One Vet’s Approach To Laminitis

With the magic bullets of prevention and cure still eluding researchers, Kentucky veterinarian Robert Hunt believes management of laminitis begins with a thorough understanding of what could be happening and continual examination of treatments

“There are no diseases in medicine that we deal with that have the complexity and the duration over time — especially in the equine end — as what we encounter with laminitis.”

So stated Robert Hunt, DVM, to hundreds of farriers and other equine professionals gathered at the sixth annual International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, this past February. The goal is fairly straightforward: stabilize the foot and promote growth. Although facing this challenge with no guaranteed answers, the veterinarian from Hagyard Davidson McGee in Lexington, Ky., believes the key to management is a comprehensive understanding of what is going on and to what extent.

Understanding What You Are Dealing With

At the first opportunity, veterinarians working with farriers must gauge the severity of the suspected case to understand if management is an option. Because there are several theories on what causes laminitis, vets and farriers must be able to read the foot and understand the facets of laminitis. “You may lose that patient in 1 to 2 days or it may live for 10 to 15 more years,” says Hunt. “Whatever it is, generally it is a lifetime commitment with that patient.”

Hunt believes having the clinical skills to decide if a foot is stable or unstable is a daunting challenge and the largest determinant as to how he approaches it. Following this, he judges how much good foot is remaining. While the good foot is necessary in several mechanical treatments, Hunt warns to “use it, but don’t abuse…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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