Laminitis in horses results from the disruption of the normal blood supply to the laminae of the hoof.  From a clinical perspective, this is one of the most common, yet potentially severe conditions that equine veterinarians face on a daily basis.  Laminitis often culminates as a result of other disease processes in the horse.  Some common causes of Laminitis include:

  • Severe bacterial infection as in the case of retained placenta, pneumonia, or colitis
  • Secondary to insulin resistance or equine Cushing’s disease
  • Secondary to toxicological exposure as in the case of Black Walnut and other toxins
  • Excessive weight bearing on a limb from a painful orthopedic condition

Early recognition and intervention are the key to having the best outcome in cases of laminitis.  The goals of therapy are to treat and manage the primary problem while limiting the damage to the hoof.  We feel that the use of aggressive early cryotherapy, supportive podiatric treatment and resolution of the primary problem to be key in the treatment of laminitis.

Laminitis is a disease that affects the feet of hooved animals (ungulates) and it is found mostly in horses and cattle. Clinical signs include foot tenderness progressing to inability to walk, increased digital pulses, and increased temperature in the hooves. Severe cases with outwardly visible clinical signs are known by the colloquial term founder, and progression of the disease may lead to perforation of the coffin bone through the sole of the hoof, requiring aggressive treatment or euthanasia.

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