Laminitis suspected in lame mare

Hi! I have a 20 year old mare which I have had since she was 3. I have been noticing that when she walks she is bobbing her neck. And she seems to have a different stance like her front legs are a little further ahead of her shoulders. She is also gimpy ...Hi! I have a 20 year old mare which I have had since she was 3. I have been noticing that when she walks she is bobbing her neck. And she seems to have a different stance like her front legs are a little further ahead of her shoulders. She is also gimpy ...

Story originally posted by: Dr. Michael Lowder, DVM, MSUniv. of GA School of Veterinary Medicine

Hi! I have a 20 year old mare which I have had since she was 3.

She has always been very tender footed when not shod. We live in Ohio and the past weeks have been cold in the 20’s.

I have been noticing that when she walks she is bobbing her neck. And she seems to have a different stance like her front legs are a little further ahead of her shoulders. She is also gimpy when she has to make tight turns. She is normally a very sweet little mare, but she seems grumpy all the time. Also when she turns her neck from side to side it cracks as do her legs when walking. I don’t know how to tell the cause of her pain or what I can do to ease it. To make matters more confusing about 3 years ago she got into the grain. I caught her in the act and got the vet out immediately. We gave her mineral oil to move it along and he gave her the medication to help prevent lameness. This happened in blizzard conditions and her feet were so hot that snow hitting them sizzled and melted off while I was walking her. The vet said if she didnt show any sign of lameness within the next few days she would be ok. She ate approximately 25# of feed. I still have my doubts that she is completely sound. Each time I’ve had differant blacksmiths out and they all tell me they dont see any signs of hoof problems. My local vet doesnt give me a whole lot of info nor does he specialize in horses. How can I be sure?

Baitfisher

Baitfisher,

I can’t be sure either without examining your horse but what you are describing sounds like a classic case of laminitis. Horses frequently founder (laminitis) from over eating grain. The stance of your mare and the way you say she turns is descriptive of laminitic horses. Take your horse to a vet that can take radiographs of her feet so that the degree, if any, of laminitis can be determined. In addition, have your vet recommend a farrier that is knowledgeable about shoeing laminitic horses.

Good Luck,
Dr. Lowder