Friday, January 7, 2011

Laminitis in Horses

Holistic Treatments for Laminitis in Horses

Equine Laminitis, also called founder, is characterized by a decrease in the amount of blood circulating in the hoof. It is a serious and extremely painful condition with multiple causes.

The horse's hoof is somewhat similar to the structure of your fingernail, but the interior of the horse's hoof is lined with two layers of tissue called laminae. The hardest layer closest to the wall of the hoof is called the 'horny laminae', and the inner layer is called the 'sensitive laminae'. When the blood supply to the sensitive laminae is decreased, they become inflamed. The inflammation causes the union between the horny and sensitive laminae to break down. In severe cases, the bone inside the hoof, called the coffin bone or third phalanx, rotates downward. In advanced cases, the coffin bone may even perforate the sole.

Laminitis is especially common in ponies, although horses of all breeds can be and are affected.  The disease can be mild or life-threatening, a one-time deal or an ongoing problem.

A little equine anatomy and the workings of the hoof, will shed a little more light on the complex topic. Horses don't just stand on their feet, what they really do is hang suspended from the inside of their hooves!  The coffin bone, which is the bone at the end of the leg, doesn't have to bear much of the horses weight on it's bottom surface. This is because it is actually suspended inside the hoof by tough tissue called the laminae. The laminae hold the coffin bone inside of the hoof, so most of the horse's weight passes down the hoof wall to the ground, for the most part, detouring the sole.  The image shows the broad, rough top surface of the coffin bone.  The laminae attach to that rough surface and mesh with the corresponding inside surface of the hoof.

Causes of Laminitis in Horses

Laminitis may involve one or all four feet. Commonly known causes include eating excessive amounts of grain, eating too lush pasture grass, drinking cold water while overheated, and being overworked when not in fit condition. Hooves being trimmed to excessively can attribute to the condition. Corticosteroids and certain antibiotics can also induce laminitis.

Symptoms of Acute Laminitis

• Refusal to move, standing with the front legs stretched forward.
• Hooves are hot.
• Increased digital pulse.
• Occasionally, a separation of hoof and coronary band.

Natural Treatments for Laminitis
Call your vet immediately and remove any feed, and access to grass. Do not remove existing hay - keep it available to prevent added stress on the horse.

Make sure the horse is on a soft surface. Use peat for bedding to help prevent pressure ulcers on the hips, provide a firm footing for getting up, and good support for standing. Coarse sand may be used if peat is not available.

HydrotherapyWhile waiting for the vet to arrive, cold hose the affected legs at ten-minute intervals for 30 minutes each time.

Cold Treatment
If legs and feet are extremely hot, apply ice over the area until the vet arrives.

Magnet Therapy
Apply magnets to cannon bone area and hoof after the other treatments have all been done.

Acupressure for Acute Equine Laminitis

Apply treatment to points, TH3, TH1, TH5, SI1, LI1, GV14, LU11, and HT9 (To preform the treatment and locate the points, use Pet Remedy Charts, Acupressure to the Rescue for Horses.

Homeopathic Remedies for Acute Laminitis

Aconitum napellus 30c. This remedy should be given at the earliest onset of laminitis when it is first noticed. It can be alternated with Belladonna in acute cases of laminitis.

Belladonna 30c every 30 minutes. Works well when pulse is increased, temperature is elevated, and the horse is sweating. (May be alternated with Aconitum in cases of acute laminitis.)

Nux vomica 30c every few hours. Good in cases of decreased circulation.

For an easy to use, complete guide to remedy, dose and potency in treating horses with homeopathy use Pet Remedy Charts, Homeopathy to the Rescue for Horses.

Chronic Laminitis

Once laminitis has occured and the emergency care completed, follow-up care begins. Each case must be assessed on an individual basis so a care plan can be initiated. X-rays should be taken to determine the position of the coffin bone and your vet and farrier will decide how to reshape the hoof. Generally the toe of the hoof will be rasped back and the heel lowered to achieve realignment. Heel-lowering must be carried out gradually, possibly over several shoeings, to guard against a sudden increase in tension on the deep digital flexor tendon which could cause further rotation of the coffin bone. Use of pads, bar shoes, or wide-web shoes must be decided on a case-by-case basis, according to X-rays, to decide which will make the horse more comfortable.

Holistic treatments for laminitis in horses are very effective in treating chronic conditions, though since every case is different there is no specific treatment that will work for all horses.

What are the Chronic Symptoms of Laminitis

Look for these signs to occur after an acute case, and on and off throughout the horse's life after a case of laminitis:
• Lameness that is worse on hard ground.
• Horse landing on the heel of an affected hoof.
• Hoof wall grows differently, with a longer toe, higher heel, and concave front of the hoof wall.
• Rings on the hoof wall appear and the space between the rings is wider near the heel (unlike rings on the hoof wall due to other stress.
• The sole of the hoof may be dropped and very flaky in consistency.


