Equine – Enlarged Sheath on Gelding – Horse Laminitis Founder Insulin Resistance IR Belly Edema and Enlarged Sheath Edema read How I resolved these issues.


General – Arabian Gelding at 17yo 2004

then again 27yo 2014

Founder & Laminitis- Equine Solutions
This is to help people and their horses
find the right nutritional support to
help them help their horses.
With founder, laminitis, insulin resistance (diabetes in horses).
Edema issues, belly and enlarged sheath on gelding.  I never thought to get a good pic of the sheath and belly edema streaking up towards his front elbows….lol….too busy trying to figure out how to get rid of it!  It was like holding a heavy football.

(Many stressful conditions can cause founder/laminitis episodes in horses.  Fever, pregnancy, injury, etc.  This article is in regards to IR. Flax oil and flax seed remains very antiinflammatory.)


Products that I have used with success.
Most vets are not educated in using natural supplements for IR issues
so this is my “journey and experience”.

see articles at this page bottom about feeding – TIMOTHY PELLETS, only organic Beet Pulp if you choose to use BP other wise it is GMO, – Stabilized Rice Bran & – Stabilized ground Flax or soak or grind at time of feeding Flax seeds. Alfalfa pellets if organic are not GMO otherwise they are GMO, are low NSC’s (non-structured carbohydrates) whereas Alfalfa cubes are just like feeding alfalfa hay.  Very, very, very bad for horses that have IR issues, EPSM, etc.  I understand we all have to feed what we can find locally reasonably priced.  No corn, oats, wheat, barley, soy preferably not due to controversial issues with interfering with hormone receptors, but soy oil is anti inflammatory. Coconut oil good, Rice bran oil good, Flax oil good.

In 2009 when the price of flax seed went triple I cut it out of my feed mix and found that my two sister mares began to get stiff and not be able to walk comfortably so I added it back in for them.  Once the price went back to normal a year later or so, I added it back in for everyone!  I still had a 33 yo Arabian mare and 33 yo Arabian Stallion that as aged horses flax is great for keeping inflammation down so there are no issues with joints and such.  It’s great for ALL ages!

I also love feeding Orchard grass pellets, also low NSC’s (low carb).  I found Canola oil is very inflammatory when I tried switching to it from flax oil.  So NO Canola oil.  It caused within 3 days inflammation issues for my two sister mares.  I had been using vegetable oil or corn oil which work but not as great as flax oil, or ricebran oil, or coconut oil or soy oil.  My preference is flax oil, ricebran oil or coconut oil.

There are some specific products that can help you maintain your horse with IR and founder issues.

Due to Regulations now on drugs and natural supplements,
you will need to email me ?
for specific product recommendations.

I would like to also offer my feeding recommendations
that I use:  LOW Non-Structural CARBOHYDRATE – Cool Stance
for convience as well as my own special feed I make up (see below).
Find my recipe below. I also soaked my grass hay for my
two mares to reduce the sugar/carbs in it. My
gelding turned out to not need that done.

CoolStance copra is a unique horse feed because it has low Non Structural Carbohydrate (NSC), and yet has a high digestible energy content. CoolStance is packed with ‘cool’ energy from coconut oil and fibre from coconut meal. CoolStance copra is suitable for most horses and can be fed to maintain a natural state of gut health and insulin sensitivity, ie normal insulin metabolism.

CoolStance copra is made from the white part of the coconut, which has been dried, baked and ground. It is a totally natural product and is chemical and GMO free. http://www.stanceequine.com/product-coolstance-copra

For more information on carbohydrate intolerance and insulin resistance, visit www.safergrass.org.

This is OUR STORY and EXPERIENCE with Founder due to Insulin Resistance


My Personal Testimonial: I used ABC Pro Bi, A Digestive Supplement ABC PLUS, ABC HOOF,
on 3 of my 10 horses (ages 15, 16, 17 – 2 Arab full sister mares and one unrelated to the sisters, Arab gelding) that first foundered April and May of 2005 on straight alfalfa due
to being Insulin Resistant (they had signs of insulin resistance prior, much overweight, cresty necks), (KRYSTAL 2004)


And my gelding General, (had a very heavy huge sheath with edema) – very successfully
and highly recommend them. Also recommended to put out Free Choice
the ABC Free Choice Stress System which includes MOP A safe Detoxing supplement very important for acute laminitis/founder. They all eat lots of the A Mix, BVC Mix, some Ts Mix, some Detox, and lots of the Calcium:Phosphorous Mineral and a little of the Redmond Salt. (GENERAL 2004)


I did use BUTE on the two sisters beginning June 05. In Jan 24th 06 had the trimmer out and one sister Shamara, started having a founder attack, very hot feet, trimming was very difficult on both of them with hot feet, they were down to 1 bute daily so he suggested I put her on 2 – 2 times daily again which I started on the 30th in the evening. (SHAMARA 2004)

She Shamara went down on Feb 4th 2006 and by Sunday 5th she had been down for 14 hours. From there she got up and I found blood in her urine. Took her off the bute.

