wooden blocks for the x-rays; behaved like a perfect gentleman, in fact, for the whole process of examination and treatment. The x-ray machine hooked into the vet’s laptop and we could see his rads within seconds of them being taken. Not only that, but Kelly will be emailing them to me, and I can email them in turn to my farrier to have when he comes to put the new shoes on in two days. How cool is that?
My buteless Commander was even able to stand (with an occasional bit of fussing and hoof tugging) on a single forefoot to have each front shoe pulled, which the vet did gently, nail by careful nail, to give him some recovery time between the pulling of the old shoes and the nailing on of the new. Once they were off she showed me by the impressions on the pads inside how the rim of the plain shoes he’d been wearing weren’t offering him any real interior hoof structure support; how the frog was doing a lot of the work of weight-bearing against the protective pad. Then she put new pads and wraps on to keep him comfortable until Wednesday. Once everything was done he got a shot of Banamine, and you could see within minutes he felt just fine, thank you! That stuff is a miracle.
Plan for now: Bute, one tonight, one tomorrow, two on shoeing day and for a day or two afterwards, then taper to one for a few days, always with an eye to how comfortable he is, adjusting accordingly. Stall rest: Pretty much for tomorrow and shoeing day, and for a day or two afterwards, then judicious turnout, always with the goal of quiet light self-exercise that doesn’t stress the fragile tissues. Until he can go out he should get some short easy sessions of hand-walking, a prescription my farrier is strongly in favor of.
I dragged Kelly down to the paddock to look at the grass nubbins along the fence line. Verdict: Too short to harm him; if he wants to entertain himself picking at them, he should be okay. I will need to weed-whack the longer grass outside the fence that he could reach if he knelt down and snaked his head under the lower electric wire.
So, all in all, encouraging, I would say.