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View Full Version : Huge crests, Laminitus, Hard Ground, Feeding, Silted Walking - Help!!



canteron
27-04-11, 05:32 PM
OK really hoping someone can advise!!!

I have an aged cob (19?) who has been retired for several years, due to a tendon injury and is primarily a companion. He has had Laminitus in the past, but have managed to avoid it for the last few years, but this year I think it may be coming our way, despite my best efforts.

Currently he is in during the day on about 4 tiny nets of soaked hay. I am then turning him out into the menage for a couple of hours as he gets so stiff. He is then out on tiny amount of grass over night.

My questions are

1) His crest is huge, but his bum, stomach isn't. Once a horse has a crest does he ever get rid of it? I am worried I am not feeding him enough and that is causing him problems!!

2) Is anyone else's horses getting laminitus on the grass at the mo - we haven't had any rain for months, it is so dry, is that making it more dangerous?

3) Is a stilted walk a precursor to laminitus. I don't know whether it is being locked up in the stable for too long (it has mats), the hard ground or the food. I can;t find a pulse - but that doesn't really mean anything! Arghhhhhh

Any advice welcome. Always said I will keep the horse while it is comfortable ... so need to find a management routine to suit in the dry Spring weather with hard hard ground.

the watcher
27-04-11, 05:51 PM
Have you considered a muzzle as an alternative, your horse could then be out and moving but with very restricted access to grass?

Can't answer on the crestiness but I suppose Cushings might be something you could be considering, maybe look at the symptoms for that and compare with yours

spotty_pony
27-04-11, 05:56 PM
1) As your horse is retired, he probably will have very little or no muscle so he won't have a 'topline.' I know horses who have had Laminitis who still have a cresty neck. Yes, it can be a sign that your horse might be overweight but it is more serious if the crest is hard as it is more likely that this is fat. If your horse isn't fat in any other places then I wouldn't worry too much but keep an eye on it.

2) No, my horses are all doing really well and I think the lack of rain is actually a good thing as it is stopping the spring grass from growing. I have two very good doers, one which is a Laminitic and they are out 24/7 on restricted grazing and are fed two cups of feed balancer (Baileys Lo-Cal) each day. We have actually been putting a slice of hay out each day at the moment as we have so little grass! Both of these horses are in work though so it is easier to manage their weight than if they were retired.

3) When you say stilted walk to you mean 'slow and pottery' i.e foot sore? Some horses tend to get a bit 'footy' if they are turned out on lots of rich grass and this can be a sign of Laminitis but if your horse is on restricted grazing, I wouldn't have thought this would be the case with your horse. Is he barefoot? Does he have to walk on stony ground to get to his field? Could he have been running around on the hard ground in the field or is he not that type of horse? You say he suffers from stiffness so I am guessing he is worse after he has been stabled during the day.

It sounds like he might be better to be out as much as possible if he gets stiff. Would it be possibly to leave him out 24/7 in a field with restricted grazing? I would say this would probably be safer than bringing him in and giving him hay if you are suspecting Laminitis. However, it is hard to say without knowing the horse.

If you are worried, why don't you get your vet to come and look at him just to put your mind at rest?

Hope this all makes sense! :)

BSJAlove
27-04-11, 05:58 PM
a crest will remain sometimes. my cob has never lost his in the 10 years we've owned him and hes been a variety of weights since then.

stilted walk is a sign but you know your horse. i can 'tell' if ruperts got lami, he loses his personality and is quiet and slow. as soon as hes like this, hes off the grass.

i think your routine is good but how about keeping him out on very restricted grassing witha muzzle? just to rule out the element of stiffness.

indie999
27-04-11, 06:00 PM
Um not sure what you mean by huge crests as such? someone else may be able to advise on that bit, I appreciate a crest is a sign of being overweight etc
I usually know from standing behind my good doer and just generally his shape blows up very quickly if he is getting too much. Feeling his ribs etc

Sounds like you are pretty much doing the right thing, personally I would still feed him plenty of roughage as you say in hay(not huge amounts but at least 4-6 slices of hay throughout the day in a small holed net or double a net up to make the holes smaller.I dont know what you mean by tiny amounts of hay? Laminitics still need to keep the gut going, dont starve him. The dengie hi fi light is good too(high fibre low sugar etc)

Not sure what you mean about a tiny area of grass but if you are suspecting laminitis keep him off it. Probably should be stabled to see how he goes, if he is quite happy in the stable try to keep him in. I had a pony that was a pain to keep in, literally a pain so we turned him out into the menage. I found him one morning leaning back on his hind legs and we got him off the short grass immediately. He recovered very fast and we obviously caught it in time.

