My whole world is about treating Bonnie right now. I have studied laminitis and founder many times over the years and dealt with a few ponies that had foundered and needed rehabilitation. I was very successful in helping those ponies. But none have been so severe as Bonnie, except Chloe and she gave up the fight. So the amount of stress I have been feeling has been great… so great that I worried I may become laminitic!

I want to treat this as naturally as I can so have been reading books and websites, looking into Homeopathics and treating her with herbs and essential oils. One book that I have borrowed from a friend and have been studying is “Feed Your Horse Like A Horse” by Dr. Julie M. Getty. I have been an admirer of hers for years!

She talks about the importance of feeding your horse some kind of forage 24/7 and thoroughly goes over the way a horse digests and everything they need to be as healthy as they can be in her book. It’s well worth the money! She also has a lot of information about the laminitic, IR and Cushings horse. I came across this list and found it very interesting so wanted to share it here.

Common causes of laminitis:

  • Hormonal disorders such as PPID and insulin resistance
  • Elevated insulin
  • Obesity
  • Genetic prelaminitic syndrome
  • Overfeeding of grain and sugar from sweet feeds (carbohydrate overload)
  • Endotoxins released from the hindgut (leaky gut syndrome)
  • Grazing on pasture that is high in sugar/starch/fructan
  • Physical stress to the feet (concussion founder)
  • Injury to one limb, leading to laminitis in another foot
  • Retained placenta after foaling, resulting in a blood infection
  • Colic
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics or steroidal medications
  • Bedding that contains black walnut shavings
  • Selenosis (Selenium toxicity)
  • Iron overload (causes insulin resistance!!!!)
  • Mental stress (leading to elevated cortisol levels)
  • Forage restrictions
  • Rhabdomyolysis (tying up)
  • Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (EPSM)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Toxic plants

I know that this started when Bonnie was out on the field in December, but after going over this list I think she was a ticking time bomb. I am so grateful to have so much information at my fingertips but can feel overwhelmed sometimes. I think there were several factors that lined up perfectly on that winter day and tipped her over the edge. And the acute laminitis episode that we are dealing with now was caused by the vaccinations overloading her already toxic body. I am so so thankful for my three other healthy ponies!


Chloe the flower child.

My pony Chloe is the most adorable little 13 hand welsh/arab cross pony around.  Not only is she adorable, she is a spit fire!  She is cheeky and funny and very very bossy.  She totally holds her own around Billy and thinks she runs the show here.  Such a pony!

So when she started to get really sore on her feet, I started to worry.  Luckily the vet was coming out to do a coggins blood test on Billy so I asked him what he thought.  She didn’t have heat in her feet nor was there a digital pulse.  Though she has a cresty neck, typical of welsh pony crosses, it was not hard.  We discussed the fact that she could be IR (Insulin Resistant).  It’s difficult to know these things for sure with her because she is so unconfident with needles that to attempt to do a blood draw without a stocks, is impossible.  However her symptoms perfectly line up with those of IR horses.  The other test my vet knew of very often sends them into a founder episode and since she was not foundered neither of us wanted to go that route.

I was feeling pretty devastated.  I pulled her off of grass completely and she went downhill fast.  Going from sore to completely and totally lame.  It’s a hard thing to watch your pony who is normally so bright eyed and sassy become a depressed, sad eyed pony.  She does NOT like being in the dry lot.  She does NOT like not being able to graze and it would not be fair to her if she is stuck forever living in that situation.  I tried a grazing muzzle and that sent her into fits of horror, trying to rub it off on every available surface, the fence, the panels, the pallets, the wheel barrow, the ground.  She was throwing herself around so violently trying to remove the muzzle,  I became alarmed.  Not only that but it was causing so much distress that she was sweating profusely.  Clearly the muzzle was not going to work.

I took my situation to my trusty Facebook page where I have managed to friend the most warm, caring group of horse friends anyone could ask for!  I laid out exactly what was going on, listed what I was currently doing for her and sat back to see if anyone had an idea of what I could do to help my beautiful pony… all the while existing on a very strict and tight budget.

(For those of you who don’t know, I broke my arm on April 1st (April fools!! I wish…) and the break was so severe that I ended up in surgery.  Along with my appendix surgery from a couple of years ago I am currently just barely keeping myself afloat with all my medical bills.  So spending upwards of $100-$150 a month to medicate Chloe is not in the cards.  It sucks when your money issues affect the health and welfare of your horse.  However I know I’m not the only in this boat!)

Owning TWO “special” needs horses feels kind of daunting right now, but I know I can do this, do this well and do this while living within my means.

A little testimonial for the Golden Paste…  Last week I ran out of Golden Paste.  For 2 days neither Billy nor Chloe had their serving while I waited for my shipment of Turmeric to come in.  I had misjudged how fast shipping was going to be.  The day I posted my woes on Facebook was the worst day for both horses and myself.  When I went out to do my morning chores I noticed that Billy was COVERED in hives from nose to tail.  I could SEE them and when I ran my hand over his skin I could feel them.  He had edema on his tummy and was so intensely itchy that the whites of his eyes were showing.  I haven’t seen this side of Billy since I started him on the Golden Paste.  Chloe was so lame that she could not walk away from her water tank.  I was heart broken and thought I was going to have to call the vet to have her put down.  I was feeling so alone and lost as to what to do for her.  Then I put two and two together and realized I had run out of the Golden Paste and that day, the worst day, was day 2 of them both being without!!  I got my shipment the next morning, made up the paste, gave them each a bigger than normal dose and within about 30 minutes Billy’s hives were gone and Chloe could once again move about her pen.  If I ever wonder if the paste is doing anything I can think about that day.  Turmeric is amazing.

I received so much advice on my Facebook post and all of it was very uplifting.  The biggest thing for both Chloe and I is that she be able to go back out on the pasture with Billy.  She can not live her life in a small dry lot, or even a big dry lot.  Being cooped up that way is not good for her mentally.

One thing I noticed about the advice was that one person would lay out what worked for their horse and then another would say the exact opposite.  My first reaction was frustration because how was I to choose the right thing to do with so much conflicting information?!  Then I realized, with all these different options helping the different IR horses, I had a lot of options!  This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.  I know that with so many options one of them is bound to work for Chloe.

The first thing I did was I added alfalfa to her diet.  IR horses need more protein and an easy way to give them that is to add alfalfa.  I give her alfalfa pellets twice a day and one flake of second cutting alfalfa hay (soaked) once a day.  Just 2 days after adding this to her diet, she was trotting all over the pasture yesterday.  When I went to catch her she RAN AWAY!!!  I was cheering for her and never felt so happy to have a horse run away from me.

A very good friend (to both me and Chloe) purchased a product called Heiro for her to start taking.  It has a 30 day money back guarantee and we should be getting it today.  I can not wait to see how this helps her continue to feel better and to transition her from the dry lot back to the pasture. I am so very grateful for all my wonderful horsey friends who have stepped up to help us during this trying time.  I can not express enough what it means to me to have such an awesome support group!