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Discuss What is Laminitis / Founder ~ how to treat at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

Laminitis is only second to colic as a killer of horses. It is a disease ...
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    What is Laminitis / Founder ~ how to treat

    Laminitis is only second to colic as a killer of horses. It is a disease NOT to be taken lightly.

    laminal detachment due to ischemia (interruption of blood flow)


    Horses do not stand on their feet, but are in fact, suspended within them. Laminae attach the bones of the hoof to the inner hoof wall. When laminitis strikes, blood supply is diminished to the laminae causing them to die off and loose their hold on the pedal bone. Once that bond has begun to break down, the bone will begin to rotate down and fall through the sole of the hoof. Once rotation has begun, this is called Founder. Should the pedal bone fall through the sole, this is called Sinker. Laminitis is the disease, founder and sinker are what follows if the condition is not immediately and correctly treated. Unfortunately, in some cases, there is just no stopping it.


    Known causes of laminitis and resulting founder:
    Obesity
    Grazing on lush grass
    Overeating concentrated grains/pellets
    O.D of dewormer
    Some medications (corticosteriods) and vaccinations
    Mental stress
    Concussion stress (working on hard ground)
    Cancer
    Cushing's Disease
    Any illness which involves a toxaemia
    Hormonal problems
    Weigh-bearing laminitis (due to extreme lameness on one side, where the opposing side takes all the weight)
    Cold weather



    Surviving Laminitis


    Part 1 – Avoid it!
    • Do not permit unlimited grazing on lush grass. Be wary if a spell of rain brings a fresh crop of new grass following a prolonged dry period.
    • Excess carbohydrate from bagged feed can also trigger an attack. High energy starched based feeds are unsuitable for horses which are not required to work hard. Hacking is not hard work. Much better to feed a high-fiber feed, preferable one with the Laminitis Trust Approval Mark. Feed according to work.
    • Don’t overfeed Allowing your horse to become overweight can trigger irreversible changes in their fatty tissues. Subsequent dieting may not be able to restore the horse to a ‘low risk’ situation regarding laminitis. You shouldn’t be able to see your horse’s ribs, but feel them easily and they should not carry fat deposits on their crest, loins, tail head or around the udder or sheath.
    • Poisonous plants, or fields recently sprayed with pesticides can trigger an attack of laminitis.
    • Stress and trauma can do the same.
    • Pituitary Dependent Cushing’s disease also commonly results in laminitis. Watch for a failure to shed out winter coat, excessive drinking and sweating, as well as swelling above the eyes.
    Part 2 – Spot it early!
    • Laminitis can vary from a mild lameness, to the animal lying down, sweating and groaning – often causing a misdiagnosis of colic or azorturia.
    • In the mild form the animal may simply not move as freely as normal, this is sometimes confused with a mild athletic injury. It may be the start of laminitis though.
    • In a severe case the animal will lie down to relieve the pain.
    • All laminitis cases will lean back on their heels and shift weight from one affected foot to the other. Affected horses only adopt the classical laminitis stance if they are similarly affected in both front feet. Laminitis can affect only the hind feet or sometimes all four feet. Even just one foot.
    • The most important diagnostic sign to watch for is a change in the nature of the digital pulse, not heat in the feet which is an inconsistent sign. The pulse becomes stronger in laminitis with a sharp hammer blow feel to the pulse. Become familiar with the normal feel of your horse’s digital pulse; otherwise you won’t be able to appreciate the change should he develop laminitis.
    • If laminitis has progressed to Acute Founder, there is a depression present around the front of the coronary band.
    • If it has progressed to a sinker, then the depression extends all the way around the coronary band, right back to both heels, and the animal is in deep trouble.
    Part 3 – Act Fast!
    • Treat laminitis with the same urgency as colic – call the vet!
    • Get the horse home as carefully as possible. If this means a walk, then fit frog supports – if a long walk then trailer him back to his stable.
    • When home give him a deep shavings bed – 18” of shavings covering the whole stable floor. His life is in danger – don’t take chances for the sake of a bale of shavings!
    • The vet will give pain killers (probably Bute), a tranquilizer (probably Acepromazine – ACP) and fit a frog support.
    • Don’t remove his shoes if his soles are flat or convex (dropped soles), you are likely to make him more uncomfortable.
    • Don’t starve him as this could cause hyperlipaemia which is often fatal. Diet him gradually using forage and high- fiber/low starch chopped feeds. Look for the Trust Mark on feed sacks.
    • Do not exercise as this causes many horses to founder unnecessarily… drugs and complete stall rest are the recommended treatments. Laminitis cases need a month’s stall rest after they are sound in the stall without painkillers. Foundered horses will need at least 5 months complete stall rest.
    • If the horse is not improved in two days, reassess and maybe have x-rays taken using a front wall wire marker correctly positioned.
    Do NOT cold hose whatsoever. Doing so will constrict the blood vessels in the feet even further. Doing so will diminish the blood supply even more, aiding in killing off the laminae. When this happens, the laminae will loose their hold on the pedal bone, causing it to then begin to rotate and drop through the hoof.

