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Laminitis recovery question

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  • Laminitis recovery question

    My mare has been having laminitis issues for the last 3 years. We started with corrective shoeing the first year, vet and farrier didn't think we needed X-rays. Mare was better through the latter part of the year until that spring. We never had stopped the corrective shoeing so continued with that. Both farrier and vet advised that things would get better once the very hot summer was over. In September of that second year I finally insisted on X-rays. Fairly severe rotation in one front foot, very little in the other front

    The first two years the episodes were fairly mild. Last fall she had a couple of acute very painful episodes. She was put on thyroid medicine as well as pergolide. I didn't really see much difference until I pulled her grain (safe choice). She showed a lot of improvement in a couple days.

    So fast forward to this spring. She is dry lotted, on hay and a low NSC feed, meds as noted above, special shoeing. And she still became mildly uncomfortable a month or so ago . the vet treated with I'V DMSO and Previcox

    A couple questions - any ideas on how to stop the laminitic
    episodes?
    And anybody know why the worst rotated foot would almost always have a noticeable digital pulse even when she is doing OK?

    I've asked my vet if we need a second opinion but he feels until the hooves have grown past the damage caused by the laminitis there isnt a way to fix things until the laminae are attached correctly

  • #2
    Originally posted by JBD View Post
    My mare has been having laminitis issues for the last 3 years. We started with corrective shoeing the first year, vet and farrier didn't think we needed X-rays. Mare was better through the latter part of the year until that spring. We never had stopped the corrective shoeing so continued with that. Both farrier and vet advised that things would get better once the very hot summer was over. In September of that second year I finally insisted on X-rays. Fairly severe rotation in one front foot, very little in the other front

    The first two years the episodes were fairly mild. Last fall she had a couple of acute very painful episodes. She was put on thyroid medicine as well as pergolide. I didn't really see much difference until I pulled her grain (safe choice). She showed a lot of improvement in a couple days.

    So fast forward to this spring. She is dry lotted, on hay and a low NSC feed, meds as noted above, special shoeing. And she still became mildly uncomfortable a month or so ago . the vet treated with I'V DMSO and Previcox

    A couple questions - any ideas on how to stop the laminitic
    episodes?
    And anybody know why the worst rotated foot would almost always have a noticeable digital pulse even when she is doing OK?

    I've asked my vet if we need a second opinion but he feels until the hooves have grown past the damage caused by the laminitis there isnt a way to fix things until the laminae are attached correctly
    I wont speak on the mechanics of what is going on specifically with the hooves but I can tell you 3 years is a very long time to have a consistent problem.

    Management wise you have done some good things such as dry lotting her. I know you have also made an attempt to feed low NSC grain. However, do you know what percentage the NSC is? What would seem the biggest miss at the moment is the hay. You need to feed hay that is tested to verify that it is low NSC, if it can't be tested then soaked before feeding, or a forage replacement that is low NSC.

    Has your mare had blood work done to check her thyroid, insulin, glucose, leptin, etc?

    Honestly I'd be getting a second opinion based on the fact your vet and farrier both felt it wasn't necessary to x-ray your mare until you insisted.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you have a pulse, something is still triggering it. Do you know the ingredients in the feed? Could be something in there.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ask your vet to test blood glucose and insulin to see if your horse is IR as well as ACTH for Cushings. If they don't think that is necessary then get a new vet. You were right to pull the Safe Choice, but you should also pull the hay until you can get it tested. In the meantime you can feed a low NSC (~10%) bagged forage such as Triple Crown Safe Starch and/or Ontario Dehy Timothy Balancer cubes. If she needs "grain" consider Purina Wellsolve L/S. You can also feed beet pulp with no molasses, soaked with hot water and rinsed before feeding.

        I'd also get a new set of films and send them to the best farrier you can find. Laminitis sucks and should not be taken lightly. Sorry you are having to deal with it.

        For what it's worth my laminitic pony responded to a low dose of Banamine much better than Previcox, which did not help him at all.
        Originally posted by EquineImagined
        My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.

        Comment


        • #5
          I find it absolutely insane that your vet apparently "doesn't care" about your horse having recurrent foundering episodes for THREE YEARS. Talk about awful ethics. It's NOT comfortable for your horse. The absolute first thing he should have done is take films, and tell you to pull your horse from grain, particularly Safe Choice which, despite the name, is an AWFUL choice for horses sensitive to starch.

