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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Sunday, July 17, 2011

She's All Legs

I've been doing my best to come up with a Master Plan for Gogo's current stage of rehab/desperate weight loss need. I have a basic idea of what I want to do, but of course, Gogo's incredibly awkward legs have other ideas, and have decided they are just going to do whatever they want to do, rehab be damned!

Gogo is the queen of Random Mystery Leg Swellings With No Lameness. For YEARS she has been getting mystery swellings, which were mostly due to cuts and scrapes; however, they have been known to arise from anything under the sun, all the way from generalized bangings (getting cast in her stall, getting tangled in a roundpen panel, etc) to wild reactions to new batches of shavings (balloon legs on her, but nobody else!). Generally, when it comes to Gogo, if there is a cut or scrape on one of her legs, I can bank on it swelling dramatically no matter what. Not a single one of these Mystery Leg Swellings was lameness-inducing. And this time, it's no different: Gogo's right front is lumpy and fat, and in the past two days has switched from the inside of the leg to the outside. All four legs have a little fill to them too. Why? Oh, I dunno. Might be....

Or something like that.

Seriously, what the heck is going on? A mystery fungus that pops up on all four legs in the middle of the hottest, driest summer Gogo has ever experienced in her life? I might understand it if I was bathing her a million times a week in the middle of a soggy Connecticut spring, but here? It popped up as a bunch of scabs on the backside of all four legs, right where you'd expect scratches to be (save for the right front, which has scabs on the front of the pastern as well). When you pick them, they come off, and bleed - a lot. They only showed up in the last week or so - coinciding pretty well with the move to the new facility. Texas is desperately dry right now, so it's not like she's standing in mud. And is it even a fungus? Her field has some bull nettle in it, as well as several other types of completely terrifying pokey plants in it (they're not cacti, but I wouldn't want to run into them either way), so it's possible she's reacting to getting poked and stabbed by plants she's never been exposed to either. But I think if that were the case, it wouldn't be localized so much... hmm.

I always tend to associate scratches with having an autoimmune issue. But in this case, it does coincide pretty spot-on with her move to the new place. I wonder what is actually going on... fungus, or scabs due to many little cuts and scrapes from nettles?

Either way, washing with Micro-Tek and Desitin aren't going to hurt anything, so we'll give that a try. As for the fat right front, I dunno... the fill doesn't go away with movement (the case in her other 3 days), isn't sore, is warm but not hot, and is not lameness-inducing. It is also partly localized as a lump on the outside of her leg.

The other VERY INTERESTING thing that is happening? Gogo is growing a COMPLETELY different foot. I mean SERIOUSLY different. Rememeber four months ago when I pulled her off Gro N' Win? I mentioned then that Gogo has always, always has a small bit of white line separation, always - for years! It never caused her a problem but it never went away. I had always chalked it up to the horrible, soggy New England climate. Gro N' Win has a soy base, and when I removed it from her diet, I mused that while I didn't think she had a soy sensitivity, it would be interesting to see what would happen.

Gogo's feet at the start of April:

With the same danged-ol' toe cracks that she has had for five years. She has noticable indentations in her coronet bands on both fronts, which is where the problem originates. They've never been a problem, and so far nothing has ever made them change or go away. They've always looked pretty much like that - you might not notice they were there unless you looked for them.

Until April happened, and the grass grew in. Suddenly, Gogo's feet were dramatically changing right before my very eyes. Her beautiful feet deteriorated with such rapidity that I didn't hardly know what to do with myself. They were different EVERY day. Aside from the underside of her foot warping, the most alarming thing that happened was that both toe cracks split open pretty wide all the way to the top of the hoof. That had NEVER happened before. It didn't cause her any problems, thankfully, but it was still startling to see. All because of the beautiful pasture she was on.

Beautiful grass pastures are my sworn mortal enemy. At this point, after seeing what the grass did to her, I think I'd rather have her in a stall/minimal turnout situation than out on unlimited pasture ever again. She was never sore or lame, but she could have been. If you eat too many sugary candy bars, you are probably going to end up as a diabetic someday. Horses are NO exception.

