Piper is an eleven-year-old American Paint Horse mare. Anthea bought the mare five years ago, in 2012, when she was six years old. Up until a couple years ago, Anthea would ride her for pleasure, trail riding, and 4H mount. Piper is heavily halter bred, and ever since Anthea has owned her---has had a history of poor feet.
In 2014, when Piper was about eight years of age, the mare started to experience irregular bouts of lameness. Piper’s veterinarian at the time thought that the lameness was the result of her having sensitive feet, and recommended an adjustment in the way she was shod by the farrier. Problem was solved, for about a year. Then, all of a sudden at the start of the autumn season of 2015, Piper was lame again----similar inconsistent lameness that was fairly mild. Piper was diagnosed with Navicular Syndrome. It was managed through corrective shoeing with 2° wedge pads, hoof packing, and anti-inflammatory medication.
One morning in late October 2016, Anthea went out to the barn to feed Piper her morning feed. Normally, Piper would coming running up to the fence to meet her, excited and hungry. However, this morning was different---Piper was not behaving like normal. Instead of running to the fence, Piper stood in the middle of the paddock and appeared to be reluctant to move. Anthea decided to walk out further into the paddock and try to encourage the mare to come to her, which she did, slowly. As Piper walked over to her, Anthea noticed that the mare could barely put any weight on her right front foot.
Anthea immediately made an appointment with her veterinarian, South Mountain Equine. Dr. Kate Schoenhals arrived on the farm later that day to examine Piper. She took digital radiographs of Piper’s injured foot that revealed she fractured her distal phalanx (coffin bone). Piper was going to need at least 6 weeks of stall rest. Dr. Schoenhals also recommended special shoes and pads for Piper’s front feet, in order to take pressure off of the coffin bone and reduce risk of re-injury.
Piper handled the stall rest okay for the most part, however unfortunately, 5 weeks into it, she accidently got loose and ended up traumatizing the foot again, which required an additional 6 weeks of stall rest. By the end of January, after about 12 weeks of stall rest, Piper’s progress radiographs showed that her coffin bone had fully healed. However, the radiographs also showed evidence of pedal osteitis and navicular bone degeneration.
The combination of the pedal osteitis and navicular bone degeneration meant that the soles of Piper’s front feet were going to remain very sensitive. Her front right foot that had recovered from the coffin bone injury was particularly going to be a recurring problem, due to the “ski slope” that has formed on the bone. If Piper were to step on a rock or puts excessive load on the toe it can cause her coffin bone to fracture again in this foot. To help reduce to risk of reinjury to the foot, Dr. Schoenhals recommended that Piper remain in the special shoes and pads indefinitely, to maintain comfort, stabilize the hoof, and keep pressure off of her coffin bone.
About Altitude Equine
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About South Mountain Equine Veterinary Services, PLLC.
South Mountain Equine (SME) Veterinary Services PLLC., is based in Bluffdale, Utah. They provide equine ambulatory services for all northern/central Utah regions including Salt Lake, Utah, Cache, Tooele, and Davis counties. The practice was founded in 2007 with underlying philosophy of providing their clients and their horses with simple, extraordinary veterinary care and customer service at competitive rates. SME has two full-time ambulatory veterinarians---Dr. Lyle Barbour and Dr. Kate Schoenhals, who both provide equine veterinary care for lameness, reproduction, dental, and medical/emergency needs for their patients.