This is not a different severity level of founder, but a term used to describe horses that seem to founder repeatedly. This can be a touchy subject for some. Some professionals seem to believe that some horses are simply predisposed to foundering over and over. Others seem to believe that once a horse has foundered, it can never be reversed, nor can future attacks be prevented. There are just as many factors surrounding the causes of these recurrences, as there are reasons for founder in the first place. In reality, the simple fact is, the original founder was never reversed, or cured, and each additional founder episode is merely an exacerbation of or an addition flaring up of the original founder. Chronic founder can and should be treated much the same was as a first time case. A full evaluation of the case should be performed to insure as much information about each recurrence (if at all known) is taken into account. There will likely be more rehab issues and dietary concerns to consider, but a treatment protocol should be able to be developed for said case.
Each of the situations mentioned above are by no means the only things that will cause founder. They are only a sampling. There’s no guarantee that any of these will make your horse founder, but there’s no guarantee that he won’t either. There are some founder cases where the cause will forever remain a mystery. Each founder case is as unique and individual as the horse it affects. Like a fingerprint, there are common characteristics, but each one is like no other in the world. So each one must be treated as such. The basics for treating founder are like that fingerprint, too, they have similar procedures and commonalities that are inherent to each other, but the commonality stops there. Regardless of the cause, patience, time, proper trims and proper care are what the horse will need in order to recover. Don’t give up on your horse, just because he’s foundered. Founder itself doesn’t kill horses, but many horses have been needlessly put down because of the symptoms or side effects of founder. Let your horse tell you when it’s time. Be kind and considerate to him, but listen to him too. The eyes and the spirit of your horse should be your guide to knowing when enough is enough. If he’s not ready to go, fight as hard as you can. Your horse will reward you in the end.