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Friday, 16 June 2017

Laminitis - why its Caused And How to Treat it!

What is Laminitis?

Laminitis is a condition where the laminae (inner layer of the hoof) has affected blood flow.  When this happens it causes swelling and severe pain within the hoof.  If the condition is not caught early on the laminae tissue starts to die which results in less support of the pedal bone.  This is a pointed bone that if found in a horse's hoof.  This means the pedal bone can sink and rotate causing danger as in some cases, the pedal bone can go to low and sink through the hoof which is usually fatal.   
To avoid this you should take great care in ensuring your horse is healthy at all times.  If you see any symptoms of laminitis, however small you should call a vet immediately!   

How Is Laminitis caused?

Laminitis can be caused by a number of things including trauma, stress, blood poisoning and the two that I will be going over today, obesity and a diet of high sugars and starch.   
Now, a horse that consumes a large amount of sugars and starch bacteria which is in the hind gut will break the undigested materials which causes acidity.  This will start to kill bacteria that digests fiber.  This will start to release toxins into the gut which will then pass to the bloodstream.  When these toxins reach the hooves it can cause laminitis.   
A horse that is obese simply puts pressure on vital organs including the hoof which can cause laminitis.   

What are the symptoms?

Now there are two types of laminitis, acute laminitis and chronic laminitis.   

Acute laminitis will come on quite quickly and show pretty severe symptoms.  These include putting their heel down first instead of the toe while walking, they will usually be reluctant to walk, they will be very lame, they might lean back while standing and the digital pulse in the hoof will increase.   
Chronic Laminitis is more likely to occur as a result of having laminitis in the past and it starting to return.  You will be able to see growth rings around the hoof, a large crest (where the mane runs down the top of the neck) and their heel will grow faster than their toe if they have had this disease in the past.  You will usually see much smaller amounts of the same symptoms as Acute laminitis.   

How can it be controlled/Treated?

Controlling laminitis is different to treating.   

Treating laminitis is difficult to accomplish without  round the clock care.  Your vet will advise a diet plan as starving your horse will cause further issues.  Your horse should be put into a stable with a huge amount of shavings or anything that will provide support to the hoof.  A farrier should give you frog supports (triangle sponges) and show you how to bandage your horse's hoof with the support.  If rotation with the pedal bone and if there has been your vet and farrier should come out and correct the rotation with the farriers supplies.   

Controlling laminitis means a horse has had it before and may be prone to laminitis.  To control, you should watch their diet closely to ensure they will not get overweight or eating the wrong grass.  Laminitis is usually more likely in the spring and autumn and sometimes winter.  This means winter should not be a problem although keep an eye out anyway.   
In the other seasons, your horse should be restricted to the amount of grass they can eat.  If possible, turn them out at night and take them into a stable with hay at day time will help.  This is because the grass can become more rich will the sun is out. Avoid sugary hard feed, instead feed something that in made for horses with laminitis like Spillers Happy Hooves.    


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