Laminitis in horses: symptoms and signals

Laminitis in horses: symptoms and signals

Sep 21, 2023Valerie De Clerck

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.

Early signs of laminitis

It's not easy to recognise laminitis in the early stages, unless 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.

Step one: call your veterinarian, because he or she will help your buddy get rid of the pain as soon as possible.

Step two: because we know a thing or two about horses, we’ll be happy to tell you how to help your four legged-friend get back on it's feet —from cool hooves to appropriate exercise to helpful herbs and minerals . Good luck!

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