What’s one big difference between a successful surgery and an unsuccessful one? Accurate knowledge of the problem, and a plan for treatment based on that knowledge, before the patient ever hits the surgical table. The same can be said of treating a horse with laminitis–success depends on several factors, but an accurate knowledge of the extent of the damage within the feet and a plan for treating it is paramount.

During the recent Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium, held Jan. 25-28 in Louisville, Ky., host Ric Redden, DVM, founder of the International Equine Podiatry Center, discussed the usage of venograms to increase the success of laminitis treatment through increased knowledge of the extent of damage. A venogram is a radiograph or X ray taken of a horse’s foot after contrast media has been injected into its blood vessels; as such, it allows the veterinarian to see how well blood is flowing within the foot.

When blood flow is compromised, vascular (blood vessel) damage is present and a chain of events follow, because no body structure can survive, let alone function properly, without the nutrients provided by blood flow. That’s why it’s so important to see where blood flow might be compromised–knowledge of the compromised areas allows treatment to be tailored to support those areas and help them heal.

"Before venogram imaging, radiographs were the only images used routinely to evaluate laminitis and other foot disease syndromes," Redden said. "Venograms have added to our knowledge of laminitis and other common foot problems, in large part because for the first time we can see the structural components