The Anatomy of Laminitis in Horses

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Hi, I’m Danvers. I’m the Hoof Health Consultant
for SmartPak, and today I’m going to talk to you about Laminitis. A laminitic episode happens in the lamina.
We see it from the solar surface as the white line. That lamina tracks up and encapsulates
the coffin bone. So the coffin bone is actually surrounded by the lamina and that lamina in
a good, healthy foot will be similar to the consistency of like a green pear. It’s firm,
but it’s pliable. And it’s tightly knit, but it’s firm and it provides support as it encapsulates
this bone. This bone is also attached – it’s attached by the lamina that surrounds it.
It’s also attached by the main extensor tendon that attaches at the top and front, and the
deep digital flexor, which attaches at the bottom and the back. You’ll note that the deep digital is about
three to four times the size of the main extensor. When that lamina weakens and loses the consistency
that we see where it’s like a green pear and it becomes like an overly ripe pear and it’s
mushy, then it’s no longer providing the support. So you get a pulling contest between these
two tendons. Given the location and the size, the deep digital flexor wins, and it wants
to pull that bone down and cause rotation. And that’s when laminitis becomes a founder
concern – when you have the rotation or the sinking that causes this coffin bone to reposition
within the hoof capsule. That’s when we have dangerous issues. Horses will sometimes have
laminitic episodes that are mild and we don’t even realize that it’s happened. We’ll see
evidence and bruising in the white line or something at a later date. But once you have
a truly acute episode and that lamina goes from green pear to overly ripe, mushy pear,
you have this issue of the pulling contest. That’s where the rotation comes in, that’s
where the danger comes in. The quicker you jump on this, the more positive your results
will be. You cannot wait on these issues. You have to address them aggressively and
quickly. Don’t hesitate to call your health care professionals the minute that you see
any sort of lameness or soreness that you suspect a laminitic episode. Don’t wait. Stay with us at SmartPak for more issues related
to hoof care.


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