Yes the grass is definitely growing and it is often those short little blades of baby grass that have lots of sugar in them. Even though we have not had any rain it is most definitely growing++. I have just over the past week made the area my cob is grazing a lot smaller, he is in approx 150meters by 50meters square strip graze, thats it. He has put on weight over one week. If it rains the grass is going to sprout more!

He could be really arthritic too? But may be worth getting the vet out to take a look if you are not sure. My old boy hasnt seen the vet for a while and he keeps tripping more and more etc(has arthritis) so I have retired him but am going to ask the vet to make sure he is ok a bit of an OAP MOT! Normally I would not call out unless there was a problem. Good luck

Pony_Puzz
27-04-11, 06:06 PM
My pony had lami about 4/5 years ago and in 2009 she gained a crest that never seemed to shift, however this winter due to her being on less food/now on very limited grazing she's actually lost it. She does still have a bit of muscle (shes older as well) but she is generally a good doer.
We were told to give a very small % of hay/roughage to them as too much will just cause them to keep quite a bit of the weight, do you use 4 big haynets soaked or small and how big is he? My mare is only 13.2 but she didn't get much at all which seems cruel but if anyone had seen her when she first came in they would be in shock that she survived her both having an abscess and severe lami, the vet didn't even think she would make it.

canteron
27-04-11, 06:45 PM
Thanks everyone.

Have chatted to OH and decided that after I have ridden in the morning, will turn her out in sand school with a little bit of grass access and hopefully moving around a bit more will sort out the stiffness - and if it is laminitus the sand will support her feet.

I will get the vet to see her (damn there goes a new pair of jods) - I think that your posts have decided me that I will watch him very carefully over the weekend and then I will know if the stiffness eases if he walk around more, etc.

AndySpooner
28-04-11, 06:37 AM
The crest you talk of sounds like the horse is or has become Insulin Resistant, which has ramifications for full blown laminitis. The pottery walk could be low grade laminitis a condition linked with IR, but sometimes the severity masked by shoes.

Diet and exercise are the only real ways of controlling and managing the condition.

There is a wealth of information on the internet though.

amandap
28-04-11, 07:02 AM
I agree with AndySpooner, google IR and even Cushings and ask the vet for a blood test to check for these. She may need some drug therapy as well. Metabolic horse yahoo group is a good place for info and learning about metablolic problems.
Movement is always beneficial so turnout in grass free areas (if possible) is a good idea imo.

pottamus
28-04-11, 07:45 AM
The lack of rain is great as the grass is not growing at the rate it would be with rain and sun on it. It is when it does eventually rain that the laminitics need a close eye on them as the grass will shoot through.
My lad is nice and slim at the moment through not rugging him in the winter and riding every day once spring came but I still take precautions as he has had laminitis before. I stable him at night throughout the year and he is on carefully measured amounts of hay. He is on a pretty bare paddock of about three quarters of an acre and this means he can move around looking for bits to nibble at but is not stuffing his face all day. He is ridden 6 days a week, which helps.
I check his pulses daily to make sure there are no problems looming and watch him walk around his field to see how he moves. If in any doubt I walk him in circles as this usually indicates problems on the turns.
With regards to the crest, my lad has retained his firm crest where everywhere else is fine. He tends to keep this even when the vet has given him the ok weight wise and also has slight fat areas behind his shoulders...he has been tested for IR etc and has been cleared so I guess it will remain as such and that is how he is. Certainly my vet is not worried about his weight and shape now.
The other thing my vet told me to do if in doubt about if he has sore feet starting is to tap his soles all round with the blunt end of the hoof pick...any sensitive areas or problems will soon be identified.
At the end of the day, if in doubt keep your horse in for a few days or in a school area for a bit and see if there are improvements and if still the same, you can always get the vet...better to be safe than sorry. Let us know how you get on.

