Dimple's Laminitis

In the pic here you see Dimple looking very miserable the day we saw her and on the right 2 days later looking a LOT brighter - you can clearly see the edema on her belly.

Our very own Dimples, who came to us many years ago after suffering multiple bouts of laminitis, and whom, under our strict control of diet led a very happy few years, trotting around on our track, playing with the other horses and generally trying to be the ‘boss’ pony, has been staying with some great people.
She had been doing very well, however this spring, with the multiple rains (unheard of in this part of Canterbury!), the grass became very unsafe and so Dimples had to be locked up in a yard with hay.


Day 1

A few hours access to the green grass each day had not caused a problem until this day when unfortunately there had been a detrimental change in the grass with the regular rain we have been experiencing in Canterbury over the last couple of weeks. All of a sudden little Dimples was found in the classic rocked back stance of full blown laminitis.
As we have said before this is excruciatingly painful. Dimples was given pain relief in the form of bute and made as comfortable as possible in her yard. On our advice 20gms each of GrazeEzy and salt was dissolved in warm water and syringed in every four hours.

This was last Friday and we went down to see her on Saturday, she was lying down looking miserable but would get up and shuffle if encouraged. This was still a marked improvement on the previous day when she was rocked back on her heels and would not move at all. As you know it is best NOT to move them when they are so acute in order not to further damage the laminae so we let her be.

The salt and Graze Ezy was syringed in again that evening (Sat) and first thing next morning and about 11.00am. We were astounded when we arrived about 3.00pm how much more mobile she was: still sore but moving of her own volition and walked unassisted onto the float so we could bring her home for a few weeks.

Over the whole episode she was checked to make sure she was drinking well, otherwise we would have stopped the syringing straight away.

In addition to the laminitis she had a huge edema under her belly which is slowly reabsorbing. This is a further clue that electrolyte imbalances are a huge contributor to the cause of laminitis. Dimples is in no way obese. Until you have seen this a few times, you cannot imagine the speed at which this can happen or the seriousness of it

Dimples recovers Quickly...

PIC Dimples clearly enjoying her night feed. Note the huge ventral edema has completely resorbed.

Four - five days later, Dimples is MUCH better... We put this recovery down to

· The complete removal from any grass (24 hour hay only)

· A covered yard spread with plenty of hay giving her a soft surface to stand on

· The administration of a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of GrazeEzy (dissolved in water) 4X a day for the first two days. (Interestingly this did not give her soft manure.) Fresh water is available at all times and we checked that she was drinking – this is absolutely vital as you would never give that much salt without ensuring adequate water intake.

· 2X feeds daily of beet, copra, a little oaten chaff, Premium NZ Horse Minerals, salt and GrazeEzy (For the first two days, this was on top of the syringing of additional GrazeEzy and salt)

· No forced movement while she was sore, but as soon as she was willing, we walked her.

She is now enjoying living in one of our large yards with the big horses.

Electrolytes & Laminitis

*We are certainly treading new territory by aggressively and immediately addressing electrolyte imbalances when confronted with laminitis. The fact that electrolytes are critical to this disease is indicated by the fact that the crest of the neck goes suddenly very hard – this is because it fills with fluid. (Dimple’s ventral edema is also related to this). Electrolytes and fluid balances are inseparable, they depend on each other.

We feel 100% confident following this theory on our own horses, but it is important to understand that it is, so far, purely anecdotal – this would make a great research project. The subject of laminitis badly needs lateral thinking as the current research focuses on sugars and the metabolism of sugar depends on having the correct mineral balances. In other words the sugar problem is likely to be secondary to the electrolyte imbalance problem.

The lesson from Dimple’s recent laminitis episode is that it worked really well because she was so small compared to the amount of salt and GrazeEzy syringed in – 4 Tablespoons of each spread over the day. This gives an indication of how much a person may have to get in to a bigger horse to achieve the same result.

Dimples striding over stones a week later!