What is Laminitis?

Laminitis is an inflammatory disease of the hoof. It affects tissue found in the horses hoof, called sensitive laminae, causing it stretch, weaken and become damaged. This can cause the horses' pedal bone to move or drop which is extremely painful.

Laminitis is a sign of disease rather than a disease itself. It is a painful condition for equines causing damage to the hooves, affecting 1 in 10 horses/ponies every year. And unfortunately Laminitis can occur at any time of the year. 

How can you spot it?

There are several indicators of Laminitis, but always call your vet if you believe there is something wrong.

  • The shape and angle of hoof
  • Cracks on hoof wall
  • Bruising underneath, close to the 'frog' (the V-shape tissue found inside a horse's hoof)
  • The hoof can be hot to touch 
  • A strong digital pulse 
  • Growth rings on hoof wall
  • Bearing weight on back feet
  • Your horse may lie down

How to treat Laminitis, acute and chronic?

Acute and chronic treatments will be put in place by your vet. This will help relive as much pressure as possible from the horse's hooves, stabilise and maintain correct foot balance and to rehabilitate the foot. Call the vet/farrier and follow their advise, here are some of the treatments:

  • Box rest with deep bedding for support
  • Painkillers given by vet
  • Cold therapy 
  • Reduced to none grazing
  • Low sugar diet 
  • Hoof boots/padding on hoof 

Boo’s Story

Boo is a miniature Shetland mare and has lived here at Oak Tree since 2013 - she is one of our Sponsorship Animals! She was diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Cushings (PPID), two health problems that make her at higher risk of chronic laminitis. 

After having a bad bout of Laminitis last year she had an operation to correct the rotation of her pedal bones. Due to the the damage to her feet, Boo is now on a specialist diet to ensure her blood sugar is kept low and she wears hoof boots to relieve any soreness when walking across hard ground.

At Oak Tree we have all-weather turnout pens and have staff who are able to monitor her condition carefully. Boo was lucky as her Laminitis was caught early, this meant she got the specialist care she required. The extra care and rehabilitation provided by the staff at Oak Tree means that Boo is able to enjoy a pain-free, comfortable life!

Prevention Top Tips

Horses and ponies that have increased bodily fat causes insulin resistance. This can stop the proper metabolising of sugar and starch, causing an excess of insulin in the blood stream and resulting in a higher risk of Laminitis.

Click on the following to learn more...

Contact our Equine Team for further information 01228 560082 or


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