Mare is Slowing Down - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-23-2019, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Mare is Slowing Down

Hey guys! Trying to figure out what I can do for my older Walker, 16 yo, as she's slowing down. She used to run and buck and kick and just be an overall happy girl. I got her when she was about 7 and she was already diagnosed with a big knee on one leg and a big hock on another but those never slowed her down before. Lately she has been Foundering pretty frequently and my dad being a farrier has been trying to keep on top on her episodes to minimize her limping and we've cut back on her feed to help with this also. I have also tried a 30 day supplement to add to her feed but I haven't noticed any changes in her persona. Anyone know of something that can make her feel better and maybe be a little more perky? I get she's not going to tear around the pasture like she did 10 years ago but I just want her to be as pain-free as possible. Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-23-2019, 03:25 PM
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Founder is pretty common in walkers. We feed Remission to help stave it off if possible. If she already had joint issues before I would imagine that 10 years of wear and tear has just made those joints more painful. A Glucosamine or MSM supplement may help.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-23-2019, 07:12 PM
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I didn't know founder was common in TWH's. That's a bummer.

horses, like humans, vary hugely in how they age, I think of '20's" as "older".
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-23-2019, 08:50 PM
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What supplement are you giving her now?

For the arthritis in her joints and cartilage health I'd also recommend a supplement that has glucosamine, chondroitin and msm in it.

As for the foundering, I've heard good things about Remission. I'd also still recommend keeping up with the preventative measures and if it's happening quite frequently perhaps look into getting a vet out. I know my old lesson horse had to wear foam supports when he foundered.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-25-2019, 04:02 AM
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WHY has she been 'foundering frequently'??! I'd guess that is probably why she's 'slowing down' even tho she's hardly past 'middle aged'. You need to work out what's going so wrong for her to be foundering, and also keep in mind that if she has been *clinically* foundered, especially if it's 'often' then there is a big chance that she has been 'sub clinically' laminitic for some time - so you just haven't noticed until it has 'slowed her down'.

Laminitis(founder) can be caused from too much sugar/calories generally, similar to type 2 diabetes in people. It can be caused from too rich feed, esp grain & other high 'NSC' feeds, which can cause gut damage, leading to laminitis. It can be caused from nutritional imbalances, toxins, drugs, illness. It can be caused from mechanical problems, such as too long toes, too high heels, farriers that pare/thin soles, etc. It can be caused from concussion - too much pounding hard ground on peripherally loaded hooves. Or it can be caused from a combination of any of those factors.

If you'd like to post pics, check out the link in my signature line for what's needed. Also more info on her diet, condition, etc.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-25-2019, 09:52 AM
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I totally agree with Loosie.

Laminitis has to be managed and it can be hard work.

When an attack happens it is (very basically) to much blood in the hoof forcing the laminae to part. Imagine having needles in your feet and being asked to walk.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-25-2019, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Like I said, my dad is a farrier and has been for 30 years. He is always out there checking her feet and does what he can. This horse has not been ridden in five years as we mostly just rescue and let them live their lives. Our pasture is over six acres and is not hard terrain. She gets a half scoop of pellet feed twice a day and has access to hay and grass 24/7. We cut her from sweet feed to help her out. She has had multiple vet visits and he said there wasn't much else we could do for her as it seems to be something she's prone to keep doing. The supplement I did try was a 30-day supply of Biotin to build up her feet but didn't notice much difference.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-25-2019, 06:11 PM
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Pardon, I missed the bit previously about your dad being a farrier. Absolutely no slight on him to say so, but there are a lot of relatively recent developments in theory & practice regarding treating laminitis, that he may not be up with, so may be worth you - &/or him doing some further study into it. & also are 2 great sites to start with.

Horses are generally quite stoic. If your pasture is 'not hard terrain' and she is not being worked, yet you have seen that she is 'slow', then I'd say she's likely in a quite bad way. Generally 'founders' that are well managed aren't chronically sore just in a cushy paddock. Comfort is important for health & rehab, not just for... comfort. So horses who are sore even on soft footing are best with hoof boots with soft pads, until they get past that stage.

Re her diet, 'pellets' and 'hay/grass' doesn't give enough info I'm afraid, on whether her diet might be at fault. will give you info to better understand those factors too. There's another website, (I think it's org...) that is also good. It's possible it's the pasture/grass that is a problem.

Yeah, 'sweetfeed' is 'junk food' for horses, like giving them lollies for meals & is not good for them, so best avoided. But depending what's in the rest of her diet, it could be quite 'junky' too.

I'm quite concerned with your vet's view that "wasn't much else we could do for her as it seems to be something she's prone to keep doing." as this shows a serious lack of understanding about laminitis & it's factors - as said, lots of recent developments, so perhaps he's a good but just rather out of date vet... What tests did he do on her? There is a LOT you can do for your horse. Get her off too rich grass/hay, pad her feet, for starters...

Re biotin, this is one nutrient which has been studied in relation to hooves, and it's been found to help hooves grow faster. It is also a vitamin that horses tend to get enough of in their diet already if they have adequate green forage - grass, alfalfa, for eg. There is nothing, to my knowledge, to say that it could help laminitis or such.

Biotin is also but one nutrient, of many which are important, and also nutritional balance is important - it's not just about providing certain nutrients, but how they interact with eachother. You can't just take one ingredient & expect to 'make a cake', or just throw random quantities of correct ingredients together & make a good cake. So doing a diet analysis to work out what she IS getting, then finding a supplement which will fill ALL the gaps in her nutrition appropriately will be possible.

All that about cakes said... There is one particular nutrient that would likely benefit her & that is magnesium. Studies & trials on humans first, then on horses, have shown that when the diet is rich in sugar, that is one reason that magnesium levels are likely too low. And that magnesium supplementation can actually resensitise the body to insulin too. It has been used successfully to treat type 2 diabetics and insulin resistant / 'laminitis prone' horses. It has also been found that stress/pain cause a depletion of magnesium, so can be a 'vicious circle' once it's low.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-25-2019, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by XStephep06x View Post
This horse has not been ridden in five years as we mostly just rescue and let them live their lives. Our pasture is over six acres and is not hard terrain. She gets a half scoop of pellet feed twice a day and has access to hay and grass 24/7. We cut her from sweet feed to help her out. She has had multiple vet visits and he said there wasn't much else we could do for her as it seems to be something she's prone to keep doing.
Biotin will make the hoof wall stronger, but that doesn't affect the laminitis or attachment between the hoof wall and the inner hoof. It really has nothing to do with preventing laminitis.

You're new here and this is a very polite forum, so I hope you will not be offended if I am blunt. The vet is very misinformed, as @loosie said. Horses that are prone to laminitis need to be managed very carefully, and there are a whole lot of things to be done. Unfortunately, just because a horse isn't ridden and is a rescue, that doesn't mean she won't need intensive management. I've often steered friends away from getting free horses because they appear to have had laminitis issues in the past.

What is the horse's body condition score? If she is more than a 5, she probably needs her diet managed a lot more so she can lose weight. She may need a grazing muzzle when out on the pasture, and she might need her hay cut back from 24/7 free feeding. She most likely doesn't need any pellets (whatever those are) at all. That's sort of like saying someone who is overweight should eat everything they want, plus give them a weight gain protein bar each day.

It's good the horse is getting good farrier care. However, that is probably less than half of the equation when it comes to managing laminitis. The biggest issue is usually diet management and weight control. If the mare has a low body condition score and laminitis, that would point to something like Cushing's that would need assistance from a vet to diagnose and manage. Overweight most likely means insulin resistance which can be improved through weight loss and diet.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-25-2019, 10:57 PM
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