by Ralph Casey
In writing this article we will look at the many problems that faces the horse owner when he or she finds out their horse has Laminitis or what we refer to as Founder.
One of the biggest problems the horse owner must face is finding a qualified person to help them and boy I could write ten articles about this. Most owners will spend $10,000.00 or more going from one individual to the next to no avail. A good place to start would be to seek out more information. There are a lot of options out there, but there are no “quick fixes” and believe me just slapping on a heart bar shoe is no answer. Many times the owner will get frustrated and just give up.
So the Big question is, “What do we look for?” What questions should we ask?
Finding a good source of information is a good place to start. The FNRC located in Georgia has become one of the leading research centers in farrier science simply because it is not owned by just one individual but by a group of caring horse owners and farriers who are not influenced by any one specialty interest group or product. The facility offers a continuing education program for farriers with a database of those who specialize in specific shoeing needs. Today, the FNRC is just the right place to start asking questions.
Of course the FNRC cannot care for all of the horses in the country, however we can make recommendations and referrals of the farriers and the veterinarians out there that continue their education in farrier science. The qualified ones have the facility to handle specialty cases. The horses that are brought here at the center from a far are kept here for a short period of time. We recommend to the owners, farriers that can continue the work when the horse leaves to go home.
To give you a better idea of what is involved in caring for and shoeing a horse with Laminitis, we will begin with a very important factor and that is Comfort.
Photos #1 & 2 Our Hydraulic Horseshoeing Table is a safe and human way to handle horses that are in pain and are having difficulty standing. In the shoeing process of Laminitis, it is a very time consuming and lengthy process. This is one reason why so many horses are shod improperly. It is not uncommon in Laminitis to reset the shoes two or three times in the first few weeks either for comfort or for re-alignment. The table relieves the stress from the horse and offers the farrier a safer environment to work in.
Photo #3 An x-ray or radiograph of the
bony column is crucial in determining the
necessary procedures and keep up with
Photo #4 The soaking tank is a must to use for foundered horses. It makes it easier for the farrier to monitor the temperature of the water.
Photo #5 A great improvement made at the FNRC is using the Bio-Compression Unit. I think this is one of the greatest things in treating injured legs and hooves on horses. It is the same principle that is used on humans in hospitals that are confined to a bed with little or no circulation in their legs. Not only does it massage the horses’ legs to improve circulation, it keeps the leg at a constant temperature for four hours at a time.
Photo #6 A staff of farriers is always on duty because the horse must be continually cared for. This takes the strain off the horse owner while enabling professionals to care for the horse during the most critical stages. The horse must be exercised properly and constantly monitored to ensure steady progress until the correct setting of the hooves is achieved. After all, when you are in the hospital, you have professional trained people caring for you at all times.
What many individuals don’t realize is that time is of essence. It is crucial to begin treatment immediately at the first signs of laminitis and make the horse comfortable. And, above all it takes the right facility and the right staff, so back to the big question, where should we start and what makes the FNRC so important to the public? Not only do we have the facility and staff but also we know the individuals in the U.S. and worldwide who also have facilities, equipment and knowledge to better serve you and your horse. Mind you, these locations are few and far between.
So hopefully this will help you understand the Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Laminitis.
The Good…. is there are facilities out there that are qualified to help you and your horse. The Bad…. is that it is a long drawn out, time consuming and costly process
The Ugly…. is the unfortunate fact that your horse is suffering and you will have to watch him go through pain before the comfort.
The Farriers’ National Research Center & School
14013 East Hwy 136
LaFayette, GA 30728
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