Laminitis - positive comments please

asmp

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Had to get the vet out on Monday as horse was not happy on his feet. Was gutted to hear he had laminitis as I thought I'd always been careful with him. Yes, he probably isn't as slim as he should be but I've always strip grazed to try and prevent just this. Vet said 2 weeks box rest and 3 days of Danilon. It's now his second day without pain killers and he looks good - his legs, which had filled at first, are down and he's moving around his stable.

I need to contact vet to discuss more about it as unfortunately I wasn't there when she came due to a prior doctors appointment I couldn't ignore. Apparently she said the practice are seeing lots of cases at the moment.

As my horse is about 17 years old, is it likely to something else rather than just the grass? Wondering if it could have been caused by concussion or metabolism? Is it going to be muzzles and/or bare paddocks for ever more now?

I'm a bit doom and gloom at the moment.
 

Apercrumbie

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It could potentially be cushings so it may be worth getting a test, but an overweight horse on this kind of grass is classic lami. Don't panic yet though - laminitis is manageable but you need to be tough and disciplined. For this attack, follow vet's advice to the letter. A few tips for management once he's recovered:

- be really honest about his weight. You would do him no favours by pretending his weight is ok when it's not. If he's tubby, start soaking his hay, or reducing his grass etc. take action.

- as much exercise as you can give him - it's far rarer for a truly fit horse to get lami. Be honest with yourself about how hard you work too, you want sweat!

- strip out any unnecessary feed. Find low sugar treats to feed him when you know the grass is going to be problematic - no apples, carrots etc.

- careful with frosts in winter (if he's out) - they are a well known trigger

- at any hint of stiffness, reluctance to go forward, footiness etc bring him in on soaked hay for at least 24 hours, then reassess. You should be able to head off major attacks this way.

- consider muzzling. If you can keep them on, then they can be really useful in spring/summer. However, if they're out 24/7, the muzzle needs to be on 24/7 as otherwise they just gorge when it's taken off.


It can be done so please don't despair - my old welshie had a disastrous bout mid-winter a few years ago. Because of his size (16hh) we knew that he wouldn't survive another (their weight causes the pedal bones to rotate quicker than in small ponies) so we were very careful with him and he never had another. I won't lie, it's an absolute pain in the whatsit at times, but worth it. Best of luck with your boy!
 

JillA

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It's all on The Laminitis Site - have a good read http://www.thelaminitissite.org/ It is no longer the potentially fatal condition it used to be - find the cause, manage or medicate and get GOOD hoof care. The protocol on TLS works - they have better outcomes with well trimmed and supported feet than heart bar shoes. My horse is living proof.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I would ask for a Cushings test and if the ACTH test comes back ok, I would ask for the TRH Stim test to be sure. I got *a lot* of weight off my Draft mare when she was obese by giving her huge trugs of plain oat straw chaff to eat overnight, along with a minimal amount of hay/lage, so I would recommend that to any-one.
 

pippixox

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Apparently according to both vet and podiatrist this year has been terrible. I think grass sunddenly shot up as it has been so wet and then we had the sudden very hot weather.

Friends 18 yo mare got it for first time this year. Not cushings. Been far fatter without getting it before!
 

Hepsibah

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I second the laminitis site. My mare developed laminitis last autumn and I was given the same advice as you from my vet, two weeks box rest etc. When she went out after those two weeks she came back in dead lame so I cannot overstate this: Get x-rays asap and find a farrier who will do a realigning trim with them. If the hoof wall and pedal bone aren't placed in the correct position it won't get better.
I found a specialist ambulatory vet who told me six weeks box rest wearing boots and pads to allow the laminae time to heal. Anything less risked the laminae tearing under the stresses of exercise and adding sinking to the list of issues.
I used the time to reduce my mare's weight by 80+kgs and she is now back in work. I keep her in a smallish strip of eaten down grass and weigh tape her weekly. I have an upper limit of 500kg and if she goes over it I muzzle her and increase her exercise. I also check her for a digital pulse twice a day and it is so far, so good.
 

Tiddlypom

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^^^^ X rays are vital. You don't want to be travelling him atm, so get them to bring out a portable x ray unit, or find a vet who will.

I've just had a lami scare with my 7yo. It wasn't lami, as it turned out, it was crap foot balance after a period out on loan. She still has just had 3 weeks of box rest on a deep bed and a full set of x rays done here so that my excellent farrier could correctly rebalance the feet.

