View Full Version : laminitis in a old horse

13-06-09, 03:45 PM
Have any of you any experince of laminitis in a old horse please?
I have a old mare 30 ish who is on box rest, on shavings bed,soaked hay, acp and danilon. two weeks in to this treatment she has made some improvement, but is still lame.
Vet thinks it may be cushings related.
she is in good health apart from this and vet says to give her a chance.
I have owned her for many years and am very attached to her and want to do the right thing for her. I will be devastated if the worst happens but also dont want her to suffer if there is no chance of her recovering enough to live out the rest of her life in comfort. Have any of you any experience of this horrible disease in older animals.

13-06-09, 03:52 PM
If the vet things it is Cushing's related maybe ask about putting her on Pergolide to see if that furthers the imrpovement. It will also prevent other signs coming through (which make the whole situation even worse) and generally imrpoves laminitis dramatically.

If it is not cushing's related, sometime pergolide helps anyway, costs can vary depending on whetehr you buy from your vet direct, the pharmacy, or online (would go for first 2 personally....)

If its not cushing's related then just keep doing what your doing, no additional feed if possible, if you do, NOTHING with sugar in it! like use foderbeet (i think im right on this) rather than sugarbeet pulp... and things like that, its not a dramastic change but it prevents further problems!

Your doing well if she has not suffered from lami until now at 30!!!! http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif kudos!

13-06-09, 03:55 PM
Just a quick reply at the moment, as I could go on forever http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

There is hope, I have a Cushings Induced Laminitic, who 3 1/2 years on at 28, is happy and sound, but it is a long haul and needs love and dedication and lots of time http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif ... and I am still riding him http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif ... he is in my siggie http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

My boy was on 5 months box rest, had his shoes off on a thick shavings bed, with his feet being trimmed every two weeks!

Has the Vet suggested putting her on Pergolide, as it is a life saver http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I will try and find my old post on my boy, as I think it has his story on it http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Please be patient and Good Luck and lots of <<<< Hugs and healing Vibes >>>>

13-06-09, 03:59 PM
Thanks, do you know if the cushings treatment will really help the laminitis if it is cushings, I would be willing to try the treatment if there is a chance it might help. I thought she would have to get over the laminitis before starting the cushings treatment. Also any one know if the cushings treatment has any side effects etc. I would be glad of any advice as i am really worried about her and having sleepless nights etc. I know she is a old girl but she means a lot to me and really want to do the best for her. I am feeding her happy hoof and soaked hay only at the moment

13-06-09, 04:03 PM
pergolide is basically fab!

some people prefer to wait till they overcome the lami, but some cannot do that without hte pergolide as the lami is due to the hormone imbalance so it NEEDS to be on the pergolide to overcome it all!

Talk to your vet about it! as we both have said, if it is Cushing's induced there is a seriously high (and I mean in the 90%'s) that you will see a wonderful imrpovement in her on the medication!

I did my research project for uni on Cushing's and the majority of people used pergolide and the majority of these (bar like 1 or 2) were thoroughly dependent on it and very happy they used it.....

id say its worth the money if your vet agrees. It isnt a miracle cure as cushing's is hormone induced, so it takes a few weeks-months to get the hormone balance a bit more leveled up, but once there, problems are seriously reduced

13-06-09, 04:04 PM
The sooner you put her on Pergolide the better and there is no need to wait.

Here is my old post, just to show you there is hope, however it does not say much more than I have said in my previous post, sorry.


13-06-09, 04:10 PM
Go to the Laminiitis Clinic website as they have all sorts of good information on the treatment and management of laminitis and Cushings. You can also call their helpline (Mon - Fri 10 -4) and they will give you loads of advice on the best diet to help manage her condition etc

Good luck and hope you manage to help her.

13-06-09, 04:16 PM
wow Eaglestone, he has done so well!!! as have you coz GOSH he looks good for his age, regardless of cushings!

