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Equines

 

 

Laminitis is the failure of the attachment between the distal phalanx and the lamellae of the inner hoof wall. When the distal phalanx is no longer properly attached to the inside of the hoof the distal phalanx can descend down through the foot and even penetrate the sole. Many factors can trigger an episode, from overeating pasture or grain to metabolic disorders, or as a sequela to other diseases. Chronic laminitis usually has a metabolic component that needs to be addressed. Natural compounds can assist in insulin resistance and reduce inflammation.

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS/SUPPLEMENTATION

 

The following nutraceuticals or natural/herbal formulas can also provide effective treatment for equines dealing with laminitis.

 

 

If laminitis is suspected, all feed should be immediately removed from the stall.  If the equine is in a pasture, move it to a stall.  The primary goal is to reduce the severity of the attack and prevent the rotation of the coffin bone – the main bone in the hoof.  The horse will most likely not suffer permanent lameness if the disease is minimized as soon as possible. Placing a 2-inch thick builder Styrofoam (from the local home improvement store) under the soles of the feet will help provide support and relief from pain. This will also help decrease the amount of damage to the horse’s foot. Horse-specific pads are also available.

 

Prevention of laminitis is always preferable; here are a few easy ways to help prevent the formation of laminitis:

 

Keep the equine’s weight in check;

 

» Keep him off hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time;

» Cut off any access to the feed bin;

» Carefully monitor the starches and sugars in the horse’s food; high concentrations of starch and sugar (including grains, molasses-based foods and even artificial sweeteners!) can lead to:

 

1.An increase in bad bacteria (Streptococcus);

2.Digestive upset;

3.The destruction of good gut bacteria/flora; and

4.Eventual insulin resistance issues.

 

» Be knowledgeable about the different types of hay (some hays can have a higher sugar content depending on the type and growing conditions);

 

1.These types of hay include Timothy, Orchard and Brome (cool season crops).

 

» Stick with hays that are low in sugars and native prairie grasses, these vary depending on the specific area; and

 

Always maintain consistent and proper hoof-trimming and shoeing (if cracks or any separation of the hoof and sole wall occur, this will predispose the horse to further infection and challenges). 

 

Horses with laminitis need a month or more of stall rest after they are sound and without painkillers. Horses that have progressed to founder need to regrow the foot before they are sound, but can start exercising gradually as they heal. The acute symptoms of laminitis should be resolved within the first 10 days of treatment, but the total healing time depends on the severity of the disease.

 

If the equine is diagnosed with grain laminitis, treatment will begin with passing a stomach tube to coat the horse’s intestinal tract with a large amount of mineral oil (3 to 4 quarts per 1,000 pounds of equine body weight). Doing this will help eliminate the grain from the horse’s intestinal tract quickly and before it reaches the colon and begins fermenting which releases the dangerous toxins and bacteria.  Mineral oil acts as a laxative and can also help prevent the absorption of toxins.  The dosage of mineral oil may need to be repeated every 6 hours until all the grain has safely passed through the equine intestines. 

 

Once the symptoms of laminitis appear, provide soft footing on the stall floor that includes at least 6 inches of sand or 18 inches of deep shavings, so the horse can stand more comfortably as the tension is reduced on the deep digital flexor tendons.  Another way to reduce the pull of the tendon is to apply wedge pads beneath the heels.  Wrapping a roll of elastic gauze will also work well if you do not have access to the wedge pads.  Avoid exercising the horse as this can make the coffin bone rotate (or founder) making the hoof not only more painful, but risk further damage (sinking). The hoof can be further stabilized with a frog support. If this support is placed correctly, the horse will immediately feel relief and be more comfortable. If not, remove and place the support differently.

 

Once the laminitis has been properly diagnosed, treatment should include Flunixin Meglumine for its anti-endotoxic (anti-toxin) properties and Butazolidin (a non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly referred to as Bute). When given in combination with Acepromazine (a tranquilizer), it has been shown to reduce both capillary constriction and hypertension in horses.  For best results, both should be given as an IV. After 24 hours have passed, Butazolidin can be given by orally or by the mouth.   X-rays should be taken over the next two weeks to monitor the position of the coffin bone. Horses being treated by a holistic veterinarian may not need anti-inflammatories and may actually do better than horses treated with Bute or Banamine.

 

For the recovering horse – or to prevent laminitis -- careful attention should be exercised in adapting the equine to a healthier diet and feeding schedule.  Eliminate grain from the horse’s diet and replace it with good-quality grass hay.  Do not give unlimited access to lush green pastures. Offer a few pounds of hay 2-3 times per day, but vigilantly watch for signs of relapse. Encourage mineral intake by feeding minerals and salt separately. Grain can be introduced later if needed, in small amounts of a cup or so, if the horse is overweight.  Make sure a fresh, clean and abundant water source is available at all times (this will also help ease the symptoms of laminitis). If the horse is overweight, a proper diet plan should put into place to safely reduce their weight which will also help decrease the chances of laminitis reoccurring. If a horse has foundered once, chances are it can happen again.

