The Changing Face of Laminitis

Essentially defined as inflammation in the horse’s feet, laminitis is mysterious, multi-factorial, painful, sometimes life-threatening, and, in some ways, according to British Columbia veterinarian and animal welfare advocate, Dr. Bettina Bobsien, it’s not quite the disease it used to be. Inside the horse’s foot, the scaffold-like structure of the sensitive laminae – the soft-tissues connecting the hoof wall and the coffin bone – supports the horse’s weight within the hooves and keeps the coffin bone suspended in the hoof capsule. It’s believed a complex set of events in the horse’s body interrupts blood flow within the laminae, resulting in inflammation and swelling. Eventually, the live tissue dies, causing the coffin bone to detach and rotate due to the pull of the attached deep digital flexor tendon at the caudal end. In severe cases, the front of the coffin bone even protrudes through the sole. When Dr. Bobsien first began practicing…

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