Seeking Insight on Founder Management
 
 

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Seeking Insight on Founder Management

This is a discussion on Seeking Insight on Founder Management within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    • 1 Post By walkinthewalk
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        06-01-2013, 05:49 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Seeking Insight on Founder Management

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm hoping for some thoughts on your experiences in managing founder with your horses. I have a mare who may have cushings disease, EMS, and possibly both but won't know for sure until I have test results. In the meantime, it was found recently during a lameness exam that she has very slight rotation due to a previous mild bout of laminitis in her right front though undetermined when. She was put on a grazing muzzle though there was debate about how long she needed to have the muzzle on. Long & frustrating story short, I had her back to the vet and she's foundering though vet doesn't believe its acute founder. Vet wants her muzzle on 24/7. Again there's debate as to this treatment and her quality of life.

    Here's my concerns. Currently she is at a property with about 5 acres of pasture with 1 other horse and free access to barn and hay. There's also a 50' round pen. It has been suggested that where she is at that her current treatment will not effectively treat her condition and allow her to recover. (She doesn't graze much with the muzzle currently.) Although she has free access to the barn where the hay is, she cannot be stalled (don't believe she would adjust well anyway as she's not been stalled previously to my knowledge for any length of time) or even enclosed in the barn (which she does spend a fair amount of time in, especially with the poor weather) due to the extensive rainfall and poor footing. It has also been suggested that a dry lot with only hay would be more beneficial to her. I did have her at a dry lot before, but she is so much happier where she is and of course has shelter. It has also been suggested that she can be put in the round pen of which the grass has been cut and would soon be a dry lot with her in it and able to graze freely of which the vet confirmed. Again though is has been suggested that this option would leave her unhappy and she would be better off in a dry lot as this will likely be a yearly care issue.

    She's my only horse and I absolutely love her to pieces. I want her to be happy but also healthy. I have read up on founder/laminitis and it sounds as if many horses cannot be allowed to freely graze on large areas of pasture but I also feel some are suggesting that I'm not caring for her or giving her the proper home for her. One of these individuals is also the BO who is also a beloved family member and would like me to just let them care for her in the matter they believe best. Of course she's my horse and while I respect their opinion, ultimately that's my decision and largely based on the course of treatment given by my vet and guidance from my trainer.

    I find myself very emotional and deeply conflicted and hope maybe some of you can share your experiences and thoughts as I wrestle with the decision which could possibly end with her a new owner though not certain.
         
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        06-01-2013, 08:56 PM
      #2
    Green Broke
    There really isn't a solid black and white answer because no two horses handle metabolic issues (or cushings) quite the same.

    What they all do have in common is to keep them off grain and any type of legume hays (like alfalfa). Some horses do well in a grazing muzzle with a limited amount of time on pasture, others can't even look at a blade of grass without foundering.

    My first thought is, specifically how does the BO plan on managing her.

    My second thought would be the possibility of dry lotting her during the day when the sugars are highest in the grasses and pasturing her at night with the muzzle, as long as everyone thinks she would be safe in the muzzle after dark (meaning she wouldn't panic about something and hang herself up with the muzzle).

    Her hay should be scattered in the round pen so she is forced to move. Or it could be put in a few slow feeder hay nets and safely hang them around the round pen if she is a horse that eats her hay really fast.

    Whatever the plan turns out to be, it is going to be Tough Love and Tough Love is always a tear jerker, no matter who or what is involved

    Cushings is not technically a metabolic issue but cushings horses can easily develop insulin resistance and cushings horses fall into the same strict maintenance category.

    There isn't anyone of us on this forum with metabolic horses that likes what we have to do to keep them alive and well, so hang in there:)
    loosie likes this.
         
        06-02-2013, 10:05 AM
      #3
    Foal
    Question

    I already took Jasmine off grain some time ago (and she never has had alfalfa as she's reactive anyway), though have had to work hard to keep the BO from feeling sorry and giving her some at feed time for the other horse. Currently she gives her a bit in the am with her electrolytes since its a powder but I'm trying to find another way as I really want to cut that out too. I don't think she gives Jasmine any in the afternoon but not for sure as I'm not there though she's been instructed not to.

