Let’s start with the term laminitis – it literally means an inflammation of the laminae of the horse’s foot. Laminae refer to the insensitive and sensitive tissue that is located between your horse’s hoof wall and coffin bone.
The laminae are tiny finger like structures that interlock and secure the coffin bone to the hoof wall and keep the bone in place, see figure 2. If your horse’s blood flow to these laminae is disrupted, flammation occurs that weakens the laminae structures and interferes with the hoof wall to bone bond making the laminae unable to hold the coffin bone in place. That is exactly what laminitis is – an inflammation of the laminae. Laminitis can affect one or all feet, but it is most often seen in the front feet simultaneously.
If the weight of the horse overcomes the cohesion between the two sets of interdigitating laminae in the front (dorsal) part of the hoof, the case turns from laminitis to acute founder, see figure 3. The weight of the horse pushes the coffin bone towards the ground and the pull of the deep digital flexor tendon rotates the coffin bone. This process is extremely painful to the horse and can be easily diagnosed by feeling a supra-coronary depression above the dorsal coronary band. In some case the coffin bone will protrude through the sole of the hoof, which is called solar prolapse…… read more