    Part 4 – Know where to find help!
    The Laminitis Clinic has dealt with a lot of foundered horses over the years and achieved a high success rate. Remember that your vet can call for advice any time.

    Attached photos:
    1) Typical Laminitis Stance
    2) Where to find Digital Pulse
    Last edited by MissBandit; 06-20-2005 at 03:29 PM.
    Founder is the #2 killer of horses.
    Learn how to prevent, spot and treat this deadly disease.

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    Senior Member+ Paints4me's Avatar
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    Thats an excellent post. Very informative. I have a mare that I have to watch very closely, Can't turn her out on grass, limited grain etc. With some horses it can be a battle to prevent it because their just more prone to it. The easy-keepers as I call them. Its very easy to get founder, and it can happen before you realize it. Im always paranoid about my horses weight because she does stay really fat and I worry about her. Thanks for posting, More people do need to be aware of it and avoid the devistation of there horses getting it. Thanks
    Last edited by Paints4me; 01-28-2005 at 12:05 PM.

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    Miss B...I have a question about grazing related to founder, can I post it here or should I start a new thread??

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    Please post away. I may need to reply later though.
    Founder is the #2 killer of horses.
    Learn how to prevent, spot and treat this deadly disease.

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    I worked at an eventing barn this summer that always turned out in small dirt paddocks (yes, this is a whoooolllee other post...lol) ANYWAY- they do have one large field that is used for growing hay (I'm sorry, I don't know what kind it is...I just know it is very green and rich) So, after they cut it they begin turning horses out on it gradually. They start with just a 1/2 hour, then next day and hour, and so on. They said this was to prevent founder. Someone else told me that if its later in the season, they didn't need to do that?

    Can you please provide me with facts as to how this should be handled? I have read your post fully before, but it was several weeks ago...I don't remember it saying anything specific to this.

    Thanks!

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    They did the right thing. If the horses have been living on bald paddocks, they need to be re-introduced to grass at a slow rate. Grass can cause laminitis and founder all year round. It is most dangerous after a bout of rain followed by sunshine. At these times, the grass will flush and horses grazing time should be restricted. But yes, they most deffinitely a have taken the right route. Prevention is by far easier than treatment.
    Founder is the #2 killer of horses.
    Learn how to prevent, spot and treat this deadly disease.

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    Hi MissBandit, excellent information, agree with everything you posted, but did not realise cold hoseing could be bad, I never saw any value in it, however I never thought of how this could constrict arterys and viens this makes sense. I am a Farrier and would like to learn all I can about lameness. There is a lot of things we do just becuase it is in a book or it is the way people have been doing it for a long time and many remedies could be very harmfull. Some Vets in my area recommend cold hoseing or even iceing. Most of the laminitic cases I have seen we did not cold hose or ice the feet and had great success, however I have seen cases where the horse owner cold hosed and iced the feet daily sometimes twice a day and were told this reduces inflamation and pain. Where did you get the information on cold hoseing and how was that tested, want to learn more. Thank you

    Phil

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    Unhappy

    My arab has founder not bad but the reason she laminities was a worker left the gate unlocked "chain was wrapped but we know horses and they are escape artist" they got out and she got into a bag of bird seed and ate 3/4 of it, 2 weeks later she seemed off being i was a horse lover I had horse vet care books and well i figured out right away it was laminities, we took her to the vet and he confirmed it, he gave us bute to give her and also to put her in a vet area to keep her feet cold cuz of the heat in her feet to make her feel better and it seemed to, she founders every year and she is not in grass very ofter rarley ever gets grain and is on a strict hay diet during the wet season, our farrier and vet has says she will be fine she never did rotate, and when she does laminities she is on stall rest for about 2 weeks until she is moving properly, and seems comfortable,

    I feel so bad for my baby though since i know this is life threatning and there really is nothing to do to cure her and I could lose her any spring or summer
    Last edited by daintydancer; 01-16-2005 at 10:52 AM.
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    Hello Phil.

