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When And Why To Use Home Remedies For Laminitis
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You head out to the barn and notice your horse is standing "funny".  After closer inspection, you recognize the symptoms of laminitis.  The first thing you should do is call your vet.  This can mean the difference between life and death for your horse.  The vet will come to your farm on an emergency call as time is of the essence.  Follow your vets instructions closely.  But what can you do before your vet arrives?  What can you do after your vet has left the farm?  How can you make sure your horse will not founder?  How can you make sure there will not be a repeat episode of laminitis?  How can you find a laminitis cure?  You need the answers to these excellent and pressing questions.

Let's start at the beginning and discuss the basics.

What is laminitis?

Laminitis is the inflammation of the laminated tissue which attaches the hoof to the foot of the horse.  Blood may still be flowing and the flow possibly increased, but it is diverted away from the capillaries which supply blood to the tissue.  This results in the death of the tissue.  This disease is most well known in horses and cattle.

What are the causes of laminitis?

  • Too much water to drink while still hot from exercise
  • Too much rich spring grass
  • Too much grain
  • Being fed grass clippings
  • Standing or working on hard surfaces for too long
  • A mare retaining afterbirth

What are laminitis symptoms?

  • Not wanting or not able to stand
  • Very tender feet
  • Heat in the hoof
  • Obvious pain (breathing heavily, glazed eyes, etc.)
  • Rapid pulse in the digital artery
  • Standing with front feet extended to take the pressure off (laminitis mostly occurs in the front feet, although the back feet may also be affected)

What can you do while waiting for your vet to arrive?

  • Do not let your horse eat anything
  • Limited water is OK if he will drink
  • Keep other horses away to keep his stress level down
  • Encourage him to lie down and take the pressure off his feet
  • If you feel comfortable with doing it, treat with mineral oil via a nasogastric tube to help his body stop absorbing toxins
  • Use a lot of shavings or keep him on soft ground
  • Stay with him to comfort him and make sure he does not injure himself further

When your vet arrives, she will likely:

  • Administer pain medications including NSAIDs
  • Look for abscesses that may have formed and drain
  • Administer antibiotics
  • Administer anti-endotoxins to help stop any bacterial toxins that might be in his system
  • Administer anti-coagulants to increase blood flow to hooves

You will also need to work closely with your farrier.  If your current farrier does not have sufficient experience working on a horse recovering from laminitis, please ask your vet for a reference.  It is tricky business dealing with hooves affected by laminitis and you want to give your horse the best chance possible to be pain-free and back to work.

Laminitis is very dangerous, but it does not have to mean that your horse will never work again, be pained for the rest of his life, or have to lose his life.  If your horse is managed properly day-to-day you can prevent most laminitis, barring any genetic factors.  After my horse contracted laminitis from breaking into the feed bin and helping himself, I took it upon myself to learn all I can about it. 

For more information on laminitis please visit .  I wish you and your horses good health. 

Street Talk

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