Helping Horses With Chronic Laminitis: Farriery Staples

The earlier a veterinarian can intervene and begin treatment in a laminitic case, the greater chances of success, which could mean saving the horse’s life.
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horses with chronic laminitis
The earlier a veterinarian can intervene and begin treatment in a laminitic horse, the greater chances of success, which in many cases means saving the horse’s life. | Photo: Courtesy Travis Burns/Dr. R. Scott Pleasant
The general equine practitioner sees many laminitis cases, both acute and chronic—both of which affect the foot and require podiatric care.

Inciting causes of laminitis include dystocia (difficult birth), placentitis (inflammation of the placenta), colitis (of the colon), grain overload, septicemia (infection in the bloodstream), and contralateral (occurring on opposite sides) limb lameness. And, said one equine podiatrist, the earlier a veterinarian can intervene and begin treatment, the greater chances of success, which in many cases means saving the horse’s life.

“Chronic laminitis is defined in the literature as those cases ranging from 72 hours to several weeks after the onset of pain,” said Sammy Pittman, DVM, of Innovative Equine Podiatry and Veterinary Services, in Collinsville, Texas, at the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in San Francisco, California.

Regardless of why a horse develops laminitis, the end result is essentially the same: the lamellae, which anchor the coffin bone to the inner hoof wall, fail. When this occurs, farriers and veterinarians must focus their efforts on the mechanical component of treatment

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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