Is There A New Treatment For Laminitis In Horses?

Last Updated on August 2, 2022

If your horse or pony suffers from laminitis, you may be wondering if there is a new treatment for laminitis in horses. Laminitis is a common and painful condition in horses and in recent years there has been much research into new ways to manage this condition. Let’s find out everything you need to know about is there a new treatment for laminitis in horses!

What Is Laminitis In Horses?

Laminitis is a painful and debilitating condition for horses. This problem is more common in smaller ponies, but horses of any shape or size can suffer from laminitis. The term laminitis refers to inflammation in the laminae of the hooves.

The laminae are Velcro-like structures that hold the hoof wall securely onto the bones within the hoof. When a horse has laminitis, the laminae become inflamed and start to weaken. This can cause the hoof capsule to rotate or sink, also known as founder.

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Is There A New Treatment For Laminitis In Horses?

In recent years, there has been much research into horses’ laminitis. Whilst it was once thought that this condition was caused by horses eating sugary grass, it is now known to be linked to underlying endocrine disorders. These include equine Cushing’s disease (PPID) and equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).

Equine Cushing’s disease is a condition suffered by older horses caused by degeneration of the pituitary gland. This condition cannot be cured but is normally kept under control by long-term medication with a drug called pergolide. Horses with Cushing’s disease are more prone to laminitis due to fluctuation in levels of glucose caused by inadequate pituitary gland function.

Equine metabolic syndrome is a condition that is linked to obesity in horses. Overweight or obese horses have abnormal fat deposits over their body. These create a failure in the feedback system that regulates blood glucose and insulin.

The aim when treating a horse with equine metabolic syndrome is to reduce the body weight back to normal levels. The problem with treating EMS in horses is that it can be a struggle to reduce the horse’s body weight when they are confined to a stable. The horse cannot be exercised and needs to be provided with food to keep it healthy and prevent boredom.

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New Treatment For Laminitis In Horses

Until the horse can be exercised, blood glucose levels need to be controlled. In the past, veterinarians have struggled to find an effective drug to lower blood glucose and insulin levels in horses, but recent studies have shown success with a drug previously only used in humans.

This drug, called Ertugliflozin, is still in the trial phase and is not yet licensed for use in horses in the majority of countries. However, in some cases of laminitis, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe the drug off-license. Other medications are available to control blood glucose and insulin in horses, but the efficacy of these medications is relatively low.

How Is Laminitis In Horses Treated?

Laminitis in horses is treated by managing the underlying condition, whether this is an equine metabolic syndrome or equine Cushing’s disease. The horse will also require a period of confinement to a stall or stable, while the inflammation within the hooves subsides. If the horse is overweight strict dietary management will be required to reduce the body weight.

This dietary management will include restricting sugars in the horse’s diet and carrying out regular body conditions scoring assessments. If the horse is confined to a stall, then environmental enrichment will help prevent him from becoming bored and stressed. Massage and physiotherapy can be used to help keep the muscles in good condition and provide relaxation for the horse.

Horses with laminitis often suffer from changes within the hoof structure and will require supportive care and remedial farriery. If they are in pain, they will need analgesia. They should be provided with a deep soft bed to encourage them to lie down and take the weight off the hooves.

How Is Laminitis In Horses Treated

Once the horses had laminitis, they will be more prone to this condition in the future. This means the horse may require permanent changes to the way it is managed. The owner should be aware of the early signs of laminitis and take action to prevent this condition from recurring.

Summary – New Treatment For Laminitis In Horses

So, as we have learned, there is no new treatment for laminitis in horses, but there are new developments in the way that this condition is diagnosed and managed. Recent studies have shown that most horses with laminitis also suffer from an underlying endocrine disorder such as insulin resistance or equine Cushing’s disease. Effective management of laminitis in horses. Involves treating this underlying condition as well as managing the horses weight and providing supportive care for the hooves.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on whether there is a new treatment for laminitis in horses. Have you come across a new treatment for laminitis in horses that is very effective? Or maybe you have a pony that suffers from chronic laminitis and you are struggling to get the condition under control. Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!


Can A Horse Recover From Chronic Laminitis?

Horses can recover from chronic laminitis, but this condition requires careful long-term management. This will include a carefully controlled diet and weight management program. If a horse has severe changes to the hoof structure it may not ever fully recover from chronic laminitis.

What Should I Feed A Horse With Laminitis?

Horses that suffer from laminitis should be fed a diet that is low in sugar. Energy should be provided in the form of fats and protein, and the horses weight should be carefully monitored.

Should You Walk A Horse With Laminitis?

Horses with laminitis should only be walked if they are not suffering from any pain or lameness. If the horse is showing signs of active laminitis, it should be rested completely in a stable or barn.

Can Laminitic Horses Live Out?

Laminitic horses can live out, but only if they are not showing any signs of active laminitis. Horses that are suffering from laminitis should be kept confined to a stall or stable to prevent changes within the hoof structure. Horses that are prone to laminitis can live out, but will need to be on restricted grazing to prevent obesity.