Club Foot - can it be passed on?

Discussion in 'Breeding Horses' started by Megzee, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. Megzee

    Megzee New Member

    KC do u know where to look to find QH blood lines. thats what my boy is. i just wanna have a look at his parents history. and thanks everyone else. i was considering breeding just for myself now. im being blamed at the moment for his problems but everyone has said its hereditory. how could so many people be so wrong? lol thanks everyone
  2. balletprincess

    balletprincess Well-known Member

  3. Arnie

    Arnie Gold Member

    Can someone please post some pictures of clubbed feet? I've done a google but can't really find anything.
    I know of a horse where I've always noticed his feet are so different and thinking it could be clubbed feet so I'm interested in educating myself.

    How does it effect the horse?
  4. Vecchio

    Vecchio Active Member

    These were the only ones I could find and they probably aren't the best examples.

    He must of only just been shod in this one as when the foot grows longer it gets the more 'boxy' look:



    If no one has posted any more tomorrow, I will get some better ones for you to have a look at as I have been told his club foot is relatively bad.

    As for affecting performance, I have never had a soundness problem with my horse (12yr old tb) and he ran 102 starts without breaking down. That said, I personally wouldn't breed a horse that had one. There are so many stallions out there that have good conformation and a good performance record, so why breed something that does have a club foot? JMO.
  5. cobbie

    cobbie Gold Member

    Ok here is the only photo I have, excuse the cut and the swelling, this was a photo I took last year while I was waiting for nurse bubbles to come give him his needles haha, the right leg in the photo is the one which is clubbed...he has NEVER been lame (other then when he tried to amputate one of his hooves late last year! that was understandable!)


    We changed farriers when I moved him and I have found you can't really tell the diff unless you know what your looking for.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 29, 2008
  6. Vecchio

    Vecchio Active Member

    Interesting. Now I know why people keep saying "Wow! How's that for a clubbed foot?!" about Cisco. His is much more upright.
  7. cobbie

    cobbie Gold Member

    Lol, my farrier hates it he wants me to get a hoof transplant (maybe thats what Hoolies intentions were..just the wrong foot!) because he is a bit of a perfectionist and it annoys him he can't make it look exactly like the other ones haha
  8. Vecchio

    Vecchio Active Member

    Yup! I think my farrier is the same. I think his exacts words were "This damn horse has back feet shaped like two front feet, one turned out clubbed hoof and is only blessed with one normal foot!" Haha, poor bugger I think it takes him about 6 goes of getting the shoe for his clubbed foot the right shape. Although they are all much better now. And I hope for your sake Hoolie doesn't listen to the farrier and try and transplant his club hoof for him!
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2008
  9. jonty

    jonty Well-known Member

    Age at clear manifestation is about 9 months. Problem worsens for two to six months, then stabilizes. After this period, the horse doesn't become "more" club footed. Onset is probably earlier, but only becomes obvious to the casual observer at about 9 months.
    It doesn't appear to be caused or mitigated by anything in the horse's environment.
    For reasons nobody knows, 80% of club feet are in the off fore. Only 20% occur in the near fore.
    The foot takes on a dished profile. It is upright and boxy. The heel grows faster than the toe, and the rear bulbs of the hoof are round and full.
    Though rotated, the coffin bone starts out wholly and correctly attached to the front hoof wall.
    The club footed horse cannot extend its coffin bone (and hence point its hoof) to normal limits during a stride. Depending upon the degree of club footedness, the horse travels short on that leg. Sometimes it isn't even noticeable. Sometimes the horse is clearly uneven, tied in, even limping.
    Taxonomy--Degrees of Club Footedness
    There are degrees of club-footedness. The best article I ever saw on this was by a research vet named Rooney at the University of Kentucky at Lexington, published in _The Blood Horse_ about three years ago. Rooney taxonomized the condition like this:

    Grade I -- slight rotation, may not even be apparent from the outside.
    Grade II -- marked rotation, dished profile.
    Grade III -- rotation more pronounced. Significant misalignment also occuring in P1 and P2 as they are "pushed up" by P3. Profile of front rim of coffin bone visible as a crescent on the bottom of the hoof.
    Grade IV -- front of coffin bone is vertical or behind the vertical.
    Grades I's and mild II's can often compete without "the bad stuff" starting to occur. Racehorse Easy Goer has a Grade I-II club foot (which ain't going to help his value at stud). Grade III's are likely to have have significant problems with anything more than the very lightest use. Grade IV's are in very bad shape. Rooney said that an estimated 20% of thoroughbreds foaled now display club footedness to some degree.

    Club Foot Not the Same As Contracted Tendons

    A club foot is _NOT_ the same thing, though it is similar, to contracted tendons. (Contracted tendons are bilateral instead of unilateral, occur earlier in the foal's development (about 6 months), are affected by environment, and are more amenable to corrective surgery. This is also an inherited tendancy. For example, in Morgans, it is rampant in the Waseekas In Command horses.) Vets will, however, often refer to a club foot as "a contracted tendon," or "deep flexor contracture." Get them to clarify which they mean. Unilateral is the tip-off. Also be aware that there is something called a contracture of the superficial flexor tendon--but that's a different story.

