One of the major concerns for horse owners, especially in Springtime, is laminitis and founder. If you can recognise the early signs and address the condition as quickly as possible, all the better for your horse.
As an animal homeopath this is the most common ailment I successfully address for clients horses on a daily basis.
Laminitis and founder are extremely painful conditions. If not addressed promptly, laminitis can result in rotation of the third phalanx (coffin bone) through the sole of the hoof. Inflammation occurs in the sensitive laminae in the horse’s hooves, restricting circulation in the hoof. Separation of the laminae – founder – can also result in seedy toe and abscesses which can also be extremely painful for the horse.
Laminitis episodes can be triggered by many different circumstances, including:
- An overload of sugar and starches in the diet, possibly from grazing on lush pastures. This can cause an imbalance in the gut bacteria and production of an endotoxin that triggers inflammation in the hoof laminae
- Poorly trimmed feet – long toes
- Mineral deficiency and poor gut health
- A secondary reaction to an infection somewhere in the body, such as a uterus infection in broodmares
- Insulin resistance (ponies with hard crested necks) and horses with Cushing disease
Here are the symptoms you should look for to spot an acute case of Laminitis:
- Heat in the coronary band and the hoof – the horse will stand ‘underneath’ itself leaning weight on the hind end
- Tenderness of the hooves, obvious pain when walking on hard surfaces or not wanting to move at all
- A strong and bounding digital pulse ( felt behind the pastern)
- Obvious pain, anxiety, sweating and increased respiration
Other symptoms found in chronic laminitis in horses include:
- Separation of the sensitive laminae
- Third phalanx displacement or rotation
- Sole of hoof becomes flat or dropped
- Abscesses and seedy toe (these can also occur with acute laminitis)
Keep your horse or pony in the correct weight range. Exercise your pony regularly as this increases circulation. Feed a balanced diet (using a balanced vitamin and mineral supplement). Do not feed your horse or pony sugars, and do not feed grain or lucerne to fat ponies. Do not lock fat ponies up in small yards without exercising them.
A number of natural remedies are useful in addressing laminitis.
- Homeopathic remedies can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in the hooves, and can help resolve laminitis promptly. Homeopathics can also be given two to three times a week, to prevent laminitis.
- Rescue remedy can help reduce stress.
- Herbs can reduce inflammation, particularly Chamomile & Rosehips. Herbs for easing pain (include White Willow and Devil’s Claw).
- Correct hoof trimming should be an ongoing part of your care regime.
New studies have found that applying ice water around inflamed hooves can prevent the onset of laminitis if caught in the early stages. Running cold water over the lower legs and hooves can also help reduce the inflammation.
Prevention is better than cure in laminitis cases. It is comforting to know there are safe, fast, natural solutions to address this condition if it does happen to your horse.
For a consultation or for more information on natural therapies, remedies and solutions, please call or email Belinda.
Getting your horse or pony’s diet right with a case of laminitis is an essential part of their care and recovery. Here’s what you should be feeding:
Grass or pasture hay – preferably older hay (low sugar – no clover or rye) that is not mouldy
- Wheaten chaff (small amount of Lucerne chaff or oaten chaff- for flavour), with no grain
- Copra meal (coconut) – soaked in warm water
- Minerals or mineral lick, but with no molasses
- Add dose of Belinda’s Custom Loose Lick for your area
- Vitamin C powder can also be added as a valuable supplement
- Suitable herbs, as recommended by a herbalist, can be made into a tea – Chamomile and Rosehip are useful
- Rescue Remedy can also be added to the horse’s drinking water to help with stress.
Here’s what not to feed during a case of laminitis, or to a horse or pony which is prone to laminitis:
- Limit feeding of Lucerne hay or lucerne chaff
- Clover hay
- Molasses or feeds containing sugar
- Any grain or feeds containing grain such as oats,
- Pellets or bread
- NO apples or carrots
- Do not let your horse or pony graze on lush green pastures – especially at night or when it is frosty or extreme heat.
