Recently confirmed chronic laminitis- what to expect/look for, and tips?
My trimmer was out the other day and confirmed that my horse has chronic laminitis. I'd expected it for a bit now, but it still stinks to have it confirmed. It started a few years ago when he had a violent reaction to his rabies vaccine that I now realize was an acute laminitis episode. At the time, I didn't know laminitis could be caused by a vaccine. Last year, due to the reaction from rabies, we skipped that vaccine and only did EWT and West Nile. Spread 2 weeks apart and with an injectable antihistamine ahead of time, the EWT was the first vaccine and seemed to be fine. West Nile was the second one, and I noticed even with the antihistamine he had an increase in respiration for an hour or so, but nothing severe. Over the following two days he busted out in hives and became sore on his right front. I knew the hives was vaccine related, and suspected the soreness was also but not confidently. He's always battled lameness issues off and on and even when he's abscessed he's never been sore, so I wasn't totally convinced the feet were the issue. Over the following year, though, he's been sound consistently but I've noticed stress rings here and there on his hooves and would be a bit tender in front. A few weeks ago I noticed he was trotting around and looked uncomfortable. I didn't notice anything with the feet that day other than that, and didn't see him for the following week and a half (I'm only able to be there once a week or less right now). LAst week I noticed his toes were looking like they were a bit further forward than ideal, and he had some stress rings. That combined with his soreness prior led me to be concerned about the laminitis thing, and address it to my trimmer thus bringing about the diagnosis the other day.
I haven't really mentioned much to my vet other than his vaccine reactions, and since his diet is pretty simple anyway to address other issues, she didn't have any real input to offer. It wasn't a huge topic of concern last month at his wellness exam. She's coming back in May though for more vaccines and to draw blood, so we'll be talking about it then for sure.
I've never dealt with laminitis before, and have apparently been managing it well enough since it seems this isn't a new occurance and he isn't dead lame. As such, I want to make sure to continue to do things right for him (or change things I've been doing incorrectly!).
He's a 24 y/o Arab, lives outside 24/7 with my mare in a dirt paddock. They get a grass mix hay that is grown on the farm, and are fed hay 3-4 times a day. It works out to be almost free-choice for them, and they happily clean it up. He's a body condition score of a 4-5 and passed his wellness exam with flying colors last month (save for some thing on his eye that isn't too important and I forget its name since I hate eyeballs, and a heart murmer that I've always known about and hasn't gotten worse from what she told me about it). He's currently on 3 quarts of hay stretcher twice a day (can't remember the weight off the top of my head). For supplements he gets Cosequin SP, DynaPro Probiotic (4 ml/day, 6ml/day during stressful situations), and 1 oz Dynamite. He's not on any other grains due to a wheat allergy (for whatever reason, he can tolerate the hay stretcher) in addition to some wierd metabolic thing where too much starch/carbs/something causes him to get stiff in the back and then his stifle slips out. He was on Empower Boost at 2 cups/day, but he got way too fat on it even when dropped to one cup. When he was working this summer, I had him on Dynamite HES at 1 cup/day for protein, which was helping his muscling (he's never maintained muscling, even when he was younger) but I had to take him off of it due to the wheat bothering him. He's barefoot and trimmed every 5 weeks. Stress triggers for him that seem to be causing flare-ups are so far identified as: vaccines, deworming, spending more than 2 or 3 days in the barn. Probably more triggers, but not yet identified.
My trimmer suggested keeping his diet as forage-based as possible and agreed with his current diet when I told him, as well as proper trimming, as much movement as possible, eliminating triggers (my vet already refuses to vaccinate him). He mentioned possibly needing boots for trails/hard ground if he seems to be bothered. Apparently the new hoof growth coming in is looking good and the way its supposed to, and he only has minimal hoof wall separation. Trimmer is confident that if we continue to manage and eliminate triggers, we will be able to stay ahead of the game at this point.
Any suggestions, tips, etc that you might have would be great. I've already started researching here. I don't think I have to change his lifestyle drastically, and I maybe don't even need to stress about this too much, but this horse is my "once in a lifetime" horse so I'd pretty much do anything for him. Since we grow our hay on the property, I'll most likely be getting an analysis this year if the barn owner doesn't do it first.
First Jingles & AO ~ Second ``` wise to have vet test for IR ...
First Jingles & AO ~ for your horse and you during this uncomfortable time ~
Second ~ have vet test for 'reasons' IR or Cushing ``` simple blood draw and
and often a diet change or modification and meds ``` allow 'soundness' to
Try not to worry just be 'vet' pro-active ..... blood tells the story ~