L-Thyroxine for laminitis? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 104 Old 11-16-2012, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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L-Thyroxine for laminitis?

My horse was diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome and is tender/sore in the front. He is an 18 year old overweight arabian, I board him and it's a constant struggle to keep him at a healthy weight.

I had the vet out today and he took him off all grain and is putting him on l-thyroxine for weight loss.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

"My treasures do not clink together or glitter; They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night."
-Arabian Proverb
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post #2 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 01:58 AM
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Afraid I haven't heard of using this for EMS/IR, though I have heard of some PPID(Cushings) horses responding to it.

It's a hormone to regulate the thyroid. If the thyroid is not working efficiently it can help weightloss(in people - have no horse-specific info on that), but if the thyroid is healthy, it will be ineffective.

Extra magnesium in the diet helps regulate the metabolism & helps dissolve adipose tissue(fat pads) that develop from IR. I have also heard(but haven't done any study into it yet) of people having good results with Chia seeds for weightloss on 'air fern' types. Chasteberry is another thing that many have found effective with PPID, but has also apparently been used with success for IR/EMS horses, though this is something I have had no personal experience with & another thing I haven't looked into further.
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post #3 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 08:00 AM
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Ditto what Loosie said but I might take that a few paragraphs further:

I know that, once the horse is started on Thryo-L (L-Thyroxine), it is NOT a permanent thing. It's use on IR or EMS horses is to get them to lose weight when absolutely nothing else has worked.

Also, did the vet tell you the horse has to be backed of Thyro-L gradually? The drug cannot be stopped "cold turkey". Just like when Prednisone is given to dogs with certain types of allergies, the Prednisone dose is gradually reduced until the dog is completely off it.

A good friend had a Paso Fino with Cushings and Insulin Resistance. She battled the weight issue with him for three years -- dry lot, taping the grazing hole shut so he couldn't eat the tree leaves -- just everything.

She finally had to put the horse on Thryo-L and it did the trick. I THINK the horse was only on Thyro-L for 2 - 3 months; it was a short time.

My point to all that is Thryo-L is not meant to be given to metabolic horses long-term and where IR and EMS are concerned, it is the last resort to get the horse to lose weight.

The vet is absolutely correct on NO GRAIN. Don't even feed a ration balancer with soy in it. If this is your only horse, you may have to lay out a gawrsh-awful amount of money and buy EquiPride ($60/50 lb bag

EquiPride is a complete vit/min supplement with a pre-probiotic that is soy-free.

Horse equine ? EquiPride and EquiLix Don't buy the lick (well you can't because you board) but anyway, buying the lick means you can't control what the horse eats. The daily feeding amount is only ten ounces. You could buy straight timothy pellets and mix a dry pound of timothy pellets with the EquiPride. It is a taste that some horse like and others don't care much for.

Tractor Supply carries Standlees timothy pellets; they come in a nuclear lime green bag - lol Make sure you don't come home with the alfalfa pellets.

I suggest this approach because I have two metabolic horses; one with insulin resistance and the other with Equine Metabolic Syndrome.

Oddly enough the EMS caused that horse to drop weight; he went from an air fern to a hard keeper in less than six weeks, once the EMS exploded. That was five years ago.

Unless the BO is willing to bend over backward and do handstands, you're in a really tough situation with your horse. It absolutely needs special care and there's no margin for error<---meaning nobody should be slipping it horse treats because they feel sorry for it.

Your horse is foot-sore right now because Fall grass is every bit, or more, dangerous than Spring grass. My EMS horse amazingly has never even had a laminitis attack and does not wear a grazing muzzle; He gets blood drawn twice yearly. My EMS horse is on chastetree and it's working however, chastetree does not work on the IR horse.

The IR horse is the air fern and his insulin spikes just looking at a blade of grass. He foundered really bad last March because I didn't get the muzzle on him in time. He is STILL going out to pasture wearing a muzzle and will continue to wear one until the daytime temps are cold enough to freeze his nose hairs to the muzzle

My IR horse is on Chia Seeds. They work for him but the horse needs closely monitored when on chia seeds; I noticed this horse went from being a slathery sweat hog in the summer to not sweating at all. I cut the chia seeds waaay back and he started sweating again. He has lost enough weight that I can now feel his ribs if I press. Trouble with the Chia seeds is he doesn't like the taste of them so I only give him 1/8th cup; that's ok with winter coming but I'm going to have to feed him three times a day once Spring gets here.

Then there's the possibility of ulcers developing but I think I've already over-whelmed you.

Just an FYI that Arabs are right at the top of the "Predisposed List" for metabolic issues.

