Hoof Nutrition Intelligence Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.

Below you will find Part 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: What are the early signs of laminitis?

By Vern Dryden, DVM, CJF, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital

A: Laminitis is the most common ailment we see in horses. Conditions of the hoof can change at a gradual pace with laminitic horses. Although these subtle changes may go unnoticed when observed on a daily basis, they become more apparent as hoof conditions are tracked over a long period of time.

Farriers should be vigilant in regard to hoof quality and morphology of the feet. It may be helpful to take pictures of the horse’s feet, catalog them and look back to see if there are any changes each time you’ve gone to trim the horse. If so, pass that information along to the horse owner.

Laminitis results from reduced blood flow and chronic inflammation in the laminae that connect the coffin bone to the hoof wall. If displacement allows the bone within the capsule to rotate or move, it’s time for the owner to consult a veterinarian. Another visual hint is stretching of the white line in the hoof. This is a result of tearing or ripping of the lamina that occurs when you have displacement.

Other signs of laminitis are:

  • Bridging.
  • Sensitivity to hoof testers.
  • Shifting weight back and forth or side to side.

There are some products you can recommend to owners of horses showing signs of laminitis. One of them is Metabarol, which can be useful to horses with insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, obesity and other precursors to chronic laminitis.

Vern Dryden, DVM, CJF is an associate of the Podiatry department of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. The makers of Equithrive thank Dr. Vern Dryden for serving as an unpaid consultant on this product.

Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine). Absorbine

Like many significant achievements, Absorbine® grew out of humble beginnings—and through the tenacity of someone willing to question the status quo. In this case, it was a young woman in late 19th-century Massachusetts: Mary Ida Young. Her husband, Wilbur Fenelon Young, was an enterprising piano deliveryman who relied on the couple’s team of horses to make deliveries throughout the Northeast. Inspired by Mary Ida and Wilbur’s vision, Absorbine® has continued to add innovative products throughout the years — products used every day by horse owners around the world. Which is why, since 1892, we’ve been The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name®.

Click here to read Part 1 of the June 15, 2015 installment: What can I do for a horse that has weak and crumbly hooves?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.