Possible Laminitis - In need of info and encouragement
Flash has been lame for two weeks :(
He was fine on June 1st before I left town, but was moving really stiffly and stumbling when I came back on June 3rd. I thought he was just stiff and didn't see any head bobbing, so I went ahead and took him for an easy trail ride, but cut it short because my gut feeling was just telling me something was really wrong. So we came back. The farrier was scheduled for the next day, so she took a look at him and confirmed my suspicions that he was lame in both front feet. She couldn't see anything bad from his feet (in fact, they were looking really good!), but yet he was still moving stiffly and tenderly.
At her recommendation, I switched him off of alfalfa to straight grass and gave him an easy week off, using hoof boots anytime I took him out. He was still lame on Friday, so I spoke with my vet, picked up bute and "Remission" and added it to his mash. He improved drastically on the bute (we stayed on for five days), and is still moving around with gusto and taking nice, big steps after being off the bute for 4 days, but every now and then he takes a short step or trips, which he's never done before. I confirmed this with my boarder yesterday that I wasn't just seeing things out of paranoia.
So now the vet is coming out tomorrow at 10 to do a full eval and do his coggins for the move, but I'm worried sick about it now. Like you said, he's too young for lamanitis. I think I'm going to pick up some hoof boots for him to keep on 24/7 Monday depending on what the vet says.
Any thoughts? I've got "lamanitis" swimming around in my head like a death sentence and hoping that it's something that can just get fixed up over time and not be a lifteime problem for him. Even if it is laminitis, can't it be at least managed so that he can live a long, healthy life? I don't care if he's never an "athletic" horse - he's got all the potential in the world and could do anything, but he's my baby and I only bought him to be my equine partner, even if it is just trail riding. I'm moving in August, and my new barn manager is willing to manage his food however we need to, including soaking all the sugars out of it.
I'm just worried sick over this. What else could it be other than laminitis? I know I won't know anything for sure until the vet comes out, but any information, encouragement, or downright honesty about the situation would be appreciated. It drives me nuts to just sit here and wait....
Who told you he's too young for laminitis? Any age horse can get laminitis.
It's definitely not a death sentence. My gelding had several bouts when he was young and had a long riding career. In fact, I'm getting ready to bring him out of retirement at age 25. He's going to be a husband horse. :)
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I do appreciate your story about your horse having a long riding career. Whatever it is (and hopefully it's nothing serious), I love this horse to pieces and will do whatever it takes to make sure he's happy and comfortable, not letting our partnership be cut short.
Oh, and sorry for the "you" reference - most of this was copied from a conversation with a friend :)
It's not a death sentence. Good farrier/ trimmer work and the right kind of nutrition will do the trick.
Once you have a " verdict" from your vet, you could take pics of his feet and post here, so the hoof experts can have a look and guide you in the right direction:-)
Luckily, I do have an excellent barefoot trimmer who has been working with his feet and correcting imbalances that he had when I got him for over a year, and he will have another highly recommended and knowledgable barefoot trimmer when we move. I'm going to get some video today when I go out, too.
Then you're already a huge step ahead:-)
I have a couple of very important questions:
1) How 'fat' is he? Fat horses are much more prone to founder than a horse in 'good' condition. 'Obese' horses and horses with a thick, 'cresty ' neck are just looking for a place to founder. They are VERY much at risk of getting laminitis and founder.
2) Have you checked his feet for 'heat' early in the morning when they should be cold to the touch? Laminitis and founder cause heat and inflammation in the hoof. Since front feet are about 50 X more likely to founder than all four, you can easily compare the temperature of a horse's front feet to the same horse's hind feet. They should all feel cold to the touch early in the morning.
IF he is fat and/or IF his feet feel warm or hot, he should be taken off of all grain and only fed hay that is low in sugar content. Learn more about this at www.safegrass.org
IF he is fat AND IF his feet feel warm or hot, he should have x-rays taken to see if there is any founder (actual hoof damage) that has already occurred and then, he should be treated accordingly.
Thank you so much for your clear and concise response Cherie and everyone else!
Could you get foot pics ASAP please.....I do NOT like what I see in those pics....at all. And if it's only to make sure I have a vision problem...;-)
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