 

Integrative Medicine

 

Laminitis is more than just a ‘hoof’ problem. The whole (or holistic) health of the horse must be considered and addressed. With quick and proper treatment and more healthful changes, most equines can return to a normal life.

 

In addition to the recommendations made above, the consistent use of supplements can help strengthen the afflicted horse’s hoof and decrease the chance of developing laminitis or reducing the damaging effects of the disease.

 

» Omega 3 Fatty Acids: One of the most important ingredients to decrease inflammation, improve IR (Insulin Resistance), increase permeability of the muscle cells to glucose and improve overall immune system function.

 

» Crushed Rose Hips (Vitamin C): Add two-four tablespoons to their feed (an excellent source of an anti-inflammatory and immune system builder as well as some copper which is an important factor for good hoof growth and often lacking in the average horse diet).

 

» Vitamin/mineral mix:  Designed for grass hays, using rice bran and flax as a carrier. Minerals are often best fed separately from salt so the horse can take all he needs without taking in too much salt.

 

» Magnesium citrate: Improves Insulin Resistance (IR), increases permeability of the muscle cells to glucose and a key ingredient in treating IR and laminitis.

 

» Vanadium: Improves IR (Insulin Resistance), increases permeability of the muscle cells to glucose and another key ingredient in treating IR and laminitis.

 

» Chromium: Improves Insulin Resistance (IR), increases permeability of the muscle cells to glucose and a key ingredient in treating IR and laminitis.

 

» Co-enzyme Q10: An antioxidant for the vascular system; actually helps relieve pain in some horses and helps heal the blood vessels in the feet.

 

» Aconitum Napellus (30cc): Also known as Monkshood, Wolf’s Bane or Monk’s Blood. Give immediately upon any symptoms of laminitis or after a known trigger;

 

» Belladonna (30cc): Effective when horse exhibits sweating, full-bounding pulse and throbbing arteries. Can be given together with Aconitum (above).

 

» Nux Vomica (30cc): Known to be a major digestive remedy and beneficial in cases of toxicity; and laminitis from toxicity or overeating.

 

» Calcarea Fluorica (30cc): Also known as calcium fluoride. Can be given in the beginning of a chronic phase; may reduce tissue inflammation and bone distortion.

 

» NOTE: Herbal products that contain Devil’s Claw should NOT be given to pregnant mares.

 

Laminitis
(Reference: Veterinarians’ Desk Reference)


(Live Link)

 

Species affected: Equines.

 

Background: Acute laminitis is frequently cause by a heavy ingestion of grain or high carbohydrate fresh pasture. Chronic laminitis has many metabolic causes: from Cushing's disease, insulin resistance, endotoxemia, stress and drugs, particularly steroids. Excessive concussion, autoimmune states and allergic reactions may also be a cause.

 

Symptoms: Painful stance occurs at some interval after the initiating insult (48 hours for grain overload, but may be different for other insults).

 

Diagnostics: Blood work, as needed, depending on causes; insulin levels in the mature horse to check for insulin resistance and Cushing's syndrome; other hormonal testing may be beneficial.

 

Special Notes: Allowing the feet to rest is beneficial to the healing process; many horses will recover faster when encouraged to lie down, or when they have their feet supported by Styrofoam (see the web site www.hopeforsoundness.com).

 

Principles for Supplementation: Natural treatment to improve the circulation in the foot, help slow the melting of the basement membrane during acute episodes, support the growth of new tissue.

 

Equine Metabolic Syndrome/Insulin Resistance
(Reference: Veterinarians’ Desk Reference)


(Live Link)

 

Species affected: Equines.

 

Background: Predisposing factors include a history of excess vaccination and/or drug therapy, especially with the long-term use of steroid drugs. Stress, obesity, old age, lack of exercise, pollution, and poor-quality diets are also likely to be causal or predisposing.

 

Symptoms: Insulin Resistance or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (the new, more accurate terms for what has been called Cushing's Disease in the past) is characterized by obesity, resistance to weight loss, lumpy fat pads and cresty necks, longer and dry hair, chronic laminitis (that is difficult to treat), chronic infections, insulin resistance, increased or decreased weight gain (often with uneven distribution of fat), and with increased urination and drinking, and poor digestion in the later stages. True Cushing’s disease does exist, but is much less common.

 

Diagnostics: The diagnosis is not always straightforward and may require a combination of history and blood tests (insulin, glucose, ACTH, cortisol), depending on which symptoms are present. In many cases all blood work will be normal, yet obesity and unhealthy fat distribution are present.