          Agreed with the other that the first step is to test your hay. While you wait for the results to come back, if you can't pull her from it completely, start soaking it.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks to everyone for the comments and ideas. I will get my hay tested since I buy a big load once a year so it makes sense. Its coastal so I kind of assumed it wasn't too bad based on what I researched but you are right, I need to know for sure. I did a lot of research on feeds and mine is 10 % NSC but I'll check it again to make sure.
            The vet offered to test before we put her on pergolide but recommended going ahead without the test. Thyroid meds were also added without a test. I will take the blame for that since I was worried last fall that things could get really bad in a hurry. Her cresty neck has been getting thinner mostly at the base and top of the neck. The middle part is still cresty although smaller. She is not overweight in fact she is a little ribby even though she gets plenty of hay and the low NSC feed. Maybe the thyroid meds are increasing her metabolism?
            I've had an untested theory that there is some sort of circulatory issue in the foot that almost always has a pulse which is the foot with the worst rotation. I do know a fantastic vet who specializes in laminitis /founder and have asked my regular vet several times if it's time to bring him in. Based on the responses here and my gut feeling in asking these questions, it's time.
            Has anyone had laminitis flare up due to hormonal changes like coming into season?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JBD View Post
              I did a lot of research on feeds and mine is 10 % NSC but I'll check it again to make sure............. and the low NSC feed.
              10% is not that low for truly sensitive horses. Find something more around six, like Poulin's Carb Safe.

              Comment


              • #8
                Absolutely time for a new vet. Your vet should have insisted on test before medicating so you would have a baseline. Especially as time goes on and medications need to be adjusted you need to know where you started.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The horse most likely isn't being worked, so why have it on any sort of bagged feed????

                  There's soy-free EquiPride that will give your horse all it's vit/min requirements at 10 ounces per day and $60/50 lb bag. It has "distillers grains" in it but those are ok because Whiskey Makers take the sugars from the grains then re-sell the "dried" grain to feed purveyors.

                  There's McCauley's M-10 balancer that is an RB but is soy and grain-free. It requires a one lb daily and is $23/50 lb bag.

                  Valley Vet has soy-free vitamin/min supplements that only require a couple ounces daily and can be top-dressed over timothy pellets.

                  Lots of ways to get the needed vitamins/minerals into the horse without buying a bag of feed containing soy and grains.

                  I keep going back to soy because your metabolic horse sounds like soy might possibly be part of the problem - not all of the problem but part of it. The horse is metabolic or you wouldn't keep having laminitis issues, unless the farrier is really that bad.

                  Farrier: how often is the horse's hooves tended to by the farrier? I hope every 4 - 5 weeks, anything more than that is too long. I also hope your farrier doesn't wait longer simply because "he doesn't have anything to cut with the nippers" <---I've experienced THAT too.

                  Also, are you sure all the problems are really in the foundered hooves? Could be the farrier is taking too much heel in one strike and is causing some soreness in the tendons which, in turn, further aggravates the founder. Ask me how I know all this. I d**n near lost my horse and the guy I hired to re-hab him had more pieces of hoof certification dangling off his fingers than any 30 people in a 75 mile radius.

                  There are some things you could do different, starting with a new vet and possibly a new hoof caregiver but you need to have a lot of hoof knowledge yourself to keep the hoof caregiver doing what they're supposed to, for your particular horse.

                  For now I would start with diet.

                  As far as Thyro-L. I'm sure I'll get taken to the Woodshed but when my almost mirror-image of your horse wasn't responding to anything OTC, my vet gave me two choices:

                  1. Thyro-L
                  2. Hot Hoof 1 prescription herbal blend.

                  I chose Hot Hoof 1. That was December, 2012. The horse has lost weight, his cresty neck is gone, even living in allergy purgatory (The Tennessee Valley) his eyes are not mattery, I can barely find his sheath and he's got more energy than he did when I bought him 6+ years ago.

                  He goes out to pasture every day in a grazing muzzle. He's on 20+ acres of nothing but hills so has to work doubly hard for grass.

                  He eats one pound daily of McCauley's M-10 balancer and gets a half measuring cup of timothy pellets thrown in so he thinks he's eating.

                  It *isses me off that I have to limit pasture time to "only" 8 - 9 hours daily but he's not my only metabolic horse. I give him half his hay loose in a hay tub and the other half in a slow feeder hay net. Since starting the Hot Hoof 1, there's been hay in his tub and/or hay bag every morning.