There has been lots of lami about this year even in very well managed equines, according to my vets and farrier. I also have 2 Cushing's mares who live out 24/7 on restricted grazing, no muzzles. I mow their paddock with a garden lawnmower and grass collection box if the grass looks like its getting away (like today).
 

asmp

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It could potentially be cushings so it may be worth getting a test, but an overweight horse on this kind of grass is classic lami. Don't panic yet though - laminitis is manageable but you need to be tough and disciplined. For this attack, follow vet's advice to the letter. A few tips for management once he's recovered:

- be really honest about his weight. You would do him no favours by pretending his weight is ok when it's not. If he's tubby, start soaking his hay, or reducing his grass etc. take action.

- as much exercise as you can give him - it's far rarer for a truly fit horse to get lami. Be honest with yourself about how hard you work too, you want sweat!

- strip out any unnecessary feed. Find low sugar treats to feed him when you know the grass is going to be problematic - no apples, carrots etc.

- careful with frosts in winter (if he's out) - they are a well known trigger

- at any hint of stiffness, reluctance to go forward, footiness etc bring him in on soaked hay for at least 24 hours, then reassess. You should be able to head off major attacks this way.

- consider muzzling. If you can keep them on, then they can be really useful in spring/summer. However, if they're out 24/7, the muzzle needs to be on 24/7 as otherwise they just gorge when it's taken off.


It can be done so please don't despair - my old welshie had a disastrous bout mid-winter a few years ago. Because of his size (16hh) we knew that he wouldn't survive another (their weight causes the pedal bones to rotate quicker than in small ponies) so we were very careful with him and he never had another. I won't lie, it's an absolute pain in the whatsit at times, but worth it. Best of luck with your boy!
Many thanks for all the advice. I am really not looking forward to managing it in the future. I hate soaking hay and he's been on haylage for breathing problems for the past few years. (I am soaking hay at present though). I'm feeling really mean at the moment while he's stuck in his stable, and it's not even a week yet.
 

PoniesRock

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My fit and lean connie has just gone down with lami. Vet was very alarmed as, like you I've always been very strict with her and shes in alot of work. Vet was concerned that she had EMS or Cushings. The bloods have come back clear which is great that she doesnt have anything else under lying but also pretty sole destoying that even though shes a very healthy weight the sudden change of grass we have experienced this year has been enough to set her off :(

Shes currently in a deep bed of shavings with frog supports on... Shes on bute twice a day currently. Breaking my heart!! Vet has said he feels I've caught her early enough so doesn't feel that x rays are essential right now. But I expect I will get them done before shes shod again.
 

scats

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My EMS pony came down with very mild laminitis a few weeks ago, after starting a steroid inhaler. She just came out a bit pottery one evening and vet said we caught it at the low-grade stage. I box rested her on a deep bed and soaked hay and she was sound within 3 days. Due to her breathing, we had to get her out as quickly as possible so she was back in a small pen 8 days later.
Three weeks on and with vet and farrier advice, she’s back doing walking hacks.

Management wise now, I treat her like she has permanent sub-clinical lami. She’s out in a small area from 8-5pm and then stabled with weighed hay the rest of the the time. She has an hours rest when she comes in, pulses are checked during this time, and then does a 30-minute hack every night. Feed wise she just has a handful of ligh chaff to add magnesium and equishure to. Aiming to start increasing work over the next few weeks.
She had a trim last week and all is looking fine.

I felt like the worst Mum in the world because I gave her the inhaler that was the tipping point.
My farrier explained it brilliantly- he said that some horses, particularly ones with metabolic issues, walk a tightrope at this time of year. Most of the time they get away with it, they might have a wobble but they stay on their tightrope, but all it takes is something like some wet weather followed by sun or some medication or a bit of concussion to the feet from having a hooley in the field, and it can tip them off their tightrope. The owners job is to first get them back on the tightrope and the next try and make that tightrope more of a plank- so get as much weight off them (safely) as you can, restrict grazing or use a muzzle, keep them as fit as possible and exercise daily etc
 

Pearlsasinger

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I suggest that any-one who suspected Cushings but the ACTH test came back within normal range should insist on the TRH test.

We were concerned that our 22 yr old Appaloosa mare wasn't 'quite right' and she had 3 ACTH tests which all came back within normal range although each result was slightly higher than the last. After the last test, vet suggested that to be sure we had the TRH test done. We did.

The upper safe limit is 110, the Appaloosa's test came back at 800! She was immediately put onto Prascend and showed improvement in her general well-being and the breathing problems which she had been having also improved.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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Many thanks for all the advice. I am really not looking forward to managing it in the future. I hate soaking hay and he's been on haylage for breathing problems for the past few years. (I am soaking hay at present though). I'm feeling really mean at the moment while he's stuck in his stable, and it's not even a week yet.
Been there got the tee shirt lost my mare.


