Laminitis Treatment Protocol

Owner Information Sheet.

1. Housing/foot support:

Take horse/pony inside off grass to a box which must be well bedded; ideally 12 inches of shavings is recommended.
Support the feet further if necessary; either with full foam pads on all 4 feet / frog supports on FF/HF/both.

2. Feeding:

Acute laminitis:

Horse/pony must receive no grass.
Hay fed as grass substitute; good or poor quality hay. This should be soaked for 12 hours before feeding. Up to 2.5% of the animal’s bodyweight per 24hrs.
A small amount of other feed such as laminitic-friendly chaff (e.g. Happy hoof) can be fed in order to give medication.
The recovering/ recovered/high risk laminitic:
Grass must only be provided when this is done with extreme care.
Lush pasture should be avoided.
Fructosamine is the carbohydrate found in grass thought to be a laminitis trigger. Its levels are highest from early morning to early afternoon (i.e. approx 6am -2pm) so grazing should be avoided during these hours.
Time at grass should begin at 30 mins/day for 1 week. This can be increased by 30 mins every 3 days thereafter. During this period of reintroduction particular attention should be paid to the development of any stiffness of any limb, heat in any foot and digital pulse strength. X-rays may well be recommended at this stage. This would be done “at home” as your home or pony should not be transported at this stage.

3. Medication:

Your vet will prescribe medication as is necessary for your horse/pony. Advice will be given on dosage and frequency of pain killers/anti-inflammatory and possibly include blood thinners and/or vasodilators

4. Remedial Farriery:

Your farrier should be made aware of your horse/pony having laminitis. He can help by trimming the feet and fitting special shoes (if necessary) to improve your animal’s support and thus comfort. Your horse/pony may be too painful for trimming in the very acute stages, however if the feet are badly needing trimmed then attention should be paid to them as soon as possible.
Your farrier may need to make several visits before he is happy with your horse/pony’s feet.

*The underlying causes need to be established and may not simply be due to overfeeding.