Thoughts on laminitis episode for Canadian mare


I've had Willow less than two years. She is a very easy keeper. I am still learning how to manage her best. I've had her on full board for all except the first four months. Her feet were good when I got her and former owners only shod her for competitions. So I removed front shoes this July - she had them for a year. She was in pain because of soft sole so I got her some boots, which she wears most of the time. (I remove and clean, etc)

So for two months she has been a bit better then a bit worse then a bit better etc. in terms of soreness. She has only had light exercise - groundwork and walking. Sometimes with boots and sometimes without. She had access to grass during this time. There seemed to be steady improvement as her walls grew in and her sole toughened up.

In late August, she was left out on grass for up to six hours while I was away and was in very bad shape when I got back. Farrier did a trim and then she was terribly sore (would not walk without boots) and four days later she saw the vet. The vet says laminitis but I think she said mild .... (I was in a bit of shock and didn't ask as many questions as I should have.) The individual who told me she was left our for six hours on the grass has now changed her story to 2-3 hours. This person is convinced that the reason Willow is suffering is because I took the shoes off. And that this has caused the laminitis. Even though she has nothing but slow walks and a few trot circles 3 x per week since the shoes came off.

I am moving her to a barn at the end of September where another mare's weight is carefully managed and she is fed 3 flakes over three feedings a day of tested hay (although owner does not have test sheet). I can test the hay when I get there.  I have read info about balancing minerals and will do so once I get her to the new place.

I guess I am trying to figure out 1) how much soreness is from removing the shoes and how much from laminitis, 2) what willow's prognosis may be and 3) how much she should be exercised right now (if at all) and over the next year. I am trying to get a follow-up call from the vet but have been unsuccessful so far. The farrier I have was highly recommended. I think she is trying to build up the heels a bit. But its very difficult to know who is "right" in this industry.

Thanks very much,

August 2020
Metro Vancouver BC Canada

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