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Blog » Laminitis - Symptoms and Causes

horse laminitis pony laminitis in horses

Laminitis is a common condition where the laminae inside the hoof becomes inflamed and therefore painful. Laminae are the soft tissues that connect the hoof wall to the inside structure.

This inflammation and damage can lead to changes in the coffin joint and in severe cases it can cause separation and rotation of the pedal bone.

Laminitis can been seen in mild form or in severe cases which can be fatal, after all, no hoof no horse.

Forelimbs are usually affected but laminitis can be seen in hind hooves too. Horses suffering from laminitis may adopt a leaning back stance and be reluctant to put weight on one or more limbs, they will often lie down to reduce the pain.

The hoof itself and coronet band are often warm to the touch and when the hoof or sole is pressed it will cause a pain reaction most commonly in the toe area.

Horses or ponies suffering from laminitis may have strong and rapid digital pulses at the back of the fetlock.

Long term suffers of laminitis may have rings or ridges on the outside surface of the hoof and the toes may be long. Where a pedal bone has rotated a bulge may appear in the hoof sole. The horse or pony may have restricted movement in the fore leg.

Causes of laminitis include over feeding or gorging, retained placenta in mares, infection, obesity, lameness in opposite limb, hoof trauma or poor / aggressive shoeing.

Fat ponies are most common sufferers with the most affected time of year being the Spring however laminitis can be seen in all breeds and all times of the year.