Laminitis Rehab: ‘If the Corium is Happy, There’s Hope’

One veterinarian describes what the corium can tell us about a laminitic horse’s chances of recovery.
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Creating hoof capsule grooves involves thinning the outer hoof capsule just below the coronary groove to minimize compression of the coronary corium, thereby increasing hoof growth. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Debra Taylor

The devastating hoof disease laminitis can have life-threatening consequences for affected horses, and successful rehabilitation can be challenging for even the most experienced veterinarians. However, said one veterinarian, there’s a telltale sign practitioners can assess to gauge a horse’s likelihood of recovering from a laminitic episode: the perfusion (or the amount of blood that fills) the hoof’s corium.

At the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, Debra Taylor, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, described what the corium can tell us about an affected horse’s chances of recovery.

The corium, Taylor said, is another term for the hoof’s dermis: the middle soft tissue layer that connects the coffin bone to the rigid hoof capsule and contains the hoof’s blood supply. If the corium is fully perfused with blood new healthier hoof growth often ensues; if it’s not, however, “you’re not going to get anywhere” with new hoof growth, Taylor said

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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