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Definition: inflammation of the laminae, the soft tissues that connect the coffin bone to the interior of the hoof capsule. In severe cases, the two structures may separate entirely, allowing the coffin bone to rotate or sink downward, away from the hoof wall. The result is the deformity called founder.
Cau•e•: metabolic disorders, such as equine metabolic syndrome and pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID); systemic inflammatory events, such as those caused by a grain overload or an illness such as Potomac horse fever; mechanical stress or injury sign•: extreme pain in the affected feet, shifting weight from one forefoot to the other, “sitting” back on the hindquarters to reduce weight on the forefeet, strong digital pulses, elevated respiratory rate, slight fever and generally uncomfortable look Treatment: Once signs of laminitis appear, damage to the hoof is already underway. Research suggests that standing a horse in ice water when the first signs appear may help reduce the sever- ity of an episode. A variety of medications can help reduce pain and inflammation. Various trimming and shoeing strategies may be used to help support the hoof and limit or prevent rotation of the coffin bone.
Progno•i•: Many horses can recover from a mild bout of laminitis, particularly if it did not progress to founder. When the coffin bone drops or rotates, however, recovery may be long and uncertain. Many horses are euthanatized because of the pain associated with laminitis.