The Natural Horse Vet Magalog

Page 23

Laminitis A Dreaded Problem with a Simple Solution By Dan Moore, The Natural Vet®

All too often our equine companions develop the dreaded problem called Laminitis. Laminitis means inflammation (re. itis) of the lamina. Lamina are the major structural components of the hoof wall. When these become inflamed a structural breakdown of the hoof can occur. This may even result in that really dreaded consequence of laminitis called rotation. Rotation is a shifting of the actual bone in the foot called a phalanx, which in common terms, is the toe. In the horse it is referred to as P3 or phalanx 3 (also known as the coffin bone in both the front and hind legs, and sometimes as the pedal in the hind leg). When P3 does not have the support of the lamina or hoof wall then P3 can actually protrude through the bottom or sole of the hoof, resulting in abscesses of the hoof. This can happen so fast that very little can be done once it begins. Heroic attempts are often made with special shoes, drugs, etc. but obviously it is always serious — very serious. Unfortunately drugs, especially steroids or antibiotics can cause laminitis. With the over zealous use of such in today’s medicine, such use can be even worse than the consequences from what they are trying to fix in the first place. Personally, I avoid the use of steroids in my horses for fear of this possibility of laminitis (and other things) and offer antibiotics only when a LIFE THREATENING situation warrants such. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that even Barbaro’s laminitis, that ultimately caused his demise, was a result of steroids and such – and I know he received the best of care! It is sort of “damned if you do or damned if you don’t” thing. BUT quite frankly, all the more reason to have an understanding of alternative or more natural treatments. All this being said, I am sure you will agree that the key to laminitis is to prevent it from ever occurring in the first place. When it happens .. it hurts! It is painful to the horse and to your pocket book. Can I help you ALWAYS prevent it? NO! But honestly, I think I have a pretty good handle on it. I have shared it with many of you in the past in a general sort of way, but here I am going to cut

right to the chase and tell it like it is! Of course, “telling it like it is” is my “modus operendi” anyway. Honestly though, prevention is more simple than you might think. In my opinion man causes most laminitis! Now I know we don’t mean too, but we do. Have you ever left a feed door open and somehow that very day… that one very day out of every other day of the year… the horse gets out of the stall or breaks through the fence and eats more feed than he should? If you answer no…. you are a lucky man… or woman! I hope you have never experienced this but if you have, you probably remember the feeling well. Your heart suddenly falls into your stomach — a real pain in the gut not only for you but also the horses! I hope I haven’t brought back home some bad memories but…. Since we have the pain in the gut let’s just go ahead and talk about the gut. Almost every major health problem in the horses starts in the gut. Horses have huge intestines and along with the skin (even larger surface area) and the liver, the intestines are the bodies first line of defense. Just imagine what a job the intestines have. The very lining of the intestines themselves are constantly deciding what is good for the body and what is bad….. Decisions, decisions, decisions, don’t you hate them? The “Good” is absorbed and utilized as fuel for the body. The “Bad” is immediately discharged through the feces or dealt with some other way. It is the “in-between” that the body must actually deal with. Sort of like life in general—the “indecision” ..that “trying to decide” part that drives us crazy. Any change to this incredibly balanced system could be life threatening. But how can a change in gut cause a problem in the feet? A very good question indeed… and honestly man doesn’t know all the answers. One thing for sure that we do know is that when you suddenly change the bacteria in the gut all He…double hockey sticks, (LL), breaks out! We know that too much food within to short of time can cause such a change and we know that medications (the antibiotics, the steroids) can as well. (continued next page..)

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