    This information on the hazards of cold treating laminitis and founder cases comes direct from The Lamintis Clinic. They are based of of the UK and are the only facility world wide dedicated soley to laminitis and lamintis causing diseases. I have a link to the facility in my signature line.

    Cold treating laminitis / founder suffering horses will reduce swelling and can temporarily bring on relief. HOWEVER, by reducing swelling you are constricting the capilaries even more so than they already are. The very nature of Laminitis is a constriction of the blood vessels in the hoof. As the blood supply is diminished the laminae holding the bones to the inner hoof wall begin to die off. As they die off they loose their hold on the pedal bones, thus resulting in rotation and sinker.

    It has been found by the Lamintis Clinic through their hundreds of clinical cases that administering ACP's to encourage blood supply as well as Bute for the pain along with complete stall rest and fitting frog supports is the the safest way to treat this disease. Horses who are treated with these methods have a much higher sucess rate at recovery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil
    Hi MissBandit, excellent information, agree with everything you posted, but did not realise cold hoseing could be bad, I never saw any value in it, however I never thought of how this could constrict arterys and viens this makes sense. I am a Farrier and would like to learn all I can about lameness. There is a lot of things we do just becuase it is in a book or it is the way people have been doing it for a long time and many remedies could be very harmfull. Some Vets in my area recommend cold hoseing or even iceing. Most of the laminitic cases I have seen we did not cold hose or ice the feet and had great success, however I have seen cases where the horse owner cold hosed and iced the feet daily sometimes twice a day and were told this reduces inflamation and pain. Where did you get the information on cold hoseing and how was that tested, want to learn more. Thank you

    Phil
    Last edited by MissBandit; 01-31-2005 at 04:27 AM.
    Founder is the #2 killer of horses.
    Learn how to prevent, spot and treat this deadly disease.

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    Have you had Xrays taken of your horse's feet? You deffinitely need xrays to determine if there was any rotation. Laminitis is the disease, founder is when the bones begin their detachment of the inner hoof and begin their decent through the sole of the hoof.

    A horse that suffers chronic founder as you are describing needs to kept off grass. Short grazing periods allowed when the grass is not flushing. The safest time for grazing is during the night or in the early morning, this is when the fructins (sugars) in the grass are at their lowest. High noon is when the sugars in the grass are at their highest. Flushing grass is DEADLY to a founder case. Grass will flush all year 'round. This will happen after their has been a bought of rain followed by brilliant sunshine. Keep all founder recovery cases away from grass at this time.

    I hate to tell you this, but had your horse not been cold treated, then most likely he would not be having these problems today. More than likely the cold treatment has caused him to be a chronic founder case. This is why we try so so hard to spread the word on what the recent findings are on how to correctly and safely treat this crippling disease.

    If your horse is foundering every year, then he is experiencing rotation. Presss your fingers down the front of his lower pasterns and over the coronet band. Feel if you can find an indentation just above the coronet band. Check the whole lenght of the hoof, from heel to heel. If you find a depression, he has had rotation. Xrays will determine this for sure.

    I cannot stress enough how important it is that you know if he has had rotation as well as what the degree of rotation is.

    Quote Originally Posted by daintydancer
    My arab has founder not bad but the reason she laminities was a worker left the gate unlocked "chain was wrapped but we know horses and they are escape artist" they got out and she got into a bag of bird seed and ate 3/4 of it, 2 weeks later she seemed off being i was a horse lover I had horse vet care books and well i figured out right away it was laminities, we took her to the vet and he confirmed it, he gave us bute to give her and also to put her in a vet area to keep her feet cold cuz of the heat in her feet to make her feel better and it seemed to, she founders every year and she is not in grass very ofter rarley ever gets grain and is on a strict hay diet during the wet season, our farrier and vet has says she will be fine she never did rotate, and when she does laminities she is on stall rest for about 2 weeks until she is moving properly, and seems comfortable,

    I feel so bad for my baby though since i know this is life threatning and there really is nothing to do to cure her and I could lose her any spring or summer
    Founder is the #2 killer of horses.
    Learn how to prevent, spot and treat this deadly disease.

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