Mr. Strut is doing better. He's walking much better, even without his pads, and he's getting pretty feisty about taking his Bute. He's also standing more comfortably; you can see he's much more more able to put weight on his front feet. With most other horses, the next step would be to get radiographs done, and see how badly his coffin bone has rotated. I'm going to skip that for three reasons:
1) Mr. Strut is old(ish), grumpy and has nasty arthritis. He was pretty much retired as a riding horse already. I don't need x-rays to tell me that's even more true now than it was before this bout of founder.
2) At this point, radiographs aren't going to fix anything. I could get them done in order to get custom shoes that might make him sound for riding... but again, he's pretty much retired. If he's comfy enough to ramble around the pasture without limping, I'm happy to keep feeding him as a pet. He doesn't have to work for me. Doing radiographs just for the sake of doing them only burns a bigger hole in my bank account. If I do them, it will be because Mr. Strut has gotten much worse, and the degree of rotation will tell me whether he might just be better off euthanized.
3) The cost of a vet call + radiographs is big. I could handle it, but not very comfortably-- especially after the big check I just wrote to pre-pay for all the 2012 vet bills.
As a matter of interest, this is one of Mr. Strut's hoof pads, before wearing and after 24 hours of squishing.
I have noticed one thing that bothers me, however; Mr. Strut is grinding his teeth. At first I thought I was hearing the squeaking chirp of one of the birds wintering in our barn, but then I distinctly heard it come from his mouth, followed by a more quiet mumble-grind. Has he been doing this all along, or is he only now starting this? Mr. Strut has a wide variety of neurotic behaviors, which I suspect are leftover from a stressful show career. However, usually those ticks are preceded by stress or excitement, like the rattle of a grain bucket, or Annie leaving on a ride.
Speaking of Annie, she is getting pretty bored, what with the dull winter environment and the grumpy Mr. Strut refusing to play much yet. She keeps trying to "help" and play with me while I'm doctoring Mr. Strut. Today she stood annoyingly close while I was taping Mr. Strut's feet. She tried to eat his pads, deliberately picked up things and dropped them in front of me, and tried to enter the tackroom. I tried tossing her jollyball around for her, but she'd much rather play with "toys" that don't belong to her. Like my file, and the Bute tube, and Mr. Strut's blanket...
These steps aren't going to last much longer! She often plants all four feet on them, and leans as far into the tack room as she can in order to try to grab hanging bits of tack. She is awfully bored. We seriously need to get training.