Started her on Penecillian, temp at 101.5. Continued
the Penecillian and added Genemician for 9 days. She finally got to the point where she didn’t get up at all for 7 days. I did start giving her Banamine once a day for pain which helped her to get up. She finally got up and then didn’t get up again for 8 days. We had her on 2 months of the Sulfer Antiobiotics before her UTI was finally gone. At one time in the first week of bloody urine it was so red and thick and bubbly,it was very scarry.


Her sister Krystal remained on 1 bute daily, but she Sha Mara only got 1 banamine daily. March 20th was 7 wks of IR supplement on the gelding and the other sister mare Krystal. I took the UTI mare Sha Mara off the IR supplement at Gabrielle’s recommendation till it was all over. By March 25th 2006 the UTI was gone and Sha Mara was in to recovering slowly. I finally took the other sister Krystal off the 1 bute daily April 06. No other pain meds except for the occassional Bayer Aspirin 10 to 12 tabs, 2 to 3 times daily was ever used on the other mare and Banamine on the day of trimming to make sure she could stand well enough. (KRYSTAL 2006)


The UTI mare Shamara only got Banamine occassionally for trimming. They are both not on any painmeds except for day of trimming with one dose of Banamine 3 hours before since end of April 06. When they re-foundered on the “other product” 2nd wk of April 2006 till last wk of April (so one year after the 1st founder), they got Banamine once daily to get them through a few times for trimming. The UTI sister did have a huge size of a plate open pressure wound down to the exposed hip bone from the 2005 founder and UTI fever that we have successfully healed with skin hair and muscle tissue again, but it took till now end of NOV 06. So it can be done! (not without scars though-we used Healing Tree Tea-Pro Spray miracleous product no sting) (SHAMARA 2006)

I didn’t start them on the first IR supplement that worked until Sept 2005 once I learned about it. The two full sister mares still had hot feet. My Arab Gelding had already
come out of it on his own and the only thing I changed in their diet was I took everyone
off the 1 cup a day of whole soaked oats mixed into their beet pulp feed mix (see below recipe).

But my Gelding still had a cresty neck and a huge sheath with edema so I felt
the IR supplement should be used on him to see if we could get some of the excess
weight off him and a wonderful surprise, his sheath has now gone down to a very
normal size and he is running around almost like he used too. He is still chubby some. Oct 06.
The two sister mares had lost lots of weight and were too thin, very ribby from the pain in their feet.

Since the first IR supplement I tried works with
the ABC product line whom I’ve been using since 1990 I felt it was my best option as I already
loved and agreed with the ABC product line. It took 7 to 8 wks after the first founder in 2005 to see my two girls (full Arab sisters) walking around again normally and even a little bit of trotting.
On June 5th, 2006 I switched to another product (EquineLegMagic which worked great for a friend’s horse who had developed ring bone in just a few months he was bucking and playing again but for IR founder issues not so much only a little) on the market highly recommended to save some $, and had them all 3 go backwards within 1 1/2 wks time to full blown founder again, very hot feet.

So I kept them on it for lack of anything else to give them, until
I recieved my new order of the original first IR supplement and Prebiotic June 26th 2006. I put
them all on 3 doses daily. My Gelding came out of it first in 6 wks and
my two sister mares came out of it finally about 10 to 12 wks. Takes longer the 2nd founder.  First founder only took 7-8 weeks.


