New to mini horses, lots of questions!!

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LittleRibbie

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1st.....your husband did a wonderful job w/the new stall...its looks great!!

Perhaps your vet thought you did a good job wrapping feet and didn't want to redo it. But yes, if it were me I would have expected him to look a little more closly too. Sometimes with older vets I find I almost have to tell them nicely " hey, could you please take a Good look " at this or that. Don't be afraid to ask him questions....you are paying him for a farm call and exam!!

I would never give grass clippings of any kind. The experts will explain the reason...I just know its bad so I never give any.

sounds like your doing great. What other pets do you have?
 

Debby - LB

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good morning congratulations on your new boys! I'm so sorry this happened to you.

The grass clippings yes if dry they'll be fine. BUT If when you go out there it smells "sour" then I'd think the piles of clippings are a little dense so will still be hot inside, if so it would be best if you mowed it all again and I wouldn't let the horse(s) out on it until then.

After reading your initial post I was thinking if the horses were used to getting the same amount of corn once a week in my opinion this didn't cause the Laminitis. I do wonder why the Vet. was so fast in diagnosing founder since he may not have foundered yet. The degree of pain visually expressed by the horse to you is not a good indication of how severe the laminitis attack is or if the horse has foundered.

I wonder though since the horse was always on pasture 24/7 if maybe he was already foundered and will be prone to laminitis attacks...maybe the Vet noticed the tell tale signs of founder on his hooves and that is why she diagnosed it over the phone?

About the pasture since you said they were used to living on pasture all the time.. was the pasture a lot like yours? The photo (I'm not sure is this yours?) shows a lush pasture and yes could have been the culprit but not necessarily so if they were used to it.

I agree that with with pasture as nice as yours you'll do best with keeping them in a dry lot and then do a gradual turn out till you get them on a routine.

You'll want to turn them out either late at night until morning, or early in the morning until about 10am then bring them back in. Late morning and late afternoon hours, since plant sugars are the highest during these times is a no-no.

You might think about getting a sheep or two to graze with them, this will help you to not have to mow so much..

I agree with all the others in that the horses had so many new things introduced to them it's common for something like this to happen, you were not at fault at all. Every new horse we all get goes through the same things..we have to learn how to feed the new horse, learn how the horse reacts to feed..new hay, new water, new commercial feed, so sometimes there is upset. Please don't beat yourself up over it. I know that's hard not to do
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The inoculations you mention could very well have played a big part in this. In my own experience the Miniature Horse does NOT do well at all with combo shots, a lot of Vets will come out and give them the 5 and 6 way inoculations, then a rabies in the same side of the neck and they just cannot handle it.

Also the horse could have had a large worm burden..any of these set him up for colic and laminitis. The vaccine is given regardless of weight but the wormer is not, visually determining weight for dosing is very tricky and some of the wormers a Vet. would use could cause a huge kill and will cause colic which in turn would cause the laminitic attack.

I know this was already mentioned above but don't let your Vet use Moxidectin, one brand name is Quest.

I'm sure sorry that with your first experience with horses you've been bombarded with learning so much at one time. Y'all are fixing them such a nice place and taking such good care of them! hang in there you will love having them.

Welcome to the forums! You've just met some of the nicest and most experienced mini people in this post, they are all willing to share their experience so don't hesitate to keep asking questions. good luck!!!

edited to add: please take note of the replies about Bute. Bute would be a last resort for me to use and it must be used with something to prevent ulcers.
 
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disneyhorse

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X-rays are extremely helpful to both vet and farrier when diagnosing founder, to see the degree of rotation. I've dealt with a horse with severe laminitis (X-rays showed no rotation yet) that was given pentoxifylline (not sure on the spelling?) and we gave him a good amount of hay but soaked it for 20 minutes prior to feeding to leach most of the sugars out of it (drained off the water before feeding). There are lots of options... Read up, ask the vet questions... And good luck! Hang in there!
 

targetsmom

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I didn't read all the posts, but enough to know you got off to a rough start with your minis but you and your hubby are doing great!! Love the pen he built.

About the grass clippings: Grass is obviously fine when it is hand fed or eaten as pasture or when it is fully dried and becomes hay. It is the in-between times when it is dangerous as it can ferment and be deadly. There have been cases posted on here where minis (especially) have gotten very sick from a neighbor throwing grass clippings over the fence thinking they are doing the minis a favor.