AndySpooner
28-04-11, 04:05 PM
The lack of rain is great as the grass is not growing at the rate it would be with rain and sun on it. It is when it does eventually rain that the laminitics need a close eye on them as the grass will shoot through.
My lad is nice and slim at the moment through not rugging him in the winter and riding every day once spring came but I still take precautions as he has had laminitis before. I stable him at night throughout the year and he is on carefully measured amounts of hay. He is on a pretty bare paddock of about three quarters of an acre and this means he can move around looking for bits to nibble at but is not stuffing his face all day. He is ridden 6 days a week, which helps.
I check his pulses daily to make sure there are no problems looming and watch him walk around his field to see how he moves. If in any doubt I walk him in circles as this usually indicates problems on the turns.
With regards to the crest, my lad has retained his firm crest where everywhere else is fine. He tends to keep this even when the vet has given him the ok weight wise and also has slight fat areas behind his shoulders...he has been tested for IR etc and has been cleared so I guess it will remain as such and that is how he is. Certainly my vet is not worried about his weight and shape now.
The other thing my vet told me to do if in doubt about if he has sore feet starting is to tap his soles all round with the blunt end of the hoof pick...any sensitive areas or problems will soon be identified.
At the end of the day, if in doubt keep your horse in for a few days or in a school area for a bit and see if there are improvements and if still the same, you can always get the vet...better to be safe than sorry. Let us know how you get on.

I'd have him tested again for IR, not a Welsh Cob by any chance?

Nari
29-04-11, 01:07 PM
I'd have him tested again for IR, not a Welsh Cob by any chance?

Why do you ask this? Are they particularly prone?

AndySpooner
29-04-11, 01:37 PM
Why do you ask this? Are they particularly prone?

Never been researched, I don't think so anyway. The reason I asked is, the symptoms and conformation described by the OP are classic for IR. Yet the blood test doesn't confirm this.

Firstly I would re do the test, as there is always room for error and I would be suprised that this horse is negative for the test.

Secondly, a friend of mine has a number of cases which are all lamanitic, all IR and all Welsh Cobs.

The breed standard for Section D Welsh Cobs talks of a cresty neck being a desirable trait in the conformation of the stallion.
IR has been about as long as horses, but not widely recognised until fairly recently. My theory is that in trying to achieve a particular trait, like breeders do, a lot of IR stallions were bred from which has had the effect of making Welsh Cobs predisposed to IR.

pottamus
29-04-11, 01:44 PM
Yes he is a Welsh Sec D gelding bred for showing - although I do not show him.
I think you can scare yourself rigid over IR and laminitis though...yes he has had laminitis and yes he has a firm neck, but I am rigourous in my daily checks and he is on a strict regime that does not alter all year...I feel I am doing the best I can to prevent it happening again. I am sure I could have him tested every year...just in case, but where does it end worrying about it? All we can ever do as horse carers is restrict grazing, keep them in for a period, keep them slim and keep them exercised and then be observant every day, otherwise you go mad with worry and paranoyer.

AndySpooner
29-04-11, 02:08 PM
Yes he is a Welsh Sec D gelding bred for showing - although I do not show him.
I think you can scare yourself rigid over IR and laminitis though...yes he has had laminitis and yes he has a firm neck, but I am rigourous in my daily checks and he is on a strict regime that does not alter all year...I feel I am doing the best I can to prevent it happening again. I am sure I could have him tested every year...just in case, but where does it end worrying about it? All we can ever do as horse carers is restrict grazing, keep them in for a period, keep them slim and keep them exercised and then be observant every day, otherwise you go mad with worry and paranoyer.

I completely agree with what you say, however, through selective breeding there are a number of different breeds which have a predisposition to certain ailments. The regime you describe for your horse would be, I feel, difficult to improve upon. The maintainance of the crest and the fat deposits around the shoulder, when he has lost some condition are a good indication of an IR horse. I'm a little suprised that he has not shown IR in the blood test, but, this is just a pet theory of mine with regard to Welsh Cob Sec D's.

canteron
29-04-11, 02:15 PM
Thanks again everyone. Have been in touch with the vet and laminitic treatment seems to have moved on a bit since our last laminitic session (4/5 years ago).

Am treating horse for laminitus and have also booked an IR (insulin resistant) test for next week. They are telling me that there is now a drug that helps reduce the fat in the crest and thereby reduce how prone the horse is to laminitus. Does anyone have any experience of this???

COBSFOREVER
04-08-11, 11:58 AM
Thankyou for your post i have been goin mad with worry about my horse chronic lamanitic had box rest for 2 weeks then t/o 24/7 sometimes lame in trot when coming to the gate but other days nearly sound with the ground so hard havent been sure what to do but now after reading your post i have decided to bring in at night on deep shavings bed hope this works had xrays ect from vet has lost the weight still has a crest but can see ribs v slightly so weight is fine wet hay forever as told by vet feeding hi fi lite and top spec anti lam daily excersing in walk in menage most days but as is lame in trot not sure how much excersie to do would like to hack out but dont want to do any more harm any more of your good advice appreciated thank you

touchstone
04-08-11, 12:13 PM
Thanks again everyone. Have been in touch with the vet and laminitic treatment seems to have moved on a bit since our last laminitic session (4/5 years ago).

