In Laminitis Treatment, Be Honest With Yourself, Horse Owner

Equine Veterinarian Robert Hunt has a simple, folksy piece of advice for veterinarians, farriers and other equine health-care professionals who are treating horses for acute laminitis

“Know when you’re going to get hit by a train,” he told those in attendance at Equine Symposium 2003, sponsored by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in late January.

From his experiences as a farrier as well as a vet, Hunt knows that even when things seem to be going well in treating acute cases of laminitis, disaster is often lurking in the wings. That’s because horse owners and some equine hoof-care professionals fail to recognize a key aspect of laminitis — it’s a progressive disease.

“Often, at 1 to 4 weeks, these horses seem to get better,” he warns. “But it’s because the horse is walking on dead tissue. He just doesn’t feel it.”

The train Hunt talked about though, is still on the track. And it often roars through the station 4 to 6 weeks into treatment.

“Someone says, ‘He was getting better, we turned him out and he refoundered.’ He didn’t refounder,” Hunt says. “It’s the progression of the disease.”

That’s a big reason horses with acute laminitis need almost constant attention.

“This is not a one-time thing,” he says. “The diagnosis changes from day to day and even within a day.”

While a number of different shoeing techniques and methods are useful in individual cases of laminitis, Hunt says no one shoeing technique is the…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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