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Ugg .. my horse has laminitis!

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  • Ugg .. my horse has laminitis!

    I know I will be judged, but I am going to just say I did the best I knew with the information I had at the time. Hindsight is 20/20 and I know what I should have done. That being said, this is my story:

    Tank is my 13 year old mustang gelding that I had a little over a year. He came from a feed lot so his history is unknown, other than that he was captured around a year old. The farrier and I thought that he may have had an episode of laminitis in the past. I had him tested for PPID this spring due to him developing fat pads last fall, he also had other symptoms, including getting abscesses.

    My suspicion was so strong that he had PPID or IR that I changed him over to Purina Welsolve L/S ( low starch) and put him on the SmartPak SmartPituitary Senior Pellets. Now about the time that he had his episode, I decided not give him the supplement, because he was going to be tested in the spring and I didn't want that supplement of affect the results. He was tested and the vet said that he did not have PPID/ IR, not even borderline.

    One other change he had, was that the barn didn't tell me he was low on his feed. He ran out so they gave him theirs, which is not low starch. It was a case that they normally tell me, but I also normally bring some out, so it was miscommunication on both ends.

    Also the rain this spring was unreal. His pen was so soggy that I could hardly walk in it. The suction was so strong I could feel it in my hip. He is pasture boarded, so he had no way out of all the mud. Trust me, I was heartbroken that the mud was so bad and said he had to be moved to a dryer pen, one that was higher. But he was already lame.

    I called out the farrier and he thought, based on Tank's history and the conditions in the pen, that he had an abscess. But that it was deep and we would have to wait. So I called the vet for antibiotics and bute and we treated it that way. Well ... turns out that it was not an abscess. He had laminitis and apparently he had a few episodes.

    So my farrier took of a ton of toe and really squared them off. He didn't think I needed x rays, but i just wanted them to find out what the outcome was likely to be.

    I had x rays done today that showed no sinking, but rotation in both front feet. Mild on the left and a little more sever on the right. He reacted to the hoof tester, actually more on the left than the right, but walks sound and even looks pretty sound at the trot.

    I prefer keep my horse on pasture (dry lot) but it was very disheartening when I couldn't put him in a stall when he was so lame. I also prefer barefoot ... for both me and my horse. The vet's suggestion was that he should be stalled with daily turn out and be shod with pads.

    I know that laminitis is incredibly difficult to treat and end result may vary. My vet was cautiously optimistic that he would be okay to be ridden in 6 months or so.

    I am mostly looking for people's opinions as to hoof care. Shoeing, not shoeing. Other options. I think I am going to get him a stall, just because it gets so sloppy in the spring and fall, he probably would benefit from it. The having shoes on him is hard for me to believe will be the best for him.
    Last edited by Hopeless; Jul. 30, 2019, 06:34 AM.
    https://fearlessriderreturns.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Why are you so against shoes? If that's what makes him most comfortable then you put them on. If I could put shoes on my mare who has a history of laminitis I would in a heartbeat (she hasn't had a flare-up in a few years thankfully). She lives in boots now due to the hard, drylot she's in. Vet is coming out this week to do another check as I routinely do with her - hoping she can think of something to make shoes work.
    "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

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by ryansgirl View Post
      Why are you so against shoes? If that's what makes him most comfortable then you put them on. If I could put shoes on my mare who has a history of laminitis I would in a heartbeat (she hasn't had a flare-up in a few years thankfully). She lives in boots now due to the hard, drylot she's in. Vet is coming out tomorrow to do another check as I routinely do with her.
      If that is what is the best for him. I would do it. I want to find out if there are alternatives because I don't think shoes are always the best.

      Tell me about the boots you have her in.
      https://fearlessriderreturns.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Shoes aren't something you should have a categorical feeling about. Some horses do great without them. Some don't. Some have a medical condition that warrants treatment - and shoes are part of that treatment.

        If you aren't already, I'd recommend soaking hay to get the sugar down if you don't have test results on the current batch.

        Soft Ride Boots are commonly used to get over the initial acute pain phase. They serve a great purpose. Once the horse is more mobile though and able to go back to turnout or be ridden, they aren't meant for that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
          Shoes aren't something you should have a categorical feeling about. Some horses do great without them. Some don't. Some have a medical condition that warrants treatment - and shoes are part of that treatment.

          If you aren't already, I'd recommend soaking hay to get the sugar down if you don't have test results on the current batch.

          Soft Ride Boots are commonly used to get over the initial acute pain phase. They serve a great purpose. Once the horse is more mobile though and able to go back to turnout or be ridden, they aren't meant for that.
          Totally agree with all of this.

