Laminitis: What is it and How Do You Treat It
Laminitis is a severe health condition in horses that is so crippling that horses become useless or need to be euthanized if they are not treated promptly and properly. The nature of the disease is explicitly painful, and discretion is advised when you read about it in this article.
In laminitis, the hoof wall becomes inflammatory. What happens precisely is not of as much concern as much its treatment is. On the first signs of laminitis, the horse should be checked up. Laminitis must be treated as soon as possible. Treating more advanced stages of the disease don’t have a lot of success rate while they can be absurdly expensive and time consuming.
The symptoms largely revolve around an uneasiness in walking. You must seek a professional as soon as you get hints of laminitis. The inflammation in the hoof walls of the horse is basically a lack of oxygen and blood in the laminae (a sensitive region within the hoof inside the insensitive “horn” area). The swelling and inflammation give rise to severe pain. There have been many cases where horses had to be euthanized (putting an animal to death with humane procedures) due to severe conditions of laminitis just because the poor animal couldn’t take any more of the pain and suffering.
A lot of things can work towards the buildup of a laminitis condition. Chief among them are a high intake of sugars and starch, stress, obesity (considered the only cause in the older days), infectious diseases, Cushing’s disease, or concussion.
There are some general tips to follow if your horses are fine. The first one is don’t make your horse work fast on hard surfaces for long periods of time. This makes the hoof suffer. Frequent traveling or constant changes in neighborhood can be really negative for horses. If your horses are overweight, then you need to be especially concerned about their state of health. Also, the intake of lush green grass, which is high in soluble carbs, should be limited to your best effort.
While digesting these components, bacteria that do the job often kill the bacteria that digest fiber. This death of bacteria led by hindgut acidity causes a kind of toxin to be released in the gut, further passing through the gut wall with the bloodstream. This disrupts the blood flow which can cause laminitis.
If your horse shows signs of laminitis, treat it as an emergency. Don’t exercise it, consider painkillers, and develop a better diet to help combat the onslaught of the disease. But how do you know whether your horse has laminitis or not?
If your horse is developing laminitis, there will usually be growth rings on its hoof wall. These are clearly noticeable. Further, if the horse is having trouble in movement, it’s a big sign. For example, some horses experience a discomfort in gaiting, so the gaits become short.
There are other visible indications as well: dished hoof wall that has long toes, white lines on the hoof, sore feet in the front feet, seedy toe, and so on. Upon observing any of the above mentioned symptoms, you are supposed to immediately get advice and help.
Also, avoid lush green grasses whenever you can. Especially when it has rained or around wetlands. Components in grasses like fructose, glucose, and sucrose are deadly if taken in large quantities. Diet-induced laminitis is widespread in most of the world where horses are trained and bred. What makes the grass so deadly (especially the temperate grass) is the variance factor. The percentage of laminitis-causing components in such grass can vary crazily within hours. It could be as low as 5% or as high as 50%. You can’t always see how much it is, and thus the problems are created.
So you maybe wondering, can laminitis in horses be cured? You should monitor the health of your horses and ponies in general throughout the year and the slightest sign of laminitis, seek expert help. There are many high-risk causes for laminitis in mares like retained placenta or colic, making constant monitoring even more important. Always avoid concussions. If you need help, you can talk about it to many professionals who are actively engaged in helping those who require it.