13-06-09, 04:18 PM
Thanks very much for the replys. It gives me some hope and i will speak to the vet about the cushings treatment.
I thought that you had to wait and have a blood test to see if it is cushings, but I feel that, from what you say it would be worth trying it anyway now.
I have the feeling that because of her age the vet does not give much for her chances.
your boy looks lovely and I hope he goes on for a long time yet.
My girl does not have a really thick coat but she has hung on to her winter coat for longer this year.

13-06-09, 04:21 PM
Hanging on to the winter coat is an indication of cushings (prob why vet has suspected cushings induced along with age)

The tests are done to diagnose cushings, however, in cases like this cushing's is often "diagnosed" by the response to the treatment.

Id give it a go, it will do no harm, and possibly a lot of good! Her age just effects metabolism etc, if she was happy and healthy before the lami, she should improve a lot if the pergolide works!!! (If not, there is another treatment for Cushing's, just less popular as less efficient in the majority of horses)

Let us know hwat happens http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

13-06-09, 04:21 PM
wow Eaglestone, he has done so well!!! as have you coz GOSH he looks good for his age, regardless of cushings!

[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks Lucy http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif ... he looks even better now a year later ... that was last years post http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

13-06-09, 04:29 PM
Thanks again for your replys. I will speak to the vet on monday and see what he thinks. I am willing to try the cushings treatment if it might help and if it has no major side effects. At least i will give it a try. i wish I had asked on here first.

13-06-09, 07:36 PM
Just another quick question please,
Does anyone know if this drug has any bad side effects?
sorry to be a pain,but just really worried and upset about this. thanks again

13-06-09, 11:49 PM
Just another quick question please,
Does anyone know if this drug has any bad side effects?
sorry to be a pain,but just really worried and upset about this. thanks again

[/ QUOTE ]

I am not sure about side effects, I expect there are some, however my boy would not be alive without Pergolide, I am sure of that http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

He is still on 1 Danilon a day, for what my Vet classes as 'Neurological' pain due to stiffness behind (had stringhalt type issues, due to his action over the years).

I would not worry about any other side effects, due to the age of your horse (and mine) .... the main thing is that they are free from pain http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif Hope this makes sense?

Talk to your Vet about Pergolide, as it is a really good http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

14-06-09, 03:32 AM
Hi flash12,

Before we unqualified lot discuss any form of treatment, we surely need a diagnosis first?

Your vet seems unsure.

Other symptoms of Cushings apart from laminitis and keeping winter woollies on, are - excessive drinking + urination.

Young vet from my horsey practice told me that most old ponies/horses have Cushings. She said my 28-year-old pony probably has it, + frowned (at routine vaccination, last April, when she was losing her coat, asked me if she'd had laminitis (no), then she commented on her pot belly (which she had when i bought her as a 5-year old), + frowned again.

But when she said how expensive the tests are, i frowned at her, + said 'but she hasn't any symptoms'. She agreed that my pony probably doesn't have it, but i need to 'keep an eye on her'... (bit pathetic, coming from a vet younger than the pony!!) (Note: haven't mentioned my age http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif)

I'd get a proper diagnosis from a good vet, friend, rather than ask us lot here, whose credentials you don't have a clue about. It's great for discussion + ideas, but we should never think we're in a position to diagnose and, even more scaringly to advise medication. That's the job a good equine vet does.

Just want the best for your old friend + you, BS x

PS: What is your farrier's view? Mine is first port of call, that's why i mentioned it, BS x

14-06-09, 07:21 AM
Flash - I have sent you a PM - Regards EllieP

14-06-09, 07:59 AM
Well I beg to differ just a tad, here. The tests can be inconclusive or worse, a false negative and depending on which test you use, possibly worsen the laminitis. I asked MY vet, if there were any legal, moral or medical reasons Pergolide should not be prescribed without running the tests and he said there were not. As we had already spent a small fortune on the elderly mare, the vet wrote me the prescription, I got it dispensed the next day and within two weeks, the pony was on her way to three more good years we wouldn't otherwise have had.

