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Education - Laminitis

Written by Baron
Category: Laminitis Page
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Laminitis has the potential to cause damage to the lamellar tissues. The damage may be minimal or devastating. Often the level of pain presented by the horse indicates the level of damage. But this is certainly not always the case. A recurrent theme in any discussion of laminitis or founder is the range of affliction from mild to severe. Because it is by no means esay to assess in an emergent case the degree of severity that may ensue it is prudent to assume the case will be severe and to act accordingly. Such a posture will not significantly increase preliminary costs or degree of intrusiveness but may well significantly reduce overall costs and improve outcomes.

Technically, sales when laminitis causes damage to the laminae founder is the result. I want to stress that laminitis does not always result in founder. Laminitis leaves behind no scar whereas founder does. The threshold between laminitis and founder is widely variable among individuals.

Therapies used during laminitis are expected to prevent progression into founder. Therapies used during or after founder may be expected to affect three very different purposes; ease the pain caused by lamellar damage, to prevent further lamellar damage, or to reverse lamellar damage. The first of these, efforts to ease the pain, are for the most part in fact not therapeutic but palliative. They are implemented with insufficient potency to redirect the course of the condition. The second, prevention of further damage, is important but stops short of the third, which is to reverse damage, thereby restoring the lamellar tissues to a healthy state.

When seeking information about the treatment of founder you must consider what outcome you desire. The so called therapies directed toward reduction of pain include administration of "bute", application of foam or putty to the soles of the feet, sand or other soft footings and insufficient application of cold therapeutics. Sometimes forced exercise is recommended. Therapies directed at prevention of further lamellar damage include (often in addition to the above) mechanical devices used to stabilize the hoof/bone bond such as Heart Bar Shoes or many other devices intended to affect stabilization. Therapies directed at the reversal of lamellar damage include removal of the damaged lamellar tissues permitting the the re-establishment of normal hoof anatomy thereby promoting normal hoof form and function.

My feeling is that understanding of these options is of paramount importance. However, even when these options are well understood they may not be available to all horse owners. In most instances availability of resources dictates the level of therapeutic response. The resources in question are money, knowledge/experience and time. In most cases the restrictive factor will be knowledge/experience.

Click here to read Peter Van Dyke's Laminitis Page Project materials.