Seth Parker, International Farriery

    561-558-4766  Wellington, FL







Laminitis & Founder


   An episode of laminitis is a very serious occurrence that can strike without warning and cause devastation for your Horse. Sadly, by the time your Horse is showing symptoms of pain, the damage has already started to unfold and may worsen without timely and proper treatment. Laminitis is a true emergency and requires immediate Veterinary & Farrier attention. Farriers should work alongside a Vet on such cases.

   If your horse seems hesitant to bear weight properly and is walking in very short steps, please call your Veterinarian and Farrier. Other warning signs may include an increased digital pulse and/or increased hoof temperature signaling inflammation within the hoof capsule. The laminitic stance is identifiable when the front legs are affected because the horse will try to relieve pain by placing his hind legs well forward, under the belly to unload his weight. Knowing these symptoms is critical during an emergency situation and can help you seek treatment while time is on your side. An acute case may require Veterinary diagnostics, medications, ice therapy, stem cell therapy, and support to the coffin bone to relieve stress on the hoofwall and laminae.





   Laminitis is named for the inflammation and loss of blood flow that occurs within the interdigitating laminae of the hoof. The laminae collectively form a network of blood vessels and nerve bundles that acts to anchor the coffin bone to the hoof wall. This arrangement gives vascularization and attachment to the coffin bone. Stem cell therapy is a nice option for re-strengthening damaged lamina though the mechanism for this is still not fully understood. Unfortunately, when inflammation occurs, the laminae become damaged by a process that still remains unknown. What is known is that the damage can be severe and deadly, and can result in systemic and metabolic failures beyond the mechanics of the hoof. Many people know someone who had a Horse that was euthanized during an acute laminitis episode! Fortunately, horses can survive laminitis and have greater success when given immediate Veterinary and Farrier treatment. The people whom you call upon during an emergency should be well experienced in the modern treatment of laminitis.

   The complications of this sudden onset disease can occur rather fast and render the hoof in a state of chronic laminitis. This is accompanied by severe changes in hoof appearance. It occurs when ground reactive forces put excessive pressure on the toes and frayed lamina. This causes abnormal widening and severe distortion at the toe and white line. This is why many Laminitic Horses abscess or require that the decayed hoofwall be removed, resectioned, and later rebuilt. Using therapeutic shoeing and hoof rebuilding is integral to the Horse's recovery and prevention of Founder.

   Founder is the crippling condition that results when the laminae begin to weaken and lose hold of the coffin bone. This causes the coffin bone to rotate, the bony column to sink, or sometimes both. If caught in early stages, Veterinary intervention, therapeutic shoeing, and metabolic balance can help prevent severe problems. The damage worsens when the hoof capsule rotates away from its correct position or sinks downwards. There are a variety of highly specialized therapeutic applications to arrest the problem and treat the mechanical damage of Laminitis and Founder. We support the use of positive pressure heart bar shoes, liquid gel insoles and custom insole molds, shock absorbing shoes, aluminum therapeutic shoes, hoof casting to stabilize and prevent further rotation and sinking, and also custom Steward Clogs with enhanced breakover. Each method is unique in the benefits they provide and the needs they address. I will recommend what is best suited to your Horse's X-rays and/or case history. Allow me to discuss these options with you at our consultation. I will gladly work alongside your Veterinarian.

   I firmly believe in shoeing with precise methods to support the soft tissues and coffin bone, especially for very progressed cases. I follow the work and case studies of many Top Veterinarians via the American Farrier's Journal and Fran Jurga's Hoof Care reports. This includes cases from Veterinarians and Farriers across the World including Rood and Riddle, Cornell, Penn, and Hagyard just to name a few. I stay updated with the latest research and use treatment protocols recognized by Top Veterinarians and Laminitis researchers. Below is a document created by Dr. Esco Buff to evaluate your Horse's needs and track his progress so we can make the greatest impact with cutting edge treatment.

Here is a view of a healthy hoof, no signs of any pathological conditions.

This foundered hoof shows the coffin bone has sank into & penetrated the sole. This is a very deadly situation!

Here is the typical laminitis stance where the horse is trying desperately to position in a way to avoid pain.



Here's the same horse after providing emergency laminitic treatment!



AnEVA Clog with soft silicone molding allows us to leave hoofwall untouched & unload weight. We always prefer to

work alongside a Veterinarian!!!



  The light pink silicone used with this Steward clog is meant to cushion the frog & sole to relieve the weight load.

Dr. Mike Steward, DVM has made a significant contribution to laminitis

with his innovative Laminitis Clogs.

Here's a look into the dovetail lamina network. The lamina are a collection of blood vessels & nerves under the hoofwall. For stunning pictures and

case studies, visit Patrick Reilly's gallery

 for the New Bolton Center.


Chronic laminitis occurs with serious distortion to the toe. Here, the white line and toe are separating away from the hoofwall causing toe distortion.

Sometimes a surgical procedure called

a Tenotomy is performed with unresponsive cases of Laminitis and Founder. Please read articles by Top Veterinarian, Dr. Stephen O' Grady.





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