Exercise during laminitis
When your horse’s condition improves and it is able to move around, ensure your horse has adequate exercise. Begin with a five to ten minute walk twice a day, and increase this over time as your horse improves.
It’s important that your horse or pony is not confined in a stable or small yard for long periods at a time. A horse with laminitis should not be kept in a concrete floored stable. Correct bedding is essential – use rubber or deep sawdust or sand on floor, at least 10cm thick to ensure your horse’s comfort and recovery.
Nelly recovering well after homeopathic remedies, farrier work and WS Loose Lick supplement.
Nelly Before Homeopathic care – on vet drugs
What you can do for your horse?
There are a number of measures you can take and natural forms of care on offer for a horse or pony with laminitis.
Laminitis can be effectively resolved and/or prevented with homeopathic remedies, as prescribed by an Animal Homeopath. Call me to get your consult form today!
It is important to ensure you have your horse’s teeth checked by a qualified equine dentist on a regular basis and hooves trimmed correctly as required. This will ensure your horse is ‘balanced’ – most health issues arise when your horse is not in balance.
Cut down on fertilisers – Superphosphate ‘ties up’ the magnesium in the soil, so avoid using it in your pastures. Laminitic horses are characteristically deficient in magnesium.
Note on Bute (Butazolidin)
As you may be aware, many vets prescribe ‘bute’ for a horse with laminitis. This ‘masks’ the pain and the horse may appear better, but unfortunately Bute may also block the body’s heailng process, preventing a true long term cure. Long term use of Bute may cause other problems; it can weaken blood vessels causing internal haemorrhaging. Your horse MUST be off bute for 3-4 days before starting homeopathic drops as they may stop the drops from working.
Here are some tips and hints on how to get the most from your Weather Shield Loose Lick Custom Mix – so that you too can have a horse with a coat like this!
We recommend you make your Loose Lick Custom Mix available as a free choice feed in the paddock or yard. Place one to two cups per horse in a self-draining tub. When wet, Loose Lick repels water as long as it can drain away.
Top up the Loose Lick daily as required. Carry a small bucket or container with you when feeding or checking horses.
Make sure the lick is always available so your horse does not ‘gorge’ when offered it. If the tub fills with water, tip the water out – Loose Lick will dry out and crust over; remove the crust and the lick underneath will be dry. Make more or bigger holes in your feeding trough or tub (at the side or the edge, not in the bottom) as water simply runs over Loose Lick, not through it.
Please note your horse may take a large amount to start with, never fear they will not overdose on any of the minerals. The horse is just making up for past deficiency’s & should ease off after a week or two.
Remove any other salt or salt licks from your horses diet when offering the loose lick ad-lib.
Here’s a reminder of how much you should be using:
For more information on Belinda’s Weather Shield Loose Lick Custom Mix and hardwearing feed tubs, visit our Loose Lick Supplements page.
Introduce your horse to Loose Lick Supplements by adding a handful to their daily feed, and make it available as an ad lib feed as well. Cut back the amount in their feed over two to three weeks until they choose it for themselves. Most horses will take to Loose Lick straight away.
Some horses may consume a lot of Loose Lick in the first two to three weeks – they are making up for past deficiencies and their intake should level out.
If your horse has been used to a block lick containing molasses, it may take a few weeks to get used to the new taste. Remove all block licks before introducing Loose Lick supplement.
You do not need to offer any other vitamin and mineral supplement while using the correct dosage of Weather Shield Loose Lick*. We recommend you offer it with hay and, if required, plain hard feed such as chaff and copra or Maxisoy, or your choice of grains. There is no need for expensive manufactured feeds with added minerals and vitamins.
* Other supplements are required only if your horse has a health problem or is a racing or working animal that needs extra electrolytes.
