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Author Topic: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps  (Read 885 times)

Cowgirl Up

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Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« on: January 30, 2014, 06:17:28 pm »

Help, how could this be possible out on winter pasture temps single digits. Very little grain free feed hay.
My friend called with the bad news, her Rocky hadn't moved from the spot he was in that morning. Going out to pasture to see what was the matter , could bearly get him up to barn. After Vet. Arrived said he was founder on all four feet. And had rotation, I understood you could only tell about rotation after x-rays were taken. The Vet left her under the impression the horse may not make a recovery.  Is this possible to founder on hay in the winter?
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loneelk

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 06:27:56 pm »

I don't think it is possible to "know" that a horse has rotation w/o an x-ray?  Unless the vet has x-ray vision.  Based on past experience w/ sore hoof issues, I'd be asking for blood work, radiographs, and probably a different vet, to start with.  I know we have folks here who can provide much more thorough suggestions, but that's where I'd start as far as diagnostics.  As far as treatment, put horse in a softly bedded stall w/ water and light feed (low sugar hay only) in easy reach.  Any possibility that he got into "something".  Is he overweight?  etc., etc.  We've been working closely w/ our vet re: my husband's I/R horse.  She said that in spite of lots of research etc., "nobody actually knows exactly what causes I/R, founder, etc.".  We like her because she has really been willing to explore alternatives w/ us.  And she encouraged us to try those alternatives rather than just euthanizing him because his feet hurt. 
And for whatever it's worth--look at the "very little grain".  One person's "very little" may be just enough to tip an I/R horse over the edge into laminitis/founder. 
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Cowgirl Up

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 06:45:43 pm »

Thanks for the input I will pass it along to her. It's very sad it's her favorite horse, but he is over weight. That seem to be a big problem here for Rocky Mountains to keep their weight in cheek. Could it be a problem of the bred ?
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FancyPants

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 06:57:07 pm »

I have no advice or recommendations - but I do wish to extend my thoughts & prayers.  This is very hard! 
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Winona

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 07:06:24 pm »

Often there is more sugar in grass in the winter, so founder is still possible. Just being overweight put him at risk. I remember reading something about the cold too....

If he has Cushings, that needs to be treated and would cause it.

They will be in my thoughts. It is not easy to deal with, but hopefully he will recover.

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Mona

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 10:16:14 pm »

I would have his thyroid checked as well.  I once had a mare founder in mid-January and I had no idea why.  Nothing in her routine or feed had changed.  Someone suggested I have her thyroid levels checked, and she was low.  She had to go on Thyro-L after that. 

Whitey foundered last Spring too, in early April.  I don;t know what caused his, but I think was very possibly due to stocking up and they were not moving around enough, partially because I was keeping them stalled (standing stalls) in the extreme bad weather, and also because I was using a slow feed net in a hay box, so they were never leaving that spot.

Wishing the best for your friend's horse.
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NoRegrets

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 04:55:09 am »

Definitely radiographs/x-rays are in order.  I have a quarter horse that one summer appeared to have foundered on all fours.  The horse could barely walk.  It took a good half hour for the poor horse to walk about a hundred feet into the barn.  The vet's initial view was the horse had foundered and was not likely to make it.  We already knew the horse had other issues that kept us from riding him, so the vet was surprised that I was willing to go the extra dollar for him.  But I just had a gut feeling on this.  X-rays showed he had a deeply imbedded abscess.  A foreign object that the vet suspected had been in his leg for probably years, had shifted and began it's travel down and out the hoof.  Not founder, no rotation.  It took about a month to heal.  You just don't know without those x-rays. Sending healing wishes for your friend's horse.
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Debbie

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 05:19:49 am »

Ditto having your friend get x-rays.  It's probably impossible to find a new vet, which is what I would do, if at all possible.

Good luck to her, in finding the correct answer :)
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loneelk

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2014, 06:41:32 am »

