homeopathics to help acute lamintis
- Pippin's story by Kaya.
I went away for a few
days to visit a friend, so had to 'leave' my ponies in the paddock 24/7.
Normally they are on 'their' PP Track 18 hours per day and 6 hours in
the Candy Shop (green grass), to limit their green grass intake. I had
no one to look after them, so thought 'Oh, they will be OK for three
days on the grass'. How wrong I was on this, but had to find out later,
'the hard way'..
I came back home, checked
the horses and all seemed OK.
Next morning I went to see the horses and my Highland pony 'Pippin'
was absolutely lame! I never had a lame horse in my whole life! I was
shocked, freaked out and experienced every emotion under the
sun you can imagine...
I got Pippin out of the
paddock and slowly walked him into the stable
to check out his leg/hoof.
After removing 1cm3 of mud and water from his leg and hoof, I could
finally see that he had developed a white line separation on the
medial side of his right front hoof. Cleaned that up, rasped the wall
flat and below the sole level, so there wouldn't be any active weight
bearing on that part of the wall, so no further white line separation
I still don't know how the separation could develop, I keep my horses
hooves trimmed so tidy and nicely, every week I trim their hooves.
There was definitely NO flares at all on the medial wall of that hoof
which could have acted as a lever force...?!?!
Anyway, nothing was visible that could have caused the lameness, so
I felt the hoof and it was a bit warm, but wasn't sure, with all the
water and mud and horrific weather condition around.
My sense was that it was an abscess. Pippin wasn't pointing the toe,
but how he walked, and I have seen tons of horses here with abscesses
lately (my local vet said he treats 5 horses per day with abscesses
at the moment), so I start to have a 'feeling' what an abscess looks
like and how the horse moves with one.
So here is the treatment plan for abscessing and laminitic horses
with HOMEOPATHY, for anyone who wants to use it, if it will ever
happen to your or your clients horses.
I took Pippin off the
fresh grass immediately and started soaking his
hoof 2X per day with warm water and Epsom salts.
Also I gave him Homeopathics,
the remedy is called 'Hepa Sulfuris
30c'. This remedy is the best for pushing the abscess OUT / breaking
through, to open it up. It is VERY strong stuff, but the best you can
do, to get the process going from the inside.
You give Hepa Sulfuris
3X per day. The best is to get it in liquid
You get a syringe, fill it with clean water and drip 7 drops of the
remedy into the syringe. Never ever touch the pippete of the little
bottle or the homeopathic liquid or pills, you will contaminate the
homeopathy and it won't work anymore.
Also you never give homeopathy while feeding the horse garlic, it is
You open the horses mouth (well, try that with a Highland pony, all
they do is want to eat the thing...) and syringe the liquid
over the tongue. Hold the mouth close and let the remedy 'sink in'.
The membranes of the horses mouth will take up the homeopathics and
will go immediately into the blood stream and start working from there.
Most people who know a
bit about homeopathy will tell you to
administer the remedy 'Silicea 30c'. This remedy helps with any
situation were inflammation and puss is happening.
BUT most people don't know that you only give 'Silicea' AFTER
the abscess had opened! So, get this remedy too, but please only
give it to the horse AFTER the abscess has found a vent out and the
puss is running.
Also you give the homeopathic
remedy 'Arnica 200c', this is to help
the horse (or human!) with any physical injury. It is the BASIC
remedy for any hurt happening to any body, human or animal. You
should always carry it (in pillule form) with you in your handbag or
when riding out on a trail ride.
So I gave this Arnica to Pippin 2 X per day, 6 pills in a carrot.
'Arnica' is OK with 'Hepa Sulfuris', but don't give them together
at the same time, a few hours apart is best.
I also gave him 'Bachflower
Rescue Remedy', for his emotional
distress he was in. It really calmed him down.
Anyway, so I treated him this way, homeopathics (Hepa Sulfuris,
Arnica and Rescue Remedy) and epsom salt soaks.
I only hand fed him, soaked Lucerne hay and straw for 1 hour in water
(pour the water off afterwards, wow, you see how much sugar is in
there because the water is just brown and smells of molasses!) and
gave him a mix of Speedi-Beet, Pryde's 'EasiFibre (soyhulls) and Copra.
I know grass hay would be much better, but there is NO grass hay
available in our area.
What is really important
is that your abscessing horses need to eat
Did you know that it is very likely that horses who suffer from
abscesses are Copper deficient? And that paddocks which are highly fertilized
with chemical fertilizers keep the Copper from being taken up in your
For that you give the horse 2 heaped tablespoons 'Rosehip' granules
over the day and 1 small heaped tea spoon seaweed meal (never
give more than 3gr seaweed meal per day, otherwise the horse gets too
much iodine and that is toxic).