I cut my gelding back to 1 dose daily but he experienced some soreness
in one hoof after trimming a couple of times I decided to bring him up to 2 doses daily
and that is working beautifully. He is jumping up in the air, and running around pretty much like he used to.
He’s 19 years old Arab gelding. (GENERAL 2006)


I also have my 2 Arab girls 16 & 17 now, on 2 doses daily and they
continue to straighten up on their front end and walk faster again. I hope to see
them back to where they were Sept 2005 before I tried a different product. I did as I was running out again of the first IR supplement switch to the ABC Cushings Supplement (for IR, Cushings, Obese) since it is an ABC product and the first one was also developed by ABC and was more of a complete feed type supplement and way expensive but effective. I found the ABC Cushings Supplement more affordable and just as effective as the 1st one.  (KRYSTAL 2006)

It’s also very important to find a “barefoot horse trimmer” who
can properly trim every 4 to 6 wks to relieve the pressure in the feet
while they are healing. I use ABC HOOF for growing healthy new hooves inside and out
and they wear Old Mac’s and or Cavallo’s 24/7 until their feet are good enough again to be barefoot.


The severity of my two sister mares was massive. One Krystal had both her
coffin bones exposed for sometime, first one and then the other by the next trimming. Krystal actually at one point had both coffin bones exposed to the ground. My farrier used some iodine crystals and acetone mixed to chemically cartarize the blood vessels with these coffin bones exposed to the ground.  Very hot mixture.  After that we also poured some turpentine on the soles to help dry up the nerve endings and shrink them back up to reduce sensitivity.  Also Krystle’s front hooves with the coffin bones exposed the coffine bones and lamini looked like “Swiss Cheese” just full of holes.  (SHA MARA 2006)


I kept boots on them and 7% idoine and
sugar or iodine and epsoms salts in some DAVIS Soaker Boots constantly
and then switched them to Old Macs’ and then Cavallo’s to keep bacteria
from getting into the cavities in their soles as the new soles were growing
and I managed through all this to keep any infection from getting started in
their feet – even with exposed coffin bones. The one Krystal with the exposed
coffin bones was the first one to begin walking all the way down her
250′ long pen and back a couple times a day and then even trotting some
before I did the big error of trying a different product that sent them backwards.
The other sister Shamara actually went down for almost 3 wks with a UTI that with lots
of tough work got her through and she even began to walk with her sister some. Shamara was eager to get down to her sister once her fever broke.   (SHAMARA 2006 after second founder and UTI fever) – (SHAMARA & KRYSTAL 2006 after 2nd founder)

I also soaked my local (orchard grass and pasture mix) grass hay that still had tiny bits of alfalfa in it, once per day that fed the two girls evening meal that day and then morning meal the next day in cold water in a big black garbage can. It was a pretty dark tea color when I poured it off
what was left after draining from the bottom several hours. I have finally for winter stopped soaking the hay with the freezing temps it doesn’t work for me outside.

My Gelding General, I never
did soak his hay and he has been good with that. I will probably resume
soaking 1st cutting hay when I get my first load of hay in June next year for the girls.
Depends on how my “gut feelings” are about it and how the two girls are doing then.

I did not resume soaking hay.  I found it wasn’t that necessary using the ABC Cushings -IR supplement and feeding low carb and grass hay with little to no alfalfa majority of the time.  We all have to get whatever hay we can find locally.  Feeding low carb means beet pulp and alfalfa pellets soaked with flax seed and some rice bran and some corn oil if desired or flax oil or cocount oil or rice bran oil, (there is actually enough oil in the flax seeds that comes out when soaked)  and add their supps.  Now since 2012 I use timothy pellets which are NON GMO.  Beet pulp and alfalfa pellets unless they say Organic are GMO.

They both did well after the 2nd founder and never foundered again, and Shamara’s knee went down to 1/2 or less of the calcification but then after a time the tendon began to contract.  Both passed on in their early 20’s, Krystal first the older sister as she rolled and twisted her gut, and then Shamara the younger sister just finally got old and weak and we needed to help her cross over.  My guess is the 2nd founder IR issues shortened their lifespans as most of my horses live into late 20’s and early 30’s.  Their supps that worked were the ABC Cushings Supp, ABC PLUS, Selenium/Vit E, Free Choice Stress System and ABC HOOF to help rebuild for a few months.  CLICK HERE to see products. 

I hope my information and experience with my 3 Arab horses helps you.
Vickie Stevens

Need a barefoot horse trimmer? Click Here

I use these boots to help with sore feet 24/7.
Get your Riding BOOTS on!
See NEW $119.95/pr Simple Boots by Cavallo for barefooters –
laminitis/founder/navicular, trail riding, trailering, breeding safety…
Great BOOTS. you can get them from kvvet.com USA or Cavallo in Canada.

