So we called the farrier out to have him take a look at our mini, and he assumes that he went lame or foundered.
I'd say that about covers the bases!
If the horse was lying down to get off his feet, I'd say that lami is a distinct probability, esp that he's a mini at grass. But not enough info to know that. Could be an abscess or something else. If you would like to take some hoof pics of various angles that would give us more idea. Pete Ramey hoof care laminitis founder horse navicular disease thrush equine foot development farrier
is one good source of info to learn what you might be seeing.
He went on to explain to us that supposedly there is a link between laminitis and magnesium deficiencies;
Yes, you can learn more about diet & nutrition & how it relates to laminitis at Katy Watts | Safergrass.org
. It's not necessarily related or only due to magnesium deficiency though and obesity(hence little, unexercised ponies more prone), insulin resistance & rich & 'junk food' are the more important factors.
Although its only been a couple of days, I can already see a noticeable difference. He is still favoring that hoof... but he is progressively becoming more independent in terms of mobility. In order to keep him comfortable, I have given him minimal doses of phenylbutazone, restricted his grazing times, rub therapeutic warming-cooling gel on his fetlock joint, and have used padded hoof boots.
Generally, unless trauma induced, lami effects all feet, so I'd treat the whole horse rather than just one foot. While it effects all feet, the *symptoms* & mechanical changes are often worse in the front feet and can be worse on one foot than the other.
Of the above, it may be the bute alone that is making the difference. But I would only personally be doing it in the very short term, in case of an actual lami 'attack'. If his pain/problem was only a 'one off' initial episode, then you should find he's probably fine now. If the laminitis has been ongoing for some time & his pain is due to progressive changes - 'rotation', etc. then there is more to be considered, such as trimming specifics & frequency. It may also(if lami or otherwise) be due to a stone bruise/solar abscess or such.
My question is: what are some things that we can do to keep our miniature horse COMFORTABLE while he is on the mend, keeping in mind that my parents are going to be the one's dealing with his care? I know for sure that they will not be able to do all of the things that I am doing right now.
Unfortunately there's no easy answer to that & depending on what they can do, you/they may need to find someone else to help. Of what you're doing, as mentioned, I'd likely do away with the bute now(except under vet's advice), I wouldn't worry about the therapeutic gel personally either, and hopefully, if he can be on yielding ground, he may be comfortable without hoof boots. I would definitely continue to restrict grazing &/or use a grazing muzzle and the extra Mg *may* be a good idea. If he's not supplemented otherwise, there may also be other nutritional deficiencies/imbalances.
I would first & foremost line up a good farrier/hoofcare person(not assuming your current guy is not good, just not assuming he is either). He may benefit from 4-weekly or more frequent trims if there are imbalances to be corrected. I would also line up a good vet who is also experienced at successful treatment of lameness(unfortunately you can't just assume all 'experts' are as good on this as eachother) and while I wouldn't *necessarily* rush to call them out immediately, I'd get them if he's still sore after a week and I'd also consider getting xrays done if the vet isn't sure it's something unrelated.