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When encountering acute or chronic laminitic cases, the best possible outcome relies on a team consisting of the horse owner, husbandry staff, veterinarian and farrier. Every case is different, yet the principles remain the same.
In a presentation to a group of farriers and veterinarians from Illinois and Wisconsin in late January, Travis Burns discussed management of these cases. The chief of farrier services and lecturer at the Virginia–Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine brought his experiences to relate these and his preferences for treatment depending on certain cases.
Burns first introduced the treatment goals for acute laminitis:
“First and foremost, correct the primary problem — that’s the vet’s job. Controlling inflammation — that’s the vet’s job. Preventing the derangement of the laminar bloodflow — again, that’s the vet’s job,” he says. “But to minimize the mechanical trauma to the laminar interface — that’s where the farrier will be involved.”
Burns discussed cryotherapy as a treatment in which the horse care team plays a collaborative role. While the application is initiated by the veterinarian, it requires the trainer, groom or husbandry staff to replenish the ice-water mixture about every 2 hours, often over several days.
Current cryotherapy standards call for keeping the hoof wall surface temperature between 5 to 10 degrees Celsius (41 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit) for 48 to 72 hours after…