Farriers and veterinarians discussed ways to work together to treat this devastating hoof disease.

Laminitis, also referred to as “founder,” is an often devastating disease of the hoof that can cripple or kill afflicted horses. It’s such an important equine disease that each year veterinarians, farriers, and horse owners from throughout the United States gather at the International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot. The 2012 edition, titled “The Equine Limb: Advanced Treatments and Diagnostics,” took place Nov. 2-3 in Monterey, Calif., at the Monterey Conference Center. Steinbeck Country Equine Clinic, in nearby Salinas, Calif., also hosted a half day of hands-on wet lab sessions.

This year’s lecture lineup drew approximately 95 attendees; among them were many farriers. Said conference co-director James Orsini, DVM, of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center: “This year’s theme was really about bringing the veterinarian and farrier together in treating the horse.”

Laminitis Overview and Anatomy

Nora Grenager, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM, of Grenager Equine Consulting, in Middleburg, Va., presented an overview of laminitis and the anatomical structures of the hoof and lower leg that it affects.

The equine hoof is a complex anatomical feature that plays a critical role in horse health. “Hooves carry all the weight of the horse, yet are relatively small,” Grenager said. “That means hooves need to be flexible, strong, and resilient.”

And in the healthy horse, a hoof is all of those things–the perfec