Get to know your horse's worst enemy.
Horse Laminitis

Horse Laminitis is a dangerous, and potentially fatal hoof condition. If you suspect your horse is suffering from this condition please call your veterinarian immediately.

What is Horse Laminitis

It is a painful inflammation of the laminae that hold the horse's hoof wall to the internal structures of the foot. This can cause the hard external hoof wall to separate, or de-laminate.

Imagine quickly ripping a fingernail away from the underlying skin and bone, and then having to use that finger to support your body weight. Ouch!

The words laminitis and founder are often used interchangeably, and are related. Laminitis can be a one time occurrence, and if minor, your horse isn't likely have lasting problems.

Founder refers to the long term effects caused by acute or chronic bouts of inflammation. Lasting effects include separated hoof walls, hoof wall flares and coffin bone rotation or sinking.


most commonly from carbohydrate overload from grass, grains, other feeds

illnesses that cause a fever and disturb the metabolism


pain when walking, may hesitate or refuse to move

laying down more often than usual to take weight off the feet

standing in a "founder stance" with the back feet pulled forward to relieve pressure from the front feet (laminitis and founder are most common in the front two feet)

heat around the coronet band, and strong pulse may be felt


contact your veterinarian for examination and diagnosis, pain medication, and possibly x-rays to see the position of the coffin bone

assess diet and see what changes may be necessary, as carbohydrate overload is the most common trigger

contact your barefoot trimmer or farrier to perform a corrective trim to provide comfort and relieve pressure

hoof boots with padding may be fitted to provide comfort and encourage movement

regular follow trims to ensure the new hoof wall is growing in correctly

long term dietary changes including limiting grazing on rich grass, particularly in the spring and fall--a grazing muzzle is a great help for this

learn everything you can about natural hoof care, as this is a very general overview!

Related Pages

Hoof Abscesses 
Natural Hoof Trimming
Grazing Muzzle

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