Test - Have your vet Xray the foot.
Shoeing - Consult your farrier as to the best way to reshape and shoe the hoof. Foundered horses often have rapid hoof growth so have your farrier visit as often as every four weeks.

Natural Supplements for Laminitis

• Vitamin C. Give 8 grams per 1,000-pound horse, daily.
• Coenzyme Q-10. This antioxidant is very effective but dosage varies greatly according to symptoms. Consult a holistic vet for dosage best suited to your horse's needs.

Herbs for Equine Laminitis

 All herbs listed below can be helpful and a mixture of them all of them will give increased results:
• Clivers. Use to promote lymphatic drainage. Effectively prevents a recurrence. Give 1/2 to 3/4 ounce (15 to 20 grams) twice daily. You can make a compress of clivers tea to help sooth swollen legs.
• Cat's claw. Helps to keep inflammation reduced and promotes circulation. Use 1/4 oz (5 to 10 grams). Caution: Do not give to nursing mares.
• Comfrey. Helps with circulation, and promotes bone and soft tissue healing. Give 1 oz (30 grams) of the dried herb twice daily.
• Nettle. Stimulates circulation. It also contains vitamin C that has antioxidant properties. Feed 1/2 to 1 oz (15 to 30 grams) a day.
• Devil's claw. Has anti-inflammatory properties. Feed 1/2 to 1 oz (15 to 30 grams) daily.

Note: The best place we have found to buy guaranteed, high quality, certified organic medicinal herbs in bulk quantity, is Pacific Botanicals. For precise instructions on dosing schedules and amounts to give use Herbs to the Rescue for Horses, from Pet Remedy Charts.

Homeopathy for Chronic Laminitis

Chronic laminitis requires a professional consultation and homeopathic workup with a holistic vet. To aid in pain management you could try:
Arnica 30c 2 or 3 times a day for pain.
• Bellis 30c is a deep tissue remedy that could be used for pain if Arnica is not doing the job.
• Hypericum 30c is another good homeopathic pain medicine that is a specific for nerve pain in the feet.
• Symphytum 30c is used to strengthen and fuse bone, also to ease pain.

For specific dosing and potency instructions we recommend Pet Remedy Charts, Homeopathy to the Rescue for Horses, a professional reference guide to treating horses using Homeopathic medicines at home.

Magnetic Therapy

Use the small magnets that you glue onto the front of the hooves to help increase circulation. A magnet may also be applied over the cannon bone area to further stimulate circulation.

Acupressure for Chronic Laminitis

Front legs:
• LI1, LU11, PC9, TH1, SI1, HT9: these points around the coronary band promote circulation.
• TH3 aids with circulation, and helps detoxify the liver.
• Th5 Increases circulation.
• GV14, stimulate this point last to help move the circulation, and Qi.

Hind legs:
• ST45, SP1, KI1, BL67, KI1: these points around the coronary band promote circulation.
• GB44: increases circulation, and decreases fluid retention in the legs.
•Bai Hui: use this point last to help move the circulation and Qi throughout the hind legs.

For a guide to preforming acupressure on your horse and point locations we recommend using, Acupressure to the Rescue for Horses a wonderful quick reference guide to equine home health care.

Recommended Reading: For professionals or serious students - This is the gold standard in books for Veterinary Homeopathy. 'Fast Forward to the Cure Pro-Version, 2.0', is a digital publication in PDF format that you can download and start using now. Learn advanced veterinary homeopathy, LM dosing techniques and the methods of 'Dynamic Dosing' for animals which can speed a pets healing time by 1/4 to 1/2 or more! Veterinary Medica, Therapeutic Repertories, printable Case Taking Forms, Observation Sheets and full color Anatomy Charts for dogs, cats horses and birds are included in 14 Chapters and 872 pages. To see complete details and excerpts from the book CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kidney Diets for Older Cats

Homemade Diets and Recipes for Cats With Kidney Disease 

Never feed dry food to cats, only canned or home prepared. If you do feed a commercial pet food make sure it does not contain corn, wheat or soy. Never heat your cat's food in the microwave. Warm the pet's food in a hot water bath instead.

When cats get older their kidneys often begin to fail. Because the kidney's job is to eliminate anything unusable from the blood, the goal of this diet is to lighten their load. You can do that by providing minimal levels of protein, phosphorus and sodium in a maximally usable form so that there is a little waste as possible. By feeding a fresh diet, you can also eliminate the artificial preservatives, flavorings and colorings added to many pet foods. This recipe provides about 24% highly usable protein, with low sodium and phosphorus levels and generous levels of B complex and vitamin A.


Yield: About 6 cups; provides about 5-6 days food.

