Laminitis in Horses
ABSTRACT: Laminitis is a painful and serious disease that can cause lameness in horses. It is an inflammation of the laminae. The Laminae is tissue that connects coffin bone and the wall of the hoof. Laminitis can occur in any horse, usually obese horses, and ponies. It is caused by changes of horses’ feed, lush grass, retained placenta, intake of cold water while horse is still hot, surgery, trauma to the hoof, riding on hard ground.
Key Words: Laminitis, Laminae, Inflammation, Founder, Coffin Bone
Laminitis can occur in all horses. Ponies are more prone to laminitis, just as obese horses. A horse that has had too much grain intake recently, or is turned out in a lush grass paddock can get laminitis too. When a horse gets laminitis, the sensitive laminae which contains the blood flow, becomes inflamed and since there is little room in the hoof wall, the horse feels a lot of pressure, and pain. If this is not treated right away, it can lead to acute laminitis, which is also known as founder. Founder is detachment and or movement of the coffin bone. When the bone detaches or moves it can make laminitis a permanent or chronic problem (Equine-world).
There are many different types of laminitis. There is grain founder, grass founder, water founder, and road founder. Each one of these can cause the same problem in the laminae. Grain founder is when a horse gets into a feed room and over does it, or if the horse is feed too much when not working enough. Grass founder is when a horse gets turned out in the spring to a lush field without being weaned on to the field slowly. Water founder is when a hot horse has had a lot of cold water intake. Road founder is when the horse is worked too hard on uneven surface (McArdle, C).
Laminitis is weakening of the coffin bone. This weakening can come from a lack of blood supply to the area in the foot that is injured. In more severe cases, the lack of blood supply causes the laminae on the outside of the foot to detach from the laminae on the inside of the hoof wall. In the worst cases, the weakened laminae
can no longer support the weight of the horse, and the coffin bone moves to the wall. Movement of the bone can cut off blood supply to the laminae by squashing blood vessels. When the bone moves this is chronic laminitis also known as founder. With chronic laminitis the horses hoof has a dished appearance to it.
Laminitis if caught early enough will not cause any damage to the horse or the horses’ job. The horse will live a healthy life after laminitis. But if it is not caught early, there could be many problems in the long run. That is why it is very important to know the signs of laminitis. The signs are that the horse could be stiff coming out of the stall or field usually in the front end. Almost looking like a sore shoulder. The hoofs are hot to the touch. The horse looks restless, trying to find a comfortable way to rest his legs, pointing of the front toes.
McArdle, Camille, D.V.M., Fear of Founder, Horse Illustrated, May