During the summer months, we enjoy the luxuries of long days, grassy pastures, and plenty of riding weather. One thing we don’t enjoy are the flare ups that are all too common in laminitis prone horses. Laminitis is the inflammation and subsequent loss of circulation to the horse’s digital laminae. In other words- systemic strangulation of the hoof.
While the spring grass rush may be over, now is the time of stressed pasture. Whether pasture is fighting drought, excessive rain, or dealing with the peak heat of the day, stressed pasture means lots of sugar. Moreover, allergies are prominent right now, and steroidal allergy medications are common prescription. For horses prone to laminitis, this can be a red flag season, so here are a few ways to help horses fight the flare ups!
First and foremost, Banamine is our friend. This NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) can be given orally or IV and helps to bring down inflammation. Banamine will be the first recommendation for laminitic horses by most vets, and rightfully so. Our goal in dealing with laminitis is to get blood flow to the laminae and prevent its suffocation. By bringing down the inflammation, the blood can reach the laminae.
The BEMER is a fantastic way to keep blood flowing to the laminae. The BEMER signal is transported to the horse through electromagnetic waves to enhance micro-circulation. In reference to the laminitic horse, using this device will dilate blood vessels, bring down inflammation, and enhance circulation to the laminae. With the BEMER signal, blood vessel dilation and enhanced micro-circulation lasts for 12 hours after treatment, keeping inflammation down and allowing time for cells to heal or be flushed, and laminae to restore its normal function.
HEIRO is an oral supplement for horses that helps combat elevated insulin. Where laminitic flare ups are often caused by a glucose spike and following insulin spike (IE Grass Founder), HEIRO can be a valuable maintenance supplement. This supplement is all natural, comprised of
fenugreek, ocean kelp, blue-green spirulina algae, cinnamon, ginger, willow, peppermint, milk thistle, alfalfa, Vitamin E concentrate, and Magnesium Oxide Mineral.
At Dreamer’s Knoll Farm, we find this product to be a helpful stabilizer for our more sensitive horses. We keep it on hand in case of drastic weather change or stressed pasture conditions.
A simple yet effective way to bring down laminitis associated inflammation- COLD. Ice water in a bucket is a traditional method of cooling the feet. Now though, we understand that cooling down the lower legs will bring down laminitic associated inflammation as well. By applying ice boots, rubbing alcohol, poultice, and other cooling methods to the legs, we can effectively aid cooling for an extended period of time.
Finally, liniment offers enhanced circulation through counter irritation. As much of us know, when applied, products like Absorbine & Vetroline liniment have a cooling, almost stinging effect to the skin. While we like to think the horses don’t feel the same thing, they probably do. The benefit of this though, is a stimulation for blood flow to the area.
One of my go to applications for laminitic flare ups is the ‘cold sweat wrap’.
- Apply some fairly sharp liniment to the lower legs and feet. I prefer Absorbine Veterinary Liniment due to its heavy cooling effect.
- Wrap each leg loosely with cling wrap and mold it down with your hands. This keeps the liniment from soaking into the standing bandage.
- Wrap each leg with a standing bandage over the cling wrap.
- Rinse and reset legs every 6-12 hours.