And YES to having his thyroid checked.  My husband's horse has been laminitic for years--vet says that based on radiographs he has likely been dealing w/  low-level laminitis issues for a long time (he'd been here less than a year when she told us that, so it started long before we got him).  His thyroid level was very low end of normal range.  After having treated him w/ anti-inflammatories for about 3 weeks, w/ little change (we were ready to ask our vet to euthanize him), we put him on Thyro-L and the change was almost instantaneous--within 3 days of starting the Thyro-L he was beginning to actually walk around his little paddock, and now (about 6 months later) he's pasture sound and undergoing frequent and careful hoof trimming/rasping to get his hooves back to right again.  He's down to a teaspoon of thyroid powder a day combined w/ a 2 teaspoons of AZ Copper Complete, mixed w/ a tiny amount of applesauce & water and given by syringe--he LOVES this daily treat--will come right up the moment he sees his syringe.  We'll be getting follow up blood work done in about two months, and see if he really needs to continue on the thyroid powder or if we can wean him completely off of it.   
My understanding is that some if not all of the mountain horse breeds, as well as MFT's, and I'm sure some other breeds are genetically predisposed to do well on very lean conditions, so when they get fed a lot (yes, even of hay) and any grain-based feed at all, they can balloon into blimps and things can go bad in a hurry.   
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ahmenti

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 06:42:07 am »

Definitely get xrays to make a positive diagnosis.  The mountain horses are known for being easy keepers so their weight can be a big issue. 

Kim
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Iceangel

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 07:32:49 am »

Have her check her hay for Hoary Alyssum.  I have heard it can cause founder also but I would guess it is from being over weight and some underlying problem.
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countryclips

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 03:02:40 pm »

If the horse was overweight and cresty necked he was prone to founder and the winter is just the stress that pushed him over the edge.  I have had a pony founder when it gets really cold for the past few winters.  Make sure you feed only grass hay.  I found that MSM for inflammation and bute  helps some. A good farrier is a must..  Good Luck
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Barb CO

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2014, 08:04:12 pm »

Yes, a horse can develop laminitis in the winter. My short answer would be to tell her to join the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance group on Yahoo. They'll walk her through figuring out what is going on including make sure the diagnosis is correct. I know the Yahoo groups are pain to deal with and a lot of people don't like the group for various reasons. But the bottom line is that they save horses' lives. They're up to date on the latest information, much more so than the majority of equine vets by far.

I'm not sure why a vet would say they don't know what causes laminitis. I would say that it's a rare case that can't be narrowed down to the underlying cause. The majority of cases are due to insulin resistance. The insulin resistance may be secondary to Cushing's disease or may just be the metabolism of the horse (super easy keeper). Other causes are Lyme disease, retained placenta, black walnut shavings, etc. Low thyroid is not a primary disease in horses and typically occurs secondary to insulin resistance.

I have 6 equines, five of which are insulin resistant. Two of them came to me because they were insulin resistant and could easily fit in at my place. I learned about insulin resistance, cushing's disease and laminitis when I had a 3 y.o. develop what my vet called "idiopathic" laminitis. She was on a hay only diet with about a pound a day of a commercial ration balancer. She'll be 12 y.o. this year and doing just fine. She had one other very mild episode (walking on eggshells type movement) during a summer when I was very busy and didn't pay close enough attention to her weight. I had another steep learning curve with the donkey including a couple of winter laminitis episodes. I also had a mare who had Cushing's disease as well as being insulin resistant. She was successfully managed until I had her euthanized at age 28 for other reasons. The Yahoo group can save your friend a lot of time and energy and tears trying to sort through all the information and misinformation out there.

The majority of laminitis cases can be brought under control and managed fairly easily if they are caught early and handled correctly. Correct hoof care is a major factor. I'm not talking about barefoot vs shoes, just correct hoof form that conforms to the internal structures of the horse's hoof. I hope your friend is able to help her horse recover. She can get a good overview of the information available from the group at  www.ecirhorse.org
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Barb CO

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2014, 08:10:31 pm »

Countryclips - laminitis during cold episodes can actually be caused by the cold itself. It can be a neuropathy type thing. It can also be caused by damaged blood vessels from laminitis episodes that lead to poor circulation. It can often be managed and prevented. My donkey had issues with the cold after having several laminitis episodes (my steep learning curve which she paid for). At one time she had issues anytime the temps dropped down to freezing. She was helped with hoof boots and leg wraps (and a blanket which she loved!). Over the course of several years she continued to recover and hasn't needed any type of leg and hoof warming for several years now even when temps have dropped to -10 or colder. There are supplements that can improve circulation too but first the underlying issues originally causing the laminitis have to be controlled.
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countryclips

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Re: Rocky Mountain founder mid- winter cold temps
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2014, 09:13:53 pm »

Thanks Barb Co..  I have always thought it could be the cold, as nothing ever changed with this pony, and he was not overweight...   After his last trim he got a bit sore and I began to worry, but he has come out of it.  And last year he was founder free for the first time in a few years.  So I have high hopes that I have finally got it figured out...  He looks like a miniature Rocky, chocolate with a cream mane and tail and lovely dapples.
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