Her son now is managed well despite the odd night or morning with warm feet and a little pulse. I have him on Purple haylage and he does not go squitty or silliy, milk thistle and lami free, restricted grazing no muzzle. 2 - 2 1/2 hrs then in for a few hours then out 2 hrs and that works for him. I also check his pulses 2 times a day at least. Old thread resurrected may provide some help.
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/foru...ease-share-your-s&highlight=laminitis+routine
 

ycbm

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It's definitely tough this year. My minis are off the grass six weeks earlier than last year. Thankfully I have one with white feet which go pink at the coronet as a warning several days before she gets at all footy. I hope everybody's ponies come through OK.
 

OldNag

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I suggest that any-one who suspected Cushings but the ACTH test came back within normal range should insist on the TRH test.

We were concerned that our 22 yr old Appaloosa mare wasn't 'quite right' and she had 3 ACTH tests which all came back within normal range although each result was slightly higher than the last. After the last test, vet suggested that to be sure we had the TRH test done. We did.

The upper safe limit is 110, the Appaloosa's test came back at 800! She was immediately put onto Prascend and showed improvement in her general well-being and the breathing problems which she had been having also improved.
^^This. Our mare who was showing all signs of Cushings was borderline on ACTH but high with TRH test.
 

Lindylouanne

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Apparently according to both vet and podiatrist this year has been terrible. I think grass sunddenly shot up as it has been so wet and then we had the sudden very hot weather.
The same comment from my vet last week and the trimmer two weeks ago. Even though B has always been able to eat whatever he wants vet was concerned that I manage his return to grass very carefully after box rest. DP is a constant worry, he is a good doer, a prime EMS candidate and has to be watched like a hawk as soon as the grass starts coming through.
 

nel509

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HI

I have just been diagnosed the same, for my fit / lightweight connie. He is not fat, 453kg and 15hh.. Im totally gutted. took him to the vet as suspected a suspensory as there was slight swelling and he just wasn't moving like I know he can. Vet did a full work up, and said it was both feet, blocked him from the heal down and he was moving beautifully. Hes now on a 3 weeks box rest, soaked hay / fibre only feed , no drugs, as he is actually walking out fine, and you wouldn't know anything was wrong - it was only that he was reluctant to move as well as he can that prompted me to be concerned. He is having heartbars on, and I will be getting him over to a recovery place with vita floor / and water treadmill to help recovery. I am concerned about how I manage it once its settled down.
 

Fragglerock

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Had to get the vet out on Monday as horse was not happy on his feet. Was gutted to hear he had laminitis as I thought I'd always been careful with him. Yes, he probably isn't as slim as he should be but I've always strip grazed to try and prevent just this. Vet said 2 weeks box rest and 3 days of Danilon. It's now his second day without pain killers and he looks good - his legs, which had filled at first, are down and he's moving around his stable.

I need to contact vet to discuss more about it as unfortunately I wasn't there when she came due to a prior doctors appointment I couldn't ignore. Apparently she said the practice are seeing lots of cases at the moment.

As my horse is about 17 years old, is it likely to something else rather than just the grass? Wondering if it could have been caused by concussion or metabolism? Is it going to be muzzles and/or bare paddocks for ever more now?

I'm a bit doom and gloom at the moment.
My boy was retired and went down with it 3 years ago - he's a big horse which vets say is worse. It was because he was overweight. So he had box rest for a while and a strict diet. I then started on controlled exercise (starting off with 5 minutes at a time in hand on soft ground) Three months after he was first diagnosed I started riding him again in walk only. Nearly 3 years later he is a lot slimmer but I ride him 6 days a week when I can fit it around work. Despite his original injury which led to his retirement we now have the odd canter and gallop - he just doesn't jump any more. His Cushings results have been consistently in the 'grey' area but on a downward trend. He had the test for EMS which was positive despite the fact he wouldn't eat all the sugar! He is now 21.
 

meleeka

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There is hope. Mine have spent a couple of days in recently as both had raised pulses (one with cushings, one not). They have always lived out and a track in the summer months but it seems the rate of growth recently made that even too much. I’ve gradually increased the track again and so far, so good.