    What actually seems to be wrong here is that, for some reason, the deep flexor tendon, which attaches to the back of the coffin bone, is pulling the coffin bone back from where it should be. What's wrong? Nobody knows. Theories abound:

    - the tendon is too short, or doesn't develop evenly at that point in the foal's growth
    - the leg is longer than the other leg
    - the leg is shorter than the other leg
    - the foal grazed one-footed too long and shortened his tendon (the "grass foot" theory--markedly club footed horses always graze with the club foot beneath them and the non-club foot extended. They never exchange legs.)
    - the inferior check ligament which attaches the deep flexor tendon at its mid-point to the top of the canon bone is too short and the tendon can't stretch as much as it should
    - it is a secondary effect of other leg defects
    - misshapen base of canon bone resulting in unstable flexor tendons, which "tighten up" in an effort to stabilize the leg
    - calf knee
    - my own off-the-wall theory is an ingrown frog
    Two treatments exist:
    1. The traditional treatment has been to carefully keep shaving down the horse's heel to bring P3 into more normal alignment. The idea is that you keep gently removing heel, letting the weight of the horse slowly "stretch" the deep flexor tendon back to where it should be.
    2. The new treatment is desotonomy of the inferior check ligament. You cut this ligament (which acts as the emergency brake to prevent the coffin/deep flexor from hyperextending), thus letting the deep flexor "relax" and take the pull off the coffin bone.
    Hope this helps, i cant work out how to post pictures, but my boys stallion had a sort of a club foot when I met him at the age of about 17, sa my mare had the best feet in the world it was not passed on through the progeny in this case, very lucky !:)*
  10. GeeJay

    GeeJay Guest

    It is most defiantly passed down, it can skip a generation and can be passed on by either the Stallion or Mare.

    It is getting very common in the QH, Arabs:( and now the TB.

    Its something you have to think of ethically if you breed and ethically they shouldn't be bred from. Later in the horses life they can contract Nevicular(spelling) this is common in the QHorse as so many have such small upright hooves.

    Its not your fault Megzee its something that is happening a lot:(

    Cheers Janet:)
  11. mod 6

    mod 6 Moderator

  12. equus

    equus Well-known Member

    The photos are helpful. My girl has a boxy hoof (as posted before) but not the high heel in the back. Is this a lower grade of club hoof? Will take some photos and post today.
  13. Megzee

    Megzee New Member

    so does anyone who has a box footed horse have any performance problems with them? as in pulling up lame that sort of thing. is there anything special i can feed to help the foot growth etc. i know a biotin supp helps but im not sure whether to feed or not coz im not sure if it will help or make things worse lol. the pictures are good but as my boy is only little its very slight at the moment and cant be seen as well as the adult ones. i might take some pics today and attempt to post them. me previous pic post attempt didnt go well haha
  14. pso

    pso Gold Member

    At the higher levels, the club foot may lead to lameness (did with mine), but for regular day to day riding, etc, cant see there would be a problem...
    Also, with good manegement, soreness can be avoided...Dont do alot of work on hard ground, keep feet balanced (ie no more than 4 weeks between farrrier visits), joint supplements, etc...
    Just imagine yourself wearing one sneaker, and one heeled shoe...whilst you do adapt to the difference, at the end of the day, you hurt all over from trying to balance evenly etc (try it if you dont believe me!..):))
  15. supersezabell

    supersezabell Well-known Member

    my previous arab mare had a slighty clubbed foot (was just more upright and slightly club not as extreme as most), and the shoe on that foot was just altered to fit, i did jumping, games, cross country and loads of bush riding on her with no problems.
  16. Arnie

    Arnie Gold Member

    At what age would you consider that if a horse was to get a clubbed foot that its not hereditry?
  17. Megzee

    Megzee New Member

    not too sure arnie. im new to the whole horse with a foot problem. my sb has fantastic feet. a lil oil every now and then on his backs and hes all good. so im lucky. but im learing a lot off all the stockies so im sure someone will be able to answer your question!
  18. Gemgem

    Gemgem Well-known Member

    Loma has a club foot, as does her sire, so we know it is hereditry. It annoys me when random ppl ask us why we arnt breeding her, even when we say she has hereditry club foot they're are like "so what, she is so pretty you should breed her blah blah blah! GRR!" (also when they dont even know if she has a good temp or not or any other problems!?) I know its possible that the foal wouldnt have leg problems but why risk it when there is a greater chance that it will have problems? Sorry random ppl annoy me when they know nothing about her and just assume that she would be a good broodmare because she "looks pretty"

    Anyway on another note- she is sound and her foot is trimmed accordingly. She used to be unbalanced (not lame but not completly right) in tight circles (smaller then 20m) but I have NOT noticed/seen it since her owner started her barefoot trimming stuff. I've always been worried about jumping her and have only started recently. She loves jumping but Im not sure how much we can do. I had a friend who had a club foot mare that was completly sound until it was 12 then it was lame for the rest of its life. It hadnt done any strenuous eventing or anything - just some PC etc. Im worried about doing anything other then trail riding with Loma but I think Im being a bit over protective!!

    So yeah - that is my experience with club foots - hope it helps ya LOL!!
  19. equus

    equus Well-known Member

    Alright heres some photos of my girls hoof. She made a liar of me as her heel is higher than her other three normal hooves. I will have to keep an eye on her foal when its born. Hope he/she takes after dad.

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2008
  20. equus

    equus Well-known Member

    Sorry huge photos. Photobucket won't resize them

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