The vet visited at lunchtime and gave Haakon a thorough examination.  The diagnosis was that Haakon has laminitis. Immediate treatment is to get him onto a soft bed for his poor hooves, off all hard feed – soaked hay only – and regular anti-inflammtory painkillers.

What a relief!  Now I know the battle I can chose my weapons carefully and throw everything at it so I can help my poor boy (sorry, mixed metaphors but you get the drift).

We looked at the stable and decided we needed to board up the sides of the smaller stable so we can put thick bedding down.  Daisy and I immediately drove to town and filled the van up with wood-shavings,  8 x 4 sheets of 9mm MDF (OH told me this is what we needed) and hay.

We drove home and I parked outside the stable.  It was a family effort and, between us, we built a stable for Haakon.

Haakon was watching us with Taktur, for company.

Moral support.

With the sides in place to keep the bedding from falling out, the shavings could then be put down on top of rubber mats.

Haakon seemed very happy with his new bedroom.

Luckily he loves his soaked hay, so that is good.  His appetite has not diminished.

Taktur was happy being tonight’s company and was given a pile of silage to munch through.

Haakon will have a variety of stable friends – mostly consisting of Taktur, Klaengur and Iacs on a rota – to keep him company.

The vet took more blood and is testing for Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (Cushings) amongst other things.

And now we have a possible way forward.  Nursing I can do.  It is my thing.


27 thoughts on “Diagnosis!

  1. Nicki

    Aww poor Haakon, sorry to hear he’s got the “L” like mine she’s on soaked hay and medication and luckily quite well controlled, let’s hope it’s only mild with little rotation. Good luck. I bet his rotation of stable mates will love that.

  2. Lucy MacArthur

    Poor you and poor him Frances but as you say, you now have a diagnosis to work with. Sterling effort on getting a stable organised! All the best with his improvement, management and frame of mind !

  3. Sherry Walter

    So glad you caught it. When my Sally suffered a bout my vet cut pads out of 2″ insulating foam and we used gorilla tape to secure them to her hooves. It made her much more comfortable. Hope the Cushing’s test is negative.

  4. Margaret Robinson

    Having had a beloved horse with Cushings, get it completely and glad for at least a tentative diagnosis. He’s lucky to have a family that knows what to do and a “specialized” nurse at his beck and call! Best of luck, sent with love to all – MMR/HSR

  5. Carol Espinosa

    Dear Frances,

    I’m so glad you have an action plan for Haakon, although still no doubt a lot of work ahead. He looks so good in that last photo. He’s very lucky to have your very capable hands, head, and heart. I hope there is quick progress.

  6. Cathy

    Thank goodness you have a treatable answer. Laminitis is horrid, but hopefully you have caught it early and can get him comfortable. ( I did wonder when I realised how much he was lying down) The grass has never really stopped growing this winter, and I think a few people have been caught unawares, particularly with native types who pretty much live on air.

    I like the idea of the rota for his equine companions!

  7. Terri

    YESSS! Lots to do to make him comfortable, but Team Thordale kicked into action, and there’s hope! Sending good vibes and positive thoughts from the Far West.

  8. Judith Garbutt

    I wish it hadn’t turned out to be laminitis – it’s such a horrible condition but at least I know you’ll do everything you can for him and I’m sure he couldn’t be in better hands. I learned a lot about lami and Cushings from my last horse. If he needs to go onto Prascend medication, you may need to use your ingenuity to get him to eat it! And it might affect his mood for a short time. The most important bit of advice I was given by my vet at the time was to keep my horse on box rest for as long again as it took for him to come sound. In my horse’s case, (he had a very serious attack) it meant he was on box rest for almost six months. My vet explained that the lamini can become detached from the hoof wall and if horsey moves about too much before they re-adhere, that is when the risk of pedal bone rotation will be high. If you would find it helpful to talk about it more, Frances, please e mail me and I’ll be happy to ring you. Fingers crossed that this turns out to be a mild attack but I’m not underestimating the struggle you’ll have. PS I hope this isn’t too much info. xx

