In general, laminitis is the inflammation of the lamina or supporting structures that hold the P3 or coffin bone to the hoof wall. When these structures inflame, they subsequently die allowing the deep flexor tendon to continue its downward pull on the P3. This rotation in a downward direction puts pressure and pain on the circulation and soft tissue structures of the sole of the foot. In extreme cases, the P3 or coffin bone can prolapse or penetrate through the sole.
Prevention of laminitis may or may not be possible. Over-weight horses on high carbohydrate diets (the Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Cushings case) are more at risk. Horses that have undergone surgery, or medical procedures are also at risk if the horse was gravely ill or suffered endotoxemia. Any trauma to an opposing foot will likely cause laminitis in the opposite foot. Mares with difficulty foaling or retained placenta also fall into this category. Horses with long toes or club feet, horses that have experienced concussion trauma - such as galloping on asphalt are also at risk. Good veterinary management of the above conditions can many times prevent laminitis from occurring.
We lovingly call Serenity Equine Hospital: Serenity Equine Resort and Spa when we are asked to adjust insulin levels and correct the ongoing laminitic issues. Visit us on Facebook to see an example of our work.
The treatment and surgical correction of this very painful process should be left in the hands of a laminitis specialist. ~Your horse stands a greater chance of recovering to his original performance level if treatment is started as soon as possible i.e.; in the acute stage of the disease~. Learn more about what to expect below.