August 25, 2023 2 min read

Horse owners and vets often turn to NSAID medications, including phenylbutazone or "Bute", for laminitis relief. 

Laminitis is an incredibly painful condition in horses, so naturally, horse owners and vets want to provide relief as swiftly as possible. Common first choices for treatment are NSAID medications like Bute. However, these often offer little relief for specific laminitis cases.

There are various kinds of laminitis, including:

  • Mechanical Laminitis: Occurs when a horse bears extra weight on one leg due to another's injury, which can lead to stretched laminae and a misaligned coffin bone.

  • Inflammatory Laminitis: Triggers include grain overload, specific infections, and conditions like Potomac Horse Fever and Lyme.

  • Endocrinopathic Laminitis: Linked to conditions such as EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome) or PPID (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction).

NSAIDs are particularly effective for inflammatory laminitis, which involves damage to the laminae's basement membrane. This damage doesn't happen in endocrinopathic laminitis.

However, these drugs may not be effective for the 90% of laminitis cases that are known as endocrinopathic laminitis, which is linked to hormonal imbalances, mainly due to elevated insulin levels in conditions like Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID).

While NSAIDs can address inflammation, they don't reduce insulin levels. 

Effective management to reduce insulin levels involves dietary changes, like feeding soaked grass hay, avoiding grains, and considering the support of specific vitamin and mineral supplements. Missy's Bucket offers a supplement range designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of horses, including those dealing with endocrinopathic laminitis. Elevated insulin constricts blood vessels, which can also be counteracted by using herbs like Jiao Gu Lan

Addressing insulin is critical to managing endocrinopathic laminitis successfully.

So, although Bute might be useful for short-term inflammation control, the primary concern in at least 90% of laminitis cases should be managing insulin and its impacts, including suitable dietary adjustments and proper vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Moreover, high insulin's primary documented effect is the elevation of endothelin-1 levels, leading to blood vessel constriction. The Chinese herb Jiao Gu Lan can counteract this by boosting eNOS enzyme activity and promoting blood vessel dilation.

While endocrinopathic laminitis poses unique challenges, a targeted approach focusing on managing insulin should be prioritised.

Click here to find out more about the Missy's Bucket vitamin and mineral supplement range. 

Click here to find out more about Jia Gu Lan.


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