Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

Hoof puzzler
Q: I have a 17.2hh Dutch Warmblood who has been diagnosed with buttress foot. Can you tell me what this is? He is on bute and is now sound-would any of the complementary therapies help.

A: Butress foot is a condition, which describes damage to the place on the front of the foot where an extensor tendon attaches. When damage occurs here the body deposits calcium in the area and this provides some strength. Unfortunately, it means that the tendon doesn't work like normal and this can be very painful.

Sometimes you get pain and swelling at the front of the foot at coronary band level. There is not treatment for this condition except rest for two weeks when it first happens, then gently exercise for the next three months.

Sometime bute is needed over prolonged periods to provide pain relief. The only alternatives I can suggest are bute-free herbal products which may help. Homeopathic preparations, like arnica might be of use and can be given regularly without side effects.

The problem with feeding bute over prolonged periods is that it can cause damage to the liver and digestive system. Speak to your vet if you are worried about the quantity he needs.


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