The tests are very expensive and many vets now are happy to prescribe on strong suspicion of Cushing's.

I have a further tip - get onto the YahooGroups forum Themetabolichorse - run by the marvellous Jackie JA Taylor. You'll find more stuff on there than you'll believe about the hormonally induced condition.

I wish you luck and you have no idea how fortunate (or conscientious?) you have been for her to have reached 30 with no laminitis.

All the usual laminitis rules apply with Cushing's, except the trigger is more sinister than a grass/grain overload and if it is the pituitary involved, Pergolide is what you need. ASAP. Get going fast as the diet may do very little to help (it's almost like leaving her in the field after a grass guzzling session had caused it).

All the best with this - and do let us know x

14-06-09, 08:24 AM
Just to be clear the vet has been and said to give her a chance, he did mention cushings but I wanted to hear people on heres experience of laminitis in old horses etc.
I also want the best for her which is why I am trying to get as much infomation before i make any major desisions.

14-06-09, 09:35 AM
flash12 - I think its great that you want the best for you horse! Some people give up past a certain age so just shows how good an owner you are
I am yet to hear of side effects from pergolide....... anything that makes the horse dramatically different anyway. But obviously there are risks on any medication. Pergolide is actually a human medicine that just works on horses! http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Brandysnap - you are right, you do not know peoples qualifications on here, which means you don't havea clue as to whether or not people are qualified or not to try to help people on this topic or any other! we are not saying YES YOU MUST USE PERGOLIDE! we are trying to help. as you said the tests are not cheap, and as I said its often diagnosed by response to treatment.
I also think its INCREDIBLY disrespectful for you to say "A vet younger than the pony"!!!!! implying they are not good enough! THat vet has just spent the past 5 years minimum training up to be able to diagnose and treat problems with everyones horses/any animal. And the fact that you therefore think you are more qualified to do it than they are is SEVERELY hypocritical!

Brighteyes - good point on the yahoo group, they are great!!!

14-06-09, 09:55 AM
I am grateful for all your replys and ideas. I am going to speak to the vet regarding the cushings treatment. The old girl is still reasonably happy, eating and looking for her dinner!

I will try to let you know how things go.

14-06-09, 10:09 AM
great, hope everything goes well and she improves enough to keep having a happy healthy life http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Let us know what the outcome is!

GOOD LUCK http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

15-06-09, 08:15 AM
I'd definitely go for the pergolide too. We had a 28 year old who developed laminitis for the first time a few years ago and the pergolide made a huge difference to his quality of life; he was able to graze normally after developing laminitis on a small amount of grass.

The only side effect to trouble some horses is that they lose their appetite for the first few days, but that generally returns to normal, but just be aware that you may need to encourage him to eat for a while.

15-06-09, 01:31 PM
my old lady is 25y
i bought her as a 23y old rescue, she was sound, healthy and full of beans, her problem was she is old and neede her teeth doing.

but the next summer she had problems shifting her coat.

now she has all the classic cushings symptoms, including a higher risk of laminitis, her foot shows no previous lami and Xrays for her abcess diagnosis confirm no internal lami like past, she has had repeated foot abcesses, another symptom of cushings.

i am also going to ask my vet about peroglide, its got to be worth a shot,

this mare is safe as a rocking horse in a small area with the kids even though she is a 15.2hh french trotter, but once you go out the gate she gains 2 hands and loses 20 years in age, then she counts as an expert ride only, i don't care that we have only had her a few years, she is worth it to us, but if she loses joy in life then we have to do whats best for her. good luck to all bye

