The term Founder Laminitis is often used to describe a painful equine disease which affects the horse's feet. The two words Laminitis and Founder are commonly linked. Founder literally mean" sinking" of the sole of the foot. The term seems to be traceable to the thirteenth century when the condition was referred to by veterinarians as "Laminitis" and by most other people as "Founder". To simplify matters, Equine Laminitis could be looked on as the first stage of a foot disease which then leads on to Founder.
Technically, Founder usually refers to a serious long-term condition associated with rotation of the coffin bone whilst Equine Laminitis refers to symptoms associated with a sudden initial attack, including pain and inflammation of the laminae, when the blood flow to the laminae is disrupted either constantly, intermittently or on a short-term basis
This results in inflammation and weakening of the laminae and in some cases, the coffin bone can rotate within the foot, sink (founder) downwards and even penetrate the sole of the foot.
The condition Equine Laminitis is a serious condition that needs careful treatment.
Ponies are more often affected by Equine Laminitis than horses but horses seem to be the more severe cases. Equine Laminitis can affect one or all feet, but is most often seen in the front feet.
SYMPTOMS OF EQUINE LAMINITIS
Signs of Equine laminitis include the following:
Lameness - particularly when the horse is circling
Heat in the feet
"Sawhorse" stance - leaning back on the heels to relieve the pressure and discomfort in the toe area
Pain in the toe region when pressure is applied with hoof testers
Widened white line - known as "seedy toe," with perhaps the occurrence of an abscess
Lying down - to relieve the pain in the feet
An artery 'pulse' can be felt behind the fetlock
Shifting weight from one foot to the other.
Faltering gait ("walking on eggshells")
Rings around hoof walls
Increase in breathing and pulse rate
Bruised soles or "stone bruises"
Dropped soles or flat feet
Thick, "cresty" neck
Curved hooves, which are the result of unequal rates of hoof growth.
CAUSES OF EQUINE LAMINITIS
The causes of equine laminitis are not easy to identify. The underlying cause can often come from a cause elsewhere in the horse's body but the following should be checked out:
- Digestive upsets due to over-indulgence in heavy grain and/or lush pasture
- Sudden change in diet
- Hoof concussion from fast work on hard surfaces
- Excessive weight bearing by one leg due to a severe injury or lameness in the opposite leg,
- Stress from long distance transport,
- Cancer of the pituitary gland, and a
- Prolonged use of, or high dosages of drugs such as corticosteroids
- Toxins released within the horse's system
- High fever or illness; any illness that causes high fever or serious metabolic disturbances has the potential to cause laminitis, e.g., Potomac Horse Fever
- Severe colic
- Retained placenta in the mare after foaling
- Consumption of cold water by an overheated horse
- Various primary foot diseases
- Improper Shoeing
- Bedding that contains black walnut shavings
- Joint Diseases
- Navicular Syndrome
TREATMENT FOR EQUINE LAMINITIS
You should call your vet as soon as possible after you suspect your horse might be suffering from Equine laminitis. It should be considered an emergency. Prognosis for complete cure of Equine laminitis is good if caught and treated in the early stages and declines as the Equine laminitis becomes more established.
Before your vet arrives, you can help ease the symptoms of your horse's laminitis by:
Confining the horse to a stable or small yard.
Allowing the horse to stand as comfortably as possible
Not allowing the horse to walk.
Keeping the horse cool and propped up (he/she may try to lie down to ease the pain of Equine laminitis)
Hosing the hooves for 5-10 minutes every 15 minutes or so. Alternatively, wrap the hooves with plastic bags full of crushed or cubed ice for 5 minutes every 10-15 minutes to ease the inflammation caused by Equine laminitis.
Administering fluids if the horse is ill or dehydrated.
As soon as your vet diagnoses the underlying causes of the Equine laminitis, treatment will begin immediately to enhance the chance for recovery. Treatment will depend on specific circumstances but may include the following:
Restoring blood supply into and out of the hoof to reduce inflammation
Opening and draining any abscesses which may develop
Antibiotics to fight infection
Antiendotoxins to reduce bacterial toxicity
Anticoagulants and vasodilators to reduce blood pressure while improving blood flow to the feet
Bute paste, to reduce the pain and laminae tissue swelling.
Once your vet has recommended treatment for your horse's laminitis, you will need to pay particular attention to your management. E.g.
A diet that provides adequate nutrition based on high-quality forage and without excess energy, especially from grain will help to ensure your horse does not get a recurrence of Equine laminitis. Removing grain and lush pasture from the diet and replacing with a prescribed feed to provide high a high roughage and low soluble carbohydrate ratio is an ideal combination in the prevention of Equine laminitis. Calcium and Biotin is often supplemented for some time after Equine laminitis to assist hoof growth.
Supplements including nutrients such as magnesium, chromium, vandium and glucose tolerance factor (GTF) are of great benefit in reducing the symptoms of Equine laminitis.
Frog supports - cushioning support to help relieve the laminar strain and immediately improve the comfort of Equine laminitis cases.
Ensure your horse's feet are expertly shod. Routine hoof care, including regular trimming and, in some cases therapeutic shoeing will ensure your horse gets every chance to ward of Equine laminitis in the future.
Attention should be paid to parasite control and vaccinations to reduce the horse's susceptibility to illness or disease. Particularly Equine laminitis.
There are many alternative therapy remedies to help your horse with Equine laminitis. You might like to try any of the following:
Equine Cold Water Spas