Steroids and laminitis

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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#1
I've always thought that steroids should be avoided if at all possible for horses who are prone to laminitis but I had the vet out tonight to look at Raf's cellulitis (which amazingly has improved 90% since I made the call to the vets yesterday). She mentioned the possibility of using steroids if it doesn't clear up this time, although she wants to avoid that option if possible. I was also keen to avoid it, given that Raf has Cushings and there is a link between Cushings and laminitis, even though he has never had laminitis. The vet said that the link between steroids and laminitis has been massively over hyped - in her words, a bit like that between the MMR jab and Autism. Must say, that surprised me a bit. You think you know something, and then you find out you really don't o_O
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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#2
I had a pretty similar conversation with the attending vet when Jess had breathing problems this summer, he was very insistent she needed the steroids and that the chances of lami were very low especially with 1 low dose shot, he even said "on my head be it".
She seemed slightly footy for 48 hours after but hardly noticeable. A few weeks later when the drought broke she shed her calloused sole and beneath was evidence of blood/bruise. I sent the picture to my normal vet and she agreed unless it was life and death we would never use steroids for Jess again as it looked very much like the type of thing you see with lami.
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A study carried out by one of the vets at our practice showed only 3 cases in 2000 treated went down with lami and 2 suffered previously, so they summised that does increase the risks. https://www.rossdales.com/referrals...tics/joints-tendons-ligaments/corticosteroids
It's definitely a quandary if they need the steroids.
 
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chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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#3
I've always understood that steroids and cobs are a no no. Lami is less of a risk with TB's.
A friend of mine had a Welsh cob that had terrible sweetitch. Eventually after 5 years of trying many lotions and potions they went for steroids as a last resort. As the horse was climbing the wall. Sadly it went down with laminitis days after the treatment. The person had had the horse over 16 years and since it was a foal. It had never had laminitis in its life. Six months later it went down with chronic laminitis again and as the steroids had made no difference they felt it best to put the horse down.
I'm in a similar boat with my horse with the kissing spine. Vet said they could inject steroids, but I'm not going to take the chance.
 
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Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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#4
My vets always mentioned the link but played it down. Storm was not had lammi but being a good doer I was very aware. It isn't something I'd be too concerned about if the steroids were needed to solve a problem. Surely not every horse goes on to develop lammi after having them (if slightly prone). I think like a lot of treatments available you uave to weigh up the good points and bad points accordingly.
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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#5
I think it's a case of picking the lesser evil - if steroids are the only hope then it's a gamble worth taking, but if there's any alternative then that's what I'd go for with a known laminitic or PPID horse.

A couple of years ago LU's breathing was very bad and, despite my doubts, we tried steroids through a nebuliser because the vet was adamant that that way they didn't enter the general system in a noticeable level according to tests. Well that's as maybe but after two doses his digital pulses were up & a couple of hours later he was footy when moving. I stopped them & told the practice, carried on with the nebuliser & just used water with a drop of olbas oil & ventapulmin (also tends to bring his pulses up as it's a vasodilator but doesn't make him footy). He recovered, maybe it would have been quicker with the steroids but it wasn't a risk I was prepared to take & I'm very glad I refused to let her give a steroid jab!
 

Jessey

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#6
I stopped them & told the practice, carried on with the nebuliser & just used water with a drop of olbas oil & ventapulmin
I was wondering about olbas oil, wondered if it might be too strong for horses but if you had success I might get some and try cutting it with a carrier oil to spray on rugs if Jess' breathing plays up again
 

carthorse

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#7
I was wondering about olbas oil, wondered if it might be too strong for horses but if you had success I might get some and try cutting it with a carrier oil to spray on rugs if Jess' breathing plays up again
I added a drop to the water in his nebuliser (I have a fancy Flexineb) twice a day & also mixed it with water and sprayed in his stable. Interestingly he was far happier with the nebuliser when it had the olbas oil in, so I'm guessing he didn't find it uncomfortable to take. I tested first by rubbing a drop on my hands to see if he minded the smell, when he reacted by sniffing then frantically licking I guessed the answer was no!
 
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Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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#8
I raised this with my vet as well because Ben has had steroid injections. He said that the risk of laminitis was very minimal and the benefits outweighed the risks.
 
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carthorse

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#9
@Mary Poppins I guess it depends on if there are other underlying conditions that increase the risk or would possibly make the consequences worse - risks & benefits vary from horse to horse. I also feel it's my decision to make, not my vets, and even among vets there are differences of opinion on what's an acceptable risk.
 

Mary Poppins

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#10
@Mary Poppins I guess it depends on if there are other underlying conditions that increase the risk or would possibly make the consequences worse - risks & benefits vary from horse to horse. I also feel it's my decision to make, not my vets, and even among vets there are differences of opinion on what's an acceptable risk.
Well yes of course the decision to give steroids has to be made in light of the horse in question. I am talking about my horse who has had three sets of really strong steroid injections. The vet recommended them for him and I agreed. In our case we need steriods to try and mend him. Any side effects will have to be dealt with when and if they occur.
 

carthorse

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#11
I raised this with my vet as well because Ben has had steroid injections. He said that the risk of laminitis was very minimal and the benefits outweighed the risks.
Well yes of course the decision to give steroids has to be made in light of the horse in question. I am talking about my horse who has had three sets of really strong steroid injections. The vet recommended them for him and I agreed. In our case we need steriods to try and mend him. Any side effects will have to be dealt with when and if they occur.
Maybe it would have been clearer if you'd said the vet had said that in his case the risk was minimal & outweighed by the benefit.

I agree that there are many horses who have benefited greatly from steroid jabs with no side effect, but for some the risk is possibly life threatening & if a vet doesn't know the horse in question then I think it's important the owner knows to ask questions before the jab is given - I know someone who asked a locum vet after the jab if there was anything she should look for since her horse had PPID & a history of laminitis (in fairness she didn't believe in getting the vet for laminitis so it wasn't on his notes) - to be fair they were both at fault because they should have discussed it first - but I feel it highlights the need for awareness.