Hay bags: I highly recommend the SLOW FEEDER type hay bags, with small (and safe) holes that allow only small bites at a time to simulate grazing. They (or one shared) can keep your boys busy and help prevent ulcers, which is yet another worry. The regular hay nets can be dangerous as it is easy for little feet to get caught in the holes as the hay is eaten.

Something to ask your vet about: a supplement called "Remission" to help prevent founder/laminitis. Unfortunately, once a horse founders (and maybe your guy had done it before you got him...) it is much easier for them to founder again. Remission is a fairly inexpensive supplement containing Magnesium and chromium. We have had our insulin resistant mare on it for years and so far, so good. (Insulin resistance increases the risk of founder). She is on a dry lot and gets NO grass, just hay, soaked beet pulp, and special grain. But she is also our best show horse and the one in my current avatar.

Good luck with your boys!
 
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Max's Mom

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I just read through this entire thread... and I am so glad that things seem to be taking a turn in a good direction. What a difficult beginning! It seems like you have done an amazing job in these first few days and are having to learn at a very accelerated rate!

Several people mentioned that founder is not necessarily the only outcome of a bout with laminitis. I am hoping that this was more of a laminitis flare up or that you dealt with it soon enough that there will be no lasting damage. My horse had laminitis 6 or 7 years ago, and after a few days he was fine- but it lead to a MAJOR change in the way we managed him. He had been obese. We now keep him fit and trim. He lives in a dry lot, and only gets small amounts of a pellet based feed in addition to hay. Before we could keep him on a dry lot, we muzzled him, but found that he really hated the muzzle and did everything in his power to remove it.

Best of luck to you! You are doing a fantastic job. Those horses are lucky to have you.
 

susanne

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned here: to give appropriate advice, people need to know where you live, or at least your state or region.

Location greatly influences how you care for your horses. For example: I live in the Pacific NW, west of the Cascades, which is a generally damp climate. Although we are experiencing an unusually warm and dry early summer, I still would never allow my horses to eat mown grass, a it ferments very quickly. One it ferments, it will never be safe even after it dries. Hay cutting is an art and dependent upon the weather. Things may be quite different where you live. Things are quite different in the drier parts of the state, hence my warning. So please let us know where you are located.

As far as trusting feed store owners, I would again be cautious. They may know big horses but have little knowledge of the specifics for minis. They'll likely tell you that they are all the same, and for the most part they would be correct, but the differences can be critical.

In our town, we have one feed store that specializes in horses, but the others are actually farm stores. They not only sell horse feed and hay, but all livestock feed, seed, herbicides, fertilizers, tractors, chain saws and everything else of use on a farm. They are generalists and I take anything they say about any horses with a huge grain of salt. I've heard more than one employee give absolutely horrible advice as to horse feed.

One rule I follow in life is to triangulate. I refuse to strictly follow the advice from any individual source, no matter how knowledgeable it appears to be. For example, if I read something, I will also get my vet's opinion AND that of an owner with years of experience. There are excellent books and websites pertaining to horses, but their information may be dated or not specific to our region. A vet may be wise but not have experience specific to minis (my vet is a great example -- he's wonderful equine specialist, but I wouldn't look to him for nutritional advice regarding minis). Individual owners may speak from experience or they may be repeating old wive's tales. Look for balance in the information you receive.
 

freedomnjustice

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Hi everyone! Yesterday was another busy day, outside of the horses, so I didn't have time to post. It poured the rain most of the day yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to get the grass clippings out of the pasture. Hopefully today will allow me to do that. We live in Ohio--north central part. The weather this year has been very crazy--our area flooded a little over a week ago.

We had a family reunion yesterday, and my cousin who lives in Michigan came down and she came over to see the horses. She's had horses and ponies her whole life. She was able to show me how to pick out Justice's hooves and I actually did it!
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He fought me a little on the back hooves, and I was afraid of him kicking me. She said that I don't have to push it at first since he's still learning me and this may be something new. She said to always end on a good note when working with him. So toward them end when we has fighting me, I had a time when I just picked up his foot and he stood still for me, so I just put it down and told him good boy and praised him. She was wonderful, too, and gave me her number so I could call her with any questions. I didn't mess with Freedom's hooves as he probably wouldn't be able to bear the weight without pain right now.

I didn't have the chance to find another farrier in the area and I plan to call the lady down the road today to see who she uses. Hopefully I can get someone out to look at his feet. My cousin said to be able to find a farrier who is reliable and on time is few and far between anymore...how sad! I'll keep trying...

