Laminitis & PPID

Understand the effects of laminitis on the foot

Radiograph of horse's hoof showing pedal bone
Radiograph of horse's hoof showing pedal bone

Laminitis & the Foot

Laminitis is a common, painful and ultimately potentially devastating condition affecting the feet and hooves of horses and ponies.

In the foot of the normal horse or pony, the hoof wall and the pedal bone (the lowest bone in the foot) are joined together by a finely structured tissue called the laminae.

Despite the large weights being borne by the laminae, they are relatively delicate, and easily damaged. In the condition laminitis, the laminae become inflamed and extremely painful, making weight-bearing very difficult for affected horses.

Horses and ponies with laminitis will find it difficult to put their feet down, and will often adopt a “rocked back” stance to take weight away from the painful tissues. If the condition goes on for some time, or there are repeated occurrences in a horse, the damage can become irreversible leading to rotation of the pedal bone and permanent foot pain. In many cases of this severity, euthanasia becomes the only option.