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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Laminitis and other health issues

I have a 15 yr old Arabian, have had for 10 yrs; a 16 Thoroughbred, have had for 10 yrs; a 20 yr old Appl. Palomino, have had for 18 yrs and a 15 yr old paint pony, have had for 11 yrs. Sept. 2004 put a 20 yr old Arabian to sleep for founder, had him for 13 yrs.

For about 20 yrs I have been teaching English and Western pleasure. Last year for example I've had 28 kids (ages from 4 to 20) scheduled weekly. The kids get the horses ready in the cross ties and ride for fun. Walk, trot, canter a little jumping and fun relaxing trail rides. They pay for the hour and 15 min. ride and this way I can afford to have these wonderful pets in my back yard. We ride 6 to 7 days per week from April to November. Michigan weather permitting.

Here's my problem. The biggest problems I've had were an abscess in a hoof, a bruised heel and the horse we put to sleep had its injured eye removed in 2002. no big deal. Aug.2003 for some reason the 20 yr old Arabian started walking very very stiffly. We discovered thru blood work that he had muscle weakness. After a chiropractor and acupuncture done twice he was o k , not perfect. Then Jan 2004 he was worse and feet ex-rays showed the coffin bone had rotated. After special shoes and daily bute he only got worse and put him down in Sept. 2004.

I thought I had a healthy barn once again except noticed the Appaloosa was eating dirt last fall. Had blood work done and it only showed mild anemia so the vet suggested I give Mega Cell blood builder. Did that for a few months, then in Feb.2005 noticed his front feet hurt. The vet took ex-rays and no founder but Laminitis. Had special shoes (put on backwards to take pressure off the toe) and I thought he was worse so I took them off 5 days later. Now he has rubber high heel boots taped on and of course bute and also am giving Equine Correct for older horses from Buckeye foods and a new Buckeye food called Gro-n-win. Also all new blood-work was good. No anemia, no Cushings, Thyroid ok etc. I haven't had new ex-rays of feet taken yet to see if he has foundered.

Any thoughts or helpful knowledge from you would be very much appreciated. I want to have these horses live into their 30's.

Thank you, Lonnie

Hi Lonnie,

I am from Michigan. I grew up in the Detroit area. My Father was a polo player and we played at clubs in Birmingham (Birmingham Hunt Club), Grose Point Hunt, Michigan State Fair Grounds, Grand Rapids, Chicago and Boca Raton, Fla. I am quite familiar with the climate in Michigan. Winters can be challenging, at least they were for me.

Something to keep in mind, all your horses are older. Aging creates issues that are beyond our abilities to contain or control. The horses I know that attain 30 something status, frequently live outside mostly and on the best grazing grass available. If your horses are stall kept, this will work against longevity and ultimate health. I really get that you are extremely dedicated to the well being of your horses. A 'rich' diet at all, over time, deters from the foot being optimum. These issues don't just happen all of a sudden. They do develop over many years. By the time we see symptoms it is usually too far along to treat simply. The biggest causes of problems such as you are describing, it seems to me, are the natural process of aging, certain breeds are prone to specific maladies (i.e. ring-bone in Quarter Horses), a rich diet over time or a diet lacking in specific nutrients and stall bound horses. Frequently it is not just one thing, but a combination of circumstances that, over time, produce the problems you are experiencing. As far a treatment, supplements, etc., as I am not a vet, I am very reluctant to offer any sort of medical advice. Seems you have good help. That is paramount as well. If you have them on pasture at all, you might consider having the soil and/or grasses and water, analyzed to see exactly what you've got. Environmental issues could be a factor as well.

I hope I have offered some insight into your situation. I can tell you love your horses and give them your best. Thank you for your dedication, great heart and loving spirit for your equines. Blessings to you and your critters always......

Sincerely yours, Franklin

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