July 15th @ 1AM
Following up on Diamond’s story for anyone who is faced with a difficult decision because of severe hoof issues. It IS possible for a horse to grow an entire hoof back, even if none of it is left. The top picture is Diamond, a very special Salt River wild horse, who can run like the wind again.
Here is what we did: after Diamond’s rescue from the wild, he went into surgery to remove the loose pieces of hoof and clean the infection that had started eating away at his coffin bone. The hoofless stump was then covered with a cast with a sponge in it that had antiseptic and growth hormone on it. He was on Chloremphenacol (very strong) antibiotics twice a day. He received banamine for pain, and he had an indoor/outdoor stall with other horses for him to socialize with, because their mental state is very important when they are trying to survive. (An inside stall at a veterinarian away from home, with no social stimulation, can put them into depression which can make them give up).
After the first change in cast at 3 weeks, the prognosis did not look good yet, no visible hoof growth or healing and it looked grody. After the next change in cast, at 6 weeks, yellow looking gunk started growing from the bottom of his sole and Diamond was starting to put more weight on it. On the third change, 9 weeks, it became clear that that was new hoofgrowth. It was growing from the bottom up, NOT from the coronet band.
He was then put in a boot with thick foam pads in the bottom, which did require a change and clean every day. It was very important that it did not get contaminated with flies or dirt. At 10 weeks he went off antibiotics and pain meds. The hoof matter was soft and yellow at first, until it reached the coronet band at 4 months, and then closed completely.
It was a very small and misshapen hoof, but a hoof nonetheless. Diamond continued in his boot, and he was allowed to take careful outings. He at this point did not think there was anything wrong with him anymore.
We let the hoof grow and made the first careful adjustment to it at 5 months. Those small adjustments continued every 3 weeks, then 4, then 5 weeks, until it looked like a normal hoof again around 1 year time.
Diamond still has only half a coffin bone, because that will never grow back, but there is a fully functioning hoof around it. His rescue was 4 years ago. He does not remember any of his ordeal, nor how much money it cost, or how many volunteer hours it took, or how many people rooted for him.
He lives happily ever after. So if you have a horse that you don’t want to give up on, our advice is; don’t.
We want to thank all of our faithful supporters, donors and sponsors of our rescues, without whom we would quite literally be nowhere. Thank you to the donors on our hoof care fundraiser, just yesterday!
“Thank you” sometimes is not strong enough to express how thankful we are to be able to do this work for the wild horses we love so dearly. If you want to support our important work, please donate on our website.