Laminitis is a disease that effects the feet of hooved animals. Research published in the Equine Veterinary Journal in 2014 showed that 15.8% of horses were reported as having a history of Laminitas. When overweight horses are looked at as a separate group, the level of Laminitas rises to 21%. This is a higher level than reported in 2005, when 7% of the UK equine population were said to be affected by Laminitas, suggesting that the problem is on the increase and that being overweight increases the risk of Laminitas. It is not always feed related. It may occur after foaling due to toxicosis from a retained afterbirth, untreated infections caused by bacteria, Inappropriate use of certain drugs or it maybe as of a result of some external influence ( mechanical ). The term Founder is sometimes used which has come to mean any chronic changes in the structure of the foot that can be linked to Laminitis, however not all animals that experience Laminitis will Founder.
Laminitis literally means inflamation of the laminae. Evidence of inflamation occurs very early in some cases. Most cases of Laminitis occur in both front feet, but it may be seen in all four feet, or in certain cases a single foot.
Symptoms include rocking back on to the hind legs to take the weight off the front feet, reluctance to move, a pounding digital pulse, and heat in the feet.
An overload of carbohydrates is perhaps the most common cause of Laminitis, when the animal has accumulated an excess of nonstructural carbohydrates, ( sugars,strarch or fructan ) this leads to the unbalancing of the gut micro-organisms, and leading to the productions of large ammounts of endotoxins, including lactic acid. The endotoxins are then absorbed into the bloodstream due to increased gut permeability, caused by irritation of the gut lining by the increased acidity. This results in inflammation particularly in the laminae ( Laminitis).
A rapid increase ( normal levels can be delt with ) in toxic nonprotein nitrogen compounds in forage. For example where the use of a synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has been applied on pasture, the animals natural metabolic process can become overloaded resulting in toxic inbalance and Laminitis.
A serious case of Colic could cause Laminitis, because of the releases of endotoxins into the bloodstream.
Fresh spring grass contains an excess of Frutan which can lead to Laminitis.
Frosted grass can be a cause of Laminitis particularly after a warm day. The cold temperature causes growth in grass to cease, so the sugar in the grass cannot be used by the plant as fast as it is produced therefore it is accumulated in the grass. Sugars cause an increase in insulin levels which are known to trigger laminitis.
Road Founder, is the term given when separation of the llaminae at the toe is caused when ponies with long toes are worked extensively on hard ground. Road Founder can also be seen in overweight animals and pregnant mares particularly when hooves are allowed to grow long.
Laminae or lamellae are layers of modified skin cells which act as shock absorbers during locomotion. When the Laminae becomes inflamed the Distal Phalanx or Coffin Bone is rotated away from the hoof wall.
For more information :- www.laminitis.org