Why Heart Bars Can Work Well With Laminitis

Forget the bute and other chemical pain relievers when it comes to treating laminitis cases, advises this equine veterinarian

After nearly 40 years of treating horses suffering from founder, laminitis, heel pain or navicular disease, I've made several critical observations in regard to the need for using anti-inflammatory drugs.

While many other veterinarians disagree with this approach, I've been able to fix laminitic horses when I can get to them before they are given bute or other pain-relieving drugs. If I get a heart bar shoe on one of these horses, the shoe serves as my method of pain control.

Here are three of my most important observations from working for nearly 5 decades with these problems:

  • I have not lost a laminitic horse since the 1970s when I have been able to treat the horse before it was given phenylbutazone (bute) and or banamine.
  • The vast majority of these laminitic horses were able to return to roping, barrel racing, cutting and other athletic functions.
  • The treatment cost is usually low compared to treatments that include chemical pain relievers such as bute and banamine. In addition, I've seen a more positive outcome for the horse.

The problem I have with giving a horse bute or other anti-inflammatory pain relievers is that the drug kills the pain and allows the horse to continue to stand. This leads to P3 rotation, which in turn crushes the circumflex artery, cuts off the blood supply to P3 and results in the demineralization of the tip of the coffin bone.

Since graduating from the Colorado State University Veterinary School in 1962, I've devoted most…

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