* For travelling or nervous horses I also recommend my Vitamin B with Biotin Complex (see Vitamin Supplement page on store for details).
* For horses with stifle problems or injuries I also recommend my Natural Vitamin E & Organic Selenium supplement. Weather Shield Loose Lick contains both these vitamins.
Here’s a reminder of how much Weather Shield Loose Lick Custom Mix you should be using –
Individual requirements may vary depending on the nutritional value of pasture, hay or other feeds in your horse’s diet. Also breeding animals (mares in foal etc.) and growing young stock have a higher mineral requirement. The above dosages are a guide only.
It is also highly recommended to offer this product ad lib, in case your horse requires more than you are adding in its feed. Some horses take a little Loose Lick, and others spend five or ten minutes at the lick every day. You’ll soon find out what your horse prefers – and see the benefits!
To read more about Belinda’s Custom Weather Shield Loose Lick , please visit our Loose Lick Supplements page.
“Greetings Belinda, I am so pleased to inform you that our donkey Christma (born on Christmas day 8 years ago) is now up and walking with NO limp or signs of pain. Our furrier Robin diagnosed our donkey had laminitis in the front left hoof and that I should contact you regarding this matter. Even though I had never had dealings with a Homeopath in the past, I took Robin’s advice because of his list of successful treatments. He told me that you had in the past from every day horses to race horses, why not our pet donkey? After contacting you by phone consultation, 2 days later I received your remedy pack which I read thoroughly and started immediately. Within hours a difference in donkey stance was noticed. Then days 2 and 3 were the most noticeable improvements. Our donkey now stands and walks with her ears slightly forward (a sign of a happy donkey) without any limp at all. I have also stopped feeding the (bad) sugars like carrots, apples and molasses, and their treat is now oaten chaff. Once again Belinda, I thank you very much for your wonderful work in returning our donkey to good health.”
Yours Most Sincerely,
John D. Dowd. QLD
“Good Morning Belinda,
Well what progress we have had with Nelly. Thank you for those Pain Eze drops. They worked well for Nelly and gave her a little extra comfort. Nelly is coming along fantastic. She is so mobile now and nearly back to being a normal horse. Her time on her feet has extended out to only lying down twice a day !!!! She no longer feeds and lies down, she now stands after she feeds
Her hooves are growing out well. Steve is trimming them short and we are still 3 months or so away from being fully grown out, but every week we see progress.
Nelly is still on the skinny side, however she is feeding well and her bowls are normal and she eats her Maxi soy on its own. I’ve also been giving her Flaxseed oil every second day.
Her coat is shiny and she is happy. She desperately wants to be out with our other horses but we still feel she is still too weak to be with them. The last thing we need is for her to be picked on.
All her wounds have cleared up as you can see by the picture.
Thanks again for all your help. We have been talking with our Vet Sandy and keeping her in the loop with Nelly’s progress.”
Steve & Jo – Central QLD
A bay Welsh Cob broodmare. 11 years old.
Tiffany had a muscle injury in her front left leg sustained when running in the paddock. She was unable to put weight on the leg, was using three legs to move around, and was in significant pain. Tiffany was in foal so it was imperative that the problem be resolved.
Equine Touch was given three days in a row, in conjunction with homeopathic remedies. Tiffany improved rapidly, and by the fourth day was galloping around the paddock bucking and kicking in play. It was plain to see she had made an excellent recovery in just three days – an outstanding and surprising result after such a significant injury.
This pony had a suspected eye injury, with clouding and a solid white spot on the eye ball. The pony’s eye was shut, swollen and weeping badly.
The eye was washed out with homeopathic remedy Golden Seal using just one drop mixed in warm clean water. This was done twice a day. On alternate days Ionic Silver was used. Homeopathic silica was given orally to remove any foreign bodies in the eye (if any). In a week the eye was open and no longer swollen or weeping. The eye was washed just once a day after this. By the fourth week the clouding and spot had disappeared altogether and has not returned.