Peter's Laminitis Journey - A Guest Blog by Judith Evans

Peter is my home-bred 11 year old Arab gelding. During the winter of 2019/2020 Peter picked up a thorn which caused an abscess in one of his front feet. The abscess burst through his coronet band which sorted the lameness but I was worried about how it would grow out due to him having very flat feet and soft soles. Over winter Peter, along with the other horses, had daily access to the field and overnight access to a big well bedded barn, with ad-lib hay.


Spring came and they were turned out on minimal grazing, but Peter gained weight very quickly. At the beginning of April, he suddenly went from looking a bit plump to properly metabolic, with fat pads and a hard crest. To my dismay he simultaneously became stiff and sore on his front feet, more so on the damaged foot, where the burst was growing down his hoof. My first thought of course was the dreaded laminitis.


Judith Evans' Peter in his paddock


As he’s used to a herd environment, I was worried about bringing him in on his own. For a few days I tried to restrict his food intake but he didn’t improve. So I knew it was make or break - if he stayed out, the laminitis would get worse and worse - he had to come back in! Luckily one of the mares, who was due to foal soon, was stabled overnight with her ‘pal’, so Peter (although he wasn’t happy at first) was stabled with them so his grass intake was reduced to zero, and we started soaking his hay to reduce the sugar content. At first he shouted a bit when the mares went out in the morning but he soon got used to his new routine.


Judith Evans' Peter in stable 1


At this point he was on four sachets of bute a day but he was still in pain. I was very worried about the effect of the bute on his gut if he was on it for any length of time, and the fact that it wasn’t actually giving him much respite, so I put in a quick call to Rhoni at Horseward. We discussed Peter's condition and prioritised both anti-inflammatory/ pain relief that wouldn’t damage his gut and cause more inflammation, along with a concentrated nutritional boost. So often horses with laminitis are crash dieted and can get very “hangry” (hungry/ angry) and stressed due to inadequate dietary fibre and protein. We decided to try him on a new Horseward product, Lamin8, along with one of our tried and tested favourites from the company, Golden Power Plus. She also sent us some organic white willow bark and ginger for its additional anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving benefits. She thought all three products would work together to reduce his systemic inflammation and support his peripheral circulation as well as give him relief from pain and nutritional cravings. To keep his gut functioning correctly, he was given low NSC forage feeds (soaked hay cobs and healthy herbal chaff from Thunderbrooks) split into four small feeds per day, with his Lamin8, Golden Power Plus, willow and ginger, soaked hay in small holed nets with a top up of clean barley straw from our own farm to make sure he always had some fibre to keep his gut happy. We stopped the bute pretty much straight away.


Judith Evans' Peter in stable 2


Within days his rock-hard crest had softened and the fat pads started to recede and by the end of May he was comfortable enough to be put out in the sand paddock every day.


Judith Evans' Peter in the sand school



He continued to lose weight steadily and remained relaxed and settled in his new regime. It’s been a slow process but today, nearly four months later, his split abscess mark has just about grown out. He still has two feeds per day of soaked Thunderbrook Haycobs and Herbal Chaff plus his Lamin8 and Golden Power Plus, and soaked hay.


Judith Evans' Peter in stable 3


He is pain free, a slimmer but still shapely, well covered horse – he has a beautiful neck, shoulder, wither and topline – gone are his fat deposits. I was able to stop his willow and ginger a while ago. He’s happy to be stabled through the day and out overnight on a bare paddock with a friend. He is 100% sound, his coat is beautiful and he’s a VERY HAPPY BOY!!!!


Judith Evans' Peter in stable 4

I'm over the moon with him because back in April I truly thought I was going to have to have him put to sleep.