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Lio's Recovery From Chronic Laminitis

My precious Hawaiian horse, Lio, was stricken with laminitic events starting April '06 caused by poor trimming with long, cracked toes and high heels plus bad veterinary advice and a completely wrong diet. The list of my mistakes is huge and I'm willing to share them with anyone who wants to learn what NOT to do.

By June Lio was in so much pain that I was ready to give up, do the humane thing and put him to sleep. Another vet I called in to "do the deed" told me about a local farrier who was trying the Equine Digital Support System. He put Lio in styrofoam pads and givae me treatment and dietary information. Eventually he put him in the EDSS shoes and got him back on his feet and I realized that there was Hope For Soundness!

Lio's Right Front Foot November 10, 2006

(EDSS shoe set by local farrier)

The x-rays already show major improvement in RF P3

(Below left was taken June '06 and right was taken Nov '06)

(In retrospect I cringe at the sight of all those nails which destroyed Lio's hoof walls)

All totaled, Lio spent EIGHT months on 4 grams of bute daily waiting for a miracle. I needed to keep his pain level down and his gut healthy so I gave him the Dynamite probiotic and apple cider vinegar with his new safe, green diet. He had bed sores the size of dinner plates on his hips and there were days he couldn't get up at all. Even with the shoes, Lio wasn't improving! Miracle of miracles, I heard that there was going to be a Natural Balance SoundFest clinic here on the Big Island and that Gene Ovnicek was coming!

On December 11, 2006, Gene brought his whole family over to Harmony Farm to treat Lio -- sons Cody and Chad helped while the grandchildren romped.

Gene resectioned Lio's feet, derotated his heels and rebuilt the lateral and medial walls with glue and applied the EDSS cuff shoes.

Because I appreciate Gene's ingenuity and everything that he did to save my horse it was natural for me to follow the Natural Balance certification path and become a Certified Natural Balance Barefoot Trimmer.

At some point I refused to accept that my horse would have to be in shoes for the rest of his life and I set out to find a way to truly rehabilitate his hooves. There was no improvement in the structures of Lio's hooves in cuff shoes or clogs and those mistakes set him back months! Lio paid the price for me to learn that you can't heal a horse in shoes because the hoof can't function properly when raised off the ground, constricted, invaded and concussed.

Thus began my journey into becoming a barehoof lameness specialist. I've learned from my mistakes and hopefully, those of others and sought out the advice of our most respected experts. Therefore, with perfect hindsight, I wish I'd known how to cast those feet straight away because casting tape conforms, protects and promotes healing better than any artificial surface.

Lio is coming down the homestrech in the healing department. He's been my greatest and most patient teacher.

There was a time I never thought Lio would live to see this day!

Happy Trails!


Updated 011211