Laminitis is a very serious and potentially fatal equine disease that all horse owners should understand. Laminitis occurs when the blood supply is cut off to laminae. When the laminae no longer receive blood, they begin to die and release the hold of the bones and the hoof. This condition then leads to a more commonly heard term "founder." While laminitis is a very scary disease and often dangerous if left untreated, there are things that horse owners can do to treat laminitis.
- One of the first forms of treatments that horse owners should learn are the main causes. Once you know what causes laminitis, you can prevent or reduce the contact that the horse has with these factors. Some causes of laminitis are being overweight, overeating too much feed or lush grass, cold weather, too much wormer, and certain illnesses and medications.
- Early intervention is the best treatment for laminitis. Discuss any signs of laminitis with your vet, no matter how trivial they may seem. If the horse lies down frequently or seems uneasy about walking, contact your vet. Be cautious if you see the horse resting by lifting weight from its front feet rather than its back feet. When a horse rests it front legs, a problem is often present.
- Once the horse has been identified as having laminitis, take quick action. Contact your veterinarian. The vet will probably prescribe medications, such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, for your horse. The vet may also want to take x-rays of the horse's hooves.
- Have a farrier that works with horses and has experience with laminitis, check your horse to see if corrective shoeing is an option. Heart Bar shoes are often an attempt of correction made by farriers.
- Always let your vet and farrier know the actions of one another. Working equally with both professionals is important. It takes cooperation and consultation with both to treat laminitis.
- Do not give your horse grain. Even if you feel that the laminitis was caused by a different factor, the horse does not need grain during treatment. Also prevent your horse from grazing too much in lush pastures.
- Keep the horse on soft bedding. Use a thick layer of hay or shavings. Do not allow your horse to stay on hard ground, pavement, or concrete.
- When other methods do not work, some horse owners choose natural trimming. This involves trimming the hoof down at the heel.