Updated on September 22, 2022.
In a healthy horse, the bones of the hoof are suspended by specialized tissues, called laminae, which provide stability and shock absorption. If there is inflammation or deterioration of the laminae (laminitis) and it is left untreated, there is the potential that the third phalanx bone, or coffin bone, can rotate downward toward the sole and even through it.
Thankfully not all cases of founder result in the rotation of the coffin bone; however, this damaging inflammation can be extremely painful and debilitating. Often, diet modification, anti-inflammatory medicine, and hoof trimming can help animals in the early stages of laminitis (founder). However, if left too long, the damaging inflammation can lead to expensive prolonged hospitalization and, in the worst case of bone rotation, euthanasia. Fortunately, there are a few ways of supporting your horses’ hoof health.
Symptoms of Founder in Horses
The visible symptoms of laminitis are known collectively as founder. Examples of symptoms include refusing to move, reduced interest in food increased laying down, frequent shifting of weight, and the “founder stance” when the horse stands with its hind hooves forward to bear more of the animal’s weight. The early signs of the founder include increased temperature and a pounding pulse in the hooves.
Dealing with founder and laminitis in horses
Laminitis has been linked to a number of causes: over-feeding on high-sugar foods (such as molasses and grain), insulin resistance, infection, colic, leaky gut syndrome, ingestion of poisonous plants, Cushing’s syndrome, or too much time spent on hard surfaces such as roads. Research has found that nutrition can play a large role in supporting hoof health, and it is suspected that improved diets can support and promote long-term health.
Summary of Founder in Horses
Founder can be a serious issue for horses, but with the right care and supplements, your horse can make a full recovery. Springtime has a variety of products that have been specifically designed to help horses struggling with founder or Laminitis. If you think your horse may be suffering from this condition, please check out our website and blog for information about helpful supplements. We want to help you get your horse back on its feet and feel great again!