Hello. My name is Annette and my 17 year old Connemara x TB mare is called Alley. I have owned Alley since she was a weanling and use her for backyard dressage, natural horsemanship and trail riding. We joined the group at the end of October.
A little background: Alley has always done well on grass during May to September, (our grazing period here) building up to around 8 hours. She doesn't get overweight and always performs well during the early summer months. She had her first laminitic episode at the end of this September. Although not overweight, she did have a small crest (noticed late summers since 2015) and seemed lethargic when ridden. I first noticed bulges over her eyes the week before she became lame. Since she is a pony breed, I have always worked to keep her starch and sugar low and avoided grain supplements. In September of 2015, I increased the magnesium in her diet because her muscles and tendons seemed tight. The addition made a remarkable improvement to her muscle tone and fluidity.
Fast forward to this September: The vet exam found bounding digital pulses, but no response to hoof testers and minimal rotation was seen on X-rays. Based on her background history, the vet suspected that Alley had insulin resistance made worse by the seasonal rise in ACTH (which I had never heard of till then!) resulting in laminitis. Blood testing showed high ACTH, high insulin and high glucose. We started Alley on Prascend, building up to 1 mg a day, and I have been working to further reduce sugars/starch and balance minerals in her diet. At my request, when Alley got worse after two weeks, we did a full blood panel, plus a Vitamin E/Selenium test. I was concerned that there may be more going on with her muscles than the laminitis alone. The blood panel was normal as was the Selenium, but she was deficient in Vitamin E so Elevate WS was added to her supplements. The farrier has shortened her toes and an Equine Rehab Practitioner has worked to relieve her muscles.
I am pleased and relieved to report that Alley is much improved. She is walking around actively in her Easy Boot Clouds, eating well, and is bright and alert. My guess is that several factors have led to the improvement - the changing season, the Prascend, and the Vitamin E and massage, and also tightening up her diet. We still have a long way to go, but I am hopeful. I want to take her off Equioxx as soon as the vet gives the OK, and I am still working to balance the minerals in her diet to my satisfaction. My main challenge now is to compensate for the high iron in the hay and our water, knowing that my fussy mare will detect every addition of mineral to her diet and rebel by refusing all supplements! I have uploaded Alley's case file and will try to fill it out with more details as I get time. I don't have any emergency questions, but am still feeling my way as to how to proceed from here. I am also wondering if Alley is fully PPID at this time or just has a high seasonal rise that pushes her over the edge in the fall. I worry that there is not much more I can do to her diet to help her situation and don't know how much it is a contributing factor. I know the iron is something that needs balancing with copper and zinc, but also know that will be hard to put into practice. I look forward to receiving your input as we go forward. Thanks!
Annette and Alley
October 2018, Moscow, Idaho
Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Annette%20and%20Alley/Alley%20Case%20History.pdf .