Known in the equine world as the most pervasive crippling disease, laminitis continues to inflict horses of all breed, age and gender. It’s a struggle to cure and a huge responsibility to avoid. Today, we’re getting an insider view from experts via Formula 4 Feet.
Laminitis is described as a painful inflammatory condition of the laminae, the tissues that bond the hoof wall to the pedal bone in the hooves. In its development, the pedal bone weakens and causes it to spin and position towards the sole. At its worst, it can drop and fall through it causing intense pain, incapacity and even death.
The disease is caused by various factors and sometimes a combination of them. These include but are not limited to infections and illnesses (e.g. colic or diarrhea), concussion from riding on rough and hard terrain and/or surfaces, Cushings disease, abnormal insulin levels, high sugar and/or starch diet, excessive weight gain or obesity, excessive grass and grain intake, physical stress, weight bearing and injuries.
Treatment for laminitis will need the help of a veterinarian as each case is unique with varying causative agents and each horse is likely to be of a different physical state than the others. Moreover, lateral and dorsopalmar radiographs and other exams will have to be performed to assess the gravity of the situation.
Since it’s a multi-factorial ailment, the causes that lead to must immediately be removed for instance high sugar and starch feeds. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed on top of a mandatory week long stall rest. Shoeing, trimming and picking the hooves are still to be done but will require utmost caution and special care.
Of course, nutrition has to be at its best to encourage healing from within. Meals however need to be supervised and picked to ensure that they do not eat more of what shouldn’t be and less of what should be. Best practices for meal portions and schedules are still to be upheld.
But like anything else, laminitis is still best prevented rather than cured says Formula 4 Feet. Some of the things that owners and caretakers can do includes the provision of vet approved supplements and care products, lesser load to minimize weight bearing, avoidance of hard-packed dirt or rocky terrain, maintenance of clean and dry stables, weight management, proper and adequate diet, regular hoof care (e.g. trimming and picking) as well as proper and correct shoeing.