can prevent laminitis by avoiding high risk situations. The following
is a list of "causes" or circumstances which we know commonly
precede the onset of laminitis.
on foods rich in carbohydrate or rapidly fermentable fibre i.e. cereals,
coarse mixes, rapidly growing or fertilised grass
illness which involves a toxaemia. This may be a bacterial infection
or following the ingestion of plant or chemical toxins.
Disease. This is a condition which follows an abnormality affecting
the pituitary gland in the horse's head. It results in the horse failing
to shed its winter coat. The coat becomes long and matted and eventually
curly. The horse drinks and eats increased amounts of food while sweating
excessively and losing weight. All Cushing's cases suffer laminitis.
laminitis. When the horse is severely lame on one leg and has to put
all his weight on the contra-lateral limb they often suffer from founder
in the weightbearing limb. This is particularly common in hind feet.
laminitis (road founder). When horses are subjected to fast or prolonged
work on hard surfaces they may develop laminitis as a result of trauma
to the laminae, particularly if their horn quality is poor.
problems. Animals which are "good doers" may be hypothyroid
or have an abnormal peripheral cortisol enzyme system. The latter condition,
recently described has been called obesity related laminitis or peripheral
Cushing's disease. Others develop laminitis when they are in season.
weather. A few horses show laminitis during cold weather, fitting warm
leg wraps during cold snaps prevents the problem in most cases.
Worming, vaccination, traveling or separation from a "friend"
can trigger an attack of laminitis.
induced laminitis. Although some wormers can precipitate laminitis,
the most common group of drugs which cause laminitis are the corticosteroids.
Even injecting short acting corticosteroids into joints can cause severe
Overeating / Obesity are the most common high risk situations which lead
to laminitis. The secret to avoiding laminitis in this situation is not
to turn the horse out whilst he is fatter than condition score 3. This
means he should not have a fat depot along his crest or at the tail head,
around the sheath or udder or over the loins. You should be able to feel
his ribs easily by running your hand along his side yet you should not
be able to see his ribs.
Limiting the grass intake can be accomplished by using a grazing mask
or muzzle or by restricting the area available for grazing.