16-06-09, 12:00 AM
hi flash12, sorryabout you,r horse,
no horse ever died from laminitis, it is always other related probs,such as abcessing turning to blood poison, colic from lyind down to long ,penetrated pedal bone, or even put to sleep when no treatment is deemed possible, if she has cushings she is pretty sure to have laminitis and will most likely continue to have it, so look at all the known causes, ie grass, other food high in carbs, when you have removed all these things and are left looking at cushings, you are depending on the vet to try to control the cushings. unfortunatly this will not help her pain in a hurry, also at her age a lot of bute etc will not do her any favours.
so here is my advice to ease her pain quick, you must have her feet trimmed to make sure there are no protruding bars[bumps on her sole each side of frog about halfway ] if the frog and heels can be lowered safely, do it. then cut her toe back all the way into the white line[a vertical cut] a straight line cut across the toe[like a shovel] would do, but a cut like a new moon would be better. this action will give her instant relief, if she has cushings, this type of trim will have have to be kept up as her feet will grow very fast. gd luck

16-06-09, 01:40 PM
Hiya just to be quick got to rush off

My girl had it in all four feet roation in both fronts we tryed everything was on boxrest for about 8months vet wanted to give up she was on Bute and acp's just wasnt inproving ,we tryed Pergolide as she has Cushing and IR but she has VERY BAD side affects (is said to be rare) on it which was massive worry as it didnt work for her ti was one of the last things to try.then i found PERNAMAX which was her life saver its a joint supplment but it reduces inflammation as soon as i put her on it she slowly started to recover over a period of a month and is now walking trotting and cantering in her bark paddock sound as a pound. She isnt on the pernamax now we stopped that after 2 months of her being fine. she did get a bit pulsy every now and agian dispite a very correct diet and no grass with soaked hay lower than 10nsc (natural sugar content) then i read up about magnesium she is now on that (equine america one at a double dose) and hasnt had one pulsy day since. TOUCHING WOOD. my vet is amazed as he wanted to pts but she pulled threw very very lucky

i wish you all the luck as you will need it lami is one thing i dont ever want to see another horse have deal with. hugs

16-06-09, 02:15 PM
I have a 19 year old TBx connemara gelding who has just suffered a small bout of laminitis from the rich grass. The farrier confirmed that although glen doesnt look fat his hooves are tender and crest is stiff ... he is now on box rest untillt he vet thinks its safe for him to be turned out .I'v had horses for around 7 years and glen is the 1st to suffer from laminitis and if im honest i dont actualy know what to do to help him out .... he's already on bute for his arthritis . I would appreciate any help and tips you can give me and also any bordem breaking tips as he gets rather fussy thanks x

16-06-09, 02:46 PM
If any of mine come down with laminitis I tend to put them in with a bed of deep shavings to support the feet (has to be right up to the door and as deep as possible) Hay is fed soaked to reduce the sugars and no hard feed except possibly a molasses free chaff/ speedibeet for supplements.

Feeding antioxidents, a probiotic and magnesium is supposed to be useful and also ALA .

Correct hoof trimming is important too, so enlist the help of a good farrier or hoof trimmer.

Monitoring digitl pulses regularly can give an indicator as to how the inflammation is doing.

As for the boredom, you could try toys in his stable, hay spread in small nets in different places, a stable mirrot, lots of grooming, massage etc if he can tolerate it.

Good luck, it is a horrible thing to deal with.

17-06-09, 12:00 AM

Brandysnap - you are right, you do not know peoples qualifications on here, which means you don't havea clue as to whether or not people are qualified or not to try to help people on this topic or any other! we are not saying YES YOU MUST USE PERGOLIDE! we are trying to help. as you said the tests are not cheap, and as I said its often diagnosed by response to treatment.
I also think its INCREDIBLY disrespectful for you to say "A vet younger than the pony"!!!!! implying they are not good enough! THat vet has just spent the past 5 years minimum training up to be able to diagnose and treat problems with everyones horses/any animal. And the fact that you therefore think you are more qualified to do it than they are is SEVERELY hypocritical

[/ QUOTE ]

Hi Lucy-Nottingham,

I mean no disrespect to anyone, but am extremely offended by your accusation of being hypocritical.

