Protecting Your Horse From Laminitis

If you have horses, you’re likely familiar with the term laminitis. In fact, that word may very well strike fear into your heart. Laminitis is a very painful and debilitating condition, where a horse’s bones can detach from their hoof walls. This can render Silver permanently lame. Because treatment options are limited, severe cases often warrant euthanization. However, there has been progress recently in understanding laminitis, and how it starts. A Pickerington, OH vet discusses preventing laminitis below.

Determine Risk Factors

There seems to be a link between laminitis and specific medical conditions, such as EMS, a disorder that interferes with insulin processing. Injecting Silver with insulin may increase his chances of developing laminitis. Horses with EMS often gain weight easily, regardless of diet. Cushing’s Disease, or PPID, can also increase Silver’s risk of developing laminitis. Some of the signs of PPID include excessive sweating, increased thirst and urination, reduced muscle mass, lethargy, and increased susceptibility to infections. Contact your vet if you notice any of these red flags.


Sugars and starches may be factors in laminitis, particularly in horses with metabolic disorders. Sweet feed and even lush grass can be culprits here. You may want to have your grass tested, to see if it’s high in fructan. It’s worth noting that cold-season hays, such as rye and bluegrass, have higher sugar content than warm-season strains, such as Bermuda or switchgrass. Your vet may also recommend feeding hay before grain, to let your horse digest things more slowly. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Keep An Eye Out

Watch for early signs of laminitis or lameness. Be especially vigilant if your horse has any other illnesses. If you notice anything unusual, contact your vet right away. Icing may help, though you’ll want to check with your vet before starting treatment of any type.

Watch Footing

If you ride your horse on roads, take care to keep him at a walk when you’re on hard surfaces, such as tar. Running on hard ground is pretty tough on Silver’s hooves, and can cause impact damage.

Good Hoof Care

Last but not least, it’s also important to keep up with Silver’s peticures. Keep his stall clean and dry, use proper bedding, and schedule farrier appointments regularly.

Do you have questions or concerns about your horse’s health or care? Contact us, your local Pickerington, OH veterinary clinic, today!

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