8 year old pony chronic lameness all 4 legs, initially thought laminitis, box rest and diet/ weight loss brought no

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Customer: 8 year old pony chronic lameness all 4 legs, initially thought laminitis, box rest and diet/ weight loss brought no improvement, x rays done 4 months later no sign of pedal bone rotation at all. Tested for cushings- negative. Tested for diabetes- negative but tried metformin anyway- no response.
As last chance tried norodine antibiotics, initially showed marked improvement even off painkillers but has now gone downhill again- completely stumped, any help really appreciated
Answered by Dr. Mike in 5 hours 8 years ago
Dr. Mike
25+ years of experience

510 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Horse Veterinary, Large Animal Veterinary, Small Animal Veterinary

Dr. Mike :

Do you have Lyme disease in your area?

<span class="JA_chatAuthorName"Customer:

Hi, sorry missed that one out, also had vet check for lyme disease as we did remove a tick from him about 4 months before the laminitis started.

<span class="JA_chatAuthorName"Customer:

she said the test came back negative but i asked if we could try antibiotics anyway, thats when the norodine came in. We live in the south west of the UK, i had never heard of lyme disease before i started researching laminitis, so i dont think its a big thing here.

<span class="JA_chatAuthorName"Customer:

Many thanks

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I switched out of the chat mode as we've got a large time difference.

Tango showed improvement on the norodine?

Has any other blood work been done (serum chemistries)?

Is the pain limited to the feet (laminitis) or is it also elsewhere in the legs?

Nerve blocks would have differentiated foot pain from discomfort higher up the leg(s).

Do you recall what type of Lyme test(s) was done?

No other blood work has been done, the pain seems limited to the feet but he has not had nerve block.


I know it seems horrible but we have spent alot of money on him already and i dont want to just keep doing tests unless i actually know what im looking for, do you know of any other causes of laminitis (i have checked his bedding for black walnut-none of that) or any other conditions that can cause lameness in all four feet?


many thanks

Not horrible.... it's realistic.

Many things can cause laminitis, but in mini's and ponies, the most common cause is insulin resistance (sometimes confused with Cushings, but a different syndrome).

If Tango was here in front of me, I'd start by blocking his feet, one at a time starting with the front. If both front feet blocked out, I'd be tempted to conclude it's really laminitis, without rotation, and either run insulin and glucose tests, or just assume it's IR and make dietary changes (low starch - no grain, soaked hay to leach out soluble carbs).

The response to antibiotics is intriguing, as that antibiotic is not the one of choice for Lyme. The one we use here (doxycycline) has anti-inflammatory properties as well as fighting the organism. The sulfa drugs do not.


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Dr. Mike
510 satisfied customers
25+ years of experience
Dr. Mike
+ years of experience

510 satisfied customers



Licensed veterinarians

31,131 satisfied customers

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