Balou is 16.2 British Warmblood, now 20 years old. This is his story,which started in January 2011, written by his owners.
Balou lost a shoe and broke his pedal bone. His foot was put into a plaster cast for 4 weeks. In February it was removed but he was still lame. He was given an injection into his coffin joint. However he was still lame in March. He was given another injection into his coffin joint. His lameness became worse and March 26th he was unable to walk.
He was diagnosed with laminitis 12 degree rotation of his pedal bone. At this time his blood test showed he was slightly IR. His shoes were removed and frog supports put on. I was advised to leave him in his box and have remedial shoeing. However I decided not to go down this road l felt this was not the right thing to do for him. He was walking comfortably and we played a waiting game to see how he progressed. We allowed him to pad about a small part of the yard moving as he wished .This also enabled him to go and chat to his pals which is part of the recovery process.
We learnt that it was important for Balou to lose weight for by now he had had put on a lot of weight due to inactivity and box rest. Balou was put on a diet of soya pellets and his forage focused supplements were worked out to meet his diet needs along side analysis of his hay. It was essential he got all the correct supplements he needed in order to support the growth of his new feet.
We decided to turn him out onto the ménage. The surface was just what he needed, the sun was shining, he was happy and he could see his pals. Over the next 4 months he reluctantly ate his new diet, as he had been a sugar junky, he was not a happy bunny! His exercise was slowly increased. Walking in hand and long reining round the fields with no shoes. By the end of August he was ready to be ridden, 8 months after breaking his pedal bone and 4 months after laminitis. During this time his feet were growing and getting stronger. They were also changing shape. It became evident that the angle of his feet were changing dramatically as they grew.
The minerals balanced to his forage were obviously doing their job. He went for his first hack at the beginning of October it was a great day. The next hurdle we had to overcome started at the beginning of 2012. He had continued to be very fussy about eating. Oat husk pellets were suggested in the hope he would eat better. Eventually he stopped eating concentrates preferring to eating only hay. He would look at his feed and then turn away. When we carried out Dr Ridway’s ulcer pressure points it was clear that his digestive system was inflamed. He was treated and started to eat. However he was still showing signs of hind gut ulcers. At this time we started to use the product recommended by Dr. Ridgway and within days his appetite improved 100%.
From start to finish Balou has lost about 100kg, and blood tests show his insulin levels are now normal. However we understand that he has a metabolic tendency towards insulin resistance and so managing his diet forever will be crucial to his health. We were able to manage his diet, drastically reducing his daily feeds to 1.5% of his body weight because we knew he was getting all the nutrients he needed to support his health as matched to the forage he was eating, even the protein levels.
Today he has new feet and he looks fantastic with a lovely shiny coat. He is a very happy 20 year old who looks the picture of health.