Am I Buying a Problem? (Laminitis)

I’ve been leasing a pony who foundered the past two years on spring grass. Is foundering chronic once started?

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Q. I have been leasing a 12-year-old pony for my daughter for two years. We now have to decide if we want to purchase this pony. She has foundered the past two years on the spring grass. The farrier said her feet have "separated." The vet says she is sound. Is foundering chronic once started? Will she be able to competitively jump? Am I buying a problem?

Traci, via e-mail

A. Let’s start by answering your last question first. There is no doubt you would be buying a problem. The question might be, "Can I live with this problem?" That’s not an easy one to decide.

Ponies are very sensitive to the various changes that trigger the recurrence of laminitis. After two straight years, you obviously are aware of that. If the pony can be relocated before the grass starts its spring surge of growth, that might be an out. But in the long run, there has been some damage to the foot, whether you can see it or not. And each time the problem recurs, the chance there will be more severe bouts of laminitis increases

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A. C. (Woody) Asbury received his DVM from Michigan State University in 1956, then spent 21 years in California in breeding farm practice and at UC Davis. He joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1977 and was involved in teaching, research, and administration until 1996. Asbury was a long-time member of The Horse’s advisory board. He died in 2011 after a lengthy illness.

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