There are some critical questions to ask yourself when you have a laminitis horse.
1. Did this laminitis come on suddenly or develop over time? Has this horse had a short gait or episodes of unexplained foot soreness? Do you see evidence such as horizontal rings around the hoof wall that would suggest long term inflammation? These things will help you determine if this laminitis horse in having an acute first time episode or if you have a chronic metabolic imbalance. Treatment for chronic laminitis must address the underlying metabolic imbalance to be successful. Acute laminitis in horses can focus more on relieving the immediate symptoms.
2. Is this horse overweight? If so, is the fat distributed evenly over the entire body or is it concentrated in the neck crest or over the tail head? Insulin resistance in the laminitis horse will have uneven fat distribution over the body and this condition must be addressed with diet changes.
3. Is this horse affected while other horses are not? If multiple horses are affected you may have a management system where all animals are being overfed or the pastures are too rich in carbohydrates. Management changes are most important when laminitis occurs in multiple horses in a herd.
4. Is there an obvious cause such as grain overload or serious illness to bring on laminitis in this horse? Focus in these cases is to support the horse with pain relief and digestive support while the underlying illness is being treated. Laminitis in horses following injury or grain overload can be reversed with aggressive antioxidant therapy and support of the hoof with proper trimming.
5. Does the laminitis horse have other symptoms such as a long hair coat or a increased level of water drinking? Has this horse lost muscle tone or weight? These could be symptoms of cushings or PPID. This condition occurs generally in older horses and is diagnosed with lab tests and treated with nutrition, herbs and or specific drugs.
These questions can help you determine a treatment plan for a laminitis horse that will be most likely to have a successful outcome.
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