I have been using the Nolan Hoof Plates and they
seem to be helping so far. Check them out.
Great Article by Pete Ramey — Horse Boots and Pads: A True Breakthrough In Healing
I highly recommend his books and videos!
Pete Ramey’s Website! Awesome!

My story with my 2 full sister mares (15 and 16) and 1 unrelated gelding 17:
I used to feed, 1/2 and 1/2 grass/alfalfa
hay, some grass pasture, and once a day 1 qt of dry cob (corn, oats,barley) and or
2 -1 at scoops hydrated beet pulp with cob and digestive supps. My 2 mares
with each successive year from about 2002 they were progressively
showing wt gain and then some cresty neck increasing as of 2004 and then
2005 Apr and May they foundered on 2 months of straight alfalfa
(which I wound up feeding each spring as my hay guy ran out of
his last season’s hay before cutting in June-I had been doing this for
years with no problems and normally feeding 1/2 and 1/2 to 11 horses
of all ages and gender). So, moral of that story is…Feeding alfalfa hay to horses is ok…until it’s NOT!

General – Arabian Gelding 17 y.o.

My gelding also I noticed since 2002 his sheath had been growing in size.
Later I found out this was edema. It was very heavy and uncomfortable for him but
not sore to be touched. It became the size of a foot ball! (GENERAL 2004)

My vet said more salt or steroids, could be kidney issues. She also cleaned out his sheath
which was a good thing to do but there was no benefit in regards to reducing any edema.

I put out more redmond salt free choice and white salt block and even added some
homeopathic for swelling which did seem to help. But a great side benefit

What I wasn’t expecting with the IR product was his sheath went down
to about 1/3 to 1/4 the size it had been for so long. Not perfect but so much
better. In a short time he was also running around his paddock again like he used
to play.

My 2 full sister mares had foundered much worse than he, but they too were walking
around their 250′ paddock 2 or 3 times a day again. I look forward to them
trotting around again in the future. (The two mares passed on in their early 20’s, a few years later, it’s my guess that the IR issues shortened their lifespans but they never foundered again).

The thing is “one” never worries too much about a “fat” horse, you just figure a little less food and more work. It’s the skinny, can’t get wt on horses that one usually worries about. But these are the signs of Insulin Resistance and it’s the food they are eating that exacerbates the problem and leads to eventual founder and laminitis issues (sore, warm or hot feet). It’s basically “diabetes” in horses. I only used bute until I was able to acquire the IR products 6 months later.

I actually had one full sister mare Shamara go down with a Urinary Tract Infection, fever and bloody urine,probably from using the bute for 6 months. It took 2 rounds of sulfer antiob. to get rid of it and about 2 months of intense care. She was very sick. The other full sister mare did fine on the bute, so you just never know. I recommend using a flax based liquid, devils claw, white willow bark etc. in place of bute for pain unless their feet are massively hot. and I recommend using the boots also. BUTELESS is a great product.
Vickie Stevens My Fine Equine.com

So Bottom Line – My 3 Horses are on the IR supplement, the Probi, The Free Choice Stress System
(important that they have the FC Stress System no matter which IR you use)

and “My Special Feed Mix” see below use ABC PLUS or PLUS Fortified
for your top dress/digestive supp. http://myfineequine.com/myfeedmix.htm

Selenium/Vit E, (be sure to check with
your local county extension office to find out if your area is high or low in selenium)
We also have a natural Vit E supplement if your area/hay is high in selenium)
Humic Shale Ore. are mixed into my special feed mix, and
GRASS HAY – (little as in 5% or less Alfalfa or NO Alfalfa is better, no clover same legume as alfalfa) No Molasses, no carrots, one carrot can be ok. Apples can be ok in small amts.

After about 5 years on the IR supplement (ABC Cushings Supplement) he started loosing more weight and becoming under weight, and after consulting with Mr. Helfter of ABC,
we determined he was no longer IR and I weaned him off the product. This is him in 2014 at 27. He still runs around barefoot! As you can see his weight is normal in the 2nd picture above, for 27 and his sheath is totally normal and has been since a year after he was put on the ABC Cushings Supp (magnesium, chromium, cinnamon supp) for IR issues and laminitis and the eventual disappearence of his belly and sheath edema was a bonus and a surprise as not even my vet realized it was due to the IR.  After 5 years we had to take him off the ABC Cushings supp for his IR as he began to lose weight and was indicating he no longer needed it.  We also stopped the Free choice minerals which he didn’t seem to care about anymore either.