    As far as the care, I'm not completely sure. She has had her horse & donkey founder in the past, but they foundered badly and that's when she would know what was going on. She doesn't know the early signs. Her response would be to pull her animals off the pasture, put them in the barn and just give them hay and their feed. She never involved the vet. I don't want that bad of founder as Jasmine has already had rotation due to the laminitis albeit slight but likely has rotation due to this bout now. The vet warned me on this trip that another bout could put her into navicular and then just borrowed time after that. Currently putting Jasmine in the barn with the hay isn't an option due to the extreme amount of precipitation we've had this year. There's literally puddles in the barn. She does have free access to it though.

    Yesterday I went to check on her and the BO informed me that she put her in the 50' round pen and allowed her to graze freely from 9-2 with the other horse. She had been muzzled for 2 days and was very hungry as she's eating very little with the muzzle. I appreciated her concern but was upset as she didn't consult me at all with that decision and I just told her the day before I was going to share her concerns with the vet and get back to her. I told her while I respected her opinion and that of others I was getting I wanted to consult the vet as he's the Dr as we aren't. Then she still made the decision on her own. I don't feel that was her decision to make. I didn't say anything yet as I wanted to handle it respectfully and I didn't want to overreact while I was upset, but I felt very disrespected as I just expressed my wishes the day before.

    I'm trying to figure out how to monitor this foundering too. I've read a lot about the founder/laminitis but not a lot of info yet I've found about management. I did buy the temp-a-sure strips but found that you super glue them on and there's no instruction about how long to leave them on or when/how to remove them. Not crazy about super glue on my horse's hooves. I read on another forum that infrared thermometers have been used effectively so I bought one yesterday. She measured 75 in the 2 front and 68 in the 2 hind give or take but that was the last measurements before I left. Not sure what to make of those. The website for the tempasure that had that info is no longer available.

    Again, any insight on all this is much appreciated!
         
        06-02-2013, 04:14 PM
      #4
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Phura    
    I already took Jasmine off grain some time ago (and she never has had alfalfa as she's reactive anyway), though have had to work hard to keep the BO from feeling sorry and giving her some at feed time for the other horse. BO might be feeling sorry for herself if she feeds your horse alfalfa and it founders as a result -meaning pay the vet bill

    Currently she gives her a bit in the am with her electrolytes since its a powder but I'm trying to find another way as I really want to cut that out too. Timothy pellets or well soaked timothy cubes should work just as well. One pound of pellets or cubes is supposed to equal one pound of hay. I don't think she gives Jasmine any in the afternoon but not for sure as I'm not there though she's been instructed not to.

    As far as the care, I'm not completely sure. She has had her horse & donkey founder in the past, but they foundered badly and that's when she would know what was going on. She doesn't know the early signs. Her response would be to pull her animals off the pasture, put them in the barn and just give them hay and their feed. She never involved the vet. I don't want that bad of founder as Jasmine has already had rotation due to the laminitis albeit slight but likely has rotation due to this bout now. The vet warned me on this trip that another bout could put her into navicular and then just borrowed time after that. "borrowed time" is not true in this day and age; I can't believe the vet said that

    Have you read Pete Ramey's article on re-habbing founder and navicular? Pete Ramey makes healthy hooves on barefoot horses heals founder in horses Study his web site whenever you have time, it will give you about a 25 mile head start on the vet's theory.

    Currently putting Jasmine in the barn with the hay isn't an option due to the extreme amount of precipitation we've had this year. There's literally puddles in the barn. She does have free access to it though.

    Yesterday I went to check on her and the BO informed me that she put her in the 50' round pen and allowed her to graze freely from 9-2 with the other horse. She had been muzzled for 2 days and was very hungry as she's eating very little with the muzzle. I hope the muzzle came off at night and someone checked Jasmine for rub marks? Muzzles aren't meant to be on 24/7.

    I appreciated her concern but was upset as she didn't consult me at all with that decision and I just told her the day before I was going to share her concerns with the vet and get back to her. I told her while I respected her opinion and that of others I was getting I wanted to consult the vet as he's the Dr as we aren't. Then she still made the decision on her own. I don't feel that was her decision to make. I didn't say anything yet as I wanted to handle it respectfully and I didn't want to overreact while I was upset, but I felt very disrespected as I just expressed my wishes the day before.

