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Laminitis is a disease of the lamina which attach the horse’s hoof wall and its coffin bone. The lamina can become inflamed and painful for a number of reasons. The inflammation to the lamina may cause the coffin bone to detach from the hoof wall and cause rotation and sinking of the coffin bone. This detachment between the hoof wall and coffin bone can be seen on foot radiographs. The horse will be unwilling to walk forward, will have heat around the coronary band, and increased digital pulses. He may rock back on his hind limbs to get weight off his front end. Therapies to stop the progression of the disease include icing the feet, medications to improve blood flow to the feet, and bute for pain. Horses typically need to have their feet padded, their stalls should be heavily bedded, and corrective farriery work should be performed to keep them comfortable. Laminitis can be caused from infection (such as gastrointestinal inflammation common in diarrhea and retained placentas), black walnut in the shavings, and mechanical trauma of pounding on a hard surface for a prolonged period of time among other causes. Horses that have Cushings Syndrome are more likely to founder.


  • Reluctance to move
  • “Saw horse” stance trying to keep weight off front feet
  • Shifting weight back and forth on front feet or hind feet
  • Heat in hooves
  • Increased digital pulses


  • Get the horse to closest stall, do not walk more than what is necessary
  • Assess your horse’s temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate
  • Assess digital pulses
  • If possible, cold hose feet or put ice bags on them
  • Call your veterinarian


  • To determine the course of action. Prognosis can be influenced by treatment.
  • Your veterinarian may have you give some Banamine or Bute.
  • Be able to tell your veterinarian if your horse has foundered before, if he has been sick recently (within the past week or so), if he is on any medications (including those for Cushings syndrome or insulin resistance) and any other existent medical conditions.