FROG INFECTIONS                                       CONTRACTED HEELS

This page is going to be a bit graphic!!! 
If you don't have a stomach for yuck, then please don't go any further.

  The day for me started just like any other, I am scheduled to go look at a lame horse.....
I'm rattling along down the highway on my usual hour and a half drive, I say rattling because inside a fully equiped van with Boots, Supplements, Measuring Scale, Pads, Scoopers for supplements and everything else I carry except the kithchen sink, "Which someday I may add because I could really use it " .
Anyhow, I'm rattling along thinking about the next customer and what I may find effecting it's level of soundness.
One of the foremost things in my mind is a deep frog infection. Many horses have them, Few owners realize it. Many horses have been looked at by a vet and been diagnosed with the big " N " .  This is a anatomical word that scares the He!! out of almost every horse owner. If you haven't guessed it the big " N " is   " NAVICULAR "
Well, I am one horse owner that is not afraid !!!  I do believe there are certain horses that truly do have the big   " N "  .
But in my opinion and from my real world working experience, Most do not .  Every horse I've seen to date that has been diagnosed as a navicular horse has had a very deep frog infection that has penetrated the frog corium, causing extreme pain and bleeding or the infection has come close to entering the Digital Cushion causing extreme heel pain and incorrect heel support and movement.
Over time this incorrect support and incorrect movement caused by pain can lead to  high heels, contracted heels, curved bars, long toes, low under-run heels, etc....
The pictures below will show very deep central sulcus infections, pinching heels, narrow bulbs, curved bars, and lots of rotten frog tissue.
I have tried to make these pictures the same size as the live hoof ( 4 1/4 inches ) to help you understand in real life size what is happening.
The head of my hoofpick is 11/4 inches long, Note how it is buried in the hoof !!!

Please remember my hoofpick is burried into this frog 1-1/4 inches.

If you dissect a dead hoof in this area you will plainly see that this type of infection penetrates the digital cushion.

The heels of this horse were contracted so tightly , it was difficult to even get my hoofpick between the bulbs.
The horse did not like this situation and the pain it caused.

This next set of pictures from here on is after healing has occurred.I started on this horse on
The date is now

The horse lived in Easyboot Epics with 1/2 inch pads and the frog was packed with SBS Medisole and cotton cloth twice daily.
A sponge with Medisole was also placed under the hoof inside the boot to prevent infection.

I have found it necessary to keep a foot like this one medicated at all times until the frog heals from the inside out.
As this occurs the central cleft will get shallower and the heels begin to decontract.
After about 6 weeks the owner called in a panic saying she could not get the cloth to remain in the central cleft and that the heel bulbs were spreading apart.
I said " GREAT " that's what we want.
The frog is HEALING !!!!
The horse was allowed turnout in a large paddock 24/7

After major healing had started to decontract the hoof, we removed the boots. Daily medication was still applied to aid in continued healing of the frog.

This horse still has contracted heel and a long toe with underrun heels. But, it will take time to remove all of the pathology.
He continues to heal daily and is comfortable without boots.
I have allowed sole thickness to build steadily.
This horse was a very sick individual, other than the frog infections.
He had chronic diarrhea for four months. During this time he lost a tremendous amount of muscle mass and was a walking skeleton.      The owner was trying very hard to get his body to respond to feeding directions given by Dr. Eleanor Kellon. The local vets were at total loss as to what to do.
He finally stabilized and was forming apples with the help of Ontario Dehy complete hay forage and probiotics.
Now he has been stable for a few months and is doing well on the Complete forage and pasture as well as hay.
He is gaining weight back and the owner is exercising him to rebuild muscle mass.

He grew very little hoofwall in the 5 month period that is documented here.
Maintenance trimming consisted of a mustang role to the hoof.

I finally had 3/8 inch of hoofwall excess length to trim off on his appointment  8-31-2007