An article by Casareño's owner, Pat Laing
In the first few months the hardest challenge that I faced was that I had serious doubts about whether my horse was getting the right treatment. I had already made contact with The Laminitis Site and had read all the information about laminitis rehabilitation that Andrea had sent me. It all made complete sense. I wanted to follow the TLS recommended protocol as a matter of urgency. My vet and farrier said that it could be “disastrous”! More than 2 months had passed and clearly Casareño was getting worse. I was feeling more and more desperate and helpless.
It is very difficult to challenge your vet's treatment plan. Your vet's reaction will typically be “I have studied for 7 years and practised for 'n' years and you have just read something on the internet!”. The farrier may have a similar attitude. The farrier may believe that remedial shoeing is the only solution. A barefoot trimmer may have no experience with laminitic feet or may have their own methodology that they want to follow.
In addition, I had the language barrier. My vet and farrier's first language was Spanish – discussion and debate was difficult!
I only had 3 options:- 1) Get the team to buy-in to the TLS recommended rehab protocol; or 2) as the owner and the person paying the bills just insist that they follow this protocol; or 3) change the team. In the end, I used a combination of all 3 options to achieve the eventual successful buy-in.
Getting vet/farrier to buy-in (this is so important because once you have this in place the rest is fairly plain sailing!)
First, you have to have confidence in the TLS guidelines. You may have heard or read different approaches to laminitis treatment. You will probably be feeling under a lot of stress but I urge you to take the time to read the material that TLS will have sent you and check out some of the Case Studies. If you are in the situation where you need to get the vet/farrier to change their approach, you will not be successful if you yourself show uncertainty.
It helps if the vet and farrier can be reassured that the TLS recommended protocol is based on evidence-based scientific research and has been produced by veterinarians and farriers that are highly regarded in this field of expertise (not just some latest fad on the internet!).
Let the vet and farrier know, when you make the appointment with them, that you want to discuss the treatment plan with them and ask them to allow a little extra time for you to have these discussions. Be prepared to pay for a slightly longer visit if necessary.
Be confident and assertive that you want them to follow this protocol – even offer to put it in writing (professionals are very wary of being sued if things go wrong – if they have your clear instructions it takes that risk away for them).
Show them that you are prepared for the rehabilitation – have boots/padding materials and supportive/conforming bedding at the ready.
If all else fails, do not be afraid to change elements of the team. I had to change to an English speaking farrier, partly because my Spanish farrier was going on holiday and was not prepared to carry out the trim before he went away and partly because I did not want to risk having language barrier problems when the situation had become so urgent.