Hey all, I know there's lots of threads on this but I wanted all your personal opinions. A disclaimer: this is a friend's horse, not mine, but I was considering buying her sometime next year, so I wanted to hear what you think.
She is a 6 year old OTTB just diagnosed with laminitis. Vet took x-rays and it seems that her right front has a slight rotation of the coffin bone, but minimal. Wanted the farrier to correct her long toes but bring her heel under only by 1/4".
Didn't present with any obvious symptoms, she's not overweight, even a little ribby -- just gave birth a few months ago to her first foal. Only symptom was on and off lameness and very sensitive feet -- which presented especially on the gravel driveway, so I just assumed she had crappy TB feet aka thin soles, but she definitely was trying to tell us something... The day the vet came out to x-ray, her bad hoof looked really bad.. had a spot on the inside that looked like it was caving in.
Now this mare has the best brain ever, I really love her personality, but her soundness issues are concerning me. A boarder at the barn tried to reassure me that it's the farrier--he does a pretty horrible job: her toes are always long and her heels are really really low, but since it's not my horse yet it's not my place to say anything.
What are your experiences in having a horse recover from laminitis? Is it something that is reoccurring? Would it be a really bad idea to buy a horse that you knew had this issue?
Last edited by ShadowDansere; Jan. 15, 2012 at 07:01 PM.
Reason: change title
I'd pass. My mare foundered and it is NOT something I'd want to deal with again. While horses can recover from founder, they are more prone to founder in the future. You really don't know what caused her issues. i highly doubt it was teh farrier's doing.
I would never buy/take a foundered horse. I lost my heart horse to founder and it was a horrible, heartbreaking experience. I know horses can "recover," but the cases I have known, both mine and friends, have not turned out that way. And as back in the saddle said, a horse with previous laminitis is more likely to have it again. I feel sad for the horse you've described, because I'd love to see her have a great home, but I'd only recommend taking her if you were okay with only having her as a pet, and even then, be prepared for possible heartbreak.
IF you do end up getting her... and even IF she is not IR... feed her as if she has IR. No wheat bran, no rice bran, keep her on a low carb diet. Don't feed her anything that will convert into sugars. Read up on that. There's a good IR yahoo group on the subject. My mare didn't founder due to IR but once they founder you really should become anal about everything.. diet, footing, foot balance, etc.... and know what 'can' trigger founder so you can avoid it/limit it to the best of your ability.
She may recover from the current episode but you will have to regularly maintain her feet, diet, and exposure to any possible triggers. My horse stayed serviceable till he got in his mid-late teens but always was a little off. His hoof quality was crappy to begin with and we struggled with his chronic condition most of his life (also had cushings).
I had one fully recover from a founder with 7 degrees rotation. It does happen. It took a long time, lots of corrective trimming/shoeing and he will need life long maintenance. Yes, you can test for IR vet will want to test Thyroid and ACTH as well. If considering buying I highly recommend you go to Katy Watts' website http://www.safergrass.org/ where you will find TONS of articles that will be useful to you.
I would run, not walk, away from buying this horse. I am weeks away from retiring my horse after a 1.5 year battle to get a horse sound that had laminitis with NO rotation. Its breaking my heart. I would never risk it.
It takes alot of care and alot of short cycled trimming by someone who knows what he/she is doing. Also, a diet change to get the horse off processed foods. This pony is also EMS and has foundered previously (about 3 or 4 years ago). We're waiting to see how she does this fall as usuallys she tends to get sensitive in the fall. So far, so good, tho.
Another horse I trimmed years back was a horse that constantly foundered in foal. Yet the owners continued to breed her. Finally a gal rescued her (she was 7 at the time) and we rehabbed her in less than 1/2 a year. This horse also perforated her soles. ALOT of diligence. ALOT of care. ALOT of love goes into rehabbing foundered horses completely. And there's never any guarantees.
The laminitics and founders I work on have all come back to soundness BUT ... it takes a whole lot of work. Are you ready to make that commitment?
It is one of the most frustrating/heartbreaking things to have to go through if you have a bad one...my previously neglected pony is foundered on all four. The fronts are (as of last September) both over 20 degrees, and the hinds are both 15 degrees. BUT, most people never deal with this extreme amount of founder. It takes ALOT of patience, and trial-and-error. BUT, my pony is sound now. :-D (and barefoot. Find a good trimmer. Mine is AWESOME!!) good luck, and there is nothing more satisfying than watching a previously crippled pony buck and canter.
"On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."
I also lost my once in a lifetime 5 year old gelding to Laminitis. We caught it early and he was under constant vet and farrier care and we still could not save him. I would never intentionally buy a horse with laminitis issues. It is just not worth the heartbreak One in my lifetime is more than enough!!
RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
RIP San Lena Peppy
May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010
If the laminitis was related to pregnancy it may be more manageable in future if the mare is a riding horse.
That said, once a horse has had this episode you need to manage it carefully the rest of it's life. That means more $$ on supplements and on testing to ensure you have the insulin in balance (it changes seasonally and as the horse ages). It means working with barn management for a muzzle in spring/fall, and summer if lush grass, it may mean restricted turnout. It means special feed (I use McCauley's alum). So you need to have a barn/support system in place to manage this.
It will mean a top notch farrier. The toe may be kept a little longer than other horses on purpose, depending on her x-rays.
There may be something else bothering her feet if the wall is not holding - I would want the current care to be addressing that as it may deteriorate and be worse over time. If you are contemplating buying the horse then it IS your place to comment on the care. I would think you would have a pre-purchase exam before buying and at that time would alert the vet of the issue and have very thorough x-rays of all 4 feet/legs before buying.
I would run from this horse. Laminitis is expensive, unpredictable, and a nightmare for everyone who is in the middle of a severe episode. It is horrible to watch a horse suffer with severe pain, no matter what you do for him or her. This horse is only 6. I think it is particularly hard when a young horse has laminitis and eventually can't be saved.
My mare foundered at the age of 5. The first time. Due to my ignorance, she went through it again...and again...and again...and so on. God watches over fools and children (and apparently some animals) thank heavens. Once I wised up (thanks to COTH and Safergrass.org) I started to watch for the symptoms. STILL couldn't catch it. She hasn't had laminits every year, she missed a few here and there. Even though I thought I was being somewhat smart, she went laminitic on me last year. That's when I started to be more diligent. This year, I sectioned off pastures, watched her like a hawk, iced her feet when I would get overly paranoid about a pulse, kept her on supplements like Smartcontrol IR and Magrestore to at least help me feel better about, and just basically became a crazy person obsessed with her cresty neck, her digital pulses, and the like. But so far, so good. I have lost sleep over it, I have cried over it, I have spent ungodly amounts of money, and my stress level has been at all time highs. My mare is 19 now. I no longer ride (that's just me, I'm sure she'd be fine for a ride) so she doesn't have much to deal with. A foundered horse is not the end of the world, some make it just fine and some don't. But this mare had my heart since the day she was born as I raised her. Would I actually BUY or take (even for free) a horse that had ever foundered, regardless of the reason for the founder? HECK NO. Thousands upon thousands of good horses out there that never have foundered and never will. Don't take on a potential heartache if you don't have to.
I did take in a free, foundered horse. While he is sound enough for moderate riding seven years later, it's been a struggle and I would not do it again. I also had an old QH who foundered (call me a glutton for punishment) and my very good farrier was shocked that in the horse's old age there was no sign of laminitis in the hoof. He'd never seen that before, but then again there was about a 15 year gap between the last laminitic episode and the time all evidence disappeared, and by that time the horse was nearly 30.