Laminitis case study
At the end of October a small 13 year old pony called Ransom was brought to us with a history of laminitis. He had trouble walking and found tight turns very painful. He had a tendency to stand with the back legs tucked up under his body and he had a digital pulse in all four feet. During the past few days he had been kept at grass with a larger horse that had been chasing him around the field. It is probable that the recent rain after a prolonged drought triggered fresh grass growth and this gave Ransom mild laminitis. The chasing around aggravated the problems in the feet and made the problem clinical.
On admission he was placed on a deep soft bed and his frogs allowed to fill up with damp bedding. He was put on a diet of reduced access to hay and no hard feed to start some weight loss. The hay was soaked for 12 hours to remove much of the nutrients.
He was given pain killers and medicines to lower his blood pressure to reduce the inflammation in his feet. The feet show the typical horizontal rings indicative of poor hoof formation during a laminitic episode
Once the pain was under control Ransom's feet were X-rayed. The Xrays showed that the coffin or pedal bone that lies within the hoof had been pulled round by the force of the flexor tendons at the back of the leg. The front edge of the pedal bone was no longer parallel with the hoof wall (defined by the wire taped to the front of the outside of the hoof). When the angle of rotation was measured it was found that although the laminitis was serious the rotation should be correctable.
Ransom then received corrective farriery to reduce the tension in the digital flexor tendons at the back of his hooves and to support the frog and cushion the hoof walls. The shoes were removed from the front feet and the soles cleaned up and trimmed back. Small pink areas could be seen within the sole indicating bleeding and bruising.
The hooves were shortened at the front and the front wall rasped back to make the foot stand more upright and reduce the tension in the flexor tendons.
Special putty was placed in the frogs for support and a pad of soft, yielding foam fixed to the bottom of the foot to give some cushioning support.
After the corrective shoeing Ransom was much more free at the walk and could turn tightly with minimal discomfort. He will remain on box rest and dietary control for the next two weeks and will then start walking out and finally he will return to be ridden over a period of several weeks.