    1. Frances Post author

      Thank you. I will. Laminitis is horrid, agreed. I want to know what caused this. We will know more when bloods back. Xx

  9. Sue Horn

    My daughter’s pony was on loan and they stopped riding him, left him on rich grass and he got laminitis and cushings.
    I brought him straight home and he had a month stabled on a deep shavings bed.
    He returned to soundness and with careful management at his new loan home went on to compete at the BD Nationals.
    Eventually he came home but I couldn’t bear the thought of keeping him in a small area and using a muzzle, so I decided as he was by then in his twenties he could take his chances free roaming even if it shortened his life.
    He went out with the herd on a total of about 50 acres with ad lib haylage all winter.
    To my astonishment he thrived, we stopped the cushings tablets and he stayed sound.
    He lived probably another five years like that happy and healthy but he never got overweight.
    In the end his teeth were the reason he had to be Pts.
    I am really surprised your chap has laminitis as doesn’t he have a large area to graze?
    Since then we have had two small ponies in with the herd and they never seem to have problems either.
    I hope once he gets the all clear your stallion can be free range again, I swear it’s the best fix available.

  10. Kate Woolley

    Hi Francis,
    I am sure you have caught it in time. He doesn’t seem to have that awful laminitis stance. Leaning back on his back legs. Good luck and no more carrots for a while I fear….. He is so lucky to have so many hoofed and otherwise to care for him ! You are lucky to have such a good daughter to help you. God bless her. X

  11. Linda Loba

    Oh Frances, I got on to see how Haakon was doing, and it looks like progress to me. Good work to all of you, and so nice to see Haakon comfortable!!!!

  12. Carol Wood

    Laminitis is a most awful disease!! We have a pony who suffers and we have to b so careful!! We have his feet trimmed 4 weekly with heels taken well back. He is now allowed limited turnout and every 4th day has box rest. All hay is soaked but his is the year before lasts!!! Feed is hifi lite only!!! What they can and can’t have is a nightmare!!! I belong to a facebook group Laminitis Chit Chat and also Equine Metabolic Syndrome Friendly group. You will find lots of friendly tips,help and advice there which might help make him feel so much more comfortable. Good Luck!!!
    ps. Apollo sends his love and has his hooves crossed for a positive outcome!!!!

  13. Chris McG

    Frances, I’m so glad that you at last have a confirmed diagnosis. Don’t worry over much about the cushings, my nieces 20 ++ year old Arab has had this for many years and manages it with her diet – no medication to speak of as far as I am aware. At least Lami is treatable and he will get over it. Love the stable by the way.

    1. Frances Post author

      He has perked up. Finished his antibiotics, still the odd sneeze but he is back to nagging so things must be better. Xx

  14. diane in northern wis

    Wow Frances, your family is amazing in getting things ready for Haakon to live in for the time being. He is lucky to have such wonderful folks as you seeing to him. Hopefully his blood work will turn out ok and you can deal with what you know now. Talk about a fast-action response…your guys are awesome. Now to get this guy well! Glad to hear Monster is doing better!

  15. Emma Morton

    Anorher who is relieved to hear you have answers and a way forward. Also glad monster is on the mend.

    I will keep my fingers crossed for his speedy recovery

  16. simone

    At least now you know what you’re up against, and can take action! Fingers crossed you caught him early. Nose kiss and healing vibes for Haakon from down South!
    much love xxx

  17. Sam

    Glad you have an answer to which you can try various treatments. Not knowing is the worse feeling. Sorry Monster is still sneezing, could it be the hay that is bothering him?

  18. Mary Colleen McNamara

    My 29 year old mare started just like your boy. We did the soft footing and stall mats and shavings too. That made her more comfortable. The vet checked her … laminitis, Long hair (shaggy all the time) and the blood work came back with a pituitary problem. We did meds. She liked the half apple where we hid the pill. She rallied and was with us for another three years. Hale and hardy. Of course as my hubby said she was a yard ornament, no riding or heavy lifting. She earned her retirement. Hope everything works out for your guy. He looks more comfortable in his new digs.

    1. Frances Post author

      Thank you. We are aiming for retirement without pain. That’s all I want for him. No pain.


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