Welcome to Laminitis in Horses
All You Need To Know About The Symptoms, Causes And Treatments For Horse Laminitis
Horse or equine laminitis is a serious and painful condition that can result in lameness if not treated effectively and within a suitable period of time. Contrary to belief, this particular type of medical condition is not due to ill conditions but is seen among many horses irrespective of the amount of care being provided. The laminitis is most common during the autumn and winter months as this is the period when health becomes a problem among horses. This article will discuss what horse laminitis is, the causes and symptoms.
What Is Horse Laminitis?
A non-technical definition of equine laminitis is an inflammation of the laminae of the horse’s hoof. The lamina is the delicate tissue located in the hoof and any damage to this area can result in permanent damage to the supporting structure of the hood.
As the laminitis progresses, the attachment of the pedal bone to the hoof wall, supported by the laminae tissue, will begin it fail. As such, the bone will begin to rotate and direct towards the sole. This rotation is most often reserved for the most severe cases and can be described as a ‘sinking’ of the hoof.
What Can Cause Horse Laminitis?
1. Obesity Or Weight Gain
One of the greatest risks for equine laminitis is weight gain or obesity, especially in the abdominal region of the animal. This is due to the fact that obese or overweight horses will place more pressure on their legs and feet. The increased pressure can contribute to tissue injury and inflammation; thus, being a trigger for laminitis.
2. Increased Consumption Of Sugar And Starch
In addition to eating too much, a risk factor for equine laminitis is eating products high in sugar or starch. It is recommended that this issue be considered when purchasing feed for the animal as certain cereal-based feed may include high sugar ingredients, such as molasses.
3. Cushing’s Disease
Research has shown that approximately 50%-80% of horses in Australia suffering from Cushing’s Disease will experience equine laminitis. It was seen that the hormonal deficiencies have a negative impact on the animal’s system and can contribute to laminitis. In addition, research showed that the medication treating hormonal deficiencies could have a negative impact on the animal’s immune system contributing to a side effective of equine laminitis.
One of the common causes to equine laminitis is trauma to the animal’s feet. This repetitive physical trauma can take form in excessive riding, endurance riding, jumping on ‘too hard’ ground, or unnecessary hoof trimming.
Another common risk factor for equine laminitis is stress. Laminitis can typically be seen among horses that travel repeatedly over long distances to horse shows, new stables, or racing arenas.
What Are The Symptoms Of Horse Laminitis?
1. Aching Feet
The majority of equine laminitis cases will affect the front feet exclusively; however, it is possible that all four hooves will be affected. If the horse’s front feet are painful, the animal will stand with the front legs extended placing weight on the back legs. If all the hooves are painful, the horse may lie down and refuse to stand or walk. If he does walk, the gait may be stiff and he could have trouble turning.
2. Temperature Of The Hoof, Sole, And Coronary Band
A common symptom is the increased temperature of the hooves, as well as a pounding of the digital artery. The digital artery can be found over the fetlock joint.
Due to the stress and pain, the horse will appear anxious. He will begin to tremble, sweat, and his breathing or pulse rate will increase.