Your Laminitis Questions Answered

Liam Gamble, Equine Veterinary Surgeon, answers your frequently asked questions.

Why is laminitis most often in the front feet?

The horse bears most of its weight on its front feet making them more susceptible to laminitis.

Can horses get laminitis in the winter?

Absolutely. A recent study of UK horse owners found that there was no 'safe season' for laminitis. It’s important to feed and care for your horse appropriately all year round.

Do other species get laminitis?

Yes, all equids like donkeys and mules can suffer from it as well as other ungulates like cows and even giraffes and elephants!

What are the signs that laminitis is developing?

In the early stages you might notice an increased digital pulse (ask your vet about this, it’s quick, easy, free and really useful), reluctance to move, weight shifting, lying down more, stood with the weight back on heels, and increased pulse or breathing rate.

What should I do if I suspect laminitis?

Call your vet, who can give you specific advice, examine your horse and administer pain killers. If your horse is comfortable enough to walk it’s best to carefully move them to a stable with a deep shavings bed, bedded right to the door, a small amount of soaked hay, and plenty of fresh water. If your horse is in pain, do not force them to walk.

My horse has laminitis, will they ever fully recover?

Each case of laminitis is different. Some have lasting damage to the feet, but many return back to full work. Any horse which has suffered from laminitis previously has a higher risk in the future so extra care must be taken.

Remember, with careful management practices there is no reason why your horse shouldn’t live a happy and healthy life!


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