Every day veterinarians across the country see hundreds of cases of laminitis, a painful disease that affects the feet of horses. Laminitis results from the disruption of blood flow to the sensitive and insensitive laminae within the foot, which secure the coffin bone to the hoof wall. While the exact mechanisms by which the feet are damaged remain a mystery, certain precipitating events can produce laminitis. Although laminitis occurs in the feet, the underlying cause is often a disturbance elsewhere in the horse’s body.
As a horse owner, it is important to recognize the signs of laminitis and seek veterinary help immediately. Signs of acute laminitis include the following:
Signs of chronic laminitis may include the following:
If you suspect laminitis, consider it a medical emergency and notify your veterinarian immediately. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chance for recovery. For information about laminitis, ask your equine veterinarian for the “Laminitis: Prevention and Treatment” brochure provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) in association with Bayer Animal Health, an AAEP Educational Partner. Additional information can also be found on the AAEP’s website www.aaep.org/horseowner.
Reprinted with permission from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.