Treatment of Laminitis in Horses

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Horse Laminitis

Laminitis in horses is an extremely serious affliction which affects many horses each year. Horse laminitis arises when the circulatory system within a hoof undergoes significant changes. When these changes occur, they lead to inflamed laminae, which are very sensitive areas inside the hoof. Laminitis is frequently found in horses, although it can also develop in cattle. Typically, when horse laminitis develops, it will be found in both of the horse’s front feet. It can cause severe lameness.

Horse laminitis is a treatable condition, although prevention is always preferred because a horse with laminitis must endure extreme pain. Laminitis often makes walking difficult, and a severe case will cause the horse to stand in a single place. The condition has never been found to improve on its own, and it requires treatment by a qualified farrier as well as by a veterinarian. Immediately after you notice any symptoms of horse laminitis, have your horse examined thoroughly.

Horse laminitis is normally found in the front feet, but all four of the horse’s feet can be afflicted in extreme cases. When all the horse’s feet are affected by laminitis, it will be much easier for the horse to lie down and it will spend much of its time in its stable. Horse laminitis makes it difficult for the horse to stand, and moving even just a short distance will take a long time. You might also notice shallow breathing and more sweating than is normal because of the pain. Your horse needs to undergo treatment as soon as you notice the first symptoms of horse laminitis.

Identifying what is causing a case of horse laminitis is easy, and the causes of the condition often overlap with each other, making it fairly easy to prevent laminitis from developing to begin with. In many cases, laminitis is found following a huge upswing in the level of endotoxins in the horse’s blood. An episode of colic is often responsible for this upsurge of endotoxins, so a horse that has recently had colic will often show signs of laminitis. Endotoxins can also be released into a horse’s circulatory system following a carbohydrate overload.

When a horse is allowed to overeat or graze on lush grass too long, its body will often produce endotoxins. When found in the horse’s bloodstream, the endotoxins can create circulatory problems, which then give rise to horse laminitis. Stress can also lead to horse laminitis, so if your horse has been under stress you’ll need to watch for the signs. Other causes of laminitis in horses include being worked too hard on a hard surface, long periods of transportation, and drinking too much cold water while the horse is overheated.

Laminae are the membranes that hold the horse’s pedal bone in the proper position inside the hoof. They are present in your horse’s hooves for the duration of its life. However, the membrane can die and cause the pedal bone to weaken over time if horse laminitis is allowed to progress untreated. The leg tendons will then pull on the pedal bone and cause it to twist inside the hoof. Horse laminitis that has progressed into a severe case results in a pedal bone that has rotated so far that it passes into the sole of the hoof. Destroying the horse is the only thing that can be done when the laminitis has reached this degree of severity.

If you suspect you’re beginning to see symptoms of horse laminitis, you’ll need to get treatment for your horse right away. Laminitis can be treated easily if it is found early, and the horse will make a full recovery. Having a qualified farrier remove your horse’s shoes to allow its feet to breathe is the first step in treating horse laminitis, because a foot that’s breathing more normally can help improve the circulation in the affected area. The pain can be reduced with anti-inflammatory drugs. Keep the horse in its stable so it can rest.

More severe cases of horse laminitis require shaving the horse’s hooves to relieve the pressure inside. The farrier will need to do this until the hoof’s length is correct. Because horse laminitis tends to reoccur, aftercare and corrective shoeing may be required. You’ll need to exercise correct equine care to prevent a case of horse laminitis from arising in the future.


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