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Newsletter - Issue #1

Focus on Laminitis Edition

In most of the country the birds are singing, the sun is out, and the grass is getting green. In the horse world we’re shedding our coats- both the puffy jackets and the long fur- and gearing up for everything warmer weather brings. Unfortunately, with all the sunshine and roses of spring, it can also bring on more bouts of laminitis. Something nobody wants to see.

In this newsletter edition, we’re touching on these basics of laminitis:
  • What is laminitis?
  • What causes laminitis?
  • What are the signs and symptoms?
  • How Soft-Ride’s products can help your horse

If you like to read more about laminitis on our website instead. Click on the button below.

The Soft-Ride Team

Read on our Website

What is Laminitis?

What a Laminitic (lame) Horse Foot looks like

What a healthy horse foot looks like

Laminitis results from the disruption of blood flow to the sensitive and insensitive laminae. These laminae structures within the foot secure the coffin bone (the wedge-shaped bone within the foot) to the hoof wall. Inflammation often permanently weakens the laminae and interferes with the wall/bone bond. In severe cases, the bone and the hoof wall can separate. In these situations, the coffin bone may rotate within the foot, be displaced downward ("sink") and eventually penetrate the sole. Laminitis can affect one or all feet, but it is most often seen in the front feet.

The terms "laminitis" and "founder" are used interchangeably. However, founder usually refers to a chronic (long-term) condition associated with rotation of the coffin bone, whereas acute laminitis refers to symptoms associated with a sudden initial attack, including pain and inflammation of the laminae.

What Causes Laminitis?

Copyright: Dr. Christoph Von Horst

There is no one cause for laminitis. While laminitis occurs in the hoof, it may be caused by a number of factors elsewhere in the horse, including but not limited to:

  • Excessive shifting of weight to one leg due to injury to another leg, also known as support limb laminitis

  • Insulin resistance and obesity, particularly in horses that are chronically overweight

  • Consuming more carbohydrates than a horse’s body can process, such as when a horse gorges on lush spring grasses

  • Absorption of bacterial toxins- can be from infected organs or compromised GI tract

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Copyright: Horse and Rider Magazine
  • A horse suffering from laminitis frequently stands with their front feet pushed out in front and the hind feet farther under their body than normal
  • If the laminitic horse is willing to walk, it walks with a short stride, trying to get each foot back on the ground as quickly as possible. Turning in tight circles can also be painful.

  • A laminitic horse will stand with hind feet brought forward under its belly trying to shift most of its weight from the front feet

  • Inflammation in the hoof or a bounding digital pulse

What can you do?

Copyright: Dr. Christoph Von Horst

If you suspect laminitis, contact your vet immediately. The earlier a case of laminitis is diagnosed and treatment begins the better. No single treatment will help with every case of laminitis, but industry standards suggest several treatments.

1. Ice

Specifically the 72 hour cryotherapy protocol which calls for long duration submersion in cold water and ice. Learn more below by clicking on the link to Dr. James Belknap’s video.

Learn About our Soft-Ride Ice Spa Pro

2. Support

Specialty - Purple / Turquoise
Specialty - Orange / Turquoise

Getting a horse on a comfortable, supportive platform that encourages blood flow through the hoof as well as more comfortable movement for the horse is critical for recovery. Soft-Ride’s gel orthotics are designed to support the horse’s foot and encourage increased circulation by loading and unloading the sole. The dual-density orthotic is specifically designed for laminitic cases by providing a softer platform and less pressure in the front of the hoof under the coffin bone, while keeping a firmer platform in the heel to keep the deep digital flexor tendon supported.

Learn about Soft-Ride Gel Orthotics

3. Corrective Shoeing

SoftRider Max being temporarily attached using elasticon tape to ensure proper angle placement and comfort.

Giving a horse full sole support, continuing to encourage positive circulation by loading and unloading the sole, and providing a rockered bottom to provide a breakover that doesn’t strain the ligaments and tendons are all important parts of keeping a foundered or post-laminitic horse comfortable on the road to recovery. Softrider Max Shoes can be nailed, cast, or elisticoned to the hoof for a long term wear.

Learn about SoftRider Shoes

Soft-Ride Ice Spa and Cryotherapy

Dr. James Belknap of The Ohio State University discusses using Soft-Ride Ice Spas on laminitic cases.


"It is the only effective therapy for laminitis." - Dr. James Belknap -The Ohio State University

Thanks for reading!

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Disclaimer: This content is for education and is not medical advice. If you suspect medical illness or injury contact your veterinarian for medical advise.
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