It's Christmas Eve and you can count your blessings. Count your blessings especially if you are a horse that doesn't have laminitis.
In spite of advancements in treatments, prevention, medication, and understanding the disease mechanism, laminitis continued to ruin the lives of countless horses this year. While we're making great strides with metabolic or endocrinopathic forms of the disease, the septic form of laminitis and its cousin, the dreaded support limb form, continue to challenge horses and humans alike.
Just ask one of the top racehorses in the world. St Nicholas Abbey has been the subject of several articles on the Hoof Blog since he broke his pastern back in the summer while training in Ireland. He's survived colic surgery and a broken pin in the fractured pastern, and now is trying to come through what we call "support limb laminitis". It's a common and all-too-frequent complication seen in horses recovering from surgery that disrupts the normal function and/or weightbearing process in the "good" leg.
Now it's Christmas Eve, and it seems poignant that we have a message from Coolmore Stud, the horse's owner, to let us know--and see--how the colt is doing. Vet surgeon Tom O'Brien generously details the colt's demeanor, routine and even his stall habits, and mentions again that the necrotic tissue in the diseased foot benefited from treatment with medical maggot debridement therapy.
Pick a star up in the sky tonight and wish on it for St Nicholas Abbey and the people who will be spending Christmas in his stall with him. And if your checkbook is handy, send a donation to the Animal Health Foundation, a leading funding source for laminitis research all over the world. Your donation will go right to work in the coffers of leading researchers who are determined that I will one day no longer be writing these articles on Christmas Eve, or any other night of the year.
Merry Christmas to you all. And thanks.
© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to email@example.com.
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