I just speak from many, many years of experience, coupled with many, many years of respecting vets.

While at the same time, realising that sometimes 40+ years of experience, and knowing a horse well, sometimes gives a very different picture to the one which a young, newly-qualified vet who doesn't know my horse just cannot have.

It really is that simple, so stop getting your knickers in a twist about my common sense views, Lucy, there really is no need. I also got BSc to prove it!

Please let's get back to topic now.

I'm not funded by a drug company, and would like to see all research (positive and negative - ie, all stuff not funded by drug producers, which by its nature is going to be positive), before making up my mind.

Ie, i'd like to hear people's experiences of this new drug, but maybe side-effects will take 10 years to manifest, and reporting of this will be hit and miss anyway.

Acupuncture is about 3000 years old, very safe, no question there.

Herbal medicine uses the whole plants, while drug companies chemically copy what is actively seen as the active ingredients in plants (scary) (maybe that's why we get side-effects?)

I'd just like all forum friends to keep an open mind, learn all about the subject which you're interested in - the info's there on Internet. Only thing i ask is that you question the source - ie, why are they writing it?

Never stop questioning, that's how we learn.

Best wishes, BS x

17-06-09, 01:23 AM
Hi Glenfiddich,

I'm already in trouble with Lucy_Nottingham for saying what i think! (Not that i know anything, but here goes anyway) -

(and Touchstone already said excellent things)

I firmly believe that horses are designed to move around and forage. We interfered, bred them different, kept them different, fed them, keep them in, then we get problems.

So what do we then do?

Box rest, + subsequent nightmares for all involved.

My suggestion? Turn everything out, on grazing/lack of grazing, as appropriate.

I feel for you, Glenfiddich, getting vet/farrier advice that you're not totally happy with. If it was my horse, i'd definitely turn him out in a bare paddock 24/7, to keep him moving. If his pedal bone starts rotating (less likely, as blood supply maintained by movement), you'll soon know, but then if he's on box rest + comes out stiff as a board (which he will), is it arthritis or pedal bone rotation? Box rest will only exacerbate his arthritis.

There we go, i'm ready for the attack from friends who believe different! BS x

PS: Bute for arthritis will help laminitis

18-06-09, 09:15 AM
thank you for your help http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif his feet have cooled down alot and i can already tell the difference in his crest . I just wondered is it still okay to lunge him or ride him? and if so when ? iv been taking him for walks around the yards in his head collar to break up his day but the vet said he needs exersize he just didnt tell me when :s x

18-06-09, 10:00 PM
Yes, if the laminitis has calmed down then riding is the same as dealing with any laminitis case introduce slowly to ensure nothing flares up again etc and its not too much pressure too quickly etc etc.
So if he has been rested for a long time introduce walk for short periods of time first etc.

If the vet said exercise but did not specify then I'd say ring them and ask for clarification so you don't do anything that could flare it up etc.

Im glad that he is getting better.

Brandysnap I was not getting my knickers in a twist, but seeing as I am soon to be a newly qualified vet what you said was rather offensive to new graduates (hence touched a nerve) Im not saying experience doesn't cover ALOT but the teaching during a veterinary degree also covers a lot of areas that common sense and experience doesn't always.

The point about herbal remedies, often then contain the basic medicinal product that medicines are formed from. this therefore means it is possible to overdose on herbal remedies as well. Either by combining similar herbal and medicinal products (thereby overdosing on the basic content) or mixing different herbals/medicinals and having adverse effects. And obviously some animals have adverse effects (like humans) to different products so always make sure you are confident in using and combining things http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Again glennfidich so happy your ned is on the mend! Always the nicest bit after a naff time! Hopefully the lami wont reoccur and can continue with a happy life!

