Spotting Laminitis in Horses

Laminitis is a serious horse disease that all horse owners need to know about.

Regardless of whether you own one or several horses, it’s important to learn the ins and outs of laminitis; including what signs to look for.

What is Laminitis?

Laminitis is an extremely severe and sometimes excruciating condition that affects horses. It should be dealt with as quickly and as efficiently as possible which means taking swift treatment as soon as it is diagnosed in your animal.

What types of Laminitis are there?

Laminitis can appear in two forms: acute laminitis and chronic laminitis.

  • Acute Laminitis: a milder form of the disease which causes some discomfort in horses. Symptoms include aggravation and lameness but you should also look out for hooves that feel overly hot and painful to touch and increase in respiratory rate and pulse. Horses can make a full recovery if this is detected early on
  • Chronic Laminitis: a great deal trickier to treat, this form of the disease occurs when the pedal bone rotates or sinks within the hoof of the horse. This causes extreme pain and discomfort for the horse and can result in long-lasting irreversible damage.

What are the signs of Laminitis?

In the worst-case scenario, your horse will be unable to move if they are suffering from Laminitis. Other signs include sweating and panting.

The horse may also attempt to take the weight of their feet by leaning back on their heels. In more severe cases, the animal will take to lying down – this is also a symptom of colic which is why it’s important to contact your vet immediately in order to establish what the problem is as quickly as possible.

Asides from Laminitis, it’s important to learn a little more about other horse diseases in existence to help maintain the health and happiness of your horse.

Learning about different diseases will help you to distinguish each and is particularly helpful when it comes to knowing which ailments to look out for; especially as certain illnesses boast similar side effects.

If in doubt, always contact a vet or other specialist for advice.

How do you treat Laminitis?

If you believe your horse is suffering from laminitis, it’s important to contact your vet immediately. Severe cases require instant treatment if the horse is to recover fully so quick action is most definitely needed.

Treatment may include:

  • Medication to regulate blood pressure
  • Frog supports to alleviate discomfort

If you already own frog supports, you can attach these to the horse’s feet yourself (whilst waiting for the vet to arrive) as this will relieve some of the pressure and will make the horse more comfortable.

You should always take care when doing so to avoid making the animal distressed or from becoming injured yourself.

It’s also vital to ensure the horse stays as still as possible. Pushing him or her to exercise could cause long-lasting damage so allow them to rest and recover for as long as is needed.

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