Acu in Practice: Equine Laminitis Part 3 by Dr. Katja Gorts

Welcome to Acu in Practice! This is part three of Malibu`s story presented by Dr. Katja Görts. If you have not read parts 1 and 2 yet, please check out the last two weeks´ posts. At the time of this treatment, 18 months has passed since Malibu’s first laminitis onset. He, his owner and those involved in providing medical care (including Dr. Gorts) had ups and downs, but fortunately we were able to prevent another episode. He lost almost 100 kg of bodyweight and can be lightly trained on soft ground in all three gaits. He still has a very slight pulsation of the digital arteries on both front limbs. The farrier still works on him every 4 to 6 weeks. His bloodwork, including Insulin, glucose and ACTH, is within normal limits. He is fed hay and a high-quality mineral and vitamin supplement designed for laminitis patients. Malibu’s owner did and is still doing an amazing job, managing his weight and his hooves. This, for me and those of us providing medical advice, is absolutely crucial to the positive outcome we were able to achieve in this case. When I examined him, his pulses were slightly deep, a little bit slow and slightly slippery. His tongue was a little bit bigger than normal, pale pink and moist. He showed no active diagnostic Acupuncture points.

To further support his condition, Malibu stays on the TCVM formula similar to Jing Tang’s Hot Hoof I, as well as on a very small dose of the sea-algae mix to support his metabolism. He also receives single herbs to stabilize his insulin levels, support his liver and regulate the blood flow in his toes. In addition, he receives Acupuncture treatments on a as needed basis or at least routinely about every 6 months.

Acupuncture Point Prescription: Always includes points to tonify his Spleen (and Pancreas!) to support transformation and transportation, like SP 21, SP 4, LIV 13, BL 20, ST 36 or SP 6 (sometimes he has free fecal water). Points to harmonize the Liver, like LIV 3, LIV 14, BL 18, GB 34 to guarantee the smooth flow of Qi and Blood and support tendons and ligaments (hooves!). KID points like KID 3, BL 11 and BL 23 to strengthen his bones.


For Dr. Gorts, the greatest take-away from this severe case is that that holistic/integrative work approaches work when all care providers work together – the owner, the regular vet, the farrier, me -- we all made this story a success. I also learned that patience and persistence sometimes are more important than we think! The included photos are: hooves, at 10 months post onset (Oct. 2019) of signs and at 18 months after first signs and several months of treatment (June 2020). You can see how much better the hooves look. Head/full body – at 18 months onset of signs (June 2020) – please note the weight loss and reduction of orbital fat deposits.


This post is created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA, FAAVA and was shared by Katja Gorts, DVM, CVA, CVC, CVCH. The content is for informational use, not to replace medical advice.

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