Joey is a 3 year old racehorse. He had a few runs in his 2 year old season, but then began to have soundness problems. The trainers vet felt he was “suffering from growing pains” and gave him a series of injections of steroids and phenylbutazone into his joints “to get him on the track”. His owner didn’t think this was in Joeys’ best interest and brought him home for a rest and chance to grow on. On his return home the farrier removed his shoes. The right fore was glued on, the left fore nailed on. The next day Joey was very lame on the right fore and the vet was called. An abscess was considered the most likely cause and the foot was poulticed. The abscess burst out a couple of days later, poulticing was continued for a week to drain the pus.
The above photos were taken after his first natural trim. Note the difference in angle of the toe walls. The right fore was a more upright and boxy foot, the left was flatter with collapsed heels. Note in the right photo how he is putting more weight on the left fore and favouring the right fore. He must have had the abscess developing for some time for this uneven weight distribution to have altered the size and shape of his feet. At this stage he was sound in the field, but sore on the stony yard, so a rubber matting pathway was laid between his stable and the field. Within a few weeks he was sound on the stones too.
The photo above was taken 2 months later. Note how the angle of the new growth on the left fore is much closer to the angle of the right fore, indicating that he is now bearing weight equally. Soon after this he went back into training (and back into shoes).