1 and 1/3 cups (2/3 lb. ground chicken, turkey or lean heart)
4 cups Well-cooked soft, basmati rice (add an additional 1/2 cup of water to the recipe and cook it longer, this will make it easier to digest).
4 eggs
2 tablespoons of a good cold-pressed oil, (can be alternated with unsalted butter)
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley, finely grated carrot  (optional)
1/8 teaspoon iodized sea salt
1/8 teaspoon potassium chloride salt substitute
1,500 mg calcium
5,000 IU vitamin A
50 mg level vitamin B complex (the equivalent of about 10 mg/day)
2,500 mg vitamin C (1/2 teaspoon sodium ascorbate)
Cat vitamins with taurine (about 5 days worth)

Mix all ingredients together (except the vitamins/supplements) in a large bowl. Bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then add the vitamins and mix well. (If you cat has a poor appetite you may have to experiment to some extent to cater to his/her preferences just to keep him nourished). Store in fridge. If you warm your cats food before you serve it DO NOT use the microwave to do it. Instead put the food in a small glass dish in a hot water bath to warm it. Microwaves change the molecular structure of protein. It will also ruin the vitamins.

Variation: Occasionally include a small amount of calf, beef or chicken liver in the recipe (1-3 teaspoons).


4 parts carbohydrate: Pureed barley flakes and /or baby food creamed corn
2 parts protein: Lightly broiled chicken or beef or raw organic egg yolk and cooked white (used with meat, not alone) you can also use baby food chicken
1 part vegetable: Chopped of finely grated raw vegetable or vegetable juice-carrots, zucchini, and alfalfa sprouts are best
2 Tablespoons of a powdered feline vitamin and mineral supplement
2 teaspoons soft butter

Blend above ingredients together and store in glass jar.

Each day mix the following into each meal:
A feline vitamin and mineral supplement (follow label instruction)
1/16 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals or sodium ascorbate powder (250 units Vitamin C)
1/8 teaspoon Pet Tinic (a B vitamin and iron tonic available from the veterinarian) or 1/2 of a low-potency B complex capsule (10 mg level)
1/4 teaspoon or 1/2 tablet mixed digestive enzymes.
Once a week give:
400 units of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol);
A capsule containing 10,000 units vitamin A and 400 units vitamin D.


White meat chicken, chicken gizzard plus 2 hard-boiled eggs with a touch of clam juice or chicken broth: 20%
Kidney beans, mashed: 10%
Well-cooked white/basmati rice (I add an additional 1/2 cup of water or vegetable broth to the rice cooking instructions and cook it longer. It makes the rice much softer and easy to digest, polenta, barley: 60 %
Parsley, squash, asparagus, carrot kale: 10%


Feline Restricted Mineral and Sodium Diet

1 lb. Regular ground beef, cooked
1/4 lb. Liver (beef, chicken or pork only), cooked
1 cup cooked enriched white rice without salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 t (5 grams) calcium carbonate
1/8 teaspoon KCI (salt substitute)

Also add a balanced supplement which fulfills the feline MDR for all vitamins and trace minerals, and 250 mg taurine/day.


Chicken Mineral Broth

The recipe below is not a specific for renal disease but it is very nourishing and helpful to have on hand if your cat looses interest in food and doesn't want to eat. Nutritionally it can help replace minerals that have been lost if your cat is urinating excessively.

3 lbs. chicken thighs
Water to cover Distilled water is my preference
1/4 cup tomato juice (NOT, V8 Juice)
Add approximately 1 1/2 inch piece of Kombu, (this is a dried sea vegetable) for added minerals

Put all chicken into a soup pot large enough so the chicken fills the pot only halfway.  Cover with 'distilled' water until water is one to two inches above chicken.  Cover the pot loosely (tip the lid).  Bring to a low simmer.  Simmer three to five hours, occasionally breaking up the chicken and adding more water if necessary.  During the last hour remove the lid and let the water cool down until the chicken is barely covered.  Broth is now deliciously strong.  Pour off broth, cool to room temperature, and then store in refrigerator.

Pour this broth off and store it with the first batch of broth.  Transfer the bones into a smaller pot.  Crack them up so they form a fairly compact mass in the bottom of the pan.  Cover the bones with water ad add the one-fourth cup tomato juice.  Simmer one-half to one hour.

Pour off this broth, again combining it with the other broth.  Throw the bones away.  Store about two cups of the broth in a jar in the refrigerator;  store the rest in the freezer in pint-sized covered freezer containers to be thawed as needed.  To thaw, stand the container in a bowl of hot water.