Rosehip and Seaweed Meal are full of Copper and help the horse heal
from the inside.
OK, I thought at this point I had it all under control. I released
Pippin out into the paddock with his grazing muzzle, to encourage
movement, to encourage blood flow into the hooves, to encourage
healing the damaged tissues.
Pippin still didn't point the toe and he actually put weight onto his
sick hoof, he was 'just' limping clearly. So his healthy other foot
didn't have to massively work to compensate for the other hoof. Good,
When I got him back into
the stable yesterday lunch time to soak his
hoof, I started to feel the hoof and it was really warm. 'Great' I
thought, the abscess is close to breaking out, yippiee!
Then I thought, well I should check the other hooves too....
And here is a lesson for you!!!!! Never check just one foot, the one
who is lame...
As I was feeling the other hooves I started to realize that the other
(healthy) front hoof was warm as well... (panic set in!)... and both
front hooves were warm at the coronet band... (more panic)... hind
feet were cold..
But then I started to feel the pulse on the inside of Pippins
fetlocks, and it was fast and throbbing... and worst: on ALL 4 feet,
even the 'cold' hind feet !
His look was glazy and he felt very stressed and in pain. Yes, I had
to admit it to myself: my little Pippin pony must have Laminitis !!!!!
I locked him into the stables (with company) and raced to the
telephone. From all I have read, urgent action has to be taken, to
prevent the laminitis turning into founder, which can happen within
So, called the vet, who advised not to panic (ha ha ha, how easy it
is to say that...) and he thought that the 'healthy hoof' was warm
from compensating for the abscessing hoof.
Not to worry, he would come next morning and check out my pony.
But the truth was that Pippin was actually still putting heaps of weight
on the sick foot, even cantering up the hills, so the compensating foot
couldn't be THAT sore from carrying all the weight. So, the vets theory
went out the window for me.
My gut feeling said that this was NOT OK, so called my Homeopath. She
told me to immediately, which means NOW, get 2 remedies which should
be administered ASAP to a laminitic horse:
- Belladonna 1 M (1M is
the highest potency, something you take
when you survive a plane crash...)
- Aconitum 30c (also called Aconite)
You give these two remedies
together (again, in a syringe, in liquid
from) over the horses tongue 6 X over 3 hours (so every 30 minutes).
This is a full on program, very challenging to say the least, but it
works, believe me!
Both remedies are a must for any kind of inflammation and feverish
conditions (in horses and humans). As homeopathy works, it always
first makes the symptoms worse, as the body starts to mobilize its
internal reserves, and then the body heals from the 'inside out'.
Homeopathy always brings the illness OUT in the open. Initially it
can be quiet shocking, but the healing happens fast after that and it
My vet said if my pony
would suffer from laminitis he would give him
'Bute' (Phenylbutazone). Well, that is a pain killer and necessary in
some cases, but it 'drives' the illness 'inside' the body. And then
it will come out later somewhere else.
That is why I prefer
homeopathy, because it supports the body's self
So, I gave Pippin these two remedies for his laminitis, and he
started shaking. His whole body was shaking, like a person who has
high fever. I rugged him and kept him out of the hailing rain. His
buddies always at his side. This poor little fella, he was riddled
with fever. It was hard for me stand by his side but I did.
After a few hours the
shaking stopped, his eyes got clear and he
looked a different horse.
I called Cynthia, and
she was so incredibly supportive. She said
everything I was doing was right, and that I shouldn't put the pony
out over night with a grazing muzzle on (he tends to strangle himself
with it) , but to lock him into his yard (which was (and still is) a
big pool of ankle deep water and brown mud, actually more of a
flowing river...). She said this is perfect.
Wow, at least something is 'perfect' in this awful situation!
So, Pippin and one of his companions were put into the mud bath yard
over night, and guess what: Pippins feet were cool this morning, the
cold water had drawn out all the heat (inflammation) from his hooves
and he now is hardly lame anymore !!!!!
Pippin will be off grass
for a while, and then only allowed grazing
for an hour or so. I don't want to risk anything like this ever again.
I hope he will keep going on his uphill curve and get better every
day. I know he will. He is a strong spirited horse.
I learned from Cynthia, that abscesses can actually be reabsorbed
into the hoof and never break out. All you will see after a few
months will be some rotten hoof horn, like Seedy Toe, where the
abscess has been. It will then grow out.
