Wednesday, January 9, 2008

An Overview of Laminitis.

We refer to, "an episode of laminitis", also as, "founder".

One of the benefits of the tragic demise of the great racehorse Barbaro is the greater awareness and subsequent surge in research of this disease. There are now more numerous research facilities, institutes, and campaigns dedicated to the opening up of the 'mystery' of laminitis than ever before.

Here's the way one freelance writer and equine industry editor characterized laminitis:

Quote: Laminitis continues to be an all too common, devastating mystery - extremely painful for effected horses, frustrating for those treating them and sometimes ruinous to equine businesses.

And just as the instances of cancer, diabetes and other toxic environment borne maladys have been on the rise for years, so will instances of equine laminitis. Or such is my opinion anyway.

Laminitis is a metabolic disorder, brought on by both external and internal metabolic stress, which results in an unexplained insult and injury inside the foot of the horse.

Sudden lameness in more than one limb at the same time.

Generally manifests itself in the front feet more than hind. Possibly because of the extra load which the front feet have to bear, and their unique design making them less able to deal with the effects of laminitis than the hinds.

Hind feet often will come up underneathe the horse more than usual(to provide relief), and the front feet will get extended out farther in front of the horse than usual. This allows the hind feet to pick up some of the load bearing down on the sore front feet.
Methods of treatment:

1.) Decresing the pull of the deep flexor tendon on the coffin bone.

*Making adjustments to the frog in relation to its support of the bottom surface of the coffin bone, along with adjustments to the angle of the hoof.

2.) Unloading the laminar interface.

*this simply means to reduce the load on the effected hoof wall by transferring it to other parts of the foot such as the frog and sole.

3.) Reducing inflammation.

*The careful use of anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce tissue damaging inflammation while controlling the physical activity of the horse at the same time so the horse does not worsen the laminitic injury through the overuse of its damaged feet.

*The most common anti-inflammatory drug is the analgesic called phenybutazone. Be careful how you use Bute.

4.) Easing the breakover.

*That is, beveling the toe to reduce the force it takes for the horse to breakover or "step-off".

5.) Protecting sensitive tissue.

*The sole may be very sore and need a pad or clog for protection.

6.) Providing Support for the bony column.

*Giving the horse a uniform base of support, if needed, in the way of a pad, clog or shoe.

7.) During the early onset (acute stage) of severve cases, styrofoam is very useful for support and pain relief. sometimes followed by a pad.
Other treatments include:

1.) Soft footing and/or bedding.

2.) Initial stall confinement or bedrest - so to speak - to help initiate the healing process.

Anything that causes stress the internal systems of the horse. As with humans each horse will be different.

There is a whole list of potential causes:

Genetics appear to play the largest role in determining whether a horse will become laminitic or not and seems to increase with age.

Potential triggers include:

1.) Carbohydrate overload.

2.) Toxins in forage diet.

3.) Sudden shocks to the system. Such as illness, vaccinations.

4.) Obesity. The excess fat cells remanufacture naturally occurring hormones and release them into the system as toxins.

(I'll fill this section out as time permits)

Long Term Effects:

1.) Neuropathic pain (nerve damage, pinching, sensory neuron damage,etc.) may be a part of chronic pain often found in laminitic horses.


So what is actually going on inside the hoof that causes this?

That's the big mystery. But I will fill you in on what we know according to the findings of the Fourth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, within the next week or so.

And Avoidance:


*Insulin resistance and the pre-diabetic condition can be genetic predispositions to the eventual onset of laminitis

Ponies are a challenge.

Another pony article here

Nice web site here on natural treatments.

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