That’s a good question with no clear answer. We have already examined the age-old shoeing techniques that have had limited success and many more failures. But there are a few reasonably new shoeing techniques that claim success. That success, however, appears to be quite limited. When compared to a zero success rate, anything, even a one percent success rate, can seem better than nothing.
A general protocol having greater success is trimming for founder. There are a number of groups and organizations having some success with treating founder through trimming. Some protocols have more success than others. If you contact each of these, a valid question to ask is not what success rate they have, but do they prefer to work on mild to moderate cases and do they take on any founder case regardless of severity. Another good question to ask is, can their protocol be adapted to any horse, with any severity, in any environment, given any variable? Some organizations prefer only to take on the mild cases because they can claim a higher success rate. The rest they recommend putting down. One organization, however, has had good success and they do not turn away cases simply because other groups or professionals have given up hope. They are able to adapt the trim and rehabilitation protocol to any horse in any part of the country. I am proud to be a founding member of that organization and I believe our work and our success, speaks for itself. When looking for someone to work on a foundered horse, it is very important to do research, talk to other horse owners with foundered horses, find out who has had the worst cases and investigate those cases. The approach and treatment of each case should be handled on an individual basis and should have a treatment and approach for addressing each case. The treatment should make logical sense. It should have sound reasoning. It should be backed up by pathological research. And it should be a treatment plan that can adapt to changing conditions. If the approach appears to be a ‘cookie cutter’ plan, that plan is likely going to be too rigid and will not be flexible enough to ‘bend and sway’ as conditions change and evolve. One thing to consider, though, is no matter which protocol you decide upon; give that protocol a chance to work. Unless there is a definite regress or absolute degrade in the condition of the horse that wasn’t warned or expected, stick with that protocol for a reasonable length of time. Three months would be a reasonable length of time before reevaluating. Don’t be afraid to question the treatment or protocol. The professional you have decided upon should be able to answer, in logical and clear terms, what is being done, why it’s being done and what the expected results should be. The bottom line is, the treatment should make good sense.