How Does a Horse Get Laminitis

by Sarah Macey

In today’s article I thought it would be useful to take a look at the main causes of Laminitis.

The true cause of laminitis is still unclear, but there are a number of situations that may lead to the condition. Set out below are the more well known causes.

Please add to this list by posting a comment. Other readers really will benefit from your experiences, and if we can save one horse from suffering unnecessarily then it will be worthwhile.

Most common known causes of laminitis are:-
Excess Of Rich Grass
Typically this is grass high in soluble carbohydrate in the spring and Autumn. Feed overload when a horse breaks into a feed bin for example or when a horse is given very large meals.

Overweight animals will be more susceptible to laminitis.

For example toxins circulating in the blood stream. This can be caused by a number of things such as diarrhoea, peritonitis or metritis form a retained placenta after foaling.

Excess concussion (driving horses are particularly prone) or uneven weight bearing when one limb is immobilised due to an injury can cause an attack.

Some Drugs
Particularly corticosteriods, may result in increased constriction in the arteries of the foot which will restrict blood flow.

This may make horses more prone to developing laminitis. When stressed from a long journey for example, a horse will release higher levels of corticosteroid hormones which may have a similar effect to administered steroids.

Dietary Contribution
An excess of lush grass, or an overload of hard feed can lead to laminitis. The path of events that leads to this laminitis is thought to be as follows:

  • Too much food in the stomach.
  • Soluble carbohydrate that should be digested in the small intestine overflows into the hind gut.The bacterial balance in the hind gut is upset and bacteria that prefer soluble carbohydrate proliferate and take over from fibre-digesting bacteria.
  • Death and rupture of the fibre-digesting bacteria due to acid conditions leads to endotoxins (poisons) being released. The acid environment also makes the gut wall more permeable (leaky) and toxins enter the blood stream.
  • Blood circulation and pressure is affected and laminitis will follow.


The Stable Doctor
Advice is given without legal responsibility

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Comments are closed.

How can we help?

If you need help with anything at all, feel free to call us on 01403 823836, or fill in the form below and we’ll get right back to you.

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Responsive website designed & developed by