Help my horse has laminitis!

Published : 2022-05-05 - Categories : Blog

It is that time of year where a lot of  horses and ponies end up with laminitis.

Laminitis has become more and more common in horses. So the question is, why and how does this arise?


What is laminitis

Laminitis is an inflammation of the dermis, which connects the coffin bone with the hoof wall. In the event of inflammation, blood clots form,

clots which clog the capillaries and lead to small infarcts in the hoof.

If this remains untreated, the result is a separation

of the dermis(corium) from the horn wall of the hoof. As a results the coffin bone is no longer in its natural position- parallel to the hoof wall, but

rotates due to the pull of the deep digital flexor tendon, with the tip towards the ground.


The causes of laminitis


You can recognize laminitis when horses start to walk sensitive, they have a shorter pace, there hoof lands different because they want to relieve the toe and in some acute cases horses wont even walk anymore and are lying down a lot.  

When Laminitis is not treated on time then this can be fatal for the horse or in some cases become chronic.


There are different reasons why a horse can get laminitis.


1.       The most common cause for laminitis is an overload of toxins. This doesn’t necessarily have to be from eating toxic plants or substances. But it can come from an overload of the metabolism. When the kidneys and liver are overworked, toxins are excreted via skin, which causes an itch, or they get excreted via the hooves. Which then causes abscesses and/or laminitis.

2.       Fructans in pasture can cause laminitis. Especially in autumn and spring. The fructans arent toxic. But when too many fructans enter the large intestine then the intestine becomes acidic and kills the good microbes, and these then release endotoxins which can cause/trigger laminitis.

3.       Short grass. Grass contains endophytes (fungi). Short grass, The cold weather, constant grazing burdens the grass and it gets stressed. When grass is stressed then these endophytes start to multiply and here again there is a higher risk of laminitis

4.       An overload of feeding grains and sugars can cause laminitis. Especially with insulin resistant horses

5.       Medication. The use of medication such as sedations and cortisone can overload the kidneys and cause laminitis.  

6.       Incorrect feeding such as haylage, muesli`s, concentrated feeds

7.       Disturbed hindgut/dysbiosis

8.       Toxic plants such as eating ragwort. Which is especially dangerous when its dried in hay/haylage.


What to do about it?


If a horse has acute laminitis then it is advisable to call the vet and set up a plan or therapy to treat the horse. Usually the shoes are removed to help support the hoof mechanism. A good farrier or barefoot trimmer can help you and advice you with this as well.  Most important is to get the order right in treatment. So reduce acuteness and inflammation, only feed hay, salt and water. Support the hoof in initial stages and then realignment trim and after that you start to heal the horse with therapy.


How can we help you?

At the horse therapist we look at the whole horse and treat every horse as an individual because every horse is different and they all have there own way of getting back to health again. There is no such thing as 1 remedy to help or cure the laminitis.


There are several natural products that we work with. We measure what exactly the horse needs and why. For example in acute cases of laminitis we see that horses will need zeolite to help bind toxins in the intestines. In other cases horses will want supplements that help directly with hoof support  and in other cases they are more focused on support of the pancreas, which are mostly horses with EMS or insulin resistance.


Most importantly is that the cause of the laminitis is found and eliminated. Whether it’s the intake of poisonous plants, wrong nutrition, intestinal dysbiosis, stress or being on a stressed pasture.


In most of these cases the horse will need intestinal support such as an intestinal rehabilitation and also a change of feed/diet. This is something that we can help you with. We will set up a plan for your horse to get back to health again. We work together with a vet, barefoot trimmer and other therapists that can help your horse.


Depending on how your horse got laminitis and what his overall health situation is, it can take a few weeks up to 2 years to get the horse back to health again and in some cases your horse will be a patient for the rest of its life.


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