Tackling Laminitis

While much has been learned about laminitis over the past 25 years, it's still critical to evaluate each horse

During the most recent American Association of Equine Practitioners annual conference, Andy Parks took an in-depth look at many of the facts and myths relating to laminitis issues.

The University of Georgia equine veterinarian examined both the progress in recent years along with some of the controversies that still remain in dealing with this costly disease. His presentation, including some of his own common-sense approaches to dealing with laminitis, contains items of special interest to American Farriers Journal readers.

Q: How do I know if any of the horses that I work on actually have laminitis?

A: The principle symptom of acute laminitis is the onset of acute lameness. The severity of lameness varies greatly, from barely detectable, to a stiff gait or being unable to move. The hooves are usually warm, the horse may be reluctant to pick up a limb and the digital pulses are pronounced. The horse may be breathing rapidly from the pain or from the effort involved with trying to walk. The disease most frequently affects both forelimbs, but any combination of limbs may be affected.

If an owner suspects a horse has laminitis based on the sudden development of lameness that is evident at a walk that involves multiple limbs, he or she should call the veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian will make a diagnosis based on physical examination. Radiographs at this stage in the disease may show no abnormalities, but are frequently taken to provide a baseline should the condition worsen.

Laminitis is not…

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