I wish there was something different we could do with the pasture. My husband is not too keen at all about feeding hay year round, because of the expense. We've seen prices here for hay to be $14 a bale. Last year was high, but it was more of drought-type weather, so I'm not sure why they are so high this year. He's been talking to people at work who own horses, one owns about 6 minis, and he said that they all say they don't feed anything other than grass in the summer. This will probably be a battle at our household, so I'm trying to figure out a compromise. I know horses can be expensive, but I'd really like to keep the cost down as much as we can. My first priority is getting the grass clippings out.

If we wanted to convert the pasture to a dry lot, how do we do that? Or would it be best to partition what we have to maybe half grass and half dry lot? The only area for the horses we have is the almost acre pasture. I would think running a few wires across the middle wouldn't be too hard to do. We also have a boer goat, who is not here yet. I plan to put him in a dog kennel in the pasture, or my husband has talked about building another section to the side of the pens he built to keep the goat in. I know I have to do a gradual introduction with him and the horses, so if anyone has any advice on that, please let me know. I never planned on leaving them together without us being home. He is my daughter's 4H project, whom we fell in love with, and well you know how it goes. He is on pelleted food with a little hay each day, so I bet if we turned him out to grass, he'd have issues too?? We're currently keeping him at the FFA barn until we're ready to bring him home-probably in a week.

We also have three dogs (a shepherd/cattle dog mix, and two jack russells), two cats (we keep them in the big garage we have to keep the mice under control since they chewed through the wiring harness on my car), and one african-clawed frog. My husband and I will be married 18 years this year, and we have three children, a 14 year old daughter, 12 year old daughter, and 10 year old son. We both work full time and he works 60-70 hours a week, sometimes more. We are a very busy family!

I feel bad that the horses are being penned so much. Mainly because they were never restricted at all before, but it just seems that they would be bored to tears. We did take Justice out for a few minutes last night and walked him around the pasture a few times. I didn't realize it, but there was some taller grass that was setting off the fence at one section. When we got near it, he tried to get away from me, but I didn't know why because I couldn't hear it yet. So I stopped and calmed him down and we kept walking and then I heard it. He definitely wanted no part of that fence. Right now we're trying to teach them "walk," "whoa," and "back." Other than that, I'm not sure what to do with them other than just to get them used to us and comfortable with us.

We will begin working with Freedom again in a few days when he can be walked. The vet said to keep the pads on for at least five days until he's walking better. So after five days, should I take him out and walk him some with the pads still on? And if he seems ok, take them off? I know he has to stay off the grass as far as eating it, but I'd like to get him some exercise, too, when it's safe for me to. I tried the applesauce yesterday with the pill and he did ok for the most part. He didn't get it all in, but most of it. Using the syringe with him is hard--he fights me to open his mouth and he tries to move away. I had my daughter hold his harness yesterday while I tried to squirt it in. Today I will probably tie him and see if that's easier. He's standing almost all the time now, but yesterday I noticed that before I gave him his meds, he was starting to limp some again. So I'm assuming the meds had worn off and he was starting to hurt again. The vet didn't really make mention of coming out again. Should she? I just don't know how to tell if he's ready for the pads to come off or start walking again.

I did buy a lunge line and a whip but I have no idea how to use them, so I'll be doing a lot of reading on that. And since I don't have a round pen, I don't even know if I have the room to use it. My goal eventually is to teach them to drive a cart, but I'm sure that's many moons down the road. My cousin suggested I send them to someone to do that for me. But again, it's an expense that is not necessary, and will go over like a lead balloon with hubby. So we'll see.

I have some things I need to do this morning before church, so I need to go for now. I love this site and all of the advice you all have given! Thank you so much for offering support and being positive! I've been on sites before for other things, and the negativity is just horrible. Hope you all have a great day!

Edited: Yes, the pasture in the photo is ours. It's now mowed down pretty short, though. I'm not really sure about their pasture in comparison to ours. They had moved the horses to a separate lot once we bought them and it just looked like grass like ours. They live about a half hour away, so I'm assuming the grass would be simliar?? I really don't know. As far as the brand of the dewormer, I don't remember what it was but I bought it at TSC. The name you mentioned, Quest, doesn't sound famililar. And how would I go about switching from Bute to something else? Can I buy the other (branamine or something like that?) at TSC, too?
 
