Supporting Limb Laminitis: Prevention is the Best Treatment

Supporting limb laminitis is a sometimes fatal condition that develops as the result of another injury.

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When your horse suffers a major injury, such as a severely broken bone in a leg, the last thing you might be thinking about is laminitis. But laminitis should certainly be on your radar, as many horses that suffer serious limb or hoof injuries develop supporting limb laminitis, a condition that can prove fatal even if the original injury is well on its way to healing.

During a presentation at the American Veterinary Medical Association Convention, held July 16-19 in St. Louis, Mo., Joanne Kramer, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia, discussed why supporting limb laminitis prevention is so important to keeping injured horses on the road to recovery.

Kramer noted that according to a previous study, about half of all horses that develop supporting limb laminitis are euthanized for various reasons, including the cost of care and prognosis. Despite the  preventive and treatment efforts of his veterinarians, supporting limb laminitis was the ultimate reason for the euthanasia of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, who shattered his right hind leg in the 2006 Preakness Stakes.

"Problems occur with the opposite limb, because the injured limb cannot be repaired fast enough to get the weight off the uninjured limb so it can share the load," said Kramer

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