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Article: Laminitis in horses

Hufrehe beim Pferd

Laminitis in horses

Horse laminitis is a very painful condition, which means that once it has occurred, very careful attention must be paid to the horse's feeding and care. Otherwise, the disease can be fatal, making it a nightmare for every horse lover. However, it can be kept well under control with the right food and sensible therapy. You just have to know how laminitis feeding and laminitis therapy should be designed.

How do you even know that your horse is suffering from laminitis?

The first symptoms of laminitis are difficult to recognize for horse owners and also for veterinarians. If the hoof leather is slightly inflamed, the horse alternately lifts its hooves and then places them back on the ground. In addition, the horse is slightly lame when walking and trotting and the hooves are warmer than normal.

If the veterinarian feels the horse with pliers, it may show pain. However, for a reliable diagnosis it is necessary to examine the horse clinically and x-ray it. In the acute stage of laminitis, the horse relieves the affected areas when it stands. If the front hooves are affected, they are stretched far forward; if the problem occurs in the hind hooves, the horse places them far below the body. Now you have to act quickly to avoid the extremely painful symptoms of advanced laminitis. Then the horse usually just lies down and moans in pain. This can lead to the sole breaking through and the shoes being removed.

The causes of laminitis are wide-ranging and so it is very difficult to clearly determine them. They range from feed to the horse's hormonal balance to the side effects of other diseases. It is important that the laminitis treatment is correct. If you suspect laminitis, call a vet immediately because every minute counts.

While you wait for the vet, cool your horse's hooves. This is possible, for example, with crushed ice, which you pack in plastic bags. There may be a gas station near you that sells crushed ice and can also help you with plastic bags.


The vet will give your horse aspirin or a similar medication in the acute phase to support blood circulation. He also gives pain-relieving medication and possibly intravenous fluids to bring the acid-base balance into balance. A special laminitis bandage further cushions and protects the hoof from infections.

But the horse owner can also do a lot to treat laminitis in the horse. On the one hand, cool the hoof, which relieves pain and is intended to reduce inflammation. The horse should stand on soft ground; stone-free sand is very suitable. A special shoe can help your horse walk pain-free.

Since food is often the cause of the disease, careful attention should be paid to ensuring that the horse only eats good hay and straw. Under no circumstances should the laminitis feed consist of silage and concentrated feed should also be avoided. Further laminitis treatment also includes additional feed for the horse. Special supplementary feed for horses with laminitis influences cell metabolism and can thus make the horse's body more resistant to inflammation.

Herbs that stimulate blood circulation are also effective. Here you can give your horse a tea made from yarrow, rose hip or marigold or give it fresh hops, nettle, birch or rose hip. Tea made from nettle, ginger or fireweed relieves pain.

How well your horse survives laminitis depends on many factors. If it is only in the early stages, you can expect a good chance of recovery and your horse can be ridden again after a grace period. However, a horse that has once had laminitis is always prone to it. It is therefore important that from now on you avoid everything that could be a trigger.

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