This is my list of things
NOT to do.
Don't feed haylage; my
personal feeling is that haylage is too acid for horses and ponies and that it
may well contribute to Metabolic Syndrome.
Don't fit foam or rubber pads, or anything which is intended to make the horse
bear weight through the sole.. Any form of sole pressure is likely to increase
the animal's pain. Forcing the animal to stand on its soles can induce bruising
and abscessation which is unneccesary and inhumane. Instead use TLC Frog Supports,
they provide cushioning comfortable support in the part of the foot which is not
painful and in a position which supports the remaining laminae.
Don't make or allow the horse to walk. Exercise was thought to be beneficial by
increasing the blood flow to the foot. There is already a tremendous increase
in the blood flow to the foot but there is little or no perfusion of the dermal
laminae. No amount of exercise will improve this situation and may well mechanically
tear the remaining laminae thereby worsening the founder.
Don't allow anyone to give the animal any drugs containing corticosteroids or
use any tests which involve either the use of dexamethasone or ACTH.
Don't remove the shoes (other than to fit heart bar shoes) if the animal has a
flat or convex sole. It will be more uncomfortable having to stand on it's sole.
Better to fit TLC Frog Supports whether the animal is shod or unshod.
Don't starve the animal. Feed according to the animals bodily condition. Hay and
bran alone provide a poor diet for horses and ponies. If the animal needs to be
dieted do so gradually using a combination of alfalfa chop, straw chop, soaked
sugar beet, hay and
Beware of rapidly dieting very fat or pregnant ponies, they may develop hyperlipidaemia
which is often more serious than the original laminitis.
Don't remove large amounts of heel from acute founder cases, (including chronic
founder type 1 cases suffering a secondary acute founder attack). this increases
the tension in the deep digital flexor tendon and may result in more 'rotation'.
First test by placing a wedge (equivalent
in height to the amount of heel to be removed) beneath the toe of the foot and
raise the contra-lateral limb. If the animal is more uncomfortable of if a depression
appears at the dorsal coronary band, leave the heel alone.
Don't take non-weight bearing
radiographs, they are of little diagnostic value.
Don't ask farriers to fit
heart bar shoes without you having taken radiographs using markers. Good farriers
will legitimately refuse to do so.
Don't forget to mark on
the frog where you placed the drawing pin. If the farrier cannot appreciate where
the pin was placed he is unable to fit the shoe.
Don't cut holes in the soles
of laminitis or acute founder cases. This will result in granulating solar corium
protruding through the hole which will be difficult to control. If there is sub-solar
fluid present effect drainage by entering the foot through the dorsal wall at
the level of the wall-sole junction. The horny sole is your biggest ally in treating
laminitis and acute founder.
Don't ask the farrier to
fit pads. You cannot evaluate the sole, the soles become wet due to trapped solar
evaporation. Any solar pressure will further compromise the blood flow within
the foot and cause pain.
Don't fight to fit nailed-on
shoes to horses in pain. There are effective glue-on alternatives available.
Don't keep giving NSAID's
(e.g. bute) if there is no improvement in the lameness. An acute laminitis case
that is in significant pain after 7 days probably requires a change in treatment
Don't nerve block the affected
feet in order to reduce the animal's pain. The animal will further mechanically
damage compromised laminae by walking on painless feet. Nerve blocks may affect
the neuronal control of digital arteriovenous anastomoses and potentiate digital
Don't hope that antibiotics
will help either 'gravel' or post-founder abscesses. They won't. Only when drainage
has been provided will the lameness improve. Antibiotics are only indicated in
foot infections if there is a developing cellulitis (infection going up the leg)
or there is bone infection (such cases have a bad prognosis).
Don't think that because
the movement of the distal phalanx has resulted in solar prolapse that is the
end of the horse's working life. It is the means by which prolapse has occurred
i.e., the amount of distal displacement which is important.