Top Ten List For Handling Laminitis

What we’ve learned about treating this concern

10. Once laminitis has occurred, later episodes can be caused by relatively minor stresses.

  • Careful management reduces risk of recurrent acute episodes.
  • Gradual weight loss is beneficial to overweight horses.
  • Shoeing and footcare are essential.
  • Level of exercise is dependent on severity of problem.

9. Mechanical forces acting on the hoof can lead to structural collapse of the hoof wall and the following results:

  • A poorly attached coffin bone can be driven down under the horse’s weight, tearing arteries and veins, crushing the corium of sole and coronet.
  • This causes severe pain and lameness.
  • The deep digital flexor tendon — when loaded — can worsen rotation of coffin bone.

8. Not all cases of chronic laminitis are catastrophic or life-threatening, but the predominant problem with such cases is secondary complications such as:

  • Hoof cracks
  • Wall separation.
  • Abscess formation.

7. “Obesity and laminitis syndrome” is responsible for many cases of laminitis previously blamed on equine Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism.

  • Diagnosis is made by clinical signs, age of the horse and laboratory testing.
  • Glucose and insulin may be high in both equine Cushing’s disease and obesity and laminitis syndrome.
  • Plasma thyroid hormones may be abnormally low with obesity and laminitis syndrome.
  • Obesity and laminitis syndrome seems to be caused by abnormally low levels or activity of 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, which regulates steroidal activity within the tissues.

6. Maintaining submural blood supply during the developmental phase of laminitis with calcium channel blockers and/or rheologic agents may reduce the severity of laminitis.

  • A prolonged…
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