Laminitis is an extremely painful condition affecting 1 in 10 horses/ponies every year1 and can cause permanent damage to the hooves. Laminitis can affect any horse, pony, donkey or their hybrid at any time of the year and not just in spring – there is no ‘safe season’.
Laminitis affects structures called sensitive lamellae that are located inside the horse’s hoof. The sensitive lamellae act like Velcro to form a strong bond to hold the pedal bone in place within the hoof.
Laminitis causes the sensitive lamellae to stretch, weaken and become damaged which can cause the pedal bone to move within the hoof (for example, think of a zip being un-done). In extreme cases the pedal bone can even penetrate through the sole of the hoof which is excruciatingly painful. In such cases, euthanasia is likely to be the only treatment option to end the horse’s suffering.