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TAKE ALL THE STEPS. David Hood says a thorough physical examination of the laminitic horse should focus on making an accurate diagnosis and establishing a prognosis. It should help establish the elements for therapy with an acute or subacute laminitic horse or help develop a needed rehabilitation program for the horse with chronic laminitis.
While some are more prevalent in the acute phase than in the early or late chronic phase, David Hood says numerous conformational or pathologic changes can be present with laminitis. Most importantly, the director of the Hoof Project Foundation in College Station, Texas, says the clinical importance of these changes certainly varies when used as diagnostic or prognostic tools.
Speaking during the Second International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot in mid-November in West Palm Beach, Fla., Hood outlined 21 lesions or defects that are often found in laminitic horses. They’re listed here in the approximate order of appearance.
1. Elevated Hoof Wall Temperature. An elevated hoof wall temperature is frequently present during acute episodes. It is usually attributed to an elevated circulatory problem associated with the submural dermal laminae or an inflammatory response.
Hood says this change is not always present or detectable and has little prognostic value. It can also be absent due to low ambient temperatures or treatments imposed during the acute phase.
2. Bounding Digital Pulse. Similar to an elevated hoof wall temperature, Hood describes a bounding digital pulse as a classical sign of acute laminitis. Since the strength…