Horse Laminitis Experts Share Information

Horse laminitis is an inflammatory condition that commonly affects horses. Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about laminitis, what causes it, how to treat it, and more! 

What Is Laminitis?

Laminitis is a condition of a horse’s hooves. It is inflammation or damage to the tissue that is between the hoof and the coffin bone that is underlying. In some severe cases, it can lead to founder, which is the hoof and the coffin bone become separated and the coffin bone begins to rotate. This causes severe pain in the horse.

Laminitis can be caused by many things including obesity, working on hard surfaces, high fevers, black walnut shaving exposure, and stress. When fed lush, rich forage, ponies are extremely susceptible to this disorder. It should be treated as soon as possible to save the horses’ hooves.

There are many people that you can go to if you suspect your horse has laminitis. You could visit the website here to see who they recommend. They also have the answers to all your questions about this ailment.

This article will share information about laminitis from experts. It will help you to learn more about it and give you the information that you need to see if this is what is going wrong with your horse. You can also do more research to find the information that you need.

Information About Laminitis

There are three main conditions that cause this disorder in your horse. These are too much insulin, too much weight bearing on one side, and too much infection. Any of these things can cause this and all these need to be looked at when your horse becomes lame.

Insulin is a hormone in your body that will break down the glucose and other sugars in your body. Your body dispenses insulin in normal doses and is a healthy response

People who are insulin dysregulated release inappropriate amounts of insulin in response to sugars in their bodies. This leads to diabetes in humans, and somehow, leads to laminitis in horses.

Horses develop insulin dysregulation in the same ways that humans do – obesity, genetics, aging, and equine Cushing’s. Ponies who are overweight and horses that are easy keepers are often the ones who develop this. However, any horse can develop it – you can’t tell by looking at a horse if they will develop it or not. They are not always overweight, as some people believe.

Horses can get laminitis when they consume too much sugar – such as what would happen if they got too much of their feed. They can also get it from strong doses of corticosteroids that might be given for joint inflammation. If you give a shot of corticosteroids when they already have a spike in insulin, laminitis can occur.

Infectious diseases can also cause this to happen. Some diseases include colitis, pneumonia, placentitis, Potomac horse fever, and sepsis. All the mechanisms for this to happen are still unknown, but scientists think that it could be due to systemic inflammation or the movement of white blood cells that can surround and destroy bacteria into the lamellar tissue. This is still a mystery, but this is what is suspected currently.

Supporting limb laminitis is when a horse has severe injuries in one limb, usually the limb that is opposite of the one with laminitis. Scientists think that this happens because the blood flow changes in the normal pattern because one foot is standing still for a long time. Learn more about SLL here. This is one reason that some horses with fractures in their legs are euthanized – the fracture can be fixed, but they often develop laminitis, as well.

Although the three different types of laminitis are caused by different reasons, they all lead to the same issues. There is a mechanical breakdown of the tissues involved. The reason that three completely different problems can lead to the same disorder is because laminitis is half mechanical.

Clinical Signs

In the earliest stages of laminitis, there are usually no signs from the horse. This is when the lamellae begin to stretch and weaken. Horses, especially those who are not ridden regularly or are pasture horses, appear that they are perfectly normal. As the disease progresses, slight lameness might happen, especially when making turns on hard ground.

Some of the clinical signs of this are a strong pulse in the artery behind the fetlock, heat that lasts for hours in the hoof, increase in the heart rate, and a shortened stride. These are signs that have stayed the same throughout the years and haven’t changed. 

Researchers have recently found that with metabolic laminitis with higher insulin levels, the horse will show more severe clinical signs. Advanced types can cause severe lameness and can even have the coffin bone penetrate the sole of the hoof.

Horses know when they have this disease and will show you other signs. They will throw their heads, pin their ears back, threaten to bite, and flare their nostrils. They know if you put a saddle on them, they will be ridden, and their feet will hurt. They will fight you putting the saddle on them.

Managing the Disease

This used to be a condition that the horse owner would turn over to the farrier, but now it is for the veterinarian to take care of. Vets will take care of the problem from the inside out, instead of the outside in. There are many treatments for this depending on the cause of the disease.

The first treatment, no matter the cause, is usually cryotherapy. This is cooling the horse’s legs, which slows the effects of the insulin, helps to control the inflammation, and slows down the breakdown of the lamellar, which will slow the progression of the disease. This works for all three of the causes and works well.

This has proven to work to arrest the development of laminitis and the horse could walk out of the vet’s care and lead an active life. The pathological process will go down fifty percent for every ten-degree Celsius drop in temperature. If you can drop the temperature of the leg from thirty degrees Celsius to five degrees Celsius, the inflammation could be stopped in its tracks. Various health supplements may also be of assistance. 


If you have a horse that is coming up lame, you need to suspect laminitis. Early treatment done the right way can save a horse. This should be dealt with by a veterinarian and not a farrier.

Images from Depositphotos 



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