Oddly my 26+ Arab is perfectly fine in that regard. It's my TWH's (also on that Predisposed List:(

I'll stop there but the bottom line is:

1. NO GRAIN whatsoever.

2. Try to get her on a soy-free product like EquiPride.

McCauley's M-10 Balancer is also soy-free. I have tried this on one horse and he eats it without issue. McCauley'sŪ M10 Balancer

3. Grazing muzzle for pasture turnout. If she goes in a drylot with a free access to a roundbale that needs to be stopped. She needs hay but it needs to be weighed.

3.1 Buy a slow-feed hay net for her stall, so she can pick all night as opposed to chugging everything down at once.

4. Nothing but quality weed-free grass hay; NO legume hays such as alfalfa.

5. WHITE salt, no trace mineral salts.

This is more than "a few paragraphs further" and I didn't address the founder issues. You're dealing with a very serious issue that will never go away. IR and EMS are the same as Type II Diabetes in humans; they can be controlled but will always be there
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post #4 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 09:17 AM
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Ditto on what WalkintheWalk and loosie said. I have an IR mare, too. She is on only 2 ounces of vitamins, Animed Remission and hay/limited turnout with a grazing muzzle. The only 'treats' I give her are those Standlee Mini Hay cubes, which is just compressed low NSC hay. She gets absolutely no oats or grain. If you are conscientious, it can be well managed. I ride my mare a lot, too, and sometimes even take her jogging with me to keep her fit.

The Thyro-L is to help your horse lose weight faster (kind of like diet pills for people, I guess). It's true you need to wean the horse off of it. The magnesium supplement is great to help with IR. I use Animed Remission for my mare because it has Magnesium, Chromium, several hoof supplements AND pre/probiotics in one product, which has been amazing for her health. I have seem a lot of improvement using that particular product, but there are others out there that do similar things, but I like the price of the Remission and she is such a pig she will eat it sprinkled on her vitamins.

For me, keeping her with her grazing muzzle on limited pasture turnout works well. When it is winter like now and I have no pasture, I just keep her on limited hay a few times a day. I don't have to worry about her, in particular, gorging on the hay because she is, thankfully, lowest in the herd, so she usually gets chased off her hay before it is gone and she doesn't get as much. But if your horse is higher up, then you probably should keep your horse separate and use a slow feeder.
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post #5 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, lots of info.
The vet mentioned he might be on l-thyroxine forever, because if I take him off he might gain back...but last winter he was really thin...so I'm confused and annoyed.

I'm also wondering why he didn't put him on something for the laminitis, like bute or previcox.

Fortunately I have access to dry lot, he already has a slow feed hay net, and he's getting beet pulp in the evening just to get his supplements/meds down. However, I think it might have molasses in it. I have to ask the Barn Owner.

He's on Equi-Shine, don't know if that's similar to equi-pride, will look into it, a joint supplement, total calm and focus, and omega horse shine (flax).

"My treasures do not clink together or glitter; They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night."
-Arabian Proverb
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post #6 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 12:50 PM
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Pretty much all has been said already, I just would like to add a few little things.
He needs to have food all the time to avoid spikes in insulin, you're doing that with the slowfeeder net already. Depending on what hay he is getting, you might need to wash it to get even more sugars out. Just hang the net in a tub of cold water for an hour or warm water for 30 minutes, drain, and feed. A good percentage of sugar washes out.
Then with the "shine" supplements. They are usually high in fat, and if he's already overweight, adding extra fat certainly doesn't make him drop weight. So I'd use only one of them. I know only the Omega Horseshine, and like and use it, so that is find, minimum recommended amount.
As for the painkiller and other med's, I would avoid them, since his system is already upside down, no need to add another substance. Important is the proper hoofcare. Avoid long toe, barefoot is preferred, but I think loosie can tell you more about it.
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post #7 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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I board, so I can't soak his hay...but the hay is terrible quality grass hay. :/

"My treasures do not clink together or glitter; They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night."
-Arabian Proverb
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post #8 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 01:45 PM
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Terrible quality in sense of long, stemmy, rained on or moldy and dusty?
Katy Watts | Safergrass.org has a wealth of info on grass, hay, grazing and IR in general. Well worth the time.
IR and laminitis is a very complex condition and a lot of factors contribute to the outcome. Read all you can, learn as much as possible and do what's necessary. It can be kept in check, and it's not hard once you have it all figured out. It all comes down to nutrition, hoofcare and exercise.
Been there, done that and got the T-shirt. And, I prefer a hard keeper over an easy keeper anytime.....its much easier to add than to take away
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post #9 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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I am also worried about riding/hurting his feet...thoughts?

"My treasures do not clink together or glitter; They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night."
-Arabian Proverb
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post #10 of 104 Old 11-17-2012, 02:36 PM
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That depends on how sore he is. Is he shod or barefoot. How do his feet look, is he due for a trim. Are his feet hot. (See, again, the many factors). Is he moving around, just standing or is he down a lot?
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