Poor Ava, she’s developed laminitis. Vet has given her a good prognosis, but I’m a horrible, horrible horse mom for allowing this to happen.

I went out Thursday after Thanksgiving festivities to feed the horses. Ava, the food hound, is always the first one in, but that day she was last. She seemed very sore and when I took her out of the stall she had the characteristic leaning back stance that usually marks laminitis. I checked her fronts for heat and pulse, but honestly they didn’t seem hot to me, and I couldn’t find the pulse at all. Which probably just proves I’m a terrible horse mom.

After a frantic call to the vets office, they said banamine, then switch to bute the next day, and ice the feet. I waited out the weekend to see if there was improvement, but by Sunday I knew I had to call the vet. Monday morning the vet was out. I had been holding out hope for a diagnosis of bruised soles, or something equally benign, but the vet squashed that pretty quickly.

I was confused as to how Ava could get laminitis. I went over everything Ava gets for feed with the vet. I pointed out the complete lack of grass in the pasture. Vet agreed that Ava’s diet normally wouldn’t have been an issue. Ava is chunky, but not obese.

The vet thinks it’s related to insulin resistance. There’s a test for this which costs about $35 dollars, but the vet said your horse has to fast for a certain period of time and Ava had eaten earlier that day. We opted to assume insulin resistance and treat for that since there weren’t any other factors that jumped out as to why she would founder.

The vet suggested a supplement called Heiro, which she said they’ve gotten the best results from, so I bought a three month supply today (ouch). Hopefully it’ll arrive by Wednesday.  Ava will be on that for life now, so if any one is wondering what to buy me for Christmas…   hahaha

I’ve taken Ava off grain completely for the next couple of weeks (per vet suggestion).We’re going to try to get her down to 950 lbs (she’s at 1,115 lbs).  I have my trusty weight tape to track Ava’s weight loss. Once Ava’s lost some weight, then I need to transition her over to something like a ration balancer or a grass balancer.

The irony is that I had been slowly decreasing Ava and Joy’s grain the last few weeks to get both of them to drop some weight. Apparently I was too little, too late.

Farrier is supposed to come Thursday to roll Ava’s front toes to make break over quicker and hopefully reduce some of the pressure on soles.

Joy’s also on a diet.  I have to weight tape Joy today. I should’ve asked the vet for an estimate on what the ideal weight for Joy.

I now have two very surly, hungry mares in my barn. If I don’t make it out of the barn, tell my husband I love him.

Vet said there’s some rotation of the coffin bone in both feet, but that she believes Ava can make a full recovery.  That poor mare though. Bad enough she has a stifle injury, now I’m trying to kill her with laminitis.

Here are the x-rays. I love that vets can email me copies of the xrays. How awesome is that?


Right Front

Right Front

Left Front

Left Front


Five hundred dollars later… I have a plan in place for getting Ava back to sound, and hopefully I can prevent any re-occurrences of this in the future.

I still feel like crap that I allowed this to happen to her. Hopefully all goes well and she’ll be back to her old self soon.

Hubby bought me two Multi-Purpose Neoprene gel wraps today so I can ice Ava’s feet more easily. I was using bags of peas with vet wrap. That doesn’t work so well. The gel wraps worked great though. Ice pack fits inside them, you wrap it around the hoof, and it velcro’s to itself wherever you need it to go. I left those on her for over an hour today while I cleaned stalls and water buckets. I imagine if she were more active those wouldn’t work as well, but Ava’s pretty stationary as long as she has hay in front of her.


3 thoughts on “Laminitis

  1. She certainly doesn’t have any ribs showing… My daughter is an equine vet and sometimes I ride around with her. It has given me a feeling of compassion for people when they find out how expensive taking care of a horse can be. All the best to you and Ava.

    Liked by 1 person

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