Founder and Laminitis

Rotated Coffin Bone

Who needs to know about Therapeutic Horse Shoeing, Laminitis, Founder and Equine Podiatry and why.

All horse owners, veterinarians, farriers and horse enthusiasts need to know about the crippling and life threatening diseases that are so predominant in today’s equine industry.  We need to

define and be able to recognize these diseases, establish a preventative program and be aware of the latest treatments that are available should we have to deal with the problem.

For many years, horses were used as work animals. We now find a large majority of horses are pets and companion animals. Many are overfed and underworked. Rather than roaming several thousand or hundred acres of land, many horses spend most of their time in small areas and some are confined to stalls for long periods of time.  A fat, “well rounded” horse sells quicker than a lean athletic horse.  Horses are fed high protein feeds, rich alfalfa hay and large amounts of supplements for bright shiny coats,long manes, and tails. We often over do to make a good looking horse. We think we are doing the best for our horse when often we are killing with kindness. Proper diet and exercise are the first steps in founder prevention.

Derotated Coffin Bone

Founder is a maritime term meaning to sink. The last bone in the horse hoof is the third phalynx (P3), commonly referred to as the “coffin bone”.  When founder occurs, the laminae that hold the bone in place (finger-like projections protuding from the inner face of the hoof wall and the face of the coffin bone that inner lock much like a velcro attachment) turn loose and the bone is free to sink within the hoof capsule.  This is a very simple definition of a much more complex process, but it is a quick visualization of founder.

An infection or injury to the laminae is referred to as laminitis. A horse can have laminitis with no change in the position of P3 and is said to be laminitic but not foundered.  Founder is the displacement of the bone and occurs as a result of laminar tearing or separation. This is a painful process and a horse will often shi ft his weight to his hind legs and slightly extend the front legs. This position is referred to as “camped out”. This postion is easily recognized as a foundered horse in pain.

In the past, foundered horses were quickly euthanized. Treatments were expensive and success was inimal. Today, horses are too expensive to discard. New innovations in equine orthotics and new techniques cannow save many of these animals.  Development of equine podiatry teams consisting of the veterinarian, farrier, and horse owner (trained in proper aftercare) combines experience, education, and equipment and can return many foundered horses back to work.

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One Response to “Founder and Laminitis”

  1. […] Ron Marshall Equine Podiatry and Horse Shoe Creations The new year is the perfect time for a new look at the equine industry and the equine podiatry concept of treating horses with hoof problems. Not every horse needs a veterinarian and farrier team for shoeing , just as not every horse has to have shoes. When the need occurs, the vet and farrier have teamed up to make an accurate  diagnosis of the problem,  design the most effective orthotics and establish a plan to create an effective healing environment. My goal for 2011 is to strongly promote the veterinarian, farrier, owner team approach to therapeutic horse shoeing. For more information check out Founder and Laminitis. […]

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