Pony With Laminitis

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Q: One of my horses {a 9year old Welsh/Shetland gelding pony} recently was found laying down, sprawled on the ground. The funny thing is that this pony was sound, and happy an hour before this when my father had given Silver {the sick pony} and his companion Lily a small handful of sweet feed while checking on them.

Silver, has never been sick or foundered in the 4 years I have had him. He was overweight but slimmed down to a normal weight. It has been 2 days now and Silver {after dragging him the first unsound day to the barn} is sore on both front feet and barely walks at all but hasn't laid down again and yet is moving gradually to eat or drink his water. We have been very reluctant to call the vet or blacksmith since all of the 2 blacksmiths and 1 vet in our town, are bluntly not sufficient in my point of view and experience.

Currently, he is on Bute pills, and we have trimmed his hooves as well as running his hooves in a running stream and using cold ice packs on his hooves and ankles. He has no apparent heat in his hooves and no pounding on his digital artery. We have also been giving him a lot of water, and no feed as we usually do in the Spring and Summer. He is though pastured on a 6 acre field. Could this be Laminitis? What are your thoughts?


A: My heart goes out to you and Silver. I am answering you immediately for both your and Silver's sakes. My impression is that you care for Silver very much and want only that which is best for him.

I can not say this strongly enough: If the vet and the blacksmiths in your town are not sufficient, to your point of view, you must have a vet and a farrier brought in from out of town. SILVER NEEDS PROFESSIONAL HELP!

This could, in fact, be laminitis. If you have read my article on laminitis, you will know that this is NOT a wait and see situation. Ice packs and cold water are treatments of the past that rarely work. Silver needs professional diagnosis, professional medicating, and a qualified blacksmith (farrier) to keep him from SUFFERING NEEDLESSLY.

Bute pills can mask the pain which is a symptom of damage being done internally within his hooves. The Bute can also cause TOXIC reactions in his guts, causing him further trauma which can increase the severity of the laminitis.

Trimming Silver's hooves incorrectly could cause further rotation of the coffin bone within the foot and/or greater pain to the animal.

Laminitis is not always made evident by heat in the hooves or pounding in the digital artery.

You stated that Silver is pastured on a 6 acre field. Especially in this lush time of year, your field could be 6 acres of death. Silver should be fed CURED DRY HAY, preferably last year's, and given all the water he wants. He should be confined to an area that does not require him to walk distances greater than a 12 x 12 box stall until he has received the proper medical treatment.

I hope that you have read my article on laminitis. If not please do so. If you have read it, please re-read it and consider every sentence in the article as serious as GUN-FIRE.

Please get back to me and keep me informed on Silver's condition. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and Silver and I hope you both make it through this terrible time.

Geronimo Bayard
The Village Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon

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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.