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chandab

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Another trick for pills, leave them as whole as possible (in this case a 1/4 or 1/2 tab of the bute) and put them in a grape. [Check first to see if he likes grapes. You might also try with a little piece of watermelon, many like the rind. A little piece big enough to hide his pill won't hurt him. You might try apples and carrots, but go easy on both, apples are fairly high in sugar and carrots are high in starch, neither of which he needs right now.]
 

horsenut50

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So sorry for your rough introduction to horses. How much are your horses being fed currently? If they are only getting a half a flake of hay a day, this is not enough food to sustain them.
 

chandab

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I probably missed it somewhere along the line, but how big are these guys? height? Weight? [the weight tapes for horses don't work all that well with minis, but there is a chart and a formula in the LB info pages, the formula is a bit better than the chart. http://www.lilbeginnings.com/info/misc/ ]
 

freedomnjustice

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I have no idea how much they weigh or how tall they are. I will visit that site and try to measure them and report back. Here are some pictures we've taken over the last couple of days:

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chandab

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and, just so you know, minis are measured to the last mane hair on their back, rather than the top of their withers like all other horse breeds (but for simplicity, if you measure to the top of the withers, that will work just fine).
 

freedomnjustice

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I will try to measure them tomorrow--we had a busy evening and I didn't get the chance.

I have a question about the founder/laminitis. I spoke with another horse owner this evening and she said that once the horse has foundered, he's foundered for life. She said he may have better days than others, but he will always be lame and we will always have to treat it (medically) and it's something we will battle his entire life. I don't mind managing his food and stuff like that, but is this something that will be costing money his entire life and multiple vet visits, etc.?? Everyone says we should take him back.

I'd like to hear about experiences with laminitis/founder and what to expect from here on out. I've read a lot of you say that he'll be more prone to it, but if we manage his diet, should it be a problem? Could something other than his diet set him off again? I really don't know what to do at this point. We are already attached to him and my daughter wants to keep him, but I don't want to deal with a sick horse all the time either. Thanks.
 
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REO

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Can you have the vet evaluate him and see how bad his case is? Some times a certain type of trimming can alleviate the severity of the pain somewhat.
 

chandab

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Part of the problem here might be terminology... Laminitis is the active inflammation of the hoof and founder is the actual sinking of the coffin bone; many use the terms interchangeably, even though they are not the exact same thing. Founder is a result of chronic laminitis, but not all laminitis leads to founder if its found quickly enough and treated.

I've said it before on this forum, so nothing new for many to read... Unfortunately, I have 3 or is it 4 minis with lamintis issues; only one is still has active laminitis, the others are in "remission" for lack of a better way to put it (their hooves look relatively normal, they don't have any pain, no heat, but I do have to actively manage their care; proper trims, proper diet, limited grass (they are all getting limited turn-out right now and doing fine). [i've had horses over 25 years, so not new to horses, but had few health problems before I got the minis and then I seemed to get a landslide in a few short years, but I'm not giving up. I have two with Cushing's (a metabolic disorder that requires meds and special diet), 3 (4) with laminitic issues (the active laminitic is one of the Cushing's horses, Cushing's can exacerbate laminitis), and I have 10 normal minis that are no problem; and I love them all and wouldn't trade them for anything.]

Have a good vet and a good farrier evaluate your mini and get their honest opinion about his prognosis. If its early caught laminitis, he should come around and lead a fairly normal life with just a few adjustments to his care routine to keep him healthy and sound. A website that might be helpful with management would be http://www.safergrass.org/ Lots of good information on the site about feeding and managing horses with special needs (and great for normal horses, too).
 

Matt73

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Hi...I'll just add my 2 cents on laminitis/founder, since I, too, unfortunately experienced this in the past year. First off, Laminitis is the swelling of the laminae of the feet (usually the front, but it can happen in all 4). Founder occurs when there is rotation of the coffin bone from the hoof wall; the bone is ripping away, essentially, from the hoof wall and starting to point down towards the sole, due to either chronic and or severe laminitis whereby the laminae has been "broken down"/destroyed by all the inflammation. So, no, a vet can't diagnose founder over the phone. X-rays will tell you for sure if there is any degree of rotation.

As for what someone else said regarding susceptibility...Yes, your stallion will now be very susceptible and should probably never have grass again. The only thing he should be eating now is first or second (preferably first) cut grass hay. Really dry, grass hay with almost no green to it.

