About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Friday, October 9, 2009

We think colic is over, now Laminitis is here...

Ok, really...seriously scary, frustrating and basically, seemingly never ending this week. Vet came back out this morning to find that Lazarus is now dealing with Laminitis which he said was brought on by the fever and colic.
However, not that I'm a vet..not even close, but our Vet (who I do really like and know a lot of great horse owners that have used him t/o 30+ years) told us yesterday to allow Laz to eat as much grass at he wanted, as it's 'nature's remedy' for colic and helps with the moisture intake for his gut. I thought that sounded good, but now in researching and what I found online below...it seems maybe the lush hay grass and clover he was mowing on yesterday was maybe too much?
I will be back to the barn tomorrow and may just stay over into Sunday too. Work today into evening keeps me away today, but thankfully "C" is who owns the barn, lives on the same barn property and will be there for me today. What would I do without her support and knowledge? She is very familiar with treating laminitis and we have more questions for the Vet later when he returns this evening for more Penicillin shots (and Laz was put back on Banamine to help with the pain, and fever was 102).
Have any of you dealt with this? Does this sound normal, familiar, etc? I know there are many, many variations of laminitis and Laz is being effected in all four legs (of course poor boy) with his right hind being the worse. Vet recommended putting him back out on pasture to roam and graze and keep him moving, and being ground is soft and wet will give him more comfort, and tonight when in stall to quilt wrap and polo wrap his legs for support.
With every UP this week, it's followed by a big DOWN. How fragile are these magnificent creatures? How I wish, I could have Lazarus just lay in my lap and heal.


Laminitis has multiple causes, some of which commonly co-occur. These causes can be grouped into broad categories.


Carbohydrate overload

One of the more common causes. Current theory states that if a horse is given grain in excess or eats grass that is under stress and has accumulated excess non-structural carbohydrates (NSC, i.e. sugars, starch or fructan), it may be unable to digest all of the carbohydrate in the foregut. The excess then moves on to thehindgut and ferments in the cecum. The presence of this fermenting carbohydrate in the cecum causes proliferation of lactic acid bacteria and an increase in acidity. This process kills beneficial bacteria, which ferment fiber. The endotoxins and exotoxins may then be absorbed into the bloodstream, due to increased gut permeability, caused by irritation of the gut lining by increased acidity. The endotoxaemia results in impaired circulation, particularly in the feet. This results in laminitis.

Nitrogen compound overload

Herbivores are equipped to deal with a normal level of potentially-toxic non-protein nitrogen (NPN) compounds in their forage. If, for any reason, there is rapid upward fluctuation in levels of these compounds, for instance in lush spring growth on artificially fertilized lowland pasture, the natural metabolic processes can become overloaded, resulting in liver disturbance and toxic imbalance. For this reason, many avoid using artificial nitrogen fertilizer on horse pasture. If clover (or any legume) is allowed to dominate the pasture, this may also allow excess nitrogen to accumulate in forage, under stressful conditions such as frost or drought. Many weeds eaten by horses are nitrate accumulators. Direct ingestion of nitrate fertilizer material can also trigger laminitis, via a similar mechanism.


Laminitis can sometimes develop after a serious case of colic, due to the release of endotoxins into the blood stream. Refer to Carbohydrate Overload.


  1. So, here is more research I found, that the grass grazing in combo with alf hay that the vet called for, is for the ulcer care. I guess that makes sense...here is what I found:

    Horses at pasture graze almost continuously, and at the same time they produce saliva. "Acid in the stomach is produced on a continuous basis," he says. "It doesn't stop. So the constant eating is a help."

    Tom Trotter, MS, general manager of Progressive Nutrition in Iowa, says horses are not like humans in how their digestive systems work. "We salivate mainly when we eat, and certain enzymes are produced when food enters the stomach. Horses are producing digestive acids all the time. So if a horse has an empty stomach, he is at risk for ulcers," says Trotter. "The most effective way to prevent ulcers is to allow horses full-time access to hay or pasture. This also gives the animal something to do, which relieves stress and boredom. When we do consultations on farms, one of the first things we do is check to see if there is hay in the stall."
    A&M discovered that alfalfa hay was more efficient in buffering against stomach ulcers than grass hay, due to the higher level of calcium (and protein) in alfalfa. The extra protein and calcium can both act as potential buffers for stomach acid."

  2. Oh - darn! That poor horse - yes, colic can bring on laminitis, because of the toxins that can be released into the horse's system. It's actually pretty common. If you trust your vet, then follow their advice. Horses are amazingly fragile, indeed. Keeping my fingers crossed for you and him!

  3. True. Stress due to colic and other things can bring on laminitis. I'm no vet either but I very seriously doubt that the grass did it. I've heard of mares having laminitis following a difficult foaling, too. Poor guy. Hope all is well soon.

  4. I am not a vet either, but we have had a ton of luck with grass and alfalfa for ulcers. Basically, whatever these horses are stressing from on the track, the natural environment of almost 24/7 turnout and good quality alfalfa seems to "relax" the tension and bad acids. As far as laminitis - in the past we have had improvement with slow, consistent, daily walking(leading) on soft ground. (Start in small increments and work up to more). Just like a person with gout who has had too rich food, laminitis seems to improve with slow even exercise - this can increase blood flow and regenerate the good cells to that area.