          Soft-Rides are a lifesaver but they are NOT for turnout or riding like you said. Boots do work but they are a pain in the arse to deal with. At least twice a day i take them off and check everything. I have the Easy Boot Trails and Cavallo Sport - they work but damn shoes would be so much easier.

          As far as xrays go your farrier should know you need them to confirm rotation and he should be reviewing them to see what he needs to do. My vet and farrier work in conjunction especially when my mare had her flare-up. That made a difference.
          "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

          Comment


          • #6
            It doesn't sound like your farrier necessarily has a ton of experience with laminitis, based on how long it took to catch it. Especially if there was suspicion of prior laminitis and metabolic dysfunction. IME a farrier with laminitis experience is your best weapon when you're trying to keep a laminitic horse comfortable in recovery.

            Many farriers and vets have ideas about how to offer cushioning to sore, laminitic feet. There are a number of things you can do, but cushioning is important. The other goals are usually to get weight off of sore toes and to start addressing structural changes through trimming and corrective shoeing. You can do this barefoot -- especially if you're willing to use boots with cushioning -- but a good farrier becomes even more imperative if you're going to drop the tools of corrective shoeing from your toolbox.

            When I was caring for a laminitic pony, he got a very deeply bedded stall and turnout in a sand arena for quite some time before he was happy on harder surfaces. If your dry lot has packed or hard footing, your guy might be better off in a stall. But pay attention to the footing and the grazing in whatever turnout he'd go out in if stalled.

            At this point in the season you couldn't do TRH stimulation testing for PPID, but you might get useful information from ACTH without waiting all the way until spring. If you get a positive result during the autumn window you could get an earlier start on treatment for a possible underlying metabolic disorder.

            Wishing your guy a full and speedy recovery.

            Comment


            • #7
              OP, this horse ate his way into laminitis. If he has fat pads, his intake needs to be restricted, especially if you suspect past laminitis. He does NOT need the WellSolve. He may not need any hard feed at all. He should be muzzled and have hay with a slow feed net until his weight has decreased to a point that does not put him at risk. The dumbpack supplement is silly - talk to your vet about Thyro-L which may help get his weight where it needs to be.
              "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

              Comment


              • #8
                So, did you ever test for PPID? That would be step #1 because you have to treat that condition. Diet and environmental change will certainly help, but not enough without treatment.

                Laminitis is not "incredibly difficult to treat." It's inflammation. But it always has a cause. That's the difficult part - it may not be possible for this horse to live on pasture if he has metabolic issues.

                So, step 1) you need to know what you're dealing with - I would test for PPID and IR now. Step 2) adjust your care for this horse based on Step 1.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                  OP, this horse ate his way into laminitis. If he has fat pads, his intake needs to be restricted, especially if you suspect past laminitis. He does NOT need the WellSolve. He may not need any hard feed at all. He should be muzzled and have hay with a slow feed net until his weight has decreased to a point that does not put him at risk. The dumbpack supplement is silly - talk to your vet about Thyro-L which may help get his weight where it needs to be.
                  I know this is going to sound strange, but he is not fat. He is hard to keep weight on. He was not getting near enough food last fall, but when fixed that problem he immediately gained fat pads. My vet was surprised, I was surprised, but he most definitely will not keep enough weight on with only hay.

                  1) In my OP I stated that he has been tested or PPID and IR and vet said he doesn't have it. Not even borderline.
                  2) We are adjusting his care.
                  https://fearlessriderreturns.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    1. There are hard keepers who develop metabolic issues. With you not knowing his past, if he were starved (therefore his system stressed) that could bring it on.


                    I also don't by the the horse not having metabolic issues, if he foundered on grass -- regardless of what the blood tests show - sorry.

                    from what I have read, folks suspicious of PPID and get. Evasive blood results, generally DO e d up with a PPID horse. I understand the blood tests for PPID never show anything u til the horse has already fallen of the fence and needs medicine.


                    2. I have an IR horse I thought I might lose when he foundered severely in 2012.

                    i have run the gamut on him from barefoot to several hundred $$$ of various boots and pads in a box, to standard shoes, back to barefoot, back to boots, and he is now in Natural Balance shoes with pour-in pads. He doesn't always wear the pour-in pads but he will likely stay in the Natural Balance shoes until the end as he is now 24.

                    3. My point is to do what's best for the horse, at any given time, regardless of whether it's barefoot, boots, or shoes.

                    my only comment regarding shoes is to go straight to therapeutic shoes (Natural Balance or similar), as there are different models that change break over, can elevate the heels if necessary, etc.

                    and to also consider the pour-in pads. The EquiPak by VetTec is pretty much the best thing to ever come down the hoof rehab pike.

                    lastly, I don't care how "great" your farrier might be. If that farrier has little experience rehabbing foundered hooves, that person can do more harm than good to your horse. I speak from experience.

                    find a certified farrier who has had specific training in dealing with special needs hooves --- you will save yourself grief, you will save your horse unneeded discomfort, and you save a lot in your wallet so you can buy the feed and supplements this horse is now going to need.

