You are here:

Horses/leg and feet problems


I have a three year old paint gelding. He has a case of thrush in three of his hooves. I am treating it with bleach water and also iodine. Along with occasionally using thrushbuster. Lately with the rain we have been having the horses are being left in when on a normal day the horses are out 24/7. Ranger isnít really use to being in a stall. I spoke to his original owner and she said they only stabled him when there was bad weather and that he had never stocked up.  He is stocking up anytime he is in his stall. This started happening the end of September. But also that month I had his shots done and his teeth floated. His back ankles got really swollen and his back was squishy, reminded me of a waterbed. This happened in the middle of the week. I had the vet come out on the weekend and by then the swelling was done. She did a flexibility test and said he was sound. She instructed me to just do some light riding for two weeks and for the first week give him bute twice a day and then the next week only give him bute once a day. This was done. The second week though the horses were in their stalls more and he started stocking up. It was now mainly in three of his ankles. I used standing wraps on him and walked him and this seemed to help.  Then last weekend he went about 18 hours with out urinating. We called the vet out and they took blood and he did end up peeing a little and we got a urine sample. The tests results were normal. He now does seem to be urinating properly. Also while she was there she noticed that he may have a bone chip in is hock. When your looking at him from is butt it will be the back left leg. I have also noticed that he will rest this foot on the tip of his hoof. She also said that he moved his other back leg weirdly but since I wasnít going to do any shows that it was nothing to really concern myself over.  He also used to be full of energy and now he seems like he doesnít want to do much. Some people have told be that this could be because of the weather. I was able to lunge him and without much enforcement he would pick up a walk, trot and canted no problem. Now he barely wants to walk. I can get a trot out of him but forget trying to get a canter from him. I did get him to canter the other night and his back legs were defiantly moving extremely stiffly. I really donít know how to explain it, but it all just seemed off and my gutt is telling me that something is wrong. I am a first time horse owner. I guess what Iím asking is if you have any advice on what I should do or if there really isnít anything wrong and Iím just being an over worried first time horse owner.   Thank you!


You have a number of issues going on here and a big one is your vet, who doesn't really seem to care very much about the patient.  But, some of his problems may well also come from the management practices where he's kept.  Unfortunately this is the way a lot of boarding facilities are.  My horses live outside 24/7.  They have run-in shelters and everybody has waterproof blankets.  In cold weather they generally wear 2.  Any horse that's generally out will tend to stock up in the stall.  A problem many of us have when we go to competitions and have to put horses into stalls.  I am very concerned about his urination issue.  From what you wrote about the way he's moving it really sounds like he might possibly have some kidney/bladder problems.  Either get after your vet to figure out what's going on or get another vet.  I would be very concerned if he were my horse so your instincts are good.  I've learned to follow my gut, most of us do because we know our horses.  This may not be cheap but he needs some in-depth testing done, not just routine blood tests.  Check his liver function, kidney function, blood chemistry tests,

As for the thrush, I suspect that's from being stalled in not really clean conditions.  Get some White Lightning hoof treatment and use that on the thrush.  You'll need to clean his feet and treat them everyday.  If he's in the stall, it needs to be clean.  Period.  Thrush is a man-made condition.  

Bone chip in a hock?  He's 3 yrs. old, his joints are not even mature yet!  That's the least of your worries.  

I will suggest a few things to look at.  He's not used to being stalled.  Imagine you suddenly confined to a closet. It can be stressful.  Get one of those slow-pick hay nets, stuff it with good hay, and give that to him when he has to be in all day.  Horses are biologically engineered to eat 18 - 20 hrs. a day.  Their guts are designed to slow process fiber nutrients over time.  A lot of these horses develop ulcers.  According to a a study done a few years ago, 98% of performance horses have ulcers and 68% of backyard horses have ulcers.  Again, a management problem.  The slow-pick hay nets slow down the consumption to a more normal pace, the bags last all day or all night.  Will give him something to do to alleviate boredom in the stall.  Walking him, taking him out to graze, if possible, spend some time with him for companionship.  Get some Sweet Orange essential oil (any healthfood store or on-line) and rub a few drops on your hands then on his nostrils.  Get a small spray bottle, 3-4 oz., fill with pure water, not tap/well, but any plain, bottled water works fine and add 10 drops of oil per ounce of water.  Shake and spray around the stall.  He sounds depressed as well as uncomfortable and the orange oil is a natural mood brightener.  

He's too young to have these issues which is why I am concerned.  But don't delay.

Good  luck and follow your feelings.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Lyn Kamer, C.E.S.M.T.


Training, alternative therapies, saddle fitting problems, behavioral problems, endurance riding, driving, Mustangs


Horseman of over 50 yrs., certified equine massage therapist, trainer both riding and driving, long distance trail riding and driving. Both endurance and competitive trail riding and driving.

American Endurance Ride Assn., Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Assn., New Jersey Trail Ride Assn., Aromatherapists International, American Mustang and Burro Assn., United States Trotting Assn., Standardbred Pleasure Horse Org., US Wild Horse and Burro Association

Trail Blazer magazine, AERC Newsletter, Hoofbeats magazine

Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist, Least Resistance Trainer, Certified Aromatherapist

©2017 All rights reserved.