Am treating horse for laminitus and have also booked an IR (insulin resistant) test for next week. They are telling me that there is now a drug that helps reduce the fat in the crest and thereby reduce how prone the horse is to laminitus. Does anyone have any experience of this???

The drug will be metformin, although it can support an IR horse the real controls are still dietary and exercise management.

There are some schools of thought that say metformin isn't as effective as some believe, but plenty of info online about it. :)

There is a link questioning is effectiveness here:- http://www.equinescienceupdate.com/articles/nbmir.html

canteron
04-08-11, 12:31 PM
Hi Touchstone, this thread (revived today) is quite old now and in the meantime the horse was found to have a medium IR level so we did 2 months on Metformin and limited turnout/strict feed regime, etc.

The results were interesting!!!

Clinically the horse is now 100% sound, has more energy, has lost heaps of weight and is generally really really enjoying life!!

However, his IR resistance count had shot through the roof(!)

As the whole aim is to have a happy retired horse rather than achieve perfect test results, I declined the vet's suggestion of carrying on with the Metformin and we now have found a regime of limited turnout, barley straw, hay and a little bit of sugar beet with magnesium oxide and he appears to be thriving.

So, I too am wondering whether Metformin is the latest fad in the vet's world. The regime of feeding Metformin (35 hated tablets a day!!) is highly labour intensive and not a lot of fun for the horse either, so, in my view, has to be highly effective to warrant that effort. Anyone else tried it with more longterm success?

Cobsforever, I found feeding Barley Straw helped a lot in keeping the horse happy, I know that feeding straw can be contensious but my vet had no worries of feeding upto 50% Barley Straw and 50% hay and didn't think it would induce colic. On the plus side, I now don't bother to soak the hay. I know our situations are different in the you have a working horse, whereas mine is retired, but this has helped us find a regime that both the horse and I can easily cope with!! It might be worth chatting to your vet about feeding straw and his opinion (NB. Oat Straw too rich and Wheat Straw totally indegistible, has to be Good Quality Barley).

touchstone
04-08-11, 12:45 PM
Ahh sorry, didn't realise it was an old thread that was brought back up.:o

It is very interesting to hear of your boy's progress, glad to hear that he is fit and well, great news!:)

SirenaXVI
04-08-11, 01:06 PM
The crest you talk of sounds like the horse is or has become Insulin Resistant, which has ramifications for full blown laminitis. The pottery walk could be low grade laminitis a condition linked with IR, but sometimes the severity masked by shoes.

Diet and exercise are the only real ways of controlling and managing the condition.

There is a wealth of information on the internet though.

Ditto, it sounds to me that she has low grade laminitis, I would call the vet tbh, you can give her hay that has been soaked for 12-24 hours as you do need to keep the hind gut moving or this will cause even more problems but if she has developed Insulin Resistance then she will need almost zero starch/sugar in the diet and medication. A probiotic is also a good idea for any laminitic as this will help the hind gut.

SirenaXVI
04-08-11, 01:10 PM
Oh I did not realise it was an old thread either :D

Thank you for the progress report - it sounds as though your boy is doing well now!

SirenaXVI
04-08-11, 01:17 PM
Thankyou for your post i have been goin mad with worry about my horse chronic lamanitic had box rest for 2 weeks then t/o 24/7 sometimes lame in trot when coming to the gate but other days nearly sound with the ground so hard havent been sure what to do but now after reading your post i have decided to bring in at night on deep shavings bed hope this works had xrays ect from vet has lost the weight still has a crest but can see ribs v slightly so weight is fine wet hay forever as told by vet feeding hi fi lite and top spec anti lam daily excersing in walk in menage most days but as is lame in trot not sure how much excersie to do would like to hack out but dont want to do any more harm any more of your good advice appreciated thank you

I am very glad you have remedied the 24 hour turnout, I am surprised that your vet did not advise you against suddenly turning out 24/7 after box rest tbh as this almost certainly brings the laminitis back with a vengence! Normally the advice is to turn out for 10mins the first day and increase very gradually by 5 mins a day. In any case, turning a laminitic out 24/7 is not really desirable unless on extremely poor grazing.

You can excercise in walk rather than trot, this is exactly what my friend had to do with her IR horse, but it always had to be on a soft surface, I would not hack out if I were you, especially as the ground is so hard at the moment.

COBSFOREVER
04-08-11, 02:42 PM
hi have just spoke to the vet and they want to do more xrays when do they get sound in trot im just wondering if he will ever be sound again as one day he is sound in trot in field then next day he is lame again aaaarh any one have any ideas thanks