Laminitis Case Study
in cooperation with Andrea White, Canada
Libby is an 18-year-old registered Canadian Horse in Ontario, Canada. She was entrusted to the care of the Canadian Horse Rescue and Re-Homing society to find her a new home.
Andrea White is a dedicated horse lover who has loved this Canadian breed since they got their first mare – a Canadian/Arab cross. Karli, Andrea’s daughter, who runs their barn, also had another Canadian on the farm, so when the word was put out for Foster homes for Libby, Andrea and Karli gladly signed up to take her on.
Libby was placed in casts in August and Andrea was told to keep her in a stable with deep bedding and as little movement as possible. Her legs and hooves were iced with ice boots twice a day and with ice gels in between – 4 times a day she had something cold on her feet, to help to try to alleviate the pain. However, it was clear that the casting was not comfortable.
Libby stayed in her stall 24 hours a day for the first 4 weeks, until she started showing that she could move better. “As soon as we could we allowed Libby to wander the barn while her stall was cleaned and then back in her stall again until the next day. Another 4 weeks went by and then she was casted again, which then meant another 4 weeks of being very uncomfortable. She was lying down for hours, just to take the weight off those feet. But again, she slowly started to move a little better so we could start to let her out and about.
“My heart was breaking, but I wasn’t prepared to give up. Throughout this time, I joined several groups on Facebook about Laminitis. I learned a lot about the disease and how to help manage it and help horses recover from it. What I found was that what works for one horse does not work for them all…Libby was no different and we had to take our cues from her.
“I knew that traditional shoes were not going to work for her. There was too much separation and the way Libby handled a trim indicated that she would not do well being shod. My daughter and I looked at many other possible approaches and FormaHoof really stood out to us. It would give her the support she needed and the comfort she wasn’t getting from casting. Don’t get me wrong, casting did what it was supposed to do. It wasn’t pleasant in my eyes, but it worked, bringing her coffin bone angles around to a much more normal angle. There is still some way to go, but casting got her well on her way, giving hoof wall support while the new, healthy hoof grew in. Had I known about FormaHoof earlier however, I would have gone that route first.
“After two rounds of casting, looking at FormaHoof as well as another option and after consulting with my vet and Randi – my wonderful farrier from Fisher Farrier Services – I purchased the starter kit and we planned to take the casts off and to do the FormaHoof application. But X-rays first.
What I saw on the X-rays was a significant improvement, even though I’m not versed in reading them. Even as I took pictures and texted them to Rob, he confirmed they looked good. Tears were flowing. After 5 months I saw the results of putting her through what we did. Her back feet were good enough that we didn’t require any further “casting”.
We put Libby in FormaHoof after the casts came off. She had a little trim and more X-rays and I have to say, I felt joy seeing her walk around the next day. It still wasn’t a perfect walk, as she was once again adjusting to new angles and learning to adapt, but after many years of neglect I felt like we had made significant progress. What I can say is that her pain medication requirement dropped significantly. We let her out almost immediately to walk around the barn and it wasn’t long before we took her outside and let her enjoy the outdoors, even just for a short while. She rolled, probably for the first time in as many months… and even gave a little buck! And she just seemed so happy and thoroughly enjoyed walking around and stretching her legs.
For her second FormaHoof application, we followed in the footsteps of many others and added glitter to her moulds. Let me say, it was FABULOUS. We had such fun doing it. It went much smoother than the first time as we had a better handle on the process and her feet were smaller as the excess had been trimmed further, so they fitted better in the moulds. We measured her feet for the moulds when they were casted, so it was a best guess as to the size.
After 2 applications, it was decided that she could go barefoot to finish growing out her hooves. The stretched laminae are gradually reducing and Libby is now on a 4 week schedule to keep her comfortable. She is out for the day now and only comes in at night with the rest of our herd. I am looking forward to the day that we can find out what she knows and hopefully she can be an ambassador for the Canadian Horse Breed and FormaHoof.
If I ever have to travel the Laminitis road again, I will not hesitate to put the horse in FormaHoof. It will be my Go-To from here on out!”