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Chronically lame pony

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  • Chronically lame pony

    We rescued a 9 year-old small pony last summer. She arrived slightly overweight which our vet attributed to insulin resistance. As a result, she gets no grass, a handful of pellets, and soaked hay. When she is turned out in our big field, she wears a grazing muzzle.

    Despite best efforts, she frequently founders. When she does, she gets Bute and her feet soaked. Another vet is coming out to take x-rays so that she and the farrier have a better idea of how to make her comfortable.

    Is there anything else we can be doing? Can we better manage her insulin resistance, possibly through medication. I'm concerned about long-term effects on her.

  • #2
    When she is turned out in the big field in the muzzle is she getting grass?

    If so I would start by stopping that.


    • Original Poster

      The sun in NC has killed all of the grass so anything she gets is brown. We turn her out for about an hour/day in the field, but lately, she's not even getting that and is still sore.


      • #4
        Is she still over weight? On any meds? Been tested for cushings or thyroid problems?


        • #5
          I suggest you check out www.safergrass.org


          • #6
            If I had a pony that was foundering regularly I would not allow any grass.......we had a 19 year old mare that started foundering regularly so she was in a dry lot but still continued to foundered even at the slightest weight gain......vet figured she had cushings but had the last symptom first.



            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by whbar158 View Post
              Is she still over weight? On any meds? Been tested for cushings or thyroid problems?

              She is not overweight. Her bloodwork only indicates insulin resistance. Are there any meds/supplements we could use in this case?


              • #8
                LJD check your PMs.
                Originally posted by EquineImagined
                My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


                • #9
                  Have learned a lot about chronic founder since picking up a rescue with that issue. We had a cycle of low-level founder, stall rest, seeming return to soundness, then founder again about 2-3 weeks later. Our vet theorized that he is pulling the sensitive laminae from the hoof before it is truly healed - so he heals a bit then re-injures it. His solution is stall rest until the horse grows an entire new foot - he's done it in the past and it has worked. We are on month 3 and the horse is tolerating it well. He, as before, gets a handful of low-carb grain and timothy. We're pretty optimistic - we had been looking for any founder triggers that we missed and this was the only option left to try. PM me if you want more details.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LJD View Post
                    The sun in NC has killed all of the grass so anything she gets is brown.
                    Stressed grass might look brown and dying but it can have shockingly high levels of sugars, simply because its storing it all for survival. Sugar is the way a plant feeds itself and keeps itself alive.

                    Rick suggested a very good resource.

                    Best of luck w your pony.
                    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                    • #11
                      Ditto on the drought grass--it is VERY high in sugars. Also, your hay may also be too high in sugars.

                      One of the keys in managing chronic founder is exercise. If you can get the pony sound enough to exercise, even 30 minutes of activity each day will help a great deal. If she's not trained under saddle, you could pony her from another horse.

                      I have used a combination of restricted diet, exercise, and Quiessence (supplement) and have managed to keep my founder prone horse from taking a single off step in over a year. It takes a lot of work and it's a hassle, but well worth it.

                      Also, good vets and farriers are essential!!


                      • #12
                        Also, JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE SOAKING HAY DOES NOT MAKE IT "OK". The hay could be rather high in sugar, and soaking it once is not enough. If the water is VERY dark after soaking, it is high in sugar. Soak it again, and the water should be lighter in color. If not, it is too high in sugar to even soak.

                        No grass, not even "brown" grass. It is dormant-not dead. Stressed grass=high sugar grass. A big no-no!

                        Also, what kind of "pellets" are you feeding? And if just feeding a handful, the pony is probably not getting all of the necessary nutrients.

                        A competent farrier is VERY important also! One who is experienced with founder/chronic laminitis, preferably.

                        My VERY severely foundered pony (over 20 deg. in the fronts, and 15 in the hinds) is doing really well (read, sound) on soaked beet pulp, Omega Horseshine, D-Carb Balance, MSM, and less than 10% NSC hay. He can be fed dry hay! Very exciting.

                        Good luck! Chronic founder is one heck of a b!tch to deal with!
                        "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."


                        • #13
                          No grain, low-sugar hay that is soaked as many times as necessary, no grass at all.

                          I would feed a vitamin/mineral supplement like SmartVite Easy Keeper, and possibly SmartControl IR or Quiessence.


                          • Original Poster

                            Great suggestions, thanks!


                            • #15
                              May I suggest that you give our product 'Anti Flam' a try as part of your program. It was originally formulated specifically for founder and inflammation of the feet. We have had good feed back from people who use it to help control this painful condition.


                              • #16
                                We have rescued and rehabbed many foundered ponies over the years with very good results. I agree with the above posters in that your pony should not be on ANY grass. Your hay may still be high in sugar even soaked and drained. I highly recommend you purchase the Lucerne Farms low starch bagged hay if you can find it or order it in your area. I would also feed a magnesium based supplement like Quiessence or Remission (this is what we use). We feed just a handful of low starch pellets (wet) to mix with the supplement. Once you stabilize the pony, you will need to keep the same regimen. It might be possible to reintroduce regular hay in the future, but not grass. Some laminitic ponies can just not have ANY grass EVER. It seems like a shame, but it is necessary to keep them healthy. Good luck with your pony!
                                Quicksilver Farms, LLC
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