In simple terms, Laminitis is an inflammation of the laminae, causing pain and lameness. The severity ranges from mild discomfort to more extreme pain causing the horse to be unable to stand.
Symptoms of laminitis
Acute laminitis can occur very suddenly. Symptoms include severe lameness, especially when moving on a circle or on a hard surface, reluctance to walk and an increased digital pulse in the foot. The horse may lean back when standing to relieve pressure from the front feet and may lie down with a reluctance to get up.
Chronic Laminitis will show ongoing symptoms, which are generally a result of a relapse from previous problems. You may notice growth rings around the hoof wall – which is an indication of previous bouts of laminitis – and the horse may develop a large crest.
If you suspect your horse is suffering from laminitis, call your vet straight away.
Once you have a diagnosis you can then begin implementing the many steps to prevent and manage this debilitating condition.
Laminitis is nearly always caused by a metabolic upset which can be triggered by numerous circumstances including severe illness, long term use of drugs such as corticosteroids, excessive trauma to the hoof, or most commonly from the diet either because of a grazing related fructan overload or from excessive starch levels in the diet.
Did you know?
Research has suggested that a large percentage of equines affected by laminitis have an underlying hormonal problem, with the most common being Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Cushing’s disease. These can be diagnosed by a blood test, if you suspect your horse could be suffering from either of these conditions seek your vet’s advice immediately.