'Pre' Laminitis

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15 April 2018
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105
Please could I ask for thoughts on the following?

Pony is 10 yo Connie. Our yard has turnout for 3 hours max every other day Nov-May, but we rent a small individual 'pen' turnout, so she's been able to go out every day through winter, and has been stabled overnight. A couple of weeks ago the horses have gone out onto the summer field, which is much greener, and bigger. She's been out each day on there, returning in at night.

Yesterday, she went out at 9, and we brought her back in at 11 for a lesson. Pony was much quieter than usual. I picked up a front hoof, and she went down on her knees. She got straight back up, and I called the vet, who thankfully came out pretty quickly to look at her. Vet says she has elevated pulse in front hooves. She said that pony does not have laminitis, but essentially will have if something isn't done.

Vet has said box rest for 2 weeks, advised us to put her on soaked hay (our yard is haylage, so she was on that previously) & given a course of Bute. She said that the pink mash and handful of chaff we give her 2 x day is fine to continue with. (she also has the Equimins powder concentrate mixed in there.) Vet is back in 15 days to look at how she's doing. She said that hopefully this will nip it in the bud, but if not, then she will blood test and take things from there.

My daughter's instructor has two ponies who suffer with laminitis & recommenced giving pony a little bit of oat straw in a bowl each night as something to play about with. She also said a bran mash with Epsom salts every other day, which we gave to pony last night.

I am beyond worried about this pony. I want to get her sorted out, so could really do with some hope. The thought of her being stuck in the stable is heartbreaking. Are there any ways to make the box rest easier for her?

I haven't had a pony with laminitis before so I've begun to research. My head is spinning. I came across an article on Horse & Hound that advocated the use of Hawthorn for laminitic ponies; has anyone found this to be helpful? Any reputable sources for finding out more about this?

Thank you if you've managed to read this far!
 

supsup

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Have you found the "laminitis site" yet on your searches? http://www.thelaminitissite.org/ It has very good, scientifically founded information on laminitis. You'll find all sorts of opinions on the web, but I would say that page is more reliable than magazine articles.

I would keep it simple for now with the diet - soaked hay and a small feed with vit&min in it as recommended by your vet. A bit of straw to chew on probably won't hurt either, but wheat bran is actually about 22% starch, and not at all suitable for a laminitic.
Most cases of laminitis are caused by an underlying condition, either Equine Metabolic Syndrome (usually means pony is too fat!) or PPID (more common in older horses). Your best chance of preventing another laminitis attack is to make sure your pony has a correct, slim body condition and is fed a low sugar/low starch + high fibre diet, and to rule out (or if necessary treat) PPID. I'd have another chat with your vet when they come back for the checkup to see if they suspect EMS or PPID, and if the pony carries too much weight, how to lose it safely.
Unfortunately there is no "magic bullet" herb or supplement that will prevent laminitis. It's all about managing the lifestyle.
 

meleeka

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Hants, England
Firstly, don’t panic! My mini currently has raised pulses, so is confined to the yard. You’ve caught it early so I’m sure your mare will be fine in a few days. It does give you a heads up that her management needs looking at though, either with restricted turnout, use of a muzzle or increased excercise.

I wouldn’t personally worry about feeding bran or Epsom salts. There’s no scientific evidence anything like this works. Give well soaked hay (mix it with straw by all means If you know she’s ok with straw. Some aren’t, in can cause colic) in a small holed net so her ration lasts her. There’s no need to starve her, just reduce the sugar she’s getting to as low as possible.
 
Joined
15 April 2018
Messages
105
Have you found the "laminitis site" yet on your searches? http://www.thelaminitissite.org/ It has very good, scientifically founded information on laminitis. You'll find all sorts of opinions on the web, but I would say that page is more reliable than magazine articles.

I would keep it simple for now with the diet - soaked hay and a small feed with vit&min in it as recommended by your vet. A bit of straw to chew on probably won't hurt either, but wheat bran is actually about 22% starch, and not at all suitable for a laminitic.
Most cases of laminitis are caused by an underlying condition, either Equine Metabolic Syndrome (usually means pony is too fat!) or PPID (more common in older horses). Your best chance of preventing another laminitis attack is to make sure your pony has a correct, slim body condition and is fed a low sugar/low starch + high fibre diet, and to rule out (or if necessary treat) PPID. I'd have another chat with your vet when they come back for the checkup to see if they suspect EMS or PPID, and if the pony carries too much weight, how to lose it safely.
Unfortunately there is no "magic bullet" herb or supplement that will prevent laminitis. It's all about managing the lifestyle.
Thank you, that's really helpful! She was seen by the vet for booster about 2 months ago, and I asked about her weight, vet said that she was in nice condition, nothing to worry about. With hindsight, I think that she should have been slimmer before going out on the grass. Yes, completely agree about no magic bullet...desperate to do anything to help her.
 
