Laminitis in horses is a very painful and serious condition that can make it difficult for a horse to walk or stand. There are several factors that can cause this condition and an owner that suspects that his horse may have laminitis should get it immediately examined by qualified veterinarian. This condition requires immediate treatment since it will not improve without medical attention. A horse with laminitis will show visible signs of lameness. Often times, a horse may stand in such a way that the majority of his weight is on his back legs. This is because laminitis generally affects only the front feet, although it is not uncommon for all four feet to be affected.
Laminitis can because by eating too much grain, or eating too much green grass. A horse that spends much of its time working on a hard surface will also be prone to this condition. Horses that are not exercised enough or that are overweight are also at risk of laminitis. A prolonged amount of time in a trailer may also cause this condition. A horse with this condition may spend much of its time lying down or have increased breathing due to the stress and pain of this condition.
If the condition goes unchecked and is allowed progress, it can result in founder. In severe cases, the coffin bone may actually come through the bottom of the horse's sole which generally requires euthanasia. If the condition is treated early enough, the horse can almost always be saved. It may require surgery and a long recovery, however. If the condition is caught early enough, or if it is a mild case, the horse may only need special shoes. Catching the condition early and seeking immediate treatment are the keys to reducing the horses pain and improving its chances for a swift and smooth recovery.
It should be noted that laminitis and founder are two very different conditions. These terms are often used interchangeably but they are definitely not the same thing. Inflammation of the laminae is laminitis. The laminae is the sensitive tissue in the horse's feet. If the condition is allowed to progress, the coffin bone rotates which leads to the condition known as founder. Anyone that owns a horse understands the joy that these majestic animals can bring to an individual's life, which is why it is so important to keep a close eye on their health at all times in order to prevent a serious condition like laminitis.