 

Special Notes: Treatment depends on the degree the horse is affected. Conventional drug therapy is not specific for EMS or IR, so these horses are much better supported with supplementation. Dietary control must be part of the treatment plan.

 

Principles for Supplementation: Improve glucose metabolism, balance and support hormonal system, achieve weight loss, improve digestion and metabolism.

 

 

EQUINE PRODUCTS: LAMINITIS

 

FORMULAS

DOSAGE

MECHANISM/PURPOSE

 Long Dan Xie Gan Tang        (Gentiana Combination)14

4 tsp bid

Later stages IR with laminitis, heat and inflammation, clears Damp Heat.

 Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang   (Persica and Achyranthes Formula)14

4 tsp bid

Moves Blood, clears chronic pain in more severe cases of laminitis.


 OB Formula1 ,5

1 scoop bid

Hemp-based nutrients to aid glucose metabolism, weight loss.

 INR Formula1,5

1 scoop bid

Hemp-based nutrients to aid insulin resistance and GIT damage.

CoQ100VET12

1-5 capsules sid

Powerful antioxidant in metabolically active tissue; works extremely well when used without concurrent NSAIDs.

Cush X Support Formula2

3-4 scoops sid

Support pituitary function, insulin and glucose metabolism, helps shed winter coats.

Flax/Hemp Oil

4-8 tbsp sid

Anti-inflammatory; improves glucose metabolism.

Hot Hoof II3

2 scoops bid

Clears acute inflammation, activates Blood, anti-inflammatory.

Hot Hoof I3

2 scoops bid

Clears chronic inflammation, clears Damp Heat.

APF-Pro21

6-10 mL sid

Adaptogenic herbs, support the immune system, adrenals, reduces stress, helps horses adapt to stress.

CurcuVET-EQ12

1 scoop bid

Down-regulates the pro-inflammatory substances, tumor necrosis factor, alpha (TNF-α) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB), supports normal inflammatory function.

Inflammation Salve5

Topical application to feet

Improves circulation, relieves pain, cools heat.

L-GlutamineVET Powder12

3-7 scoops sid

Helps heal intestinal tract; protects feet from endotoxins.

PerfusiaVET12

8-16 capsules sid in divided doses

Improves circulation to the hoof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EQUINE PRODUCTS: EQUINE METABOLIC SYNDROME/INSULIN RESISTANCE

 

FORMULAS

DOSAGE

MECHANISM/PURPOSE

OB Formula1,5

1 scoop bid

Hemp-based nutrients to aid glucose metabolism, weight loss.

Insulinese14

4 tsp bid

Supports insulin metabolism, tonifies Spleen, useful when no inflammation is present, fat is mildly lumpy.

Four Marvels Powder, Si Miao San14

4 tsp bid

Clears Damp and decreases inflammation, support insulin metabolism, esp. in springtime, with lumpy fat deposits.

CoQ100VET12

1-5 capsules sid

Excellent for antioxidant properties in laminitis cases, especially if anti-inflammatory drugs are not being used.

UltraChromeVET-50012

2-4 capsules sid

Can help stabilize blood sugar.

Vanoxyl12

4-6 capsules sid

Stabilizes blood sugar.

Magnesium Citrate12

1-2 gram bid

Improves insulin receptivity in cell walls.

 Metabolyte Gold2

25-30 cc sid

Supports insulin metabolism, palatable liquid formula.

APF-Pro21

6-10 mL sid

Adaptogenic herbs, support the immune system, adrenals, reduces stress, helps horses adapt to stress.

Core Level Pituitary11

4 tablets sid

Glandular; supports the hormonal system, usually used with pituitary imbalance, older horses.

Chia Booster (chia seeds)19

1 scoop bid

Stabilizes membranes, source Omega 3 fatty acids.

Flax/Hemp Oil
Flax/Hemp meal, naturally stabilized1

4-8 tbsp oil or
4-8 oz meal bid

Improves glucose metabolism, supports immune system.

Digestive Tonic14

½-⅔ scoop bid

Clears stagnant food; enhances digestion.

Enhance Life14

4 tsp bid

Increases Qi and Blood, tonifies kidney yang, enhances energy levels and performance.

These formulas below are for horses with more advanced symptoms and/or laminitis. Supplements above can be used for support.

INR Formula1 ,5

1 scoop bid

Hemp-based nutrients to aid insulin resistance and GIT damage.

 Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (Gentiana Combination)14

4 tsp bid

Later stages IR with laminitis, heat and inflammation, clears Damp Heat.

 Cush X Support Formula2

3-4 scoops sid

Support pituitary function, insulin and glucose metabolism, helps shed winter coats.

 

To help you quickly find the right Integrative Medicine formulas and manufacturers to help treat your dogs, cats and horses, please refer to the Veterinarians’ Desk Reference
(Click Here)

 

 

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