                    Supplements: get that horse on pure Vitamin E (no added selenium) and on a pure Biotin supplement. I buy all of mine from HorseTech and none of it is cheap but it does at least last a long time

                    I have no use for Purina as I have my own WellSolve nightmare when they first rolled it out in 2007, with another metabolic horse. However I believe they have changed the formula and if it works for your horse, and he holds a good weight, keep him on it

                    I am sorry to sound abrupt but there ARE vet's out there who don't know straight up regarding metabolic issues, nor are they familiar with the latest and greatest in hoof health care. They don't get to spend much time on the subject in vet school and much of what they say can be shooting from the hip.

                    There are a handful of large animal and equine vet's in my county. Only ONE knows his business about metabolic issues and that is the lameness vet

                    best at wishes for a good recovery
                    Last edited by walkinthewalk; Jul. 30, 2019, 07:21 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hopeless View Post

                      1) In my OP I stated that he has been tested or PPID and IR and vet said he doesn't have it. Not even borderline.
                      2) We are adjusting his care.
                      OK in fairness - your original post is too long. I also missed it - but only saw that you suspected he was PPID. When was the testing done and what type of test for PPID? It's difficult to diagnose at the peak of summer if a horse is borderline. Do you have the actual test results?

                      What did the vet think the reason for laminitis was, then?

                      If the horse is on a dry lot (no grass?), isn't metabolic, what did the vet think?

                      Or, is the horse on pasture - you state that you have him on a dry lot but also use the word pasture. Is there grass? If so, how much?

                      You also say that "The vet's suggestion was that he should be stalled with daily turn out and be shod with pads." Is this for recovery, or is this his recommendation in general? Is it possible that the horse is just footsore from terrain conditions and simply needs shoes - and is not actually laminitic?

                      I would not think that a horse (metabolic or not) needs to be stalled for any reason except for recovery. And what does "daily turnout" mean to your vet? (1 hour? 2 hours? all day and stalled overnight?)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        First of all, there are many of us here who learned about managing metabolic issues the hard way. Don't beat yourself up too much, that won't help you or your horse. Do start digging in to the gobs of research that exists on the subject, now that you are dealing with this up close.

                        He might not test for Cushings or IR but that does not mean that he isn't undergoing some metabolic changes (which he clearly is). So, echoing what I think has already been said:

                        1. NO grain. None. Not yet. And definitely not the Wellsolve. If he needs a "meal" I would probably lean towards a little bit of soaked hay cubes or maybe a handful of chopped forage with NO molasses. His hay rations should ideally be soaked (30m-1h), drained and slow-fed, especially if it hasn't been tested. You really want to cut out as many "extras" as possible, sugars/carbohydrates being the #1 most critical. I always think of it like the B.R.A.T. diet for people, bland and easy on the GI system.

                        2. Put him in a stall. Bed it DEEP, several inches. The only surfaces he should be on right now should be soft. If he seems uncomfortable even in deep bedding then it may be time to invest in some of the SoftRide or other type of cushioning boots. You may need them anyway once he can be re-introduced to dry lot turnout.

                        3. Consider finding a different farrier to help you manage this. You said your farrier cut his toes way back... While that might have come with good intentions, that's a pretty dramatic change to make all at once, especially doing it blind without radiographs. My trimmer wouldn't touch a horse like this without knowing what was happening on the inside. IMO/IME shoeing a laminitic horse is problematic. Think about it. The hoof structures are inflamed, and in your case your horse is also experiencing coffin bone rotation. So yes, the hoof needs support and needs to be relieved of pressure/contact with hard surfaces, but there are better ways to achieve that than shoes. The exception to this might be a very skilled corrective shoer, but that's not ever the route I'd go, regardless of whether or not the horse had shoes to begin with.

                        Good luck-- laminitis, etc is a huge PITA but it is manageable.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If he is sound at the trot now are you sure the rotation you are seeing is not from a past laminitic episode and not something that just happened?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A tip on the topic of knowing when to buy feed.
                            It can be your when to order safety net.

                            Figure out how much your horse eats by weight.
                            Then figure out how many days the bag should last you.
                            If he gets one pound per day then a forty pound bag will last forty days (for example of math that is way more simple than it will be).
                            Then mark your calendar to buy more at some point before it will run out.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                              1. There are hard keepers who develop metabolic issues. With you not knowing his past, if he were starved (therefore his system stressed) that could bring it on.


