Horse in barn

Preventing And Treating Laminitis

A look at some advice farriers can share with horse owners

As a farrier, you understand that the unfortunate irony of treating a horse with laminitis is that in many cases, the disease could have been prevented. As a hoof-care professional, you are familiar with the signs of laminitis. But many horse owners are not — particularly the increasingly common type of horse owner who didn’t grow up with horses.

That means you can do your clients a big favor by familiarizing them with the causes and subsequent preventative measures they can take to avert trouble before it starts — as well as steps to take to at least arrest the effects of long-term damage.

What follows is a basic laminitis primer — a summary designed for you to use to help inform and educate your clientele about the dangers that can befall their horses from misguided management practices.

Laminitis Defined

Laminits, often commonly referred to as founder, results from the restriction of blood to the sensitive and insensitive laminae, structures that secure the coffin bone to the hoof wall. The ensuing inflammation may permanently compromise functional integrity, and in severe cases can cause the laminae to separate, resulting in the loss of stabilization and possible rotation of the coffin bone.

Technically, laminitis and founder are not synonyms; rather laminitis is the inflammation and condition that may result in founder, which refers to the actual rotation or sinking of the bony column.

Laminitis is divided into two categories — acute and chronic. Acute laminitis is associated with the sudden onset of…

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Toby Raymond

Toby Raymond is a horse owner and freelance writer who lives in Vermont. She is a frequent contributor to American Farriers Journal.

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