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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2010
    Location
    Central PA
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    239

    Default Ponies & mild laminitis question

    Looking for some words of wisdom here from others who have dealt with laminitis/founder in ponies (or horses that are prone to it) before. Let me preface this by saying that the VET HAS ALREADY BEEN CALLED, and the earliest appt. is for 3:30 PM today. A pony that I recently acquired, a small 20 y.o. Shetland gelding, has no known instances of founder, but has always been on watch for it due to the nature of the breed. The prior owner was giving him about 4 cups of a sweet feed-pellet mix/day and turned him out with the other horses in a pasture with decent grass (not lush per say) and says that she only muzzled him in the spring or when the grass did get lush. For the past month he has been out 24-7 in a dry lot (that has become not so "dry") with a large run-in shed, free access to hay, and only a handful of Triple Crown Complete twice a day. Now, the dry lot has some green in it this season, mostly due to the heavy rains last month, but it is patchy and tends to be mostly weedy "potty" areas and clover, with some short grass. The pony was muzzled for the first week, then after a good mow I felt comfortable that given his past history on pasture that he would be fine with the little bit of grass present, especially with the cut grain. He hasn't gained weight, may have even lost weight, but last night he came in walking tenderly on the concrete floor. Walks and jogs fine in the grass. There were no other signs of founder present, ie. no heat, increased digital pulse, the classic stance, etc. So I gave him some bute and then muzzled him. I ckecked the small paddock and the grass is still definitely not high or thick, but my husband did notice that our lawn at home shot up after a recent rain Wednesday night. Either way, the vet is coming out to check on him today, so my main question here is, how have others dealt with this? It seems to me (from other boarders and conversations about friend's ponies) that there are some horses and ponies out there with "chronic" mild laminitis that they just have to watch for and pull out of the field, muzzle, etc. if signs are present. I don't recall any of these people calling the vet every single time as if it was a true case of founder, I recall more of a "maintenance" approach to dealing with it. Is that the case for some? Do many horses out there have cases that seem to come & go? I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I called first thing- but now I want to have an idea ahead of time what I may be in for. Granted, even the vet said it could be something else, but I'm pretty confident (worried) this is what it is- even though looking at the paddock still gives me no signs that I should worry about founder.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2003
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    It's not really mid nor west
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    4,290

    Default

    I would definitely have your vet out to get on top of what sounds like a mild laminitis episode. It may be prudent to test for insulin resistance and/or Cushings, as both can predispose horses/ponies to these problems. If he recovers quickly, I would plan on keeping him muzzled any time he has access to grass, or keeping him on true dry lot.

    The appearance of the grass can be deceptive; it is often the overgrazed or stressed grass (cold snap, dry weather) that is the richest in sugars, which is what triggers these issues. I have seen ponies get badly laminitic on grass that is weedy and so short it looks like a putting green. The hay he is eating can be a culprit too, if it is high in sugar. There are labs that can test your hay to tell you this.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2004
    Posts
    2,793

    Default

    Lots of good info here:

    http://www.safergrass.org/index.html


    You need to run blood work and look for a possible metabolic issue. I would also pull him off of grass and dry-lot him until you know what's going on. Soak his hay too. No grain or at least something low in NSCs like TC Lite (which is molasses free). Triple Crown Safe Starch forage or Timothy Balance cubes are also great options - Triple Crown developed these for horses with metabolic issues. The next time you notice him lame and looking like a laminitic horse then you need to ice his feet pronto!!

    I've been dealing with chronic laminitis but with an OTTB though in her case it's mechanical and not metabolic (all bloodwork came back normal) and its only one front foot - X-rays taken months apart were scary on that foot. Much better now thankfully but we are treating her as if its metabolic to be on the safe side.
    "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2011
    Posts
    815

    Default

    With her being older on top if it, their metabolism just changes a lot, and they become more sensitive. My mare in her mid 20's is like that. My trimmer told me to keep her off the grass as she had said she looked a little laminitic (few trims ago)--there was barely any grass, it was mostly a dry lot. This mare also became a little insulin resistant after she foaled as well a few years ago. She and my mini basically live in their muzzles right now, they get about a 2-3 hour "break" a day--they live out 24/7 on a few acres which does have grass (new property) I'm hoping they can not be muzzled the winter, but you do what you have to do. Much better than having to keep them up in the barn part of the day.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 21, 2010
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    2,591

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    Sounds a lot like Cushings to me, obviously the vet will be able to determine that. Our Cushings pony came skinny, not obese like most. Which is hard; I needed her to gain weight without excess sugar.

    For ours, 1/2 pill of prascend a day has done the trick!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2010
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    239

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    Just an update, the vet confirmed it was a very mild laminitic episode and she praised me over and over for catching it early and treating it right away(muzzle & bute). She said no need for any heroic efforts such as icing the feet- since it was so mild. She couldn't find any heat or an increased digital pulse either, so thinks I actually caught it at the beginning and stopped it. She did draw blood to check for insulin resistance and Cushing's. She said the Cushing's test is pricey, but I was wondering about it anyway since my mare sweats standing still on hot days and the little guy is always cool as a cucumber, so there isn't a doubt in my mind about running the test! We'll finish the bute regimine in the meantime, and work on getting the dry lot back to true dry lot status, otherwise he'll be living in his muzzle 24-7 or kept in during the days.
    Thank you all for your suggestions! I had a feeling there were some of you out there dealing with similar situations day-to-day. It was a little nerve wracking to me being a new pony and all and never having dealt with it on any of my Thoroughbreds!


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 21, 2010
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    If you can section off a small area, let the big guys on it to eat it down, you can get to a dry lot in a few days, probably. Then the little guy can have his own area. Or get another pony for the dry lot too! Lol



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2008
    Posts
    2,692

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    Don't forget about salt. It's hard for them to get enough salt through a 24/7 muzzle.

    I leave mine unmuzzled from midnight until about 10:00 a.m. That's when the sugars are lowest in the grass. (Sugars come from photosynthesis, which comes from sunlight.)

    Also, you might consider a mineral analysis of your forage. Proper minerals are an important factor in preventing laminitis.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2005
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    1,481

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    I highly suggest you start him on a supplement to counteract the likelihood of another episode (wont prevent it if he is not managed, but will definitely help). We use Remission and are very happy with the results. Having 30+ ponies, we have a couple of older ones that need to be managed. There is also Quiessence, which is a bit pricier but also very good. Feed just a handful of low starch feed and you might consider bagged low starch hay if it is available. If not, I would keep him off of grass and just feed soaked hay - I hate muzzles and only use them as a last resort. Once he seems back to normal, you shouldnt have to keep soaking his hay. Best of luck!
    Quicksilver Farms, LLC
    "Welsh Hunter Ponies"
    Welsh Sec. B Stallions and
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    www.quicksilverponies.com



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2010
    Location
    Central PA
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    239

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    Quote Originally Posted by spacytracy View Post
    If you can section off a small area, let the big guys on it to eat it down, you can get to a dry lot in a few days, probably. Then the little guy can have his own area. Or get another pony for the dry lot too! Lol
    Haha, well his little paddock is already tiny, and he does have a mini donkey sharing it. It is was truly the perfect set up before the heavy rains encouraged all the grass growth through late June! But the barn owner will be considering all options to get it back down to no grass again. The muzzle is only a temporary fix-but I will definitely consider him not being able to get his salt with it on, thanks for that suggestion too Cindyg. We should have the lab results by Thursday which will help in deciding which medications or supplements are necessary. Definitely don't want this to happen again!



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