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Equine Laminitis

Horse Hooves
Does My Horse Have Laminitis?

Laminitis is a serious health concern causing equine foot pain. Are you familiar with the signs and symptoms that can lead to this potentially debilitating condition? If your horse is suffering from laminitis, taking an in-depth look at feeding behavior may hold the underlying cause. Understanding what to look for can help you prevent laminitis and quickly seek treatment for your horse. Make an appointment with your equine veterinary specialist to learn how they can help your horse heal.

Nutrition & Feeding Major Culprits For Equine Laminitis

Have you noticed changes in your horse's gait? Are they showing signs of fatigue or are disinterested in exercising? Equine laminitis is inflammation of the sensitive and insensitive laminae in horse's feet and generally occurs bilaterally in the front feet. This multi-faceted issue tends to run in heavier breeds such as draft horses as well as morgans, ponies, miniature horses and donkeys. Because laminae protect the coffin bone, when it is weakened, the wall to bone connection can become disrupted and sink. This situation can eventually lead to penetration of the sole. Your horse does not have to live with this painful condition. Particular equine lifestyle concerns such as nutrition play one of the most significant roles in how laminitis develops and is controlled.

While certain risk factors such as Cushing's Disease, severe colic, other injuries that affect gait and high fever can significantly contribute to the formation of laminitis, many horse owners are shocked to learn their feeding rituals could be the major cause of the condition. Allowing horses to grain-load by feeding themselves without supervision or feeding excessive amounts all at once are serious risk factors that often lead to equine laminitis. While changing feeding behavior immediately can significantly help prevent future inflammation, damaging effects to the laminae may have set in.

If your horse exhibits the following, they may be experiencing laminitis:
•    Reluctance to follow owners while being led and propensity to lie down during activity
•    Will appear to have transitioned weight to back legs with back legs further forward
•    Hooves may be warmer than normal with bounding pulses in the affected legs
•    Pain response upon applying pressure to the foot

Even if your horse is not currently suffering from laminitis, prevent the condition now by observing their eating behavior. Consider a dry area where grass has been removed if you notice your horse excessively eating grass or create an area for your horse to roam that takes longer for them to reach the grass. A feeding muzzle will also allow your horse to graze, but in much smaller amounts. Limiting or removing their grain intake and alternating to beet sugar can also ensure your horse receives adequate nutrition, but without causing digestive inflammation that leads to laminitis.

Is your horse suffering from laminitis? A comprehensive treatment approach that focuses on reducing pain, modulating inflammation and improving overall stability is most ideal. Talk to your veterinarian for a specific treatment plan.

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Testimonial

Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.

The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.

Sung L.
Rupert, ID

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