    I'm trying to figure out how to monitor this foundering too. I've read a lot about the founder/laminitis but not a lot of info yet I've found about management. I did buy the temp-a-sure strips but found that you super glue them on and there's no instruction about how long to leave them on or when/how to remove them. Not crazy about super glue on my horse's hooves. I read on another forum that infrared thermometers have been used effectively so I bought one yesterday. She measured 75 in the 2 front and 68 in the 2 hind give or take but that was the last measurements before I left. I have a dual lazer temperature gun. I don't think it's that accurate because the temps can vary a lot due to the heat (or lack of) in the ground. I have seen my healthy horses' hoof temps go up ten degrees, after being out on pasture on a 95 degree day.

    It does give you some idea and the temps you recorded, are in the normal range. All my horses recorded higher on the front hooves. I think that is because the front end always does the bulk of the work and the back end "just follows along"

    Not sure what to make of those. The website for the tempasure that had that info is no longer available.

    Again, any insight on all this is much appreciated!
    No suggestions, regarding how to handle the BO, until after you talk to the vet. Ask the vet very pointed questions and tell him you want detailed answers as the BO has been managing your horse in ways you disagree with.

    Once you get those answers and relay them to the BO, hopefully she will stay within her boundaries.

    I have my own way of handling when my horse foundered last year. The vet has been "in on it" the entire time. Thanks to some extra help from an HF forum member my horse is either completely or nearly completely de-rotated. He foundered so bad on the LF, it's a miracle he didn't sink. We did it without shoes and he stayed on pasture, wearing a grazing muzzle but I reduced his pasture time to 8 - 10 hours daily.

    My horse is also home and I am retired, so I was able to watch him all day, every day for any little sign, things were headed south again.

    I highly doubt anyone else would go that far left of center, with a foundered horse, so I don't recommend what I did to anyone
    loosie likes this.
         
        06-02-2013, 05:59 PM
      #5
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by walkinthewalk    
    No suggestions, regarding how to handle the BO, until after you talk to the vet. Ask the vet very pointed questions and tell him you want detailed answers as the BO has been managing your horse in ways you disagree with.

    Once you get those answers and relay them to the BO, hopefully she will stay within her boundaries.

    I have my own way of handling when my horse foundered last year. The vet has been "in on it" the entire time. Thanks to some extra help from an HF forum member my horse is either completely or nearly completely de-rotated. He foundered so bad on the LF, it's a miracle he didn't sink. We did it without shoes and he stayed on pasture, wearing a grazing muzzle but I reduced his pasture time to 8 - 10 hours daily.

    My horse is also home and I am retired, so I was able to watch him all day, every day for any little sign, things were headed south again.

    I highly doubt anyone else would go that far left of center, with a foundered horse, so I don't recommend what I did to anyone

    I would do what you did to save a horse from founder yep iam that crazy.
    loosie likes this.
         
        06-02-2013, 06:17 PM
      #6
    Showing
    Your BO isn't doing you any favors. She is allowing you mare to graze at the worst time of day. You might want to check into pelleted grass hay that could be fed in lieu of grain for the electrolytes. Did the vet prescribe electrolytes?
    loosie likes this.
         
        06-02-2013, 09:39 PM
      #7
    Trained
    Hi,

    I highly recommend a new & extremely good, helpful, comprehensive book on laminitis/founder & rehabbing horses from it; "The Pony That Did Not Die" by Andrew & Nicky Bowe available at Mayfield Barehoof Care Centre Home Page Also if you haven't yet, Home & Katy Watts | Safergrass.org

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Phura    
    I have a mare who may have cushings disease, EMS, and possibly both but won't know for sure until I have test results.
    If you haven't had her tested yet, I personally probably wouldn't, just assume she is IR. When her feet are healthy I might get her tested, but esp if the horse is already suffering, the tests can cause an 'attack'.

    Quote:
    In the meantime, it was found recently during a lameness exam that she has very slight rotation
    Was she xrayed? If you would like any hoof specific advice about her, posting hoof pics & the xrays would be good. See below for a like for critique pic tips.

