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In fact, many attendees were shocked to hear that this may account for 70% of today’s laminitis cases.
Dr. Donald Walsh pointed out that farriers represent the first line of defense in the early detection of this form of laminitis. The key is to correct the high level of insulin as early as possible.
He says this is a difficult disease to successfully treat and manage in horses and ponies. The International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame member from Pacific, Mo., and the head of the Animal Health Foundation that provides needed dollars for equine research, says the disease has the potential to cause extensive damage to the feet before clinical signs of laminitis become apparent.
Walsh says early diagnosis and management are critical if the crippling changes seen with this disease are to be avoided. While an affected horse is often seen with a history of acute onset lameness, no amount of trimming or shoeing can fix the concern.
A physical examination normally reveals a dropped sole, abnormal growth rings on the external hoof wall, seedy toe and the hemorrhages between the white line and the external hoof wall. While many of these horses are obese, that’s not always the case.
Walsh says this form of laminitis is associated with elevated levels of insulin. This is often associated with eating spring grass, which pushes already high levels of insulin up even more due to the increased intake of non-structured carbohydrates in the grass.