laminitis treatment for horses

Learn All About Laminitis

The inside of the hoof is arranged in layers called laminae which interdigitate and suspend the pedal bone in a stable position within the hoof wall. Laminitis occurs when the laminae become inflamed and the complex attachments within the hoof begin to fail. It is a very painful condition and in severe cases when the attachments fail completely the pedal (coffin) bone rotates and sinks within the hoof. The sole in front of the point of the frog might become soft and bulge outwards under pressure from the pedal bone and in worse cases may penetrate through the sole its self.


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Laminitis in horses is a very serious condition that affects the feet and makes it very painful for the horse to walk and even stand. Laminitis can be caused by several factors and if you suspect that your horse has laminitis you should begin treatment as soon as possible. This condition will not get better on its own and will only get worse if not treated immediately. Below is some very important information that you should know about laminitis.

Some of the most common causes of laminitis in horses include:

  • Eating too much grain (this often happens when a horse breaks into the feed room and gorges himself on feed)
  • Lush pasture (eating too much grass especially spring grass can cause laminitis in horses)
  • Too much work on a hard surface
  • Overweight horses that do not get enough exercise
  • Drinking large amounts of cold water when overheated
  • Prolonged transportation
  • Stress or shock

The most common symptom of laminitis is lameness. Your horses feet will become extremely sore and it will be painful for him to walk. Most of the time laminitis will only affect the front feet, however it is not uncommon for the hind feet to be affected as well. If all four feet are sore your horse will spend most of his time laying down and may even refuse to get up. Other symptoms include anxiety, glazed eyes and increased breathing due to the pain.

If you suspect that your horse has laminitis you should immediately start treatment. If this condition is not treated soon enough your horse can founder and then the real problems begin. Founder can cause permanent damage to your horses feet and some horses will never fully recover from founder. Laminitis in horses should not be taken lightly and at the first sign of lameness you should contact your veterinarian to make a diagnosis. With immediate and proper treatment your horse should make a full recovery.


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