Laminitis is a potentially very serious condition, resulting in severe pain of the feet. The pain is caused by inflammation of the sensitive laminae of the feet, which lie between the pedal bone and the hoof wall. Affected horses and ponies tend to be reluctant to walk, and try to stand on their heels to relieve pressure on the toes.
Laminitis traditionally occurs in fat ponies with access to rich pasture, however it can occur in any horse or pony, and there are a number of other potential causes, including:
- Access to frosty grass in winter
- Change in diet
- Cushings’ Syndrome
- Equine Metabolic Disease
- Poor farriery
If you suspect a case of laminitis then it is important to phone the practice as soon as possible on 01332 294929. All cases will require anti-inflammatory drugs to help alleviate the pain, and most will also require other treatment to help maintain blood flow to the feet and minimise any movement of the pedal bone within the foot. Our equine veterinary team has a wealth of experience in managing laminitis cases and the sooner we see the cases the more likely we are able to help.
Whilst waiting for veterinary attention, put the horse/pony in a stable, and spread bedding right to the door. Shavings are best if available. Don’t feed any bucket feeds, but do allow access to small amounts of hay. If possible, soak the hay for 30 minutes before feeding to decrease the amount of sugars it contains.
Some cases can be very difficult to treat, and require xrays, corrective farriery, and prolonged box rest combined with intensive treatment; others will respond well to initial treatment and a period of box rest. Laminitis can be fatal in severe cases. The sooner treatment is started the better chance of recovery. Often we work alongside your farrier to ensure the best outcome.
Prevention of laminitis involves restricting access to lush pasture or frosted grass, making gradual changes to any feeding regimes, ensuring good, regular farrier attention to prevent the toes becoming overly long, and treating any underlying conditions.