                  The vet's don't know near what they need to know about this disease. Had I listened to my first vet, I could have very well lost my first metabolic horse when he was diagnosed in 2007. I can get aggravated as all get-out over the cattiness on this forum BUT it was a few members on this forum that headed me down the right path to help that horse. He's now 25-1/2, never foundered, still bright-eyed-and-bushytailed, and still the strong alpha-dominant "Leader of the Pack".


                  The responsibility is on us, as the horse owner, to ask questions of other horse owners, research credible articles, and most of all be prepared to think waaaay outside the box, if what you're doing isn't working.

                  That word "metabolism" means every horse is different. Us poor owners are stuck figuring out what is going to work the best for at least this season and with any kind of bad luck that regimen will change when Fall rolls around and we have to worry about Fall grass Founder.

                  That was a mini novel and I apologize. I hope you glean some useful information from it

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Walkinthewalk

                    Super great post. SUPER. Thanks!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LMH View Post
                      If you have a pulse, something is still triggering it. Do you know the ingredients in the feed? Could be something in there.
                      My thinking also. If there is soy in it, find something soy free. Even plain alfalfa pellets or beet pulp with a supplement would work fine. Soak all the hay. It might not be soy but it can affect some horses that way. It's worth a try.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd be even more concerned about the rotation than the pulse. When did this happen? Last fall, this spring?? I CANNOT believe no one wanted x-rays. You need a new vet and farrier.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                          I'd be even more concerned about the rotation than the pulse. When did this happen? Last fall, this spring?? I CANNOT believe no one wanted x-rays. You need a new vet and farrier.
                          Totally agree! My mare showed up lame out of the blue one day - we immediately did X-rays and found rotation on the left front. My old farrier has been fired (long story that i wont get into) and my new ones specializes in laminitis cases and works with my vets. We will be doing X-rays every fours weeks so the farrier knows what she is dealing with before she starts redoing her feet. My vets are in constant contact with me and want to know immediately if there is any change in anything!
                          "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


                          • #14
                            Dump that vet.
                            START SOAKING THE HAY TODAY.

                            Google Dr. Elenor Kellon and get on her Laminitis site. Follow her emrgency protocol (soaking hay, vitamin e and other things I don't remember) while you proceed to get your hay tested.

                            You can get minerals mixed for you for your SPECIFIC hay, to balance what that hay needs. I do this, it is not expensive, and the lab contact is on the laminitis site. The mineral balance is of utmost importance to these horses, so a "general" vitamin/mineral supp in not the best way to go.

                            Your vet is not a metabolic specialist, he is a G.P. If he were a human G.P., he would have referred a person with Metabolic issues to a specialist after the first visit. This is my pet peeve with standard practice vets.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Very good advice given in previous posts.
                              Only thing I could add is to get an ACTH test to make sure your horse is on the correct dosage of Pergolide - we had to change Willie to 1.5mg/day this time, so your Pergolide dosage may be too low to be helpful. Also, Willie was having trouble becoming sound after a laminitic episode even after the vet and farrier had his feet back to the correct angles, and all x-rays showed everything good to go. His joint supplement at the time had 10,000 mg. glucosamine, and I read somewhere that some vets felt that too much glucosamine could be bad for foundered horses. So I switched him to a supplement with only 5,000 mg of glucosamine, and he has been sound for over a year now.
                              stained glass groupie
                              www.equiglas.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by JBD View Post
                                Has anyone had laminitis flare up due to hormonal changes like coming into season?
                                Yes, and this IMO, strengthens the point that this is a metabolic issue. Getting our mare soy free helped substantially.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by JBD View Post
                                  I've had an untested theory that there is some sort of circulatory issue in the foot that almost always has a pulse which is the foot with the worst rotation.
                                  Pulses are a symptom of the inflammation not the cause.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Maybe I missed something, but how do you know that one foot is more rotated than the other (or that there is rotation at all in any foot) without x-rays? Superman and his x-ray vision?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
                                      Maybe I missed something, but how do you know that one foot is more rotated than the other (or that there is rotation at all in any foot) without x-rays? Superman and his x-ray vision?
                                      The OP states that the horse was finally x-rayed in Sept. of the 2nd year the horse was having problems.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                                        The OP states that the horse was finally x-rayed in Sept. of the 2nd year the horse was having problems.
                                        Ah, missed it.

                                        carry on...

                                        Comment

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