October 08, 2008 | | Comments 0

Laminitis in Horses – Common Hoof Problems



Common Hoof Disorders: Laminitis in Horses

Laminitis is a common hoof disorder that typically causes a lot of pain to the horse. It is a malfunction of the attachment of the pedal bone and the inner hoof wall. Durable connective tissues are responsible for connecting the pedal bone to the hoof wall. If these tissues are damaged, inflamed or experiences a lack of blood supply, the connection between the laminae fails. Eventually, the pedal pone will start to have excessive wear and tear from the hoof wall.

Laminitis is also known as founder. It is basically characterized by a sore inflammation of the foot. It can affect both the front and back feet. In severe cases, there can be permanent damage to the laminae and the connection of the coffin bone to the hoof wall collapses. Body weight eventually imposes a lot of pressure on the coffin bone, and the bone may end up rotating downward, sometimes through the sole.

Causes of Laminitis

There are several contributing factors that can lead to laminitis. These include grazing on abundant pasture, consuming lawn grass clipping, overfilling on grain, excessive body weight, or taking in too much water when temperature is high. Mare retaining the afterbirth, traveling or standing on hard ground, and excessive stress can also cause laminitis.

Symptoms of Laminitis

There are some symptoms you may notice when a horse is suffering from laminitis. These symptoms include difficulty walking and turning, warm hooves due to amplified digital artery pulse rate, constantly applying pressure from one foot to another and depression at the coronary band.

There are 3 phases of laminitis in horses, they are developmental, acute and chronic. Developmental laminitis characterizes the time between the commencement of factors that lead to delamination, and the progression of clinical lameness. On the other hand, acute laminitis characterizes the time between the clinical initiation of lameness and the stabilization of laminar degeneration. Finally, chronic laminitis develops when there is dislocation of the distal phalanx but no active laminar necrosis exists.

Treatment of Laminitis

To date, there is no known cure for laminitis and in fact the condition can be easily overlooked. There are however some treatments that can be administered to the affected horse. Initial treatments like anti-inflammatory drugs and cryotherapy are often used to prevent mechanical breakdown. Moreover, there are more unconventional treatments that may be employed, such as acupuncture and herbal or homeopathic treatments. And there are even more methods that may help treat a horse suffering from laminitis. You may encourage your horse to lie down to eliminate tension on the hooves, employ dietary changes, use mineral oil, proper hydration, administer antibiotics, apply a magnetic hoof pad, drain abscesses, or keep your horse on soft ground. How successful some of these laminitis treatments are is open to debate.

Laminitis can present a very serious problem if left untreated. It is a condition that should not be left untreated. Once you notice any symptom, even a slight symptom, you should contact the vet straight away and have your horse treated. The best form of treatment is definitely preventing the condition from further progressing. Postponing treatment even for a few days can compromise a horse’s life. Early treatment is advised for the optimal health of your horse.

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