By Michelle Genatempo
Laminitis can happen to good horses and good owners. This is why, along with your vet, you can benefit from home remedies for laminitis. These are things that you can do at home in your general horse-keeping that can make your horse less prone to it, and if he has had an attack of laminitis, make him more comfortable, heal quicker and heal completely. Unfortunately, laminitis is one of those ailments that can attack any horse. As a horse owner who has an equine friend with laminitis, you may be asking yourself what you did wrong. Oftentimes it is not a matter of the owner doing something intentionally wrong. It is a matter of understanding what laminitis is, what causes it and how to treat it and prevent a recurrence.
Laminitis is an extremely painful condition of the foot where the laminae are inflamed. The laminae are the tissues that connect the hoof to the foot of the horse. When conditions warrant, the blood flow will continue and may increase in the hoof, but is diverted away from the fine capillaries that supply blood to the laminae. The result is death of some of this tissue. Founder is when the laminae actually separate from the hoof wall and the coffin bone shifts down, an extremely serious and painful condition that can render the horse useless and quite possibly have to be put down.
There are a few causes of laminitis:
>> Overeating grain
>> Overeating lush spring grass
>> Eating grass clippings
>> Too much work on hard surfaces
>> Standing too long on hard surfaces
>> Too much water when hot
Overweight horses, draft horses and ponies are especially prone to laminitis. It can be genetic or environmental.
The symptoms of laminitis are:
>> The horse standing in such a way where his front feet are extended to take pressure off and relieve the pain (laminitis typically attacks the front feet, although it can attack all four feet)
>> The horse lies down and refuses to get up
>> The horse has a rapid pulse in the digital artery (located over the fetlock)
>> The horse is in obvious pain (heavy breathing, glazed eyes)
>> The classic “ring” around his hoof. This appears to make his hoof look wavy. A horse who has chronic laminitis (more than one bout of it) will have multiple rings around his hoof.
What to do if you suspect your horse has laminitis:
>> First and foremost – call your vet. They will treat this as an emergency. Time is of the essence. If you even suspect it, call your vet. This can be the difference between life and death for your horse.
>> Remove the suspected cause of the problem (remove grain, take the horse off the hard surface, take the horse off pasture to a dry lot, etc.)
>> Make your horse as comfortable as possible by using lots of bedding or let him be on soft ground.
>> Let him lie down if he wants to.
OK, your horse has had laminitis – now what? Work with your vet to try to keep him healthy and sound. This is your first line of defense. Work with your farrier. He will keep your horse trimmed properly to keep his hoof in a normal shape. Then learn some home remedies for laminitis that you can do in your general horse-keeping. This includes focus on nutrition, types of feed (hay vs. turnout), and type and amount of exercise.
I hope you found this article useful in your desire for information on laminitis. Please know you are not alone and horses get laminitis. It happens. But you can work at preventing it. There is a great resource out there that explains, in laymans terms, all there is to know about lamintis and founder. It is a great resource for any horse owner who cares to find out exactly what they can do for their horses LaminitisCure.com. I also recommend reading Home Remedies For Laminitis. I truly wish you luck in this journey. It can be difficult, but it can also be cured.
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