Case study: Duncan
Height: 12.2 hands
Breed: Welsh section B, gelding
Age: 18 years old, with the same owner for 15 years.
History: No past health issues. He had been regularly ridden either hacking out or taking part in pony club activities. The five months leading up to his laminitis, he was unridden due to lack of a rider but instead, was lightly worked from the ground on longlines. Duncan has always had very good quality hooves and been barefoot for the majority of his life, receiving regular trims from the farrier.
Presenting health problem: Severe laminitis in all four feet, including rotation of the pedal bones and frequent foot abscesses.
Possible triggers: Two weeks leading up to the first signs of the disease, he unexpectedly had to move yards, which unsettled him. He also experienced a particularly unpleasant reaction to a flu vaccine on the 25th June. This left him with a stiff, painful neck, which he was unable to move lower than his knees and he was very off colour for approximately five days.
Duncan presented with the first signs of laminitis in early July 2019. They weren’t the classic signs we all look for such as becoming footy in front, extending front limbs forward to transfer more weight onto the heels but instead it was concentrated in the hind feet, which had an increased digital artery pulse. He constantly shifted from foot to foot and was in a lot of discomfort. He started to show signs of colic and refused to eat or drink.
The pain didn’t allow him to position himself in order to urinate and the only sample I did manage to collect was very dark brown in colour and of a syrupy consistency.
The pulses in all four limbs had now increased and he showed other signs of being in pain, such as sweating and rapid breathing.
The vet prescribed pain relief, a sedative paste, re-hydration with fluids, ice packs on his hooves and a very deep shavings bed to support the soles of his feet. X rays followed, showing a moderate rotation in all four pedal bones.
The crest of his neck rapidly became very hard and he developed fat pads around the girth area and the lumbar region. He was very tender in his pectoral muscles and stifles, from the constant shifting of weight
Duncan’s heels were growing rapidly, giving them an upright appearance, so the farrier trimmed them and fitted “Imprint” equine foot care system shoes. These are thermoplastic shoes which enable the shoe to be moulded onto the hoof without the trauma of the nailing on process. These initially provided immediate relief and Duncan walked comfortably back to his stable.
After two months of the Imprint shoes being in place, they started to impede the healing and Duncan suffered from foot abscesses either erupting through the sole, in the location of the pedal bone or from the coronary bands.
The internal damage that had taken place was starting to become apparent and the resulting debris had to come out in order for the healing to take place. The shoes were removed and “Easy Boot Cloud” therapy boots used instead.
Initially I could only carry out very short treatments with the Photizo, usually when Duncan was laying down, as he was very unsettled and constantly shifted his weight from each hoof. I would also treat his pectorals, lumbar and stifle area which were very sore through constantly moving back and forth.
As the pain medication started to make him more comfortable, I would give him two treatments a day with the Photizo. I treated each hoof for five minutes, twice a day. This involved concentrating on the bulbs of the heels, the front aspect of the coronary band and on the inner and outer quarters of the coronary band. After two weeks I decreased the treatments to once a day.
In November Duncan was allowed approximately 1-2 hours of turnout in a small paddock with the protective “Cloud” boots on, which he adapted to wearing very quickly.
We are currently in March and he has built up to 3 hours in the paddock. His soles have become hard enough to allow him to go out barefoot. As the Summer approaches and the ground becomes harder, this situation will have to be reassessed with the possibility of the supportive boots being used for daily turn out as additional protection.
He is sound at walk, trot and canter and is lightly worked every day in the sand school on long lines to keep him active and his weight under control. He receives a short treatment with the Photizo twice a week, concentrating on the hoof area as before, in order to prevent any setbacks.
The Photizo Vetcare has proved invaluable to Duncan’s recovery so far. Apart from being so easy to use, and portable, Duncan enjoyed our Vetcare sessions as he became increasingly more comfortable.
I noticed how the Vetcare stimulated the natural healing process as I had hoped. Vetcare combines LED sourced RED and NIR light that penetrates at a cellular level.
Creating a cascade of biological effects, reducing pain and inflammation, encouraging lymph flow, and not least ATP production.
With pre-programmed evidence based dose of 31 seconds, it is easy to record the doses and analyse progress.
Ruth Milner, MD of Photizo’s sole UK distributor commented: “We’re so thrilled that Duncan has made an almost full recovery. With so many positive results received using Photizo in a multi-disciplinary approach, it is known to help fight wound infections, and rapidly speed up the natural healing process”.