I'll tell you a little about what happened with my mare this past year. I had Lexus since she was 9 months old. In the 7 years after I got her she had two lovely foals for me and was never sick a day in her life. I mean nothing: no colds, co diarrhea, no colic, no nothing! She was the healthiest girl I ever knew. I was getting a little low on hay last summer and so I decided to get some from a feed store nearby, to tide me over. At $16/bale I was just going to get a few bales until I got hay from our regular supplier at $6/bale; it was more expensive because they shipped it from Alberta. It was beautiful looking and smelling....Gorgeous. But I knew to feed it sparingly because it was so green; really rich looking. I fed all three of my little ones that hay for a good week or so. One day I went out to the paddock to bring them in and Lexus was extremely sore. My heart sank, as I knew right away what I was looking at. She could barely walk. I got her off that hay, bedded her stall up with extra straw, gave her banamine, and took her off her ration balancer. After 5 days she was practically 100%
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. Phew! She was back in the paddock (which was a dry lot, btw) the second week running around and bucking etc. I was so relieved. But there was always that voice in the back of my head saying, "be careful".

So here's where things got really awful...and I still kick myself for these two big mistakes. In 7+ years of owning these little ones, they've never gotten out of their stalls. The doors swung open and latched with one of those gate latches. I always made sure that I double checked to make sure they were actually latched before I walked out at night, after night feed/check. About a month, after her first bout, I went into the barn at night and found Lexus out of her stall, happily munching on that rich hay from Alberta! I knew that her latch sometimes sounded like it latched, but was only partly so and would pop open if you didn't push it. She could have been eating for 5 minutes or 6 hours (the time between dinner and night check). A day later, of course, she was sore again. And worse than the first bout. I did the same as the first time and although it took longer, she got better again
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. Phew! Again! So a month or more passes...Kevin and I were at a movie and I got home around 11pm. I walk to the barn and here someone trotting up the lane. It's Lexus!!! She trots by me, goes into the barn, and into her stall. It was actually funny. She was, like, he's home...better get in! But...she had been eating grass! Again...could have been 5 mins. or 6 hours! Two times in two months I failed to properly latch the door to the horse's stall that absolutely CAN'T get out! I was kicking myself. Again, I had never done something so stupid before and I happen to do it to this horse?! So, of course, the next day she has her third and final bout of laminitis, from which she never recovered. From there she foundered severely. She was in agony. I tried everything. And waited. It never got better. When we got home from vacation, we had the vet out to put her down. She had foundered in all 4. I was devastated.

I'm not telling you this to scare you. I just want you to know what you're up against. Once a mini has had laminitis they are so prone to it again, and you have to be very very careful with them.

Good luck to you...
 

freedomnjustice

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Wow, Matt, sorry to hear about your Lexus!! It's hearbtreaking to lose an animal, I know. I feel a lot better today about everything. The vet called to check on Freedom and I gave her the report. He's still standing all the time that I see. Tonight will be his last dose of bute then I'm supposed to skip tomorrow and see how he does. His pads come off on Wednesday and we'll go from there. NO grass and no walking right now, just limited mobility to let his feet calm down. She gave me the name of another farrier she works with who is great with founder cases. She felt he was just in the early stages of laminitis and not completely foundered. She feels pretty confident he will recover well from this and we will all work together. I will definitely try to be careful with him at all times. Thanks everyone for the great advice. I'll be checking in to update his progress.
 

Debby - LB

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Matt73 I'm sitting here with tears running down.. how you tell this story it's obvious that she was very special to you, I am so sorry about your sweet mare.

freedomnjustice Yes this will be a long term management process that will require you to micro manage this horse always, plus you will need a regular farrier who knows what he/she is doing, one who is well versed in laminitis and founder and mini horses.... and yes off and on Vet care is a monetary concern..

Since you asked..before you get any more involved, if you can take him back now is the time to do so.

I hope you don't mind me asking this... did the vet ever examine his foot? when you wrapped it was the hoof very warm and was the digital pulse pounding? without looking back on this post I seem to remember you saying he was limping? To me and this is just my own opinion and no offense meant at all but it's odd to hear laminitis explained as limping on one leg. It's also odd that the horse would have such a attack at all from your description, I mean I could understand it if he'd come from a dry lot or sparse pasture and was put on your lush pasture but this horse was out on local pasture lush just like yours 24/7. I mention this only because I've wondered if it was something else that caused this or maybe there was something you were not told before you got him, I'm kind of thinking in circles trying to help find what caused this so you can avoid it in the future, also wondered if that's even what is wrong with him (I hope it's not). i really hate to see you going through this.

It's just such a shame what you are having to deal with! and your poor daughter I feel so bad for her. This is a hard decision you have to make.
 
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