Joined
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Messages
105
Firstly, don’t panic! My mini currently has raised pulses, so is confined to the yard. You’ve caught it early so I’m sure your mare will be fine in a few days. It does give you a heads up that her management needs looking at though, either with restricted turnout, use of a muzzle or increased excercise.

I wouldn’t personally worry about feeding bran or Epsom salts. There’s no scientific evidence anything like this works. Give well soaked hay (mix it with straw by all means If you know she’s ok with straw. Some aren’t, in can cause colic) in a small holed net so her ration lasts her. There’s no need to starve her, just reduce the sugar she’s getting to as low as possible.
Thank you!!! I've double netted her morning hay, and bought a 'greedy feeder' net for night. Definitely looking at her management. Hope that your mini is ok.
 

be positive

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It sounds as if you have caught it early before too much damage is done, your main priority is how to manage her longer term, yards that restrict grazing all winter while fields get rested so they can have 'lots of lovely grass in spring and summer' are not looking at the bigger picture and how unsuitable that is for the average equine that does not require access to lush grass so the poor owner is then either in the position you are or have to restrict/ muzzle or otherwise cope in order to keep their animal safe.
If the yard cannot provide suitable turnout once she can get out then you may have to consider a move to somewhere that offers a more suitable, winter as well as summer, turnout, 3 hours every other day is not ideal for any horse, the pen may be ideal for her when she can first go out.
 
Joined
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It sounds as if you have caught it early before too much damage is done, your main priority is how to manage her longer term, yards that restrict grazing all winter while fields get rested so they can have 'lots of lovely grass in spring and summer' are not looking at the bigger picture and how unsuitable that is for the average equine that does not require access to lush grass so the poor owner is then either in the position you are or have to restrict/ muzzle or otherwise cope in order to keep their animal safe.
If the yard cannot provide suitable turnout once she can get out then you may have to consider a move to somewhere that offers a more suitable, winter as well as summer, turnout, 3 hours every other day is not ideal for any horse, the pen may be ideal for her when she can first go out.
Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, the grass is so lush right now, and the haylage I suppose was particularly rich due to last summer's beautiful weather. The area we are in is poor for winter turnout. Every other yard I know of has no turnout at all. The ground here is high in clay. I had though about a muzzle for her when she is able to go back out. Not ideal but hopefully could help us to manage her turnout in the long term.
 

scats

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Sounds like you have caught it early and are doing all the right things, so well done for being so on the ball. I see so many cases of mild laminitis that owners are completely unaware of. It’s also amazing how people will bury heir heads in the sand and try to put it down to something else just because the pony isn’t showing what they believe are classic signs.
Low grade laminitis can show as something as simple as walking a bit slower on hard or stony ground and trying to seek out grass to walk on.

I’ve got two good doers who I treat as high risk, despite the fact they’ve never had it. In summer, they graze overnight on a very bare field, with one foot of new grass daily (field is long and narrow so this isn’t actually much new grass) and come in during the day to soaked hay.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Sounds like you have caught it early and are doing all the right things, so well done for being so on the ball. I see so many cases of mild laminitis that owners are completely unaware of. It’s also amazing how people will bury heir heads in the sand and try to put it down to something else just because the pony isn’t showing what they believe are classic signs.
Low grade laminitis can show as something as simple as walking a bit slower on hard or stony ground and trying to seek out grass to walk on.

I’ve got two good doers who I treat as high risk, despite the fact they’ve never had it. In summer, they graze overnight on a very bare field, with one foot of new grass daily (field is long and narrow so this isn’t actually much new grass) and come in during the day to soaked hay.
Thank you. someone who was on the yard yesterday said that she was lame in the back and to wait a few days before calling the vet, but I am not confident enough to make such a diagnosis and would always contact the vet. Brining her in during the day could be a long term solution. Thank you for taking the time to reply.
 

meleeka

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Hants, England
Thank you!!! I've double netted her morning hay, and bought a 'greedy feeder' net for night. Definitely looking at her management. Hope that your mini is ok.
He was lame on a back leg last week (I’ve no idea why as I was away but that’s resolved itself) so I’m thinking probably a combination of lack of movement and too much grass. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage him going forward, but they are ar home so I’ll work something out. . I would definitely recommend you learn how to feel for pulses as that’s the best early warning imo, far more reliable than heat in hooves. Unfortunately I do have past experience having had two with Cushings and associated laminitis before diagnosis, but at least that means I’m always checking for it.
 
