Wonky legs - do you worry?

tigers_eye

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Do you worry about wonky legs in anything under a yearling? William had a wonky front leg and had a small operation under local anasthetic at about 12 months I think to correct it. Another foal I knew with wonky legs had special glue applied to his hooves from a young age to encourage the bone to grow in the correct direction. What do you experienced breeders think?
 

Irishcobs

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I was shown a pic of works 5 yr old as a foal and it honestly looks like his hind leg was stuck on at an odd angle. I have never seen anything so bad. He had special shoes on and bandages etc and now you can't even tell which leg it was. He is hopefully going to become a very good eventer.
 

Maesfen

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Buster was a first foal and was born with the worst legs you could think of! His fronts crossed over at the knees so looking from the front it looked like a figure eight with his feet out to the side beyond his shoulder line and his hinds weren't much better either, he also was very low in front, they were bent under him like worse than sickle hocks! He was a real mess, bless him.
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Vet told us to leave them and see if there was any improvement within a couple of days, if not, he's strap him up (which he didn't have to do) Within five months, he was as straight as he should be and was sold as a yearling for a high price. He later went on to win and be placed hurdling and chasing with Venetia Williams and was only retired as his owner came out of racing; I think he still hunts and team chases but if you had seen those legs, you would have thought he should have gone straight to the kennels, honestly, they were awful, vet had never seen one as bad. So now, I forgive a foal for looking wonky although I still worry but I need to see vast improvement to almost perfection before reaching yearlinghood or I'll be reaching for the valium!.
 

Tinkerbee

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Our latest filly Milly, had very wonky front legs when she came out, but all was sorted and now theres no stopping her
 

Spot_the_Risk

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Our filly had uneven growth starting at about 10 days, our fabulous farrier assessed it, discussed it with us and other farriers, and she had special glue applied to her fronts, and then rasped for the correct foot balance. The probably had these 'shoes' on for four weeks total, she is now fine and growing straight, and he is happy with her. Of course we all keep a close eye on her legs and feet!

My opinion was that I would rather correct any issues before the growth plates close. It probably cost £150 tops, including sedation from the Vet for the first set, but hopefully has saved a lifetime of remedial shoeing.
 

ashbank

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I don't necessarily worry, but would not leave a youngster and hope it got better under any circumstances. You need to address any issues long before the growth plates close, otherwise you are seriously compromising the welfare - and I do think it is a welfare issue - of the horse.
 

alleycat

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Two things trouble me:

Firstly, recognising what is normal and what needs help.

I have a filly with a slightly turned-out fetlock; she seemed no more crooked than most foals at birth or for the first few months of her life. She toed out slightly, as foals do, and this gradually disappeared as she grew; then, somehow, one leg ceased to improve and even appeared to get slightly worse. Remedial trimming didn't really help; probably it was already too late by the time we tried it. However, there must have been a very small window in which, had I realised that this needed intervention, I could have intervened. Next time I'm going to be a bag of nerves, wondering whether the foal's normal growth patterns are a sign of future deformity. I would emphasise that this is very minor; in fact I've seen worse at a stallion grading- just in case someone thinks I've neglected some extreme malformation.

The other thing is the genetic aspect.

I'm hoping (though of course not sure) that in this filly's case this was a result of some trauma in the field; the ground was like rock that year and the foal was always bombing around. However, I believe there can be a genetic aspect to this, and I wonder how many horses are graded and bred as adults having had outwardly corrective work done as foals, only to pass the fault on. What is the answer? Inspection of foals? Insisting on seeing video of your chosen broodmare's / stallions' foalhood? Ironically, the worse the problem and the better the horse, the more likely it is to have been treated.
 

liet1

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Yes. Fetlock joints fuse at 1 month of age, Knees I think 3 or 4 months which is why remedial action needs to occur quite quickly. Also my vet who did my foals surgey asked me why do you think this happend? Before I could answer he said ... there is no answer it really does just happen no matter how well feed, straight mares / sires legs are. Actaully made me feel alot better as every precaution was taken in breeding my foal.
 

Anastasia

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If it is in a foal I would not necessarily worry.

The first foal we bred to our stallion Geneve was born 4 weeks early. He basically was so weak in his legs that he actually walked on his fetlocks, as the whole joint was so soft it would just bend round. Obviously we called the vet ASAP panicking about the whole things and she told us that it would eventually come right.......which it did and he went on to be a 1st Premium foal.

We have also had some foals with a glue on shoe when they have taken a growth spurt and gone slightly contracted in the tendons........then with regular input from the farrier they are off within a few weeks and all perfectly normal.

I think with these things you have to watch any slight deviation and get your farrier and/or vet involved asap, if you have any worries.

I would also rather have a foal which was toed out than toed in...........because you tend to find that if they are getting the right nutrition and farrier input that they rectify themselves as they grow.

We have to remember that all foals grow at different rates and mares can have different quality of milk, plus sometimes it depends on how the foal is lying in the womb as well etc..............

I have seen a couple of quite deformed foals at birth with really bad legs go on to become perfect horses that have gone on to become successful competition horses.
 

DAHH

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My last foal this year was born with all sorts of leg problems. He was born underdeveloped and had been squashed by the mare because her uterus had not expanded enough. He weighed about 25kg at birth.
In front his legs were turned out from the shoulder and the tendons had not developed so he walked on his fetlock. Behind he was windswept!
I was ready to have him put down but the vet was very optimistic. Eventhough the foal walked at quarter to three (yes, it looked horrific), his legs were straight, which the vet said was the most important thing. So from the age of 4 weeks until 4 months he wore 'boots' that encouraged his legs to turn inwards. This meant he was on box rest for the whole time.
He is now 7 months. The windswept has fixed itself. In front, he now walks at about ten to two,which the vet is perfectly happy with. When he is a yearling he will be fitted with half shoes to help correct the remaining flat footedness.

So in response to your question. Yes, you do worry when your foal has wonky legs but try not to because it is amazing what the vets can do!
 

Touchwood

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It doesn't worry me, but it absolutely must must must be corrected. A lot of foals are crooked, but with the right care, they will go on to be straight and sound. I have a broodmare here who is slightly pigeoned toed because she wasn't straightened as a foal, dam and sire are both straight, full siblings are staight - i.e there is nothing wrong with the genes! Just someone thought it a good idea to turn her out and leave her to it....
 
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