Worst Laminitis seen at EHCRC
The worst cases of Laminitis we have seen at Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre
Many of our rescued horses here at the centre have come to us not only severely malnourished but also with a condition in their hooves known as laminitis. If you can imagine walking on hot coals in your bare feet, this is how painful it is for them.
Quite often the horse will simply lie down, in an attempt to take the pressure off its hooves and so lessen the pain. The condition is often caused by the ignorance of owners as many of them just throw stale bread down for them to eat.
Many owners do not even bother to have the hooves trimmed; this should be done every 6-8 weeks. An interesting fact is that the early horse actually had hands (as opposed to hooves) but over many thousands of years they gradually evolved and developed into what they are now; The hoof itself is actually made of hair.
"Laminitis means inflammation of the laminae of the hoof. The laminae are responsible for suspension of the bony part of the foot within the hoof capsule. That means that they hold the hoof attached to the bone bearing all the weight of the animal. When the inflammation happens, the laminae start to fail in accomplishing their function. The direct consequence of this is detachment of bone and hoof and separation of both structures pulled apart by the horse's weight.
The clinical signs of laminitis are:
1. Increased temperature of the foot.
2. A pounding pulse in the digital palmar artery.
3. Pain: anxiety, visible trembling, increased vital signs and body temperature, sweating, flared nostrils
4. Walking very tenderly, as if walking on egg shells
5. Repeated "easing" of affected feet
7. The horse standing in a "founder stance" (the horse will attempt to decrease the load on the affected feet). If it has laminitis in the front hooves, it will bring its hindlegs underneath its body and put its forelegs out in front called "pointing"
8. Tendency to lie down, whenever possible or, if extreme, to remain lying down.
Laminitis is a veterinary emergency, because the earlier proper treatment is started, the better the chance to minimize the damage inside the foot. Not all the signs mentioned on the list above need to occur to raise suspicion of laminitis. If you see just two of them, you have reasons more then enough to call the vet. Don't wait for the horse adopting the typical laminitis stance, because then it is probably already quite advanced". Dorothea our Veterinarian
Three of the worst ever cases came to light back in 2008 when we received phone calls from people locally, concerned about three miniature ponies. These ponies were kept in a metal cage, and their hooves were so severely overgrown they looked like clogs. Due to the intense pain, they could hardly stand. They were owned by a local butcher, who informed us that his grandchildren played with them, and eventually he would slaughter them for meat.
Gradually, he realised that we were not going to go away and so agreed to sell them to us. Our wonderful supporters raised the €550 needed to buy them. We named the first two Princess and Magic, and they came here to the centre. The other one we decided to call Angel. She was older than the others and we knew she was in a far worse state, and that there was nothing we could do to help her, other than remove her from that awful place. So, that's what we did and then sadly had her put to sleep to end her suffering.
We did everything we could to try and save Princess, as she loved life and wanted to survive. She spent her days in the garden along with Charity, the donkey and Isadora, our pig. Everybody loved Princess, and she had many visitors.
Despite all our efforts, her condition continued to deteriorate. We ensured she was never in any pain, but were at our wits end until Dorothea, our equine vet, told us about a world famous; ground breaking equine surgeon, who specialised in horse's feet and legs. She had been to one of Gaspar Castelijns's seminars in Italy and thought he might be our last chance for Princess. (Gaspar has since been the equine vet for the Spanish dressage team at the London Olympics last year).
After speaking to him he agreed to look at Princess, so we drove her to his clinic in Barcelona. He did several tests to see if there was anything at all he could do for her. For the last test she had to be anesthetised and, whilst lying down and sleeping, her legs were moving as if she was running in her dream. The results of that test were not good, and nothing more could be done for her. Very sadly, we made the decision not to bring her round from the sedation, and she stayed in that lovely dream whilst she was put to sleep.
Princess had a favourite tree that she would lay under every day, and we still call it Princess's Tree, and have placed wind chimes in it in memory of her. Every time we hear them, we think of her, and always will. Princesses' tree is now a part of our memorial garden where we hold services for beloved pets and loved ones.
The third little horse, Magic, was the youngest of the three and with the help of Dorothea, we were able to save her. She still walks with a limp, but is now free of pain and spends her days happily with eight other miniature horses. She even has her own special boyfriend, Nelson, who we rescued along with several other horses from the gypsies in 2010; but that's another story!
We would love you to come and meet Magic and our growing family on our Sunday Open Days here at the centre between 1pm – 4pm. Take our tour and have tea and snacks in "Charity's Tearooms".
• If you wish to volunteer
• if you have any questions on any animal welfare issues
• For information on holding a memorial services at EHCRC
• For more information on our Charity shops
Please call Sue on 652021980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit our webpage www.easyhorsecare.net or our YouTube Channel EASYHORSESPAIN
"A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves – strong, powerful, and beautiful – and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence."
Quote by Pam Brown, b 1928.