Laminitis Case Study by Leigh Martin: A Seven Month Rehab

I first met Pearl around 12 months ago. A client of mine recommended Pearl's owners give me a call. Di and Ashley were thinking they may have to put her down: they had tried all the options given to them to try and make Pearl sound. The details here are a summary only, but Pearl's entire recovery was documented in the videos which give detail on how she was trimmed and why and the methods used to keep her happy along the way.

Pearl

Pearl had laminitis. A month after she was purchased she suddenly became very lame. Laminitis was diagnosed. Once she was over the acute stage of laminitis she had been ranging from lame to quite lame for around seven months. It had been a harrowing time for Pearl, Ashley and Di: lots of ups and downs and they had reached the end of the line emotionally and financially.

When I met Pearl she looked happy enough and I felt she had a good chance of recovery. I talked at length with Di and Ashley about Pearl and what we would try and I felt she could certainly improve. Just how much? Time would tell.

Pearl Sole

A number of different vets had advised that Pearl would not get any better than she was now and would probably get worse as she slowly had over the last few months. 

Truth be known, I actually went to visit Pearl to buy her. Di was not overly convinced on the phone of her chances of recovery and was emotionally drained dealing with Pearl’s ongoing issues. However, once I met 16 year old Ashley and saw her and the beautiful Pali mare together, I knew that this was Ashley’s  dream horse. Being the tough guy that I am, I took her home on free lease instead, promising I would bring her back in a few months when she was better.

X-rays showed around a ten degree rotation of her coffin bone and very thin soles. Pearl was quite lame at the trot, her shoes were removed and she was barefoot trimmed from then on. 

At first she was trimmed specifically for laminitis. As time wore on, the trim was adjusted to help her work and play with Ashley. Hoof casting with padding was used at first to give her some level of comfort and to keep her moving. Padded Old Mac G2s were then used after that for lunging and riding. They were the best fit of all the boots tried for her hoof shape. Having now grown in a much better connected hoof wall Pearl has now upgraded to some Easyboot Gloves. Lucky Pearl.

Pearl's diet was kept very simple at first. It largely consisted of grass hay (soaked for the first few weeks) and lucerne hay. She was placed in a paddock with no grass next to other horses so she had company. Massage was used to help her body recover, and she was put to gentle work lunging and playing in the arena as soon as she was able.

Pearl did indeed get better, she returned to competition, showing, dressage and show jumping. Di and Ashley now think barefoot trimming is actually pretty good!





Leigh Martin


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