Poynton Farriery Clinic


Poynton Farriery Clinic


© 2007 - 2019 PFC All Rights Reserved. Privacy notice

Home | Treatment | Case Studies | Testimonials | Site Map | Links

Home The Clinic Consultation Testimonials Andrew Poynton Articles Contact

No excuse for complacency as laminitis continues to be a problem


NO equine is immune to laminitis although native breeds appear to be more susceptible – this may be because they easily overindulge and their nutritional requirements are less than the thoroughbred competition


There is no excuse for complacency however as, for whatever reason, the prevalence of laminitis does not appear to be


There are undoubtedly laminitic cases that frustrate vets, owners and farriers alike that do not respond to treatment, thankfully these are in the minority, and the focus here is on

the majority cases.



Acute laminitis:

Acute laminitis is an emergency and, with the best will in the world when it happens, it is very easy to be caught out.

When an acute attack of laminitis is suspected or diagnosed by a veterinary surgeon it is wise to assume this is factual and to do everything the veterinary surgeon suggests.

Remove the horse from the cause – if known, stable on a supportive bed – possibly with an area where it can also stand without the bedding on the rubber matting.

Wood shavings, sand or a soil base to stand on provides complete sole support but whenever the patient shifts its weight or takes a step arterial blood is able to circulate

within the foot.

The veterinary surgeon will advise on diet, medication and take on site xrays.


Mechanical breakdown:

When an acute attack strikes, the peripheral arterial circulation which supplies the lamella bed contain arteriovenous anastamosis (AVA), vessels that shunt blood from

arteries to veins in order to bypass capillaries; their normal function has to do with thermo-regulation, but laminitis corrupts this function resulting in ischemia and tissue


The laminae which suspend the weight of the horse within the hoof via the bone column are compromised and within hours can break down causing devastation within the foot.

The pedal bone is liable to rotate forward or in a devastating attack completely detach and sink within the hoof capsule; either way, part or all the sole and the solar corium

become crushed.

If the pedal bone (P3) partially detaches and rotates, its tip crushes against the sole and may even perforate in medium size ponies and larger; in smaller ponies this is less


The larger the animal the more devastating the trauma can be.

‘When an acute attack of laminitis is suspected or diagnosed by a veterinary surgeon it is wise to assume this is factual and to do everything the

veterinary surgeon suggests’

Before and after a hoof reconstruction

To bring relief at this acute stage, frog support can be applied and the sole raised from the ground by means of a mould on support shoe which can be fitted without the trauma of nailing at the earliest opportunity.

However, complete constant sole ‘support’ is liable to constrict circulation and not provide pain relief.

So a shoe with a frog support or even initially some form of casting material to support the frog can and will give support to the bone column via the digital cushion which is a

compressible structure.

This transfers load from the hoof wall to the centre of the bone column alleviating laminal tearing, whilst still allowing for solar circulation.

Both the frog and the digital cushion above it are compressible, a perfect firm cast beneath it provides a defined base of support.

This should be applied as soon as Before and after a hoof reconstruction possible, before any P3 descent ideally – prevention is better than cure.


Ongoing treatment and recovery:

The P3 hoof alignment is of prime importance, so regular trimming at approximately five to six weeks or as advised by your farrier should be maintained.

Once lamella breakdown has occurred, the hoof it is aligned with will not re-attach but be lost, so the route to recovery is lengthened.

Recovery comes when new, attached horn grows down from the coronary corium realigned with P3; so rather than one pair of shoes, it may be many months and more before total recovery is realised – if at all. Once a horse has suffered from laminitis it is

at higher risk of a recurrence.

The transitionary period from losing a hoof to regenerating a new one is tricky, but it now can be replaced with a synthetic hoof, as such, whilst the new one is growing.

If a foot can regenerate new horn from the coronary border from heel to heel whilst maintaining the comfort of the patient throughout, there is hope.

The farrier/vet and owners joint cooperation in the treatment and nursing of a recovering laminitic is vital.

The shoeing treatment does not cure laminitis, but is frequently a vital component to the complete recovery of many laminitics and provides immense relief for horses and ponies

that would otherwise be subjected to unnecessary and prolonged suffering.

The owner is the one who can have the greatest effect on the recovery and maintaining health thereafter.



Acute laminitis is an emergency and must be treated as such with veterinary and farrier intervention sought as soon as possible.

It is important to stick to a clear regime, review the diet, visually assess the patient daily both in physique and comfort and when the patient is able and recovered enough, gentle exercise is conducive to enabling circulation and removal of toxins in the hoof and using up energy.

However, not in the acute phase when the laminal attachment is tentative at best – preserve, protect and support, but don’t go anywhere at that stage. Instead identify the cause, remove it, treat the symptoms and anticipate recovery.

Minimising damage and aiding recovery:

With the advent of modern farriery techniques and materials there is much more that can be done for


The farrier will work from the x-rays to trim the hooves to ideal proportions, minimising excess leverage on the capsule.

This article first appeared in Horse Health Magazine, April/ May 2009