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Sam Harding BVSc Cert VA MRCVS Laminitis is an extremely painful condition which can affect any horse or pony. It is characterised by lameness of one or more feet and is much worse when the horse walks on a firm surface. When resting, the horse often shifts its weight and stands with the hindlimbs placed below the body. Laminitis is caused by inflammation of the laminae - interwoven leaves of tissue that suspend the pedal bone within the hoof. In severe cases the laminae may lose their blood supply, resulting in loss of support between hoof wall and pedal bone. This can lead to separation of pedal bone from hoof, and rotating of the bone within the hoof.

Potential trigger factors: • • • • •

Carbohydrate overload – excess grain or grass. Obesity/Equine metabolic syndrome. Usually middle aged native ponies that become insulin resistant. Equine Cushings syndrome. A disease of older horses where the pituitary gland has an overproduction of hormones. Overloading e.g overcompensating for an injured limb. Endotoxaemia e.g. Mares with retained cleansing or colic.

Recent advances have changed our approach to Laminitis. It’s now thought up to 90% of cases are caused by an underlying hormonal disease. (Equine Cushings Disease and Equine Metabolic Syndrome). Despite the common perception that Cushings affects older horses and ponies, up to one-third of laminitic 10-15 years may be affected. Treatment should include strict box rest in a deep bed of shavings or sand with pain relief provided by the vet. A specific diet should be discussed with your vet as many laminitics are overweight. Hoof care is vital to stabilise the pedal bone and support hoof capsule. X-rays can help formulate a treatment plan and guide the prognosis.

April 2013

Contact us: CALDEW VETERINARY HOSPITAL Carlisle House, Townhead Road, Dalston, Carlisle CA5 7JF Tel: 01228 710208 TOWNHEAD VETERINARY CENTRE Newbiggin, Stainton, Penrith, CA11 0HT Tel: 01768 483789 LONDON ROAD SURGERY 87 London Road Carlisle CA1 2LG Tel: 01228 591005


PARAGON VETERINARY GROUP Visit us at: and please ‘like’ our FACEBOOK page

24 hour emergency service


Kelly Smith

BSc (hons) Equine Sports Science 1. Treat foal’s navel immediately after birth with antibiotic spray or dilute Iodine solution (< 0.5%). 2. Foals should stand within an hour of birth and must suck Colostrum (first milk) from the mare within 4-6 hours to absorb essential antibodies which will help it fight infections. 3. Regular feeding (on average 5 times an hour for the first week gradually reducing as the foal gets older) followed by sleeping will help young foals maintain their body reserves. 4. Have a veterinary health check carried out during your foal’s first day. A blood test from 12 hours of age will check its antibody level. If it’s too low the vet can give a plasma transfusion. 5. Foals must be kept in a clean environment as they are very susceptible to disease. They should also be protected from extreme weather. 6. Worming should be started at 4 weeks of age using Ivermectin. 7. A dose of Tetanus Antitoxin can be given to newborn foals but the first Tetanus vaccination should be given from 3 months of age and Influenza from 5 months. 8. If your foal seems unwell or stops suckling it is essential to seek immediate veterinary attention as sick foals can become critically ill in a very short space of time.

LAMINITIS WORKSHOP APRIL 17th We’re holding a Laminitis workshop at Townhead Farm, Newbiggin on April 17th, starting at 5pm. It will include a short presentation and group sessions, designed to assist you when dealing with a laminitic horse or pony. Places are limited so please call 017684 83789 to book yours.

CUSHINGS DISEASE TESTING OFFER Cushings Disease and Metabolic Syndrome are the two most common hormone or endocrine disorders in horses and ponies. Evidence now suggests 9 out of 10 equines with Laminitis will have one of the two conditions. To diagnose Cushings, a blood sample is taken to assess ACTH levels. During April, May & June ACTH test lab fees will be FOC as part of an awareness campaign by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. For more information and to apply for your blood test voucher go to: or call us on 017684 83789.

PASSPORT CONTROL Following the recent news of food products containing horse meat, Vets have to ensure horses’ passports are correctly signed to indicate they are ‘not for human consumption’ before they can prescribe certain medications such as Bute (Equipalazone) and Danilon. Bring your horse’s passport to your next appointment with us so we can verify it’s signed and make a record of it. Equine passports were introduced, in part, to assure the European Union that Vets can deal with medication control. If this is put in any doubt, it may put the availability of Bute in jeopardy.

PARAGON VETERINARY GROUP Visit us at: and please ‘like’ our FACEBOOK page

Equine Newsletter April  

Equine newsletter April

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