An episode of laminitis is a very serious
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
If your horse seems hesitant to bear weight
properly and is walking in very short steps,
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
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
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
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.