Risk Factors for Laminitis in Horses

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Jon Geller, DVM offers his farm animal health experience in caring for cows, calves, horses and sheep. The vet shares important information about the risk factors for laminitis in horses.

Risk Factors for Laminitis for Horses

Grain overload
Sudden change to lush, green pastures
Working on hard surfaces
Consumption of large quanitities of very cold water
Ingestion of black walnut shavings or beet tops
High or prolonged doses of anti-inflammatory medications

Signs of Laminitis

Mild, moderate and severe cases
Sawhorse stance
Shifting from foot to foot
Reluctance to move

Moderate and severe cases of laminitis
Pounding pulses above feet
Sole of foot painful to hoof testers
Evidence of irregular hoof growth rings (previous laminitis)
Heat felt at coronary band

Severe cases of laminitis
Unwilling to stand
Loss of appetite
Separation of hoof wall from sole of foot
Rotation of toe bone (P3) seen on X-rays

Treatment Options for Laminitis

Immediate treatment
Exercise ten minutes out of every hour
Sand stall
Stomach lavage and/or mineral oil treatment (within several hours)

Ongoing treatment
Sand stall
NSAIDS (Banamine or phenylbutazone)
Blood vessel dilators (acepromazine, isoxyprine or nitroglycerine)
Anticoagulants (Heparin or Aspirin)
Gastrointestinal protectants (Cimetidine, Ranitidine or Misoprostol)

Long-term treatment for severe cases of laminitis
Corrective trimming or shoeing
Salvage surgery (deep digital flexor tenectomy)

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368