Laminitis is a word all horse owners dread. The leaned back "founder stance", sore feet, abscesses, hooves that are hot to the touch, a bounding digital pulse in the pasterns and a reluctance to move can all be signs of laminitis. The most important thing to do if you see these symptoms is to CALL THE VET IMMEDIATELY. But what is some first aid you can do while waiting for the vet to arrive?
If you suspect your horse is suffering from laminitis and the horse is on pasture, move the horse to a stall, dry lot, or any place with no grass. The sugar content in grass is a big danger for a laminitic horse.
Use shavings, sawdust or sand to provide your horse with deep, soft footing. This will take some of the pressure and concussion off your horse's sore feet and allow them to stand in a way that is most comfortable for them.
Do not ask your horse to move any more than necessary. Allow your horse to be still in one spot or even lay down if they will do so peacefully. Seperate your horse from any other horses that may chase them or force them to move about. Provide hay, water and shelter nearby so your horse doesn't have to walk far for their basic needs.
Soak the front feet or all four feet in a slurry of icewater for at least 15-20 minutes. You can use tubs, buckets, or hoof soaking boots as pictured above. The icewater will reduce inflammation in the hooves and offer some pain relief.
I cannot stress this enough - if your horse is possibly suffering from laminitis, CALL YOUR VET.
Laminitis is an emergency and requires veterinary attention to ensure the most successful outcome possible for your horse. Use the above tips as first aid until the vet arrives.
Laminitis can be a frightening condition to deal with, but with the proper treatment and care, many horses recover fully from this condition.
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