To learn about holistic treatments and natural healing strategies for cats, be sure to visit Pet Remedy Charts the ultimate guide to using herbs, homeopathy, flower remedies and acupressure, in home pet health care.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Natural Treatments for Broken Bones in Animals

Healing Compound and Open Fractures

Fractures in very young animals will usually be less complicated than in older animals yet both can require the same remedies.

If the fracture is extensive enough or the traumatized animal is sensitive, the first remedy that should come to mind to alleviate shock, is Bach Rescue Remedy, in tincture form. Every  pet owner should have this remedy on hand, at home and in the car. 10 drops in water should be given immediately and repeated every 15 minutes if necessary. It can be safely administered with prescription drugs or any form of treatment, holistic or conventional, without interfering or causing side effects.

Veterinary Homeopathic Remedies For Healing Broken Bones

Next, a closed, "simple" fracture will require, Arnica montana to help alleviate bruising, pain and shock. Arnica, should be the first homeopathic remedy to be given. It is typically given for soreness and bruising, when the patient feels like "a truck hit me'. Pains are worse by the slightest touch (so the animal shows fear of being touched) and better from cold applications. Arnica is indicated in any blunt trauma where the skin is not opened. Arnica is especially useful to absorb blood under the skin (hematomas). It is also good for muscle pain, falls and accidents causing the animal to go into shock.   

After a few days, Ledum palustre will complete the work of  Arnica. Ledum acts like a combination of Arnica and Hypericum. It is invaluable in soft tissue bruising. In most cases it will completely relieve traumas after the initial use of Arnica. A keynote for this remedy is bruising that turns violet-blue-black. The pains relieved by Ledum are the type that improve by cold compresses.

Only after the bone is set, or ready to fuse in place, give Symphytum officinal. Symphytum, is the orthopedic specific of the homeopathic herb remedies. This remedy is of great use in non-union of fractures. It is the remedy that will accelerate healing of fractures. It can be so effective at knitting and calcifation that you should make sure the broken bone is aligned correctly (see your vet first).

When there are many fractures at the same time, after Rescue Remedy and Arnica, Silicea will be indicated to renew the "edifice sand", so to speak. Silicea will increase and re-balance the body's needed building materials and aid stamina in the healing process.

An open or "compound" fracture has to be attended surgically, of course, but after the surgery, Calendula 200c, dosed once a day for three days will help heal the wound. Calendula should be available in everyone's first aid kit. It should be routinely used after any surgery or when there is a cut or break in the skin. It acts as both an antiseptic (to prevent infection), and as a healing agent. It can also help control bleeding from open wounds. Just remember, Calendula is used on open wounds, never Arnica.

When there is injury to nerves, due to a surgical cutting procedures or broken bones, Hypericum can be used for pain and to help prevent infection. Afterward, the same remedies used for closed fractures will apply if needed. Homeopathic Hypericum is a great painkiller in any trauma which involves nerve endings: slipped discs in the lower back, also in the neck, crushed feet, toes and tails, also toenails torn away from the nail bed. Hypericum is for sharp, shooting nerve pains. In the past Hypericum was given successfully to avoid tetanus.

There is one unfortunate incident in which fractures are common or where the veterinarian will discover fractures in different stages of healing: the physically abused animal. In this case, after the fractures have been attended to, Staphysagria 6c will be needed to help the animal mentally resolve the indignation it had to endure.

In a case of fractured ribs, where the slightest movement of respiration will cause great pain, Bryonia will bring relief. Bryonia is a great pain remedy for whiplash and broken bones in general, especially if the animal is worse from the slightest movement.

In spite of using Symphytum, sometimes in older or malnourished animals, a broken bone will be difficult or slow to heal. In these cases, Calc. phos. will speed up the process. It favors the formation of callus, or the bony healing tissue that forms around the ends of broken bone.

Note: It is important to remember that only one remedy should be given at a time. Choose a remedy to begin treatment that matches the animal's most important symptoms. You can switch remedies if the symptoms change or if the remedy is not helping. You can also give the remedy in a higher potency if the remedy works well but it's action runs out too quickly. Just make sure to wait an hour before dosing with a new remedy.

For complete dosing instructions, suggested potency and additional treatment options, refer to Pet Remedy Charts. Homeopathy to the Rescue series for, dogs, cats, horses or birds.

Recommended Reading: For professionals or serious students - This is the gold standard in books for Veterinary Homeopathy. 'Fast Forward to the Cure Pro-Version, 2.0', is a digital publication in PDF format that you can download and start using now. Learn advanced veterinary homeopathy, LM dosing techniques and the methods of 'Dynamic Dosing' for animals which can speed a pets healing time by 1/4 to 1/2 or more! Veterinary Medica, Therapeutic Repertories, printable Case Taking Forms, Observation Sheets and full color Anatomy Charts for dogs, cats horses and birds are included in 14 Chapters and 872 pages. To see complete details and excerpts from the book CLICK HERE.