Laminitis is a medical emergency that, unfortunately, many horses are subjected to.
What is laminitis, exactly?
According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, laminitis results from the disruption (constant, intermittent or short-term) of blood flow to the sensitive and insensitive laminae. These laminae structures within the foot secure the coffin bone (the wedge-shaped bone within the foot) to the hoof wall. Inflammation often permanently weakens the laminae and interferes with the wall/bone bond. In severe cases, the bone and the hoof wall can separate. In these situations, the coffin bone may rotate within the foot, be displaced downward, "sink" and eventually penetrate the sole. Laminitis can affect one or all feet, but it is most often seen in the front feet concurrently.
The terms "laminitis" and "founder" are used interchangeably. However, founder usually refers to a chronic (long-term) condition associated with rotation of the coffin bone. Acute laminitis refers to symptoms associated with a sudden initial attack, including pain and inflammation of the laminae.
Luckily, there are a few options to help ease the suffering for horses with laminitis. Learn about one, the wooden rocking horseshoe, in AQHA's FREE ebook, Laminitis Treatment.
In Laminitis Treatment, Dr. Micheal Steward, a veterinarian in Shawnee, Oklahoma, explains how he finds success with placing wooden shoes on laminitic horses. The shoes, he says, help support the hoof and help it heal.
You'll also get a detailed explanation, including diagrams, of exactly how laminitis affects a horse's foot and leg.