We have had a difficult time with one of our welsh mountain ponies which graze the headland…..they are usually very low maintenance and have come from generations of semi wild ponies used to conservation grazing and minimum input from humans. Unfortunately one of ours developed laminitis this year – very unusual for these ponies, more common for domesticated ponies. Laminitis is inflammation of the tissues within the hoof causing severe pain and long term damage if not caught early. We noticed she was becoming separated from the others and was finding it uncomfortable to walk, she allowed us to put gates around her in preparation for the vet visit, this was a sign in itself she was pretty unwell as she does not normally want much interaction…..
The vet immediately confirmed our suspicions, apparently the weather (extremely cold nights and beautiful sunny days) had caused a lot of call outs for laminitis as the excess sugar in the grass can cause the problem. Her hooves were also overgrown causing her to walk awkwardly which wasn’t helping. She was prescribed anti-inflammatories and restricted grazing for a week to take down the soreness and inflammation, he then came back and sedated her so she could have her hooves trimmed. A further week with restricted grazing and anti-inflammatories and she seemed like a different pony. The others checked in on her regularly, there was a fair bit of whinneying going on at times!
She wouldn’t take anything from us by hand so we gave her the anti-inflammatories by mouth which meant catching her and putting a headcollar on. The first couple of days this was relatively easy as she didn’t want to move anywhere, however as she felt better this became more interesting…..! We do think that at some time she has had quite a bit of human contact as once the head collar was one she was fairly calm.
She is now back out with the others and we are carefully monitoring her. The problem is that she is now more likely to get it again so it is a wait and see game…..