    Quote:
    I had her back to the vet and she's foundering though vet doesn't believe its acute founder. Vet wants her muzzle on 24/7.
    What happened when she 'foundered' suddenly if it wasn't an acute attack?

    Grazing muzzles are fantastic.... when they work. As someone said, not designed to be left on 24/7 as they can rub. Sheepskin padding can eliminate that, but need regular checking at least. Some horses somehow(it's always behind your back!) manage to get muzzles off or wreck them, and some horses find them very hard to eat(I've cut bigger holes in the bottom to fix that sometimes) & get depressed. So I'd keep trying, have a play around with it, try part time, etc, but it may not be the best answer for her.

    Certainly I'd restrict her access to the hay in the barn. You could put a small holed net over the hay, so they still have free access but can only eat small amounts, not gorge on it. People commonly think of grass hay as much better for a 'lami prone' horse than grass, but it only loses it's sugars while growing & retains them when cut & dried, so depending on type, when it was cut, stage of growth, etc, it could even be richer than the grass. Feeding hay that's tested low NSC is best, or failing that, soaking & draining before feeding to leach out some of the sugars.

    Quote:
    suggested that she can be put in the round pen of which the grass has been cut and would soon be a dry lot with her in it and able to graze freely of which the vet confirmed.
    If a grazing muzzle doesn't work for her, yes, you'll have to keep her off the grass. Or for the time being & that much grass anyway. I'm guessing the other horse is overweight & could do with a diet too, if it's only them on 5 acres, so may be the ideal situation to look at setting up a track or loop paddock - use tread in posts & electric fencing to create a cheap, movable internal fence around the 5 acres, greatly restricting grazing but motivating more movement too. Move the fence to 'rotate' areas of grazing.

    Quote:
    as if many horses cannot be allowed to freely graze on large areas of pasture
    Horses are built for little, near constant amounts of poor grade(compared to 'normal' domestic feed) roughage, not unlimited, rich, cattle fattening starchy 'improved' pasture, let alone our improved cereal grains. That is why laminitis is so common. The biggest causes by far of laminitis are insulin resistance, like type 2 diabetes, relates to calorie intake greatly exceeding energy needs/exercise,, and hind gut acidosis, relating to large amounts of starch hitting the hind gut from too rich/large feeds.

    Quote:
    I already took Jasmine off grain some time ago (and she never has had alfalfa as she's reactive anyway), though have had to work hard to keep the BO from feeling sorry and giving her some at feed time
    Sounds like you have to be strong with BO & perhaps threatening vet bills as Walkin suggested might make an impression.

    What is her body condition now(pics)? What is her diet now, including supps? Mixing them with a handful of soy hulls, copra or beet pulp would be an option. I'd look into magnesium if you're not giving it. Google 'Magnesium4Horses' for one good article.

    Quote:
    The vet warned me on this trip that another bout could put her into navicular and then just borrowed time after that.
    That strikes me as a strange comment and I wouldn't worry about that particularly. Did he say 'borrowed time' because he's one of these that thinks 'navicular syndrome' is incurable? That's not the case either.

    Quote:
    I've read a lot about the founder/laminitis but not a lot of info yet I've found about management.
    Really? The book & sites above will help you there. IME it's all about management.

    Quote:
    I did buy the temp-a-sure strips but found that you super glue them on and there's no instruction about how long to leave them on or when/how to remove them. Not crazy about super glue on my horse's hooves.
    Superglue was originally designed for skin/hospital use. I wouldn't worry about a bit on the hoof. Aren't they for monitoring, so you'd leave them on while the horse is likely to have a problem? At any rate, unless she's been standing in hot sun, you should be able to feel that her feet are too hot or OK without a thermometer. Ask the vet for some different spots to feel her pulse too, as the digital pulse is hard to feel when the horse isn't laminitic, so you can get an idea of what 'normal' feels like elsewhere where it's easier. But hopefully you can manage your girl well enough that you won't have to worry about confirmation of 'attack'(which comes with other symptoms anyway) - you'll be able to avoid it.
         
