At the end of April 2010 Jo-Jo appeared lame and stiff; having called the vet she was diagnosed to have pulled her chest muscles, and advised to be rested. However, over the next few months, she continued to be lame periodically. When the farrier visited in August he noticed signs of laminitis. The vet prescribed bute for 4 weeks, but when Jo-Jo still wasn’t sound, a second opinion was sought. Laminitis was confirmed with x-rays, which showed the pedal bone had dropped. Box-rest was recommended, alongside a low calorie diet, and Jo-Jo had to have her hooves cut right back and heart-bar shoes fitted. At this point Jo-Jo weighed 458kg.
Jackie rang Blue Chip to seek feeding advice, as she knew it was important to ensure that Jo-Jo was receiving a balanced diet without encouraging weight gain. Blue Chip Lami-Light was recommended, alongside a high fibre but low calorie diet, consisting of soaked hay and low calorie chaff. The hay was soaked for 16 hours to ensure that as much of the sugar and nutritional content was removed as possible, enabling it to be fed at adequate amounts to keep Jo-Jo amused, and her gut healthy and functioning, without causing weight gain.
Once the vet was happy with her progress, Jo-Jo commenced a restricted grazing programme, supplemented with soaked hay (for 16 hours). Jackie continued to soak Jo-Jo’s hay for 18 months (no mean feat throughout two winters!), until March 2012, when Jo-Jo had reached her ideal weight and Jackie was happy she could maintain this with exercise and restricted grazing. The rest, as they say, is history. Jo-Jo was now at her ideal condition, and was fit. Jackie then swapped Lami-Light to Pro to help support her nutritional requirements whilst she was working harder.
They were able to reduce the time that the hay is being soaked for as our vet recommended, and have now started to steam her hay (for her hay allergy). Jo-Jo now weighs 432kg, and every time her farrier visits he comments on how hard and strong her feet are! As well as now being her ideal weight and looking fantastic, Jo-Jo’s last three sets of shoes have been normal.
Whilst Jo-Jo’s recovery took over 18 months, this is proof that with an effective time, management and feeding plan, full recovery from laminitis is achievable, alongside the aid of her patient remedial farrier – Matt Green.
The photo of Jo-Jo’s hoof is from when they were first cut back. You can see that the white line is visible – this is a symptom of laminitis as it indicates structural changes within the hoof as the pedal bone rotates. The second photo of her is when she went to Exmoor hunting.
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