Welsh Ponies are.....


Care of the Laminitic Horse/Pony After Onset

* Keep feeding a minimum of 2 1/2% bodyweight, even if the horse is obese and dieting recommended. Starvation diets are detrimental to the welfare of the horse. Such drastic dieting can lead to a condition known as hyperlipaemia whereby the stored fat reserves of the animal are broken down and released into the blood stream as liquid fat. When this happens it is often fatal.

* Do feed a broad spectrum mineral supplement such as "Farrier's Formula", "Nu-foot", "Naf Hoof and Hide" or similar. It has been proven that in order for the animal's body to overcome the toxins released into it's sytem and reapair the damaged tissues it needs a carefully balanced diet that can provide all the necessary micronutrients. These include Biotin, Methionine, Proline, Zinc, Copper, iodine, Glycine, Tyrosine, Lecithin and Vitamin C as the primary elements. The use of just one or two of these componants on their own is not enough. A combination is required in order to allow the aniaml to absorb them into its system.

* Avoid the use of Bran unless needed as a laxative as instructed by your Veterinarian. It contains Phyate which is high in Phosphorous and blocks absorption of Calcium in the small intestine. This in turn creates a systemic calcium deficiency which is detrimental to hoof health.

* Avoid all cerial and pulse products . They are high in Carbohydrates. Keep to high fibre forage products such as previous years hay, wheat straw, alfalfa and un-molassed sugar beet pulp.

* Do try to provide a stable or turn-out area (with shelter) large enough and deeply bedded enough for the animal to turn around easily - a depth of 6" minimum should be used, with sand being the best medium. Turning in a confined space and/or walking on a hard surface will be painful and in some cases imposible for the animal invovled.

* Do provide access to salt in either block form or fed loose and an iodised mineral block whislt the horse is confined.

* Watch the horse closely for signs of colic. Stress, sudden change of management, inability to reach food or water sources at low level and long term/high dosage use of NSAID's can cause this to occur.

* Watch for signs of sores developing in animals that are laid down for long periods of time - at the elbows and hocks in particular.

* Do take additional x-rays throughout the course of the attack, especially if there is no sign of improvement during the first 3-4 days of treatment. It is the only clear indication of what is happening inside the hoof capsule, where the coffin bone is and will be needed by both your Veterinarian and Farrier in the event of special shoes, other support sytem or re-section work being required.

* Keep checking all of the horses feet, not just those diagnosed, for signs of increased digital pulse, coronary dip or weeping. Laminitis can affect more than one foot and the increased pressure being placed on the other feet could cause trauma induced laminitis to occur in those too.

* Don't perscribe or alter the level of NSAID's such as Bute without seeking Veterinary advice first.

* Don't mix other drugs or herbal remedies with pescribed drugs without seeking Veterinary advice first.

* Don't use corticosteroids or any item containing them such as sweetitch products. They could kill the horse.

* Don't force walk the animal. This may cause the already compromised laminae to tear further, resulting in founder and sinking.

* Don't allow the animal access to grazing until instructed to do so by your Veterinarian.

Care of the Laminitic Horse/Pony During & After Recovery

* In many respects the care of the laminitic horse/pony after onset will depend upon the level of trauma that has occured to the feet.

* For those that are fortunate enough to have been caught very early, all that will be required will be box rest, followed by a careful return to work and tighter management of diet along with any other alterations to managment that resulted in the onset in the first place i.e. removal of stress, proper support of limbs if the horse is injured etc.

* For those that were less fortunate then a preiod of total rehabilitation will be necessary and must be done in accordance with the instructions of both Veterinarian AND Farrier.

* There will also be many factors that could affect the recovery of the animal during the recovery period, especially if the use of NSAID's is over a prolonged period. The risk of ulcers developing, the risk of colic, the risk of abcesses and the trauma to the hoof being made even more severe by incorrect management.

* For these animals it is vital that they are monitored very carefully throughout this period, the feet given the best possible chance to heal (which could take upto 12 months) and the return to exercise and then light work carefully structured. This is particularly important to those animals that have been on long-term box rest.

* Once recovered, it is vital for the management of the animal to be changed in accordance with its new needs. For those that were diet induced this is a relatively easy task. Both Veterinarians and Equine Nutritionists can advise on a suitable diet, and management of intake by the means of strip grazing, restricted grazing or the use of a grazing muzzle.

* For others, such as Cushingoid animals, the task is a little bit more complex so will need the invovlement of the Veterinarian to discuss the options relating to that particular animal.

* Another apsect of management that will need to be reviewed will be that of foot care. Whilst the foot may have grown out the damaged area of the foot over a period of nine months, it can take much longer than this for the interior tissues and structures to return to a truly healthy condition so will need careful and knowledgeable attention from the Farrier on a very regular basis. The animal may need special shoes fitted such as heartbar shoes in order to restore correct balance and alignment of the foot/feet involved and to ensure that any abcesses that may form are correctly drained and dead tissue cleaned away.

* Once fully recovered, most animals return to a very full and active life with very few consequnces. However, the work that the idividual is expected to do should be discussed in full with both Veterinarian AND Farrier as for some animals there may be certain activites such as jumping that may be best avoided.

* Perhaps the most important thing of all to remember is that each animal is an individual, so what may have worked for a "friends" horse/pony may not necessarily work or apply for your own animal

We thank Horse-Talk UK for allowing us the use of this information

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