My vet also said this
morning (I called him and said that Pippin was
much better and that he didn't have to come and check him out, I
didn't mention the homeopathy, because my vet always thinks I am a
bit crazy and 'left wing' and 'Hippi' and God knows what...), that an
abscess can come out without actually being visible. He said that no
big hole has to appear and no puss actually has to come out. It can
be a very small, invisible passage, where some thin liquid drains
out, never to be seen by the human eye.
OK, so that is mine and Pippin's story. I hope you can benefit from
our story, if you ever happen to have a horse with abscess and/ or
By the way, my vet said that often abscesses and laminitis go
together, and that the laminitis goes unnoticed, because everybody is
focusing on the abscess... (ahhh, really, that must have been me!).
So please always check ALL your horses
4 hooves for warmth/heat and the (throbbing) pulse, whenever any lameness
is present. You never know, it might be that your horse is suffering
from laminitis !
the truth about laminitis? by Annemaree Woodward ©
When one of my donkeys, Sergeant Pepper, succumbed to laminitis in
the spring of 2006, I was shocked. Although I’ve kept donkeys
for 30 years, I’d always been told donkeys don’t get laminitis
- fallacy number one.
I’ve spent time with horses since my early childhood. The Welsh
pony that taught me to ride was a stock horse on one of the dairy
farms of my extended family in north eastern Victoria. Shorty always
went a little lame on his near-side-front after a couple of hour’s
work. My cousin told me Shorty had foundered a few years ago and pretended
to be lame so he wouldn’t have to work too hard – fallacy
When I worked weekends at a racing stable in my early teens I heard
of the dreaded founder. Horses were said to never recover –
fallacy number three.
The six months after Pepper was diagnosed were a long road back to
health for him and a steep learning curve of discovery for me.
Pepper was always a bit touchy about his feet. He often seemed a bit
lame after a trim and at other times. I couldn’t find anything
obviously wrong and put it down to his change from the rock-free,
deep, basaltic soil east of Devonport to his new home on a rocky dolerite
hill in Reedy Marsh.
The first sign that he had a serious problem was in August 2006 when
he played up while I trimmed his hooves. I persisted for a couple
of months until he just wouldn’t stand still for me. By this
time [October 2006] his feet were overgrown and he seemed to be lame
on both front feet.
I called on a natural hoof care practitioner who was recommended to
me. He came the next day and gave me the bad news. He gave Pepper
a “laminitis trim” and me some advice about feeding and
wished us both luck. He said with natural hoof care and correct feeding
he would recover but might need some anti-inflammatory drugs from
the vet for his pain.
A few days later Pepper was very bad. He lay down and wouldn’t
get up. Of course it was the weekend. I went to see the vet on Monday.
He provided some anti-inflammatory drugs, some aspirin to thin his
blood and sedative that assists with the vein/artery blood transfer
at the coronary band. He was emphatic that I must get the donkey on
his feet but was not optimistic about his recovery.
Pepper (left) and Bliss a year ago. Photo by Annemaree Woodward.
Both the equine practitioners I’ve just mentioned played an
important part in Pepper’s recovery and I have no criticism
of the approach of either, even though they differed. This article
is not meant to disparage anyone who offers advice or treatment for
laminitis. Rather it’s meant to point out how much conflicting
information there is and encourage all equine carers to do their own
research to become as informed as possible on this vital subject of
In the hard work and worry of the months of Pepper’s recuperation
I asked experienced people and read everything I could find about
laminitis. I was astonished at the great discrepancies in what I discovered.
Here is some of the advice I received first hand or in books:-
forced exercise to increase blood flow to the hooves. Put food
and water a long distance apart to enforce movement
blood flow to the hoof is so slow that exercise has little effect
on soft bedding with food and water within reach
exercise of any kind while the animal is in pain is completely
polystyrene pads to the feet.
fit polystyrene pads to the feet
shoes and adopt barefoot hoof care
shoeing may be necessary
causes chronic, severe lameness
is a death sentence
can be cured by diet and proper natural hoof care
testers can be used to determine the degree to which the hooves
testers are cruel and unnecessary for diagnosis of laminitis
can prevent laminitis in horses working on hard ground
doses of an anti-biotic [Virginiamycin] can prevent further outbreaks
treatment is useless or even harmful.
There were two points on which there was complete consensus. Firstly
that laminitis is extremely painful. I have no doubt about this:
Pepper lay down and cried for several days. The second point of
agreement is that laminitis has a dietary cause. While not everyone
has the same opinion about how rich grasses cause the disease,
all seem to agree that this the most common cause of laminitis.
