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Equine Lameness

Lameness and laminitis are some of the most common issues horse owners will encounter. Lameness can vary from severe cases associated with fractures or hoof abscesses to subtle hoof issues which can cause pain and a decrease overall performance. We are here to help assess your lameness concerns and develop a plan to get your horse back to optimal health.

 

A lameness investigation includes a thorough examination of both the level of lameness, the legs affected, and the effects on the whole body. Palpation of leg, hoof testers, and flexion tests of the observed lame limb are used initially, but if there is no obvious cause, or multiple causes possible after thorough examination, then nerve blocks may be administered to localize the problem. Further investigations using our high-end digital radiology or thermal camera may be necessary. 

 

One source of lameness is laminitis, which is inflammation of the sensitive lamina of the hoof. This inflammation causes poor attachment of the coffin bone, which influences the weight of the horse to drive the bone down into the hoof capsule. Horses who are overweight, especially those whose environment supports excessive grain or grass intake, are particularly at risk for developing laminitis. 

Unfortunately, clinical signs of laminitis are often only reported after the disease has progressed. That is why it is crucial that you consider signs of acute laminitis as a medical emergency and call us at 541-636-1191 right away. Laminitis can progress rapidly and become chronic or untreatable. 

Signs of possible laminitis include:

  • Increased Heart Rate

  • Muscle Tremors

  • Sweating

  • Decreased Activity or Performance

  • Strange Posture

  • Sensitivity to Touch

  • Abnormal Hoof Growth

 

To diagnose laminitis, we will provide your equine partner with a thorough examination which may include radiography. A treatment plan will then be developed between us and your farrier to prevent the progression of the disease, reduce pain, and ensure healing. We may also recommend additional podiatry treatments and offer our body work services. 

 

Some horses may require referral for specialized tests such as scintigraphy (bone-scanning) or MRI and we will advise you if these are required. Contact us at 541-636-1191 to schedule a lameness investigation or laminitis appointment today.