                              I also don't by the the horse not having metabolic issues, if he foundered on grass -- regardless of what the blood tests show - sorry.


                              from what I have read, folks suspicious of PPID and get. Evasive blood results, generally DO e d up with a PPID horse. I understand the blood tests for PPID never show anything u til the horse has already fallen of the fence and needs medicine.
                              I don't either. I really still think that he is having metabolic issues. He was not on grass when he had the laminitic episode, he was on dry lot, but I think that the barn used their higher starch food to replace his low starch food when he ran out. Now I double check every time I am out there that he has his l/s feed.

                              Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                              2. I have an IR horse I thought I might lose when he foundered severely in 2012.

                              i have run the gamut on him from barefoot to several hundred $$$ of various boots and pads in a box, to standard shoes, back to barefoot, back to boots, and he is now in Natural Balance shoes with pour-in pads. He doesn't always wear the pour-in pads but he will likely stay in the Natural Balance shoes until the end as he is now 24.
                              Thank you. I will look into those and suggest it to my farrier, who is doing a great job with him.

                              Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                              3. My point is to do what's best for the horse, at any given time, regardless of whether it's barefoot, boots, or shoes.

                              my only comment regarding shoes is to go straight to therapeutic shoes (Natural Balance or similar), as there are different models that change break over, can elevate the heels if necessary, etc.

                              and to also consider the pour-in pads. The EquiPak by VetTec is pretty much the best thing to ever come down the hoof rehab pike.
                              Of course I am going to do what is best for my boy. I just don't want to jump to shoes because "it is what is always done." Ya know what I mean? There are are so many more options out there now. And I will definitely check out the pour in pads.

                              Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                              lastly, I don't care how "great" your farrier might be. If that farrier has little experience rehabbing foundered hooves, that person can do more harm than good to your horse. I speak from experience.

                              find a certified farrier who has had specific training in dealing with special needs hooves --- you will save yourself grief, you will save your horse unneeded discomfort, and you save a lot in your wallet so you can buy the feed and supplements this horse is now going to need.
                              This farrier has been doing a great job with him so far. The vet said he had trimmed my boy very well. I will ask the farrier more about his experience, but from what I have seen (not matter if it comes across well in an internet post) he seems to be doing the right thing.

                              Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                              Supplements: get that horse on pure Vitamin E (no added selenium) and on a pure Biotin supplement. I buy all of mine from HorseTech and none of it is cheap but it does at least last a long time

                              I have no use for Purina as I have my own WellSolve nightmare when they first rolled it out in 2007, with another metabolic horse. However I believe they have changed the formula and if it works for your horse, and he holds a good weight, keep him on it
                              THe supplement he was on had chasteberry in it, which studies has shown to help PPID/ IR horses. Although but I will check out those other supplements.

                              I am not in love with a Purina product, I did a lot of research to find a feed that the NSC under 10%. Welsolve was the only one I could find that was carried in my area. If you have another feed to suggest, I can look to see if I can find it.

                              Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                              I am sorry to sound abrupt but there ARE vet's out there who don't know straight up regarding metabolic issues, nor are they familiar with the latest and greatest in hoof health care. They don't get to spend much time on the subject in vet school and much of what they say can be shooting from the hip.

                              There are a handful of large animal and equine vet's in my county. Only ONE knows his business about metabolic issues and that is the lameness vet

                              best at wishes for a good recovery
                              Don't be sorry, you actually just confirmed what I already thought. This is the vet that the barn uses, and he is old school. He flat out refused to test my boy in the fall. He is good for run of the mile issues, but I completely agree that he is not up to date on metabolic issues. I am afraid that my boy might be on the fence and by changing his feed, I have altered his ATCH and insulin levels enough to change the results. I know that I have seen changes in him since I changed the feed.

                              Thank you so much for your input!
                              https://fearlessriderreturns.blogspot.com/

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                                If he is sound at the trot now are you sure the rotation you are seeing is not from a past laminitic episode and not something that just happened?
                                He is not currently having an episode, This is an episode that happened earlier this spring.
                                https://fearlessriderreturns.blogspot.com/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Hopeless View Post

                                  He is not currently having an episode, This is an episode that happened earlier this spring.
                                  If he is not having an episode then why does he need to be stalled and have special shoes and trimming?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    In this case shoes = life, literally. and that's all I have to say about that.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Haylter View Post
                                      In this case shoes = life, literally. and that's all I have to say about that.
                                      Are you trying to say that for a horse to be sound and comfortable every again after a laminitic episode they have to have shoes on?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        trubandloki ummmm read for comprehension "IN THIS CASE" OP writing that Xrays show sinking means this horse needs external support to survive with any quality of life.

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