EquiStaff: Welcome, everyone, to our EquiSearch Live chat with Dr. Joyce Harman, DVM, sponsored by HorseTech.com. Dr. Harman specializes in alternative medicine at her clinic in Washington, Va. Her services include acupuncture, chiropractics, homeopathy, herbal therapy and physical therapy, in addition to conventional diagnostic methods. The combination of these methods to reach the goal of a sound and healthy horse is called "complementary" or "integrative" medicine. Dr. Harman will be discussing founder tonight. Please feel free to ask questions.
Dr.Harman: Hi and welcome. We're going to be talking about laminitis tonight. Laminitis can be one of the more frustrating diseases to treat in horses. When you look in holistic medicine, there are a lot of things you can do to reverse the pathology--the problem. That involves using homeopathy, herbs, nutritional supplements, and supporting the foot itself--making sure foot has shoes or some sort of support on the bottom.
To learn more about laminitis in horses, download a FREE guide—Learn About Chronic Laminitis in Horses: The risk, prevention, symptoms and treatment of this hoof disease.
Gail: Hi Dr. Harman! Does acupuncture help with chronic founder? I have a 13 year old Arabian mare that grass foundered 2 mos. ago. She's hanging in there...but it's been a rough go. She's had good vet care, is in pads and we're trying to keep her feet dry (which is a trick in Florida right now)
Dr.Harman: Gail, acupuncture can be extremely helpful for founder. What kind of support do you have on the bottom of your horse's foot?
Gail: We started off with lily pads....then the vet made pads from some sort of dental material, building up the heels and leaving the toe open. We vet wrap them on leaving "air" room at the toe.
Dr.Harman: Gail, it sounds like you're on the right track for support for the bottom of the foot. Move on to the supplements. Provide coenzyme Q10 which is available from health food stores--it is expensive, but buy high quality, not the cheapest you can find. It is invaluable for healing the laminitis. One of the most controversial, but beneficial things is to NOT use bute. Most of these horses will get worse and then better. They will get a lot better.
Gail: What is the reason for not using bute?
Dr.Harman: Gail, bute is actually very toxic. In almost all cases, it causes inflammation in the gut wall in 5-10 days of daily use. You may not see symptoms--some horses tolerate it, but inflammation can still be there. The use of bute in many cases seems to be what keeps the cycle going.
Dr.Harman: Bute actually inflames the wall and allows toxins to keep crossing over--which reinfects. There are some homeopathic remedies that can help. American Holisitic Veterminary Medicine Association has links and information about the different modalities. You'll be connected to educated people. Homeopathic can help with the pain. You should also have some of the minerals available--mentioned before. Free choice minerals and salt separately. Also look at the post on nutrition.
Gail: Thanks Dr. Harman. I think we're on track with the nutrition/mineral aspects. I'll add the CoQ10 (how much are we talking about?) and I'll check out the sites. I'll also try to get brave enough to take her off the bute....
EquiStaff: We received this question via email earlier today: What diet do you recommend for a Cushingoid foundered horse?
Dr.Harman: For the Cushingoid question: To begin with, the most important thing to think about with the Cushingoid horse--what is really insulin resistance, similar to human diabetes--the first thing to do is remove all sugar from the diet. Get rid of sweet feed and molasses. Carrots and apples are OK, but moderation. Apples are actually better than carrots because they don't have as much glucose. Then, restrict grazing or other sources of rich food--things like alfalfa hay. For some horses you can't even feed them good quality grass hay, they can only tolerate lesser quality hay--hay that's cut late, but is clean. It has a poor color, but good smell. You can find that hay cheap from farmers--and it's great for the obese horses. Only use grains that are simple and don't have much molasses. All they need is a handful or two--to carry their supplements in. Then, after we have the feed taken care of, we need to provide minerals. These horses crave minerals. I use a free choice mineral that has no salt in it.
crescendo: Dr. Harman, do you recommend mineral blocks or loose supplement?
Dr.Harman: Crescendo, for a product to have no salt in it, it has to be loose. Products are bound together by salt.
Dr.Harman: For the free choice mineral, look for minerals from companies such as Rush Creek. There are a few other companies that have no salt versions. Provide salt seperately.