Thankfully, we have fast-forwarded three months, and are onto a new chapter in Gogo's feet. Gogo has been off the Gro N' Win now since the beginning of April, and her vitamins and minerals are coming from a supplement instead. The new non-soy foot Gogo is growing in is beautiful and quite a LOT tighter than the one she had before. Look where the big crack stops - RIGHT at the event line. How about that. The grass caused the cracks, but taking her off the Gro N' Win seems to have prevented them from staying. Interesting... very interesting.

Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea. Excuse the recently-bathed coronet/periople wetness. Oh yeah, and there's the fat leg too!

If you notice, that foot in comparison to the hoof picture above it has a LOT of length to it. Gogo was trimmed barely two weeks ago, but after she was pulled off the grass for good, she completely exfoliated her sole on all four feet.... AGAIN. This is the fourth or fifth time in the past few months that she has done this. It just finished its full exfoliation, and of course this now has left about half an inch of hoofwall that is standing above the sole. It's trim time - immediately!

Oh Gogo. You are my greatest teacher.

PS: she has a fan club of little girls at the new barn already... and guess what their favorite pastime is with her?

She loves all her little minions.

More soon on the rehab process and what actual, concrete plans I have in store for her - and how her first time back under saddle went!


Alighieri said...

For the fungus, try some MTG. Its greasy, bacon smelling stuff, so use a glove to apply it. Just smear it on the fungus and curry it off the next day.

It works, I promise. Everyone in my barn started using it this spring after I recommended it. They tried it and it WORKED on everything, even problems some horses had been having for years.

Barbara said...

I agree with the MTG, I think it might cure anything. Foul smelling, nasty, oily...YUCK. I wouldn't be without it.

Now That's A Trot! said...

If nothing else works, try vinegar -- plain, white vinegar from the grocery store. I use it either full-strength or 50/50 with water and it's one of those weird hippie cures that actually works on a surprising amount of stuff... I got stung by something in the pasture the other day, sprayed straight vinegar on it (stopped screaming -- whoops), and the swelling/itching went down right away.

It's funny you mention the soy, because I was looking into soy-free diets for ponies AND humans, and it's amazing how pervasive that stupid little bean is.

Dressager said...

Don't have many recommendations as I haven't gone through stuff like that... yet (knock on wood).

As for the little kids: it is so DARN cute to watch them go crazy with the grooming tools on your horse. The horse likes it, kids have a blast, and you walk away with a big ol' grin!

AnEnglishRider said...

Can I borrow some minions? My gelding needs a bath! LOL love the tail. As for the legs, I have lived in this area most of my life and NEVER seen anything like that before! Wow. Gogo, you really are something special.

Val said...

If she was in NJ, I would guess chiggers. Some horses react the way you described. I do not know if chiggers exist in Texas, but they love grassy areas or brush. If they are in your area you will probably get them yourself before long. Nasty little things. I think vinegar may ease the itchiness/pain as Now That's A Trot explained.

achieve1dream said...

I swear by MTG too, but make sure to test it out on a small patch because some horses have strong skin reactions to it. It will cure just about anything though. :D

That braid is gorgeous! I can't believe kids did it lol. I'm glad they like playing with her.

That swelling is strange. I would say it might have something to do with the fungus/insect bites, but it's mostly in one leg . . . strange. Did you look really well for a puncture wounds or tiny cut? I hope you can figure it out. I'd probably have gray hair if my horse had swellings like that all the time lol. Does bute bring it down? I'm not a fan of using it a lot, but it would rule out inflammation (or confirm it). Good luck!

jenj said...

MTG is the BOMB for that sort of stuff. And it's quite likely that Gogo is having a reaction to something in the pasture. We have lots of noxious weeds down here, as well as chiggers, so it could be any of those things.

And aren't feet just fascinating? It never ceases to amaze me how much they change based on the "littlest" changes in diet.

Jenny said...

Wow... VERY interesting about her hooves!
I have heard that the fungus that causes scratches can stay "dormant" on the skin of horses and only flare up when their immune systems are compromised. But would be a strange thing to occur in Texas!

DressageIsToDance said...

Gotta love the little-girl-fan-clubs at boarding barns.

Amber has had one at both barns I've had her at. Although, at the barn I bought her from, I mentioned to some of the teenagers I was buying her, and they looked me in the face and go "You're buying THAT thing?" lie. There was one girl who was leasing her (trainer wanted her to move to a taller mount because she's a tall girl), she loved her, but nobody liked her out there.

