How To Treat A Horse That Has Foundered

How To Treat A Horse That Has Foundered


A horse with laminitis is said to have foundered. Laminitis is a painful condition that results from inflammation of the sensitive structures of the hoof capsule. Laminitis occurs when blood flow to the foot is compromised and toxins are released into tissues that support the bone inside the hoof capsule. The most common cause of laminitis in horses is an overabundance of grain, lush pasture, or other rich foods; however, there are many causes. A horse with laminitis may show signs of being sore-footed and may shift weight from foot to foot, unwilling to stand squarely on all four feet. He may tuck up his hindquarters, carry his head lower than normal, and be reluctant to move around as he normally would. In extreme cases a horse may lie down for long periods of time. If your horse shows any signs of lameness or you suspect he has laminitis, call your veterinarian immediately for advice and treatment!

What is laminitis?

Laminitis is a disease that affects the hoof and most commonly occurs in horses. It involves inflammation of the laminae, which are structures located between the hoof wall and coffin bone (P3). The condition can be caused by many things including an injury to the leg or general stress on the body.

When a horse experiences laminitis, their hooves become very painful to walk on and may even cause lameness in some instances. Lameness means that there is pain associated with walking due to something wrong with either one or both of their legs.

The owner should always check for signs of lameness because it could mean that your horse needs medical attention sooner rather than later!

If you notice any changes in your horse’s behavior besides just being sore from walking around all day long then you should also take note of these as well since they could indicate there might be something wrong inside its body rather than just outside on top where we humans can see everything happening without having any idea what’s going on inside those four legs right now.”

Signs of laminitis

Signs of laminitis in horses can include:

  • Lameness
  • A change in hoof conformation, such as a lowered heel or toe angle
  • An asymmetry between the feet on one side of the horse’s body. For example, if you have a white line on each foot and let’s say one hoof has a little more of that white than the other. It might be something to look into because it could help to identify if something is going wrong with that foot.

What causes laminitis?

Laminitis is a disease of the hoof that results in inflammation, sloughing and necrosis (death) of the laminae. There are two main types, founder and grass founder. This article focuses on founder, which is caused by:

  • Blood flow being reduced to the foot (the horse’s laminitics)
  • Excess weight on the laminitics
  • High blood glucose levels or high blood calcium levels

The cause of this condition can be divided into two categories: metabolic causes (such as high insulin levels) or systemic causes (such as low potassium levels).

How to prevent laminitis

  • Feed your horse a good diet.
  • Keep your horse’s weight in check.
  • Keep your horse’s feet trimmed.
  • Keep your horse’s feet clean and dry, especially if they’re prone to thrush or other infections that can cause laminitis.
  • Get regular farrier visits and have them look out for any problems with the hoof walls that may be affecting circulation through the hoof wall or sole of the foot. If a vet suspects laminitis, have him or her recommend a farrier who works with horses suffering from this condition on a regular basis (if possible).

How to treat a horse that has foundered (laminitis)

If you suspect that your horse has laminitis, the first thing to do is get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will want to examine the horse and take blood samples to test for insulin resistance. If left untreated, laminitis can cause permanent damage to the hoof and even death if left untreated.

To treat laminitis, you’ll need to:

  • Get your horse off all grain (this includes hay).
  • Get your horse off all pasture grasses and legumes (alfalfa, clover, etc.).
  • Put your horse on a low-carb diet (no more than 10% of their diet should be carbohydrates).
  • Put your horse on a low fat diet (less than 5% of their diet should be fat).
  • Put them on a low protein diet (less than 2% of their diet should be protein).

If you suspect your horse has laminitis, get professional advice immediately.

If you suspect that your horse has laminitis, get veterinary advice immediately. If the vet suspects laminitis, he or she may take a sample of cells from the hoof to be examined under a microscope. This is called biopsy.

If your horse does not have laminitis, treatment will depend on the cause and severity of the condition.


If you suspect your horse is suffering from laminitis, the best thing you can do is to seek professional advice immediately. A good farrier will be able to advise you on what needs to be done and how best to treat your horse’s condition.

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