Pregnancy Related Laminitis
Testimonial to the “Hoof Whisperer”
I am the owner of a 17 hh, 17 year old Cleveland Bay mare, C.B. In late January 2007 during a period of recuperation after a tendon injury, I decided to put her in foal, thinking that this might be the last chance I may have to do so. Considering her age, C.B. was in foal very easily, unfortunately things did not continue this well. At the beginning of March 2007 her coat began to dull and become wiry and she began to develop a shuffling gait, then at the beginning of April and now two months pregnant, she foundered.
The prognosis did not look good! Given her size, the symptoms presented as extreme. X-rays revealed rotated, inflamed and severely dropped pedal bones (1 mm from penetration) in both front hooves. Given the severity of the founder, the vets were not confident that letting her continue in such a state was in her best interest.
I was not prepared to entertain the use of bar shoes given the long term damage that I had heard may occur to the hoof with their use, should C.B. survive.
Over the next week a heavy course of ‘bute’ together with antibiotics (in case of placental infection) and confinement to wet sand area (to provide pressure and support the dropped pedal bones) was undertaken while I pondered the fate of my precious girl. To add to her distress, the large doses of ‘bute’ caused ulceration of her stomach lining, this despite the use of ulcer guard in copious amounts.
I had been using Andrew Bowe, the Barefoot Blacksmith, for the trimming of my horses for some 18 months and it was to him that I turned at this most desperate of times. He suggested that he had encountered horses at a worse stage of deterioration that had survived but that we were in for a long hard road that may yet end in sorrow.
So began our journey back. Andrew trimmed C.B.’s hooves to remove all pressure from the walls and we put her into a pair of size 5 ‘Easy Boots’ with additional supportive padding during the day and the wet sand by night. I changed her diet to remove all sugar and protein (the survival of the foal was the least of my concern), which meant no rye or grains primarily. Bute was replaced with strong herbal painkillers and homeopathic tinctures.
Andrew was diligent in his efforts, weekly trims for C.B. and encouragement for me and slowly, ever so slowly we began to climb back from the brink. Two steps forward and one step back, ever watchful for that dreaded penetration of the pedal bones. Eight months passed with this constant vigil and finally C.B. had turned the corner.
Andrew said that one day she would just up and go and that is exactly what happened, not only a normal walk, but also a trot and a canter and even a capriole. A miracle to me and yet another miracle occurred in mid January 2008 when a healthy filly was born at midday on a hot Tuesday, a mirror image of her beloved mother.
My partner and I have now done the Barefoot Blacksmith’s maintenance trimming workshop and cannot express adequately our thankfulness to Andrew for his skill and timely, professional intervention in our time of need. We do not just consider him our blacksmith and mentor but now our friend.
Thank you Andrew.