Laminitis is not only painful and crippling, but it can lead to death in severe cases. This disease affects the hooves of horses. It is the result of a lack of blood flow to the laminae, which is within the hoof. The laminae is what connects the coffin bone to the hoof wall. This failure can cause permanent structural damage to the hoof. It is imperative that horse owners be on alert for early detection of this nasty condition.
Early symptoms of laminitis:
1) Lameness- it can become even more noticeable when the horse is turning.
2) Heat in the hooves.
3) Pain in the toes- a hoof tester can be used to identify this pain.
4) A strong digital pulse in the horse’s lower leg.
5) Trouble moving forward or hesitation at quicker gaits.
6) Unusual rings that become wider from toe to heel.
7) Dished hooves.
8) An obese horse- including a thick, crusty neck.
9) High fever and diarrhea.
10) Stretched laminae- a gap is noticed along the white line.
It is wise to monitor your horse’s diet carefully. This can help prevent laminitis from striking. His food intake should mirror his activity level and body type. Always be careful of rich, green grass. It is also advisable to maintain a regular farrier schedule and keep your horse’s hooves in top shape. Prevention is a much better solution than dealing with this painful disease. Careful management can go a long way!