        06-06-2013, 05:07 PM
      #8
    Foal
    Hi everyone,

    Sorry for the delay but thank you for all the input! Jasmine is actually doing very well. She has been reduced to grazing in the round pen for about 5 hours/day and on the grazing muzzle the remainder. I wash her muzzle weekly and have been monitoring her for rubbing but no trouble there. She is grazing a bit more with the muzzle in the shorter grass but doing very well. (No temp in her hooves either!) In fact last Sun when I went to check on her she had been loping and trotting and bucking so I decided to ride her and she seemed to very much enjoy it. She was even asking me to lope :) When I went to leave she followed me to the fence and wouldn't leave until I went home. It was so good to see her back to herself!

    In answer to some of the questions...she does not get any grain (except maybe a handful to go with her electrolyte powder (vet didn't suggest but trainer did due to her resistance to drink away from home and less than ideal hydration) but I'm not sure if she's even getting that from the BO), only grass hay(never alfalfa), and now it seems the 5 hours of grazing in the round pen with the shorter grass and the grazing muzzle for the pasture time of 19 hours. Though she doesn't always graze out there with the muzzle. I exercise her currently about 3x/week and am trying to work her into more but with her 3 weeks off want to ease her back into things before increasing her workload. I would guess it would average to 3-5x week in the riding season and 2x/week in the winter due to weather restrictions as we trailer to arenas to ride. Her primary discipline is trail horse as the dr/hospital cleared her for that at the full lameness exam prior to this founder incident. Due to her health/extreme rainfall it has been since April that we were on the trail.

    Regarding the BO, she is a beloved family member who boards my horse for free with her senior gelding who's very thin actually despite the pasture. We suspect cushings as he's mid-late 20s. I don't want to threaten vet bills however I am going to insist that she respect my wishes for care. I try to care for all Jasmine's needs but there are things that she does and wants to since she's already doing them for hers and insists my efforts aren't needed as she's already there. If necessary I will move or even sell Jasmine in best interest for my horse but I do want to keep her where she is if at all possible as she's only a mile from my house so I get to spend lots of time with her and she's happy there (her 2nd home since I've owned her in 2 yrs too). So--I'm hoping we can work things out.

    Thank you for the helpful links too, definitely interesting! Regarding her rotation and body condition, here are some pics (from April and not the best but most current I have & of course cresty neck is very visible)and xrays though these are from the lameness exam prior to this latest founder episode so there may be change. Also note, I have had the farrier shorten her toes since the xray per the Dr.

    If you have anything helpful to add I certainly appreciate it!
    Attached Images
    File Type: jpg Jasmine_Apr_barn.jpg (58.0 KB, 40 views)
    File Type: jpg Jasmine_nightpasture.jpg (29.1 KB, 40 views)
    File Type: jpg Jasmine_RF.jpg (38.1 KB, 41 views)
    File Type: jpg Jasmine_LF.jpg (40.1 KB, 41 views)
    File Type: jpg Jasmine_Rightheel.jpg (33.2 KB, 41 views)
    File Type: jpg Jasmine_Leftheel.jpg (28.5 KB, 41 views)
         
        06-07-2013, 11:48 AM
      #9
    Weanling
    Quote:
    My second thought would be the possibility of dry lotting her during the day when the sugars are highest in the grasses and pasturing her at night with the muzzle, as long as everyone thinks she would be safe in the muzzle after dark (meaning she wouldn't panic about something and hang herself up with the muzzle).
    That's exactly what we do. Horse goes in the dirt paddock in the morning, gets fed some grass hay, stays there for the day, gets fed another small pile of grass hay in the evening, then grazing muzzle goes on and he goes out with his buddies for the night.
    He does not like to be in the paddock for the night, since we have tons of moose walking over the property at dusk/dawn and he prefers to be with the herd when these strange creatures come out.

    Works ok for us right now, except the Softride boots are taking quite the beating when he's out in the pasture in them...
         
        06-07-2013, 04:08 PM
      #10
    Yearling
    It's a good thing your xrays don't look that bad. Thank God.

    I would maybe think about letting her pasture normal when the grass is not the best, like summer and winter. And keep her in the paddock during lush grass season. I don't know much about the use of grazing muzzles.

    And talk to her. Ask her to help you with a plan because if you "cheat" on her diet your vet said it could happen again and if it's bad, you would then have to put her down. Then maybe get real teary and say it's so hard for you not to give her stuff she can't have, but her health is more important.
         

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