Everyone providing advice says that the animal should have very
limited access to grass and no grain feed or tid-bits until full
recovery. Most recommend grass hay but few consider what nutrients
are contained in the hay. The sugar content of grass and the hay
made from grass has only recently come under consideration. It
seems that much research is still required before equine owners
can find out just how they can provide their animals with a diet
close to what nature intended for them.
I’m no expert on treating laminitis but this is the approach
I ultimately followed.
I didn’t have to adopt barefoot hoof care as my donkeys
have never been shod but I did learn better ways to trim their
feet following natural hoof care principles. Reducing their heel
length has significantly improved both their stance and movement.
I’m of the opinion that pain is the body’s way of
saying it needs a break so I provided Pepper with a deep bed of
triticale straw in his shed with a large bucket of water in easy
reach. I limited his access to grazing, providing only a small
area of grass that had already been heavily grazed.
I gave him anti-inflammatory drugs to ease his pain. I tended
him four times a day to give him his sedative injections. I also
gave him homeopathic remedies for inflammation, stress and abscess
prevention. I got him to his feet every time I tended him. As
he improved it got to the stage that as soon as he saw me he’d
get to his feet. These days if I see him lying down, he’s
up within seconds of seeing me! I put polystyrene pads on all
his feet. I’m absolutely sure they helped him.
I fed him a 1 in 4 mix of lucerne and oaten chaff with a tiny
bit of oats for the taste. He wouldn’t eat chaff at all
without oats then and would rather die than eat plain oaten chaff.
I gave him a daily dose of Virginiamycin which I’ve continued
as his hooves grow out. I gave him small quantities of grass hay
four times a day.
I also brushed him every day because he couldn’t roll. This
seemed to make him feel more contented. I let his mate out into
the paddock during the day but brought her back to keep him company
in Dec. 07 - a bit fat again. Photo by Annemaree Woodward.
Slowly Pepper recovered but succumbed to abscesses in both his
front feet in February. The natural hoof care practitioner cut
these out and applied Epsom salts compresses to draw out the infection.
This was successful but his recovery was set back by the abscesses.
Today more than fourteen months after I first noticed something
was wrong Pepper still has some problems with his feet. This is
not surprising given that it seems quite clear he had chronic
laminitis when he first arrived here.
I hope that reading this doesn’t confuse or discourage you.
I know that you can cure your donkey, pony, mule or horse of laminitis
but you will have to be dedicated to his or her recovery.
I think that the conflicting information about laminitis is indicative
that we are now seeing a threshold of change. This can be daunting
but can also be seen as an opportunity for learning and adapting.
I hope all equine owners will learn as much as they can about
how to prevent and treat laminitis. If we all learn how to look
after these animals properly laminitis doesn’t have to continue
to be the main killer of our equine companions.
An idea for
padding pony hooves
With founder in ponies being a real problem at this time of year,
especially now we’ve had so much rain and spring growth, there
will be many sore ponies out there needing some help to be comfortable
so they can keep moving.
I recently had to help pad a little Shetland pony who could hardly
put one foot in front of the other without a huge effort. We couldn’t
find any boots small enough for her either.
Her owner wasn’t experienced with taping on pads and had no
materials so I came up with a quick and easy solution that could be
A pair of rubber sandals can be cut down (mine were ladies size 9)
so the back strap fits around the back of the heels and the front
strap Velcro fastens around the top of the hoof.
The thick hard rubber of these $10 sandals lasted longer than the
straps, and to keep it all in place properly, I duct taped it to the
hoof (avoiding contact with the hair).
The pony was much more mobile with her new ‘pony pads’
and once her diet was changed to soaked hay and Speedibeet with minerals,
and grass intake restricted by putting a track around her small pasture,
she was on the road to recovery.
More Useful articles related
LIVING TIPS FOR EQUINES
Hoofcare - 'Dare
to go Bare'
Flush Toxic Grass
- Making it go Further and other feeding articles
- Why do I need to Know about it?
Abscess - when being kind is cruel
Hoof care naturally
Hoof Stand - Make Your Own
Hoof Bath - Easy to Make
Hooves Neglected - Carla's Story
Rehab Success Story
- My horse’s
Perfect Pastures by Dr. D. Moore DVM
Great info on all aspects of horse care and health problems
associated with grass.
New Articles on www.safergrass.org:
Attack: The First Line of Defense, by Dr. Don Walsh, DVM and K. Watts
Hay Better for Horses with Laminitis? by Kathryn Watts
Fodder Weeds (PDF) by Kathryn Watts
Laminitis - Excellent advice from Jenny Patterson of