18-06-09, 11:56 PM
Hi again Lucy_Nottingham,

I'm sorry, friend, i really, really never meant to hit a nerve with anyone. I very much appreciate how much work goes into getting a vet qualification, that's before we even look at intelligence and dedication to even get on the course, then i admire the total dedication, professionalism and maturity that all the vets i've ever come across have displayed.

I also very much value the things my vet practice has done for my lot over the past 25+ years, and always make an effort to say so. (In case you think otherwise, i have an excellent relationship with both my horsey and doggy vets)

And - it was actually a newly-qualified vet who saved my best horse, despite advice from all the experts she asked (who advised euthanasia. He took 6 months, but 5 years on, he's like a 5 year old again (now in late teens).

She had the enthusiasm and passion which you have (otherwise you wouldn't be contacting an idiot like me late at night on a forum!!)

Re herbal remedies - i actually wouldn't touch them, without my vet's approval, for the reasons you state. While, at the same time, i'd also like to see more information published on drug manufacturers' research (eg - who funds the research?)

Is this another MPs' expenses thing, yet to unfold? http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

Re acupuncture - well, i do it myself, and while i and many others have BSc in it, we are unable to practise on animals (though vets can, after doing a weekend course). That's my nerve touched! http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

(Oh + my male horsey vet 'borrowed' my full file of Phil Rodgers' Equine Acupuncture info off Internet, some 5 years ago! Thanks for jogging my memory!)

Hey, Lucy, congratulations on becoming a vet, it's a great achievement, and one that i could never do.

May i join you in saying how glad i am, also, that glenfiddich's lad seems better.

Offering a hand to shake, and all best wishes, BS x http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

19-06-09, 12:38 AM
Hi again glenfiddich,

Rather than thinking about how big his crest is, or how hot his feet are (both of which signs can be very misleading), maybe the old lad will tell you just how much exercise he wants, which to me, seems the best guide.

I'd turn him out 24/7, if possible, but somewhere bald of good grass! Only by watching him moving round can you judge how he is, and if he's up for a quiet hack, on soft ground, if you can (i wouldn't lunge him yet, if he was mine)

Good, regular (ie 4 weeks) farriership is also a defo! He/she is in position to a) prevent pedal bone rotation b) notice any changes in hoof structure c) do something about it

Totally agree with Lucy that you ask your vet's advice, re exercise, as he/she already knows you and your boy, but as advice seems a little vague at moment, i'd listen to what your boy is saying. You know him better than we do!

With my sincere best wishes, BS x

22-06-09, 09:42 AM
Hi Brandysnap,

Thank you http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif I think we both overshot on points which hit separate nerves!
I have seen horses have acupuncture and the difference was great. I am relatively against herbals, but accept some people are very much for, so its just a case of balancing what works and what is advertised as "miracle cure"! hehe

I think there should be specific courses at uni's etc for veterinary physio, accupuncture etc. Unfortuantly you have to do either a veterinary course or (in the case of physio) about 3 degrees prior to able to legally practice on animals! (which is probably why they are so few and far between!)

Glenfiddich...... do you have any photos of your lad?! (just being nosey now) http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

29-06-09, 04:33 PM
hi lucy http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif yeh iv got quite a few im not sure how i show you them though ? hellp lol http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

07-07-09, 11:26 AM
Just a quick update on my old girl.
After talking to the vet we have started her on the pergolide treatment. She has now been on the tablets for four weeks and is improving slowly, she is still on danilon and is still on a deep shavings bed, shes had her feet trimed by the farrier and is moving much more easily around the box, she is eating well, altough she did go off her food for a couple of days after starting the tablets.
I have also stated giving her permanax to help her joints. shes still having soaked hay and happy hoof.
I know she still has along way to go and anything could happen but as she is improving and seems happy in herself I think she should have the chance to recover, she still has her cheeky side and calls to me when she hears me coming across the yard and is starting to try and escape from the stable so I dont think shes ready to say goodbye just yet.
Thanks for all your replys and advice it helped to know others have got through this horrible disease.