Laminitis in horses and ponies is a common problem. The exact cause of laminitis is still not clear, but the risk factors are becoming increasingly more known.
A sport horse being trained daily has a small risk of laminitis. Another remarkable fact is that horses in nature almost never laminitis.


What is laminitis?

Inside a hoof there is a coffin bone, the hoof leg is attached to the hoof shoe, the hard outer part of the hoof. The connection is held by laminea. With laminitis there is an inflammation of the lamellar structure. That comes with engorgement, congestion and fluid accumulation. Because the hoof shoe has such a hard structure it can not expand and thereby creates a lot of pain. Compare it with the pain of a torn nail it hurts, everybody knows it!
A horse with laminitis is in pain, it is however very important for the horse to stand in a right position. Most often both front legs are affected because horses carry most of their weight on their front legs.


How can you tell that a horse / pony has laminitis?


Depending on how the seriousness of what you observe with the following symptoms:

  • The horse stands with straight front legs and leans back, so he relieved his hind legs. In case of liminitis on all four legs then the horse will try to distribute its weight as equal as possible; front legs slightly back and hind legs slightly forward.

  • The horse would rather not walk, is walking stiffly and is running as of walking on "eggs", which means that the horse tries to land on the back of his foot because this is the least painful. As a result: your horse / pony lies down a lot.


What are the risk factors for getting laminitis?



Powerfood contains many grain products that are high in carbohydrates but hardly contain any fiber. The carbohydrates are released from the food very quickly, but could also hold back quite suddenly. Despite all the efforts of the pancreas, blood glucose level is high very quick but will drop just as quick.

Molasses is a widely used ingredient in powerfood (such as cereal) as molasses prevents dustiness and horses like to eat molasses. In addition, molasses is usually used as the main ingredient in feed blocks! The more eager horses gobble the food (pellets and / or block), the better people like to buy it. However, molasses is a byproduct of the sugar industry and consists mainly of fast-digesting sugars.

Fresh spring / winter grass is a formidable cause of laminitis. Previously it was believed that laminitis came through a high protein content, but this theory is outdated. Protein provides most contribute to the risk of laminitis.

As the main culprit the high fructan content of grass is now designated . An increased fructan content arises when the grass is not in a position to complete a normal metabolism (growth process). The grass is supposedly stressed. Temperature of the grass is a cause of this. The low temperature is something that particularly frequently occurs in the spring, perhaps that is the reason that spring grass has such a bad reputation. At other times it can be high fructan like green grass winter when the frost stays off.

Obesity in a horse or pony combined with too little exercise and a too energy-rich diet is likely to be a cause of laminitis too.

Overburdening a foot for example, because the other leg has an injury (collateral laminitis).

Laminitis treament.
First, it is important to give support.

Equi No Bute supports the horse and gives comfort to the musculoskeletal system.


Put your horse on rest, wherein it is of importance, depending on the severity of the laminitis that the animal does get movement. Spray the hoofs with cold water or if possible put the horse in the mud. Cooling ointment works painkilling and the hoof will get a little softer. With very acute laminitis horses can be taken to the blacksmith for a part of the hoof wall to be taken away, this way the moisture can get out.

Hoof trimming
In any case it is important to consult your blacksmith when the horse has laminitis. He is the one who can prevent chronic change of the hoof by trimming and placing the horseshoe correctly.


The following can be done to prevent laminitis:

  • Avoid intake of fructan. Ensure a diet plan that suits your horse. You can either consult with your veterinarian or a nutritionist.

  • Make sure when grazing your horse doesn't get too much, too powerful and too sugary grass.

  • Avoid sudden changes in the diet.

  • Adjust the diet to the needs of the horse.

  • Be careful with sugar-rich foods.