Success for a big guy - thanks to Eleanor and Abby
I'll try to make this short, but even truly bad, long-term, chronic
laminitis CAN be overcome. Blue, my IR, severely laminitic horse,
took me for the first ride in four years yesterday.
Brief history: Blue is a 23 yr old Percheron. In 1994, he got
horrible laminitis in all four feet - overweight horse, spring grass,
stupid owner (me). He was at Tufts Veterinary Hospital for a month,
and had two front hoof resections. Although it took another year, he
did come out of that episode.
Fast forward to 2001. We moved to Maine, and for reasons the STILL
stupid owner did not catch on to, he began having chronic laminitis
episodes every fall. My farrier could not understand it since he was
not being ridden (so no road founder). In 2003, his hoof walls jammed
so badly he was not growing any foot at all. Meanwhile, I was
throwing every supplement known to man into him, and a ton of "Equine
Senior" and hand walking him to our lawn "so he could get some grass."
My vet said stop with the Senior, get weight off, put him on
Metaboleeze. Finally, when he was spending more time lying down than
standing, I ended up getting the vet and farrier from Tufts up here to
meet with MY farrier and vet - I was scared we were going to have to
put him down.
Much conversation later, when he went back to Tufts where he teaches,
that vet sent a paper on "metabolic disease" to me and my vet. More
important than that was a friend in CT, to whom I will be forever
grateful, urging me to join an "Equine Cushings" group. I was
reluctant - I had never joined an online "group" - but, a 2x4 over the
head later, I did, and it has saved my beloved boy.
Here's the deal: the diet, the diet, the diet. Blue's first
bloodwork showed insulin levels "off the charts" - literally. The
lab's highest possible readings were something like 2100 - their note
said his was most likely above that, but that was as high as they
could go. The next thing was get the shoes off, get the heels down
and SHORTEN THAT TOE.
You cannot imagine how bad a foot can look. I have been doing
"farriery by photo" with Abby Bloxsom for better than a year and a
half. Last week, my farrier (who is a good farrier but the most
negative person you can imagine - "These feet will never be right -
you can never get on him again - he will always be lame ") said to his
partner "You know, that right foot looks almost normal." The left
foot is the most severely damaged, but even that one is a world better.
Our lab work is still not where it should be, but it has gone down
from the over 2,100 mark to 100, and I have a happy horse. The bottom
line is this: if a draft horse, whose weight alone makes everything
harder, can come out of five years of chronic, severe problems, whose
P3 is disintegrated at the tip from hooves kept at a wrong angle for
years, it can be done. What I think vets' and farriers' experiences
tell them is most owners will not go to the lengths that the people in
this group will to make their horses better. My vet grins now when he
sees Blue walking out. He does the lab work, knows it's not where it
"should" be, but says over and over, "Look at that horse - he's the
best he's been in five years."
Until I got strict with the diet, we had soreness episodes. So I can
say from personal experience that the diet is the absolute baseline,
the trim is right along side it, and even when things look almost
hopeless to the vet and farrier, it can be done.
This note is to encourage you. In my years of experience with vets,
both large and small animal, my basic criteria for any vet is one who
is interested in learning and willing to listen. Don't give up - we
have gone from left sole penetration by the P3 in 1994 to riding (at a
walk, in boots, but who cares?!) yesterday. Life doesn't get any
better than that in my horse world.
Carol Larson and Blue
Oh Carol!!! Hooray for you and Mr Blue. What a thrill.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
I haven't checked the main list yet, but hope you will put this story up there too if you haven't
already. Many can learn and take heart from your experience.
Nancy C and Beau and Gabe in NH
--- In ECHoof@..., "bluepercheron" <seahorses3@...> wrote:
Wendy J <wendy_vt@...>
hi Carol !!!
congratulations to you and your gorgeous Blue !!!
hugs and best wishes
Wendy & Ursila
(Urs is doing great too)
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At the risk of getting a Hall Monitor smack, thank you to all who have sent such nice messages, including Eleanor. The credit still goes, however, to her, Abby and people like Kathleen and the others who are sharing the wealth of information that keeps Blue going, and all the others who encourage us when things are dark and difficult. There is a huge emotional component that goes into caring for IR and Cushings - and every success story is indeed a group effort. So thanks back atcha to all the wonderful people on this list.
Carol and The Happy Percheron, Blue