EEVS Monthly Newsletter



Dr. Charlotte Kin

Laminitis, also commonly referred to as "founder" is a common and devastating disease in horses. Laminitis is inflammation of the lamina in the feet. Lamina are finger-like projections that interlock to attach the coffin bone to the hoof wall.   Inflammation leads to disruption in the blood-flow to the lamina and they can stretch, die and detach. There is significant pull naturally on the back of coffin bone by the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT). The coffin bone is normally parallel to the front of the hoof capsule. When the lamina are weak or no longer attached the DDFT pulls the coffin bone away from the hoof capsule. This movement of the coffin bone is called rotation. Severe rotation can cause the bone to come through the bottom of the foot. Laminitis is a very painful process that can be life threatening.


What are the signs of laminitis?
* rocking weight back onto the back feet (saw-horse stance)
* pain in all four feet
* increased digital pulse (palpated on the inside and outside of the fetlock or pastern)
* heat in the hoof
* reluctance or inability to stand
* hemorrhage visible on the sole
* abscess formation 


Chronic cases can have:
* curling upward of the toe (dish foot/Aladdin's foot)
* unequal growth rings of the hoof
* chronic abscess formation
* enlarged/thickened white line
* chronic lameness or lameness after every trimming
* dropped soles


What are the causes of laminitis?   

Numerous things can cause laminitis in horses. The most common are metabolic diseases including Cushing's Disease (PPID) and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (insulin resistance) and grain/carbohydrate overload. Endotoxemia due to high fever, diarrhea, colic and retained placenta are also common causes. Horses can develop laminitis in the foot opposite to a severely lame or injured leg due to weight distribution. They can also develop laminitis due to severe concussion on a firm surface, termed "road founder". Prolonged use of steroids and toxins (especially black walnut shavings) can also cause laminitis.  


Laminitis is a medical emergency and you should contact your veterinarian immediately if you are concerned that your horse is showing any of the above signs.

Normal Foot


Chronic Laminitis


Chronic Laminitis



Technician's Corner

Some of the most common symptoms of laminitis that our clients often call about are:
  • Sore/lame on back feet
  • "Sitting" or "rocking" back onto hind legs
  • "Parked out"
  • Walking on eggshells
  • Hooves are hot

As a technician, any time we hear an owner describing their horse like this, we always are concerned about Laminitis, a.k.a Founder.

Often it will appear like your horse is lame or sore in his back feet when really he is trying to get the weight off of his front feet.


We offer equine microchipping

Microchipping is an excellent way to give your horse a permanent, lifetime ID. Identification becomes important if your horse is stolen, lost, or a victim of natural disasters like tornadoes. The microchip is inserted with a simple injection and is designed to make sure it does not move. We will then enroll your horse online in a nationwide database. We are currently offering microchipping and lifetime registration for $50 a horse. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have or to set up an appointment to have your horse microchipped.
Exclusively Equine Vet Services PC
PO Box 721777
OKC, OK 73172
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"No hour of life is wasted, that is spent in the saddle."

- Winston Churchill