My pony has problems breathing and is extending his legs while walking and trotting. Any ideas?

Question: My pony suddenly started to breathe hard and extends his legs while trotting and walking. Is this normal? What should I do? This is not normal for him.

Answer from April Reeves: This is typical of a horse/pony in the beginning stages of laminitis. It is crucial that you have a vet out immediately. Laminitis comes first before founder, and once your pony passes into the founder stages, it’s not easy to bring a horse/pony back, if ever, once the coffin bone rotates and drops.

There are many reasons ponies get laminitis and founder, and you can find many of them on a Google search, but for you right now, GET A VET!

The pressure in his front hooves forces him to extend his front legs to relieve the pressure. The breathing is a condition of the pain he’s likely in. Right now he can likely stand not too bad, but that will change if you don’t look after him. You could lose him. And it can all happen in a matter of a day.

Use the back of your hand (as it’s more sensitive to hot and cold) and feel for heat. Any heat. Even the slightest increase in temperature tells you something is wrong.

If your horse or pony has any change in the way they stand or eat or anything out of the ordinary, CALL A VET IMMEDIATELY. The least that will happen is that you will explain your problem to them and they can give you advice over the phone to get you through until they show up.

There may be other issues with your pony, but since I cannot be there it would be irresponsible for me to even try to rethink this. Laminitis is something you can’t fool around with or leave.

Owning horses is expensive, but if it’s an expense you can’t afford, then horses should not be in your care. Take beautiful care of your horse: he will pay you back ten-fold. And you will be all the richer for it as well.

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