When dealing with suspected laminitis cases, equine veterinarian Andrea Floyd suggests that farriers develop specific protocol to follow each time you look at a horse. This will enable you to effectively compare numerous lame horses in an identical way and make it easier to see changes during follow-up visits with the same animal.

Here’s part of her suggested protocol for farriers to use when they deal with a suspected laminitic case:

1. Check out the horse. Look at the general appearance, posture and determine if the horse is in pain. Note the degree of difficulty when a standing horse is able to move and turn.

2. Evaluate the horse’s attitude. Does the horse have glazed-over or worried-looking eyes? Is the horse licking or smacking its lips or shaking its head?

3. Check the heart rate. This can be an excellent indicator of pain levels.

4. Evaluate body temperature and hydration. An elevated heart rate and high temperature often go hand in hand as physical exertion takes a toll. Dehydration may be due to stress or the horse’s inability to walk to the source of water.