Joined
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He was lame on a back leg last week (I’ve no idea why as I was away but that’s resolved itself) so I’m thinking probably a combination of lack of movement and too much grass. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage him going forward, but they are ar home so I’ll work something out. . I would definitely recommend you learn how to feel for pulses as that’s the best early warning imo, far more reliable than heat in hooves. Unfortunately I do have past experience having had two with Cushings and associated laminitis before diagnosis, but at least that means I’m always checking for it.
Poor lad. Hope you can work something out for him. And thank you for the advice.
 

rosemary28

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My hairy pony is prone to laminitis, so as soon as the grass starts to grow he comes in during the day to a small amount of soaked hay, and goes out at night. We tried a muzzle but he just takes them off and loses them in the field. It's taken us a few years to get it right but now we have a system that works and a happy pony whose laminitis seems to be under control (*touch wood!*)

Good luck with your pony, I hope you can work something out for her.
 

Orangehorse

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My little pony that had laminitis before I had him, has been in small paddock since the temperature went up and the grass began to grow.
Calories count. My horse is also in his slightly larger patch now, having put on quite a lot of weight in the past 2 weeks still out on his winter field. Look at the lawn growing!

They are behind an electric fence and I increase the grass a bit in the morning, but the grass in the rest of the paddock is still growing of course. If the paddocks get very bare I give them some soaked hay so they have something to chew on. The come in at night and both get a small fed including a hoof supplement that includes magnesium, which is always a good idea to give them in the spring anyway.

I will re-arrange the electric fencing with the aim of doing a track around the outside of the paddock, still keeping the pony on a smaller patch as at least the horse gets ridden. I did this last year and it worked OK, so I am just hoping that it will work this year. Both had their feet done last week and there were no signs of laminitis.

Years ago I was showing a horse and the judge said he thought maybe he wasn't moving that well and possibly a back problem. I had his back done the previous week and there were no issues. With hindsight I think that the horse was suffering from "pre-laminitis" so he wasn't actually exhibiting any symptoms but he wasn't moving as freely as he should have done. So that is something to watch out for.
 

SEL

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That pen you used over winter - can you use it now?

I have activated charcoal in my feed room after an incident a few years ago when I got a call from the yard to say my mare had escaped onto the hay field (full of spring grass) and they couldn't get near her. I was 3 hours away so spent the rest of the day panicking and on advice got the charcoal in for future escapes. It supposedly helps with toxin absorption.
 

Leo Walker

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Epsom salts probably help because they contain magnesium which does help with lammi and metabolic conditions. Equimins is very good but is slightly low in magnesium so I would add extra magnesium oxide and drop the bran mash!
I second SEL, could you use the pen and once shes sound and gets the go ahead, then turnout overnight in a muzzle?
 

Merri

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My hairy pony is prone to laminitis, so as soon as the grass starts to grow he comes in during the day to a small amount of soaked hay, and goes out at night. We tried a muzzle but he just takes them off and loses them in the field. It's taken us a few years to get it right but now we have a system that works and a happy pony whose laminitis seems to be under control (*touch wood!*)

Good luck with your pony, I hope you can work something out for her.
Thank you, I'm glad that you've found a system for your boy.
 

Merri

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That pen you used over winter - can you use it now?

I have activated charcoal in my feed room after an incident a few years ago when I got a call from the yard to say my mare had escaped onto the hay field (full of spring grass) and they couldn't get near her. I was 3 hours away so spent the rest of the day panicking and on advice got the charcoal in for future escapes. It supposedly helps with toxin absorption.
Yes, I can use my pen all year 'round.
I haven't heard of using AC, will read up on it, thank you. Must have been very stressful for you.
 

Merri

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Epsom salts probably help because they contain magnesium which does help with lammi and metabolic conditions. Equimins is very good but is slightly low in magnesium so I would add extra magnesium oxide and drop the bran mash!
I second SEL, could you use the pen and once shes sound and gets the go ahead, then turnout overnight in a muzzle?
Thank you, I will look into magnesium levels. What is SEL, please? Yes, can use the pen, and definitely looking into a muzzle!
 
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