KEYSTO PRE­VENT­ING LAMINI­TIS

It’s far bet­ter to head off this po­ten­tially crip­pling hoof con­di­tion than to try to treat it. Here’s what you need to know to pro­tect your horse.

EQUUS - - Special Report - By Lau­rie Bon­ner

amini­tis is prob­a­bly one of the most dreaded di­ag­noses in the

horse world. Dys­func­tion and/or in­flam­ma­tion of the tis­sue

(lam­i­nae) that con­nects the cof­fin bone to the in­side of the hoof

wall, lamini­tis can cause ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain and per­ma­nent

un­sound­ness. In many cases, eu­thana­sia is the most hu­mane op­tion.

Treat­ment op­tions for lamini­tis re­main lim­ited. Ic­ing the feet can help to

curb the in­flam­ma­tion in the tis­sues, but once the horse be­gins show­ing out-

ward signs of pain, the dam­age is al­ready un­der­way. At that point, sup­port­ive

foot­ing---such as deep bed­ding or var­i­ous hoof pads or shoes---and anti-

in­flam­ma­tory med­i­ca­tions may help halt or slow the dam­age to the hooves,

but they can­not re­verse it.

It’s far bet­ter to stop lamini­tis from de­vel­op­ing in the first place. In re­cent

years, re­searchers have made great strides in iden­ti­fy­ing the fac­tors that cause

lamini­tis. And while not ev­ery case can be avoided, it is now pos­si­ble to greatly

re­duce the risks that any horse will de­velop this dis­ease. Here are five ba­sic

steps you can take to pro­tect your horse from de­vel­op­ing lamini­tis:

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