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Equine laminitis: symptoms

Laminitis is a painful condition of the hooves in horses and ponies that requires urgent treatment. In other words, a rather serious matter. This is how you recognise a horse with laminitis.

Veterinarian Valérie natural supplements horse
Written by
Valerie de Clerck

To the rescue: how to recognise a horse with laminitis

If you do have to resort to a cure because you could not prevent laminitis, you should recognize the symptoms.

In the early stages, that’s not easy, unless if you know what to look for.

Your horse can have laminitis when...
  • … the hooves feel warm
  • … he or she walks stiffly or more rigidly
  • … you can feel the blood vessels pulsing in the lower foot, at the level of the ball (or just below). Place three fingers on the inside of the fetlock and feel around until you find a large vein. Do you feel a heartbeat in the artery? Then your horse or pony might have laminitis.

At further stages, laminitis is a lot more noticeable.

Fingers crossed that it doesn’t come to that, but here are three clear signs that indicate progress of the disease:
  • Your horse steps very hesitantly.
  • Your horse stands with front feet extended to relieve pressure on the toes.
  • Pain manifesting itself as fever, sweating and increased heart rate.

Do these symptoms ring a bell? Time for action.