Going the Extra Mile: The use of Tubbease in severe laminitis
By Erin Hampson-Tindale.
I find it interesting looking back over the stages of my career as a farrier and understanding how my learnings and experiences have influenced and shifted my focus and priorities regarding achieving optimum hoof health.
Achieving natural hoof balance was a focus from the beginning. It was the focus that shifted however, and over time this went from trying to achieve a cosmetically ‘pretty’ hoof capsule to a greater focus on sole depth in aid of performance and laminitis treatment. Any good hoof care and balancing needs to encourage sole depth and hoof strength of course but to me, something was missing. Whatever this was, it sat beyond the realms of physical balancing and/or mechanical applications. Over time, I have found the answer to be hoof hygiene and the mediating (or better optimising) of the hooves’ environment whether that be too wet, too dry, or rich soils full of microorganisms that compromise the hoof through decay and abscessing.
The ailment that lead me to come up with the Tubbease concept was the common occurrence of sole abscessing due to the rich, damp environment here in the lush Waikato of North Island, New Zealand. I soon found with using Tubbease that I was also improving sole depth at a rapid rate with long-term sustainability. Tubbease also proved great for relieving sole pressure and at the same time, improving hoof hygiene.
It was the results I was achieving using Tubbease with laminitis that was most remarkable. So many times, I had been involved in very lengthy and expensive treatment techniques. While these treatments were no doubt very sound techniques, the hooves that we painstakingly x-rayed and that endured the best remedial shoeing and gluing were often then turned out into an environment or surface that undermined the mechanics and the hygiene of the hoof. Whether it was deep shavings with no purchase or soft soil and pasture, often any gain that had been achieved through meticulous hoof treatment was then destroyed. Many would have considered this a laminitic relapse but in fact, it comes down to plain and simple abscess tearing through the precious tissue.
I am not claiming that Tubbease is the one answer in treating the very problematic issue that is laminitis, but what I personally believe is that if you can maintain perfect hoof hygiene during the growth and repair stages, then what the hoof grows, the hoof keeps! This is so important.
I have had amazing success in solely using Tubbease with an EVA insert for laminitis (as you will see in the case photos shown here). I use a gentle solution of zinc sulphate and water as the antibacterial, antifungal agent. I also now use zinc sulphate when hardening soles, drawing infections and on raw tissue injuries.
I think the case shown in these photos is a great example of how a broad number of fundamental hoof issues can be alleviated using Tubbease. This horse had been accidentally fed sugar rich silage and as a result, foundered severely – very close to a full sinker. I could take a large shoeing nail and fit it up into where the white line and laminae attachment once was and run the nail all the way around the hoof circumference. I resected the dead hoof capsule to allow the remaining wall to free fall. The insert that I fashioned from EVA foam gave comfort, while the Tubbease capsule made hygiene possible by containing the zinc sulphate solution and keeping out bacteria.
There were no facilities available and this horse lived in an often damp field for the ten months that the re-growth occurred. To this day (seven years later) this horse only requires standard hoof trims. Furthermore, the hoof wall grew down so clean that it re-knitted tightly and the hooves’ growth rings are parallel and normal, leaving it very hard to discern that laminitis ever occurred at all.
To sum up, my own personal believe is that hoof hygiene is a huge benefit and Tubbease is a simple, safe and easy way to achieve this whether it be on the bare foot or as an aid to many remedial shoeing styles.