Trivia Challenge: Do You Know These Key Facts About Laminitis?

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more fun and educational information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below.)

1. True or false: Laminitis caused the demise of racing legends Secretariat and Barbaro, as well as reining great Colonels Smokin Gun (“Gunner”).

T / F

2. A strong or “pounding” pulse in a horse’s feet generally accompanies the onset of…

A) pain.

B) pain relief.

C) fever.

3. True or false: Grade 3 laminitis, the most serious stage, arrives gradually, over time.

T / F

4. If your horse is just a little foot sore, with heat in his feet or a strong digital pulse, your first response should be to…

A) pull his shoes.

B) walk him around, slowly.

C) call your veterinarian.

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. T is correct. Laminitis, also known as founder, can strike any horse, even famous ones. Because it’s so painful, it can be hard—sometimes even impossible—to break the cycle of laminitis once it begins. Early detection is key.

2. A is correct. The pain is caused by an increased resistance to blood flow inside the horse’s feet as the cells of the lamellae separate from the basement membrane and small blood vessels called capillaries are drawn away.

3. F is correct. Grade 3 laminitis can occur suddenly (a complete separation of the lamellae from the basement membrane can happen as fast as 48 hours after the process begins) or gradually over time. In either case, the pain is constant and excruciating.

4. C is correct. Get your vet on board immediately to begin treatment that can minimize damage to your horse’s feet. Your vet may direct you to stand your horse in buckets of ice water while you wait for his or her arrival; studies have shown that icing is very effective for minimizing the progression of the disease in its early stages. At this point, limit your horse’s movement.

[LEARN MORE—including how to prevent laminitis.]

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