What is it? 
The hoof wall is made up of an interlocked outer layer that is insensitive this is called the horn and is supported by an underlying inner area that is sensitive this is called the Laminae. When Laminitis occurs the blood flow to the laminae is affected, this causes inflammation and swelling in the tissues that are with in the hoof, it also causes extreme amounts of pain. The Laminae doesn't get any oxyden or nutrient rich blood causing the cells to become damaged. If the cause is removed and treatments is started as soon as the first sign of the condition shows, the laminae stays alive, however if it is left untreated it will begin to die. The Laminae supports the pedal bone (this is in the hoof) and the weight of the animal. In extremely severe cases of laminitis the pedal bone can sink and rotate, because the Laminae can't support it also from the pull og the deep digital flexor tendon.If the pedal bone sinks too far it can come through the sole of the foot. In the majority of cases this is irreversible however, in some very rare cases it can be cured, but this would require time, patience and a lot of money. While Laminitis can affect any of the feet it is more common in the front feet. Any horse or Pony can be affected by Laminitis. 

There are a number of different things that can cause Laminitis or make the horse more likely to get the condition. Animals that are overweight or have suffered from Laminitis previously are particularly susceptible. A high intake of sugars and starch can also cause the condition this is because it causes an overload in the digestive system, with the undigested sugar and starch pushed through to the hindgut. Bacteria then breaks this down causing acidity in the hindgut, this then kills the bacteria that digests fibre. This then causes toxins to provoke a response within the horse, this then disrupts the blood flow. A dramatic change in the environment, more so for over weight animals can trigger the condition. Severe infection is another cause, Toxaemia also known as blood poisoning can result from any condition where a horse suffers a bacterial infection e.g. a severe colic attack. Concussion is a common cause, if a horse has been worked fast for a long period of time on a particularly hard surface for example trotting on the roads, this will then affect the Laminae, especialy if a horse has a poor quality hooves and Finally another big cause is cushings disease.

Acute Laminitis. 
Horses that suffer from acute Laminitis symptoms generally tend to appear very quickly and tend to be extremely severe. The horse will not be  able to or be very reluctant to walk or move and may take to lying down and not wanting to get up. The horse will be visibly lame, especially when on a hard surface or moving in a circle. The horse will also have an increased digital pulse in the foot. When standing the horse may well lean back on to his hind feet, he does this to release pressure of the front feet. They will have pain in front of the point of frog and when walking may place its heels down before its toes.  They can also show symptoms similar to colic.
Chronic Laminitis.
A horse will show signs of ongoing symptoms, they are generally a result of a relapse from previous attacks. The hoof will have the appearance of growth rings around the hoof wall, this generally indicates the horse has suffered from laminitis in the past. Make sure not to confuse these with hoof rings which show a lack in nutrition or because of stress. Often the heel will grow faster, and the white line on the hoof will have visibly widened.

It is important that you call a vet straight away and follow treatment plans. The right treatment needs to be administered as soon as possible to provide pain relief. Advised to move the horse in a small pen or stable and make sure the bed area has a deep bed of shavings to provide support. You need to remove any feed including molassd licks, but make sure to keep fresh clean water. A vet will advise a suitable diet. They should have a companion nearby. You could stand in a stream to make the animal more comfortable for a SHORT time. X-rays may be needed as well as a farrier visit.

Horse owners should monitor their horses died, horses should be feed according to their workload and type. Follow the rule of feeding little and often, this is like the horses natural feeding pattern. Never starve a horse or pony as this can lead to serious health issues. Restrict grass intake as it is very high in carbohydrates. Maintain a good exercise programme. Make sure a farrier checks there feet every 4-6 weeks. Check the horses digital pulse frequently as a change can then be detected quickly. Make sure the horse is wormed regularly following a vet programme.

Below are pictures that show a horse standing in a laminitis stance next to that is an image that shows a healthy hoof and then below that a hoof that has acute laminitis. I hope this helped :)

 Until Next Time 
A Girl With A Dream


  1. We had a mare that suffered from laminitis for about 11 years. She was good - then bad - then good again for years and years. She had corrective shoeing and a special diet but was never quite right again.

    It's an absolutely dreadful disease and the most important thing to remember is to notice early warning signs and act fast.

  2. awww that must have been really hard, a pony that I rode for years used to go lame a lot and everyone thought it was laminitis in the end it turned out to be an abcess.

    Its so important to keep an eye on the horse and check for the signs!

  3. Laminitis is so scary and painful. I would hate for one of my horses to get it. Great post.

  4. its such a horrible disease, I'd be devastated if Gatsby got it xx


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