I have to say, I try to go out to ride right about the time the little girls finish untacking their ponies from their lesson, because then I get little helpers to help me groom and tack up. I'm horrid...

Funder said...

Almost every day, when I look out at Dixie in her deserty dry lot, I feel guilty and wish she was on a pasture. But intellectually I know her feet have never been better than when she's on grass hay alone, and I'm SO GLAD she's stuck in the desert nosing at sagebrush.

Speaking of sagebrush - as an allergic-to-everything human, I think your horse is allergic to everything. Can you give horses Claritin?

Frizzle said...

Aren't hooves just incredible little inventions? I swear, they are such a huge reflection of what else is going on in the body.

I'll have to go against the grain and say that I HATE MTG! Hate it with a burning passion -- it reeks, it sometimes makes skin issues worse, and if you leave it on in the summer it can actually sort of "cook" the horse if it's out in the sun. I like apple cider vinegar, either straight or mixed with a bit of Calm Coat. Athlete's foot spray also works well for fungus (and it's way less stinky than MTG!!).

Muriel said...

I luuuuurrrrrrrrrrrve your blog for the feet story. Great photos of hooves, and very interesting observation.
I am pre-diabetic (too much insulin), with food intolerance to dairy, yeast, cereals. I am medical controlled diet fruit, vegs fish/lean meat ... My uusally bending soft nails have become as hard as rock since I am on this diet. Amazing what diet can do.

Gogo might food intolerance instead of allergy.
I think her fat leg may bedue to cut from plants she is not used to.

I also agree with MTG solution for the scabby leg.
Poor Gogo. I am glad she has devoted minions to look after her ^-^

eventer79 said...

We have the same fungus in NC -- doesn't matter how dry it is. For some reason, this summer has been brutal for it, all the horses are all mouldy. I scrub with ACV because MTG does not work on Mr. Finicky Solo. But his barn mate with high white stockings on all four requires regular scrubbing and scab picking all summer with healthy coats of desitin.

Knew a lady with a grey, almost white, mare who would spray the horse's legs with tinactin before going out so the drying agent would help. Seemed to work for her.

eventer79 said...

PS Can't say pasture is always a problem -- almost all horses here are on grass all the time, ours are on Bermuda 24/7 and have no issues with it. Horses ARE supposed to forage all day wrong. I think your horse is just a freak of nature, LOL!

Andrea said...

Welllllll I totally, TOTALLY agree that horses ARE support to forage all day long - that much we all agree on! However, at this point in my circumstance especially I think it is much safer to say that horses should be wandering from food source to food source and foraging all day, rather than standing still gorging on a green buffet all day. But I think that is just because my Fat Easy Keeper Beast looks at food and gets fat. And out on pasture, well... that is a founder waiting to happen.

Kate said...

Thanks for the details and photos about her feet. That is really interesting. Lucy's grain is soy-based, too, and her feet have been getting progressively crappier (though, just her white feet, not the black one). I wonder if this is linked to her grain?

ridinfar said...

Coming from the Idaho desert, I am going to hedge my bets that it's not fungus but more of a photosensitivity/sunburn/dry skin/cracking-thing than a fungus. Scratches can be bacterial or fungus, you would need to do a culture to determine which. I wouldn't use MTG but would slather on a pretty thick layer of Desitin (zinc to protect from the sun)for a week or so and see if it helps. A lot of times out here in the midst of summer they'll get sunburned pink skin and then the scrub brush will cause little lesions which allow bacteria to enter the skin and cause scratches. Good luck, and her feet look awesome!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Girl!! I was just reading about how crappy soy is for horse's hooves! I took Laz off CocoSoya last year b/c of it...and I've always wondered if I made a mistake b/c I LOVED that product but being soy based...sigh.
The hooves are literally the "HEY!" of what is going on in the diet, isnt it. I'm obsessed and learning and tweaking ALL the time.
Agreed on the MTG-I like it BUT in hot Texas sun=sure burn. I made that mistake on Laz's neck. Have you ever tested her for IR? I'm doing that this week to see if pasture is ever in Laz's future too. Lordy-where are those easy keepers!? ;)