They have dry hay and the cushings pony is medicated. The other has never had laminitis but I’m not taking too many chances.
 

wickedwilfred

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I know this is going to sound hard to believe, but my 21 year old mare went down with laminitis badly last year. I’ve had her since she was 2 years old and never had a problem before, but I know these things can happen. Somewhere in my trawling of web to find help, one of the laminitis sites recommended a product called Heiro. This is made in America but you can buy it on Ebay. It’s expensive, but I was desperate, as it was two months down the line and she was still crippled, so I bought some. Within a week the laminitis reduced and by the end of the second week, she was sound. She now lives out all year round and I give her a daily dose of Heiro.
 

JillA

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For those whose horses are affected but not obese you need to be checking for some underlying metabolic disorder such as EMS or PPID (Cushings) - manage the condition and you will minimise the chances of laminitis recurring
 

Apercrumbie

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For those whose horses are affected but not obese you need to be checking for some underlying metabolic disorder such as EMS or PPID (Cushings) - manage the condition and you will minimise the chances of laminitis recurring
Very good point and one that I neglected to mention in my original post. We never tested our Welshie for EMS but both us and vet suspected he had it. We didn't do the test because we were already managing for it to the best of our ability so it wouldn't have changed anything - however for others it is worth ruling out.
 
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asmp

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Update- had the vet back out to do a Cushings test. She is now of the opinion that it was concussion laminitis. He was back to walking around the stable two days after being on box rest and only had 3 days of Bute. He's back out in the field now and I'm not to let him put on any weight (doesn't need to lose any). I'll get the results for the test next week. Fingers crossed that he doesn't get it again.
 

HBII

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Raises hand - we are on box rest atm for laminitis. I went on holiday and left my mare to be looked after, when I came back on the Thursday she was footy. She had been treated with Catrophen for low grade arthritis, back in early April so stupidly I thought it was connected to that. She was no better Saturday so I kept her in on soaked hay, the vet was out Sunday morning.
We are now on a deep bed of shavings, with me reducing the bute tomorrow to one satchet. Xrays were taken Monday and showed no changes and our Cushings Test has come back at 20.
What a mixture of emotions: guilt, concern, worry, limited optimism all contained in one big learning curve.
I am fully aware I have been very lucky and I appreciate the wealth of knowledge available on this site and the helpful websites.
Wishing everyone else in the laminitis boat good luck; my vets have said it has been awful this year.
 

wickedwilfred

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Very interesting to read about everyone’s experiences with laminitis, but I often ask why we see so much of it nowadays. When I was a teenager, some 50 years ago, we turned our ponies out into 20 acre fields and none of them ever got laminitis. I think there is a possible link with people thinking they need to keep their horse thin (i.e. in a starvation paddock) and I actually had a vet tell me to keep a pony in a paddock half the size of a tennis court and it could live on fresh air’. A few years ago, I got to know the manager of a large equine rescue organisation and she had a field full of horses recovering from laminitis, whose owners had given up on them. She always maintained it’s not how much they eat but what they eat that’s important. Her ‘patients’ were never allowed to be hungry. They always had ad lib hay (but clean and last year’s) or very nibbled down grass, but were never left with nothing to eat. She maintained the horse’s stomach is the size of a football and it needs to eat continuously in order to live. My layman’s theory is that once you upset this balance, you destroy the horse’s natural ability to control its metabolism and hence laminitis. I have always followed this method and kept many laminitic ponies this way, but it does need a certain amount of consistent input from the keeper.
 

JillA

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Very interesting to read about everyone’s experiences with laminitis, but I often ask why we see so much of it nowadays. .
It's the way we keep them now. Ryegrass (30 times the sugar of meadow grasses), starchy sugary compound feeds and too little work, to sum it up. And horses live longer - 50 years ago PPID and EMS were death sentences, if horses lived long enough to present with them.
 

asmp

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Interesting comments above but I've owned my horse for 10 years and have been at present yard for 7 years on the same paddocks. Farmer did spread some of the muck heap over the field in the spring but I'm sure he does this every year.

Actually a bit down at the moment, as having been told by the vet last week when she took blood for a Cushings test that she thought it was probably concussion laminitis (results back on Tuesday) and to turn him back out as he was sound, I had to bring him back in yesterday as his pulse was back up and he was a bit short walking out.
 

JillA

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Read The Laminitis Site - then you will probably know way more than your vet. If the laminae have been compromised they won't be up to the job of providing that connection between the skeleton and the hoof capsule, it takes some time for them to heal. So you will need to support the base of the foot for all of that time - if not deep conforming bedding then hoof boots and pads ideally (if you are happy having stuff nailed on to sore feet then heartbars but your remedial farrier will probably want to see x rays to know what to support).
I'd be kitting him out in boots and thick supporting pads to keep the bony column from sinking in the hoof capsule.
 
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