Confusion on a new treatment for laminitis used in France
Reports are reaching the veterinary profession in the UK that bloodletting is being used to treat laminitis in France. This old treatment which was used 200 hundred years ago for treating human fever patients has been used in France to treat one case of laminitis. However although this French pony did indeed have laminitis the treatment was not used because of the laminitis but on account of the liver disease which had been found by liver biopsy.
The liver biopsy had revealed extremely high levels of haemosiderin. On a very careful investigation French vets found that the pony had been drinking water from a borehole. This water had very high levels of iron. This iron was poisoning the animal and causing this excess of haemosiderin. The French vets decided to try to reverse this by regularly bleeding the pony. This blood loss would aid the pony to reduce these haemosiderin deposits to make red blood corpuscles.
Five litres of whole blood was drained from the pony’s jugular on a weekly basis for eight weeks. A second liver biopsy revealed that these haemosiderin deposits had been absorbed. The pony made an uneventful recovery from its liver disease. Luckily the laminitis which had been treated with phenylbutazone had also been cured.
The French vets were unable to confirm that the bloodletting had actually helped the laminitis but they were pleased that such a satisfactory result had been achieved.