Just got a call from the vet. Toby's blood test was positive for Cushing's. Apparently, this is the cause of his "almost lamitintis" of being footsore. He has also lost some weight and muscle, although he does not show any of the rough coat symptoms. In fact, his well shedded summer coat is shiny and healthy.
Cushing's is essentially a malfunction of the pituitary gland and is very common in older horses. (He's 22) According to one article I read, some 70% of horses develop Cushing's as they age.
Dietary controls are important in the treatment. Low starch and low sugar feeds are recommended along with low sugar forage. The feed I've been using is alaready a high fat, low starch/sugar mix, so that's OK. The hay? I don't know if my supplier has tests on it this year, but last time we checked, it was pretty good too. The only regular variable is the grass around here.
Now, I certainly do not have lush pastures. But there is some speculation that the changes in weather might impact the sugars in the grass I do have. But, there is no way I could imagine a horse being able to survive on the grass that's available in my paddocks and pasture. There's just too little of it.
At any rate, Toby will be getting Pergolide, the drug of choice for Cushing's and I will be adding some magnesium supplements to his diet. For the summer, at least, he will have shoes. He has shoes and pads on now and seems quite comfortable.
Not sure what else to do at the moment but I am researching.
On the weather front, it has cooled off considerably over the last two days. I went swimming yesterday bot at the moment, today, it just might be too chilly.
Looks like some riding would be some good exercise!