Research on The Management of Acute Equine Laminitis

The following open access full-text article from Dovepress was published in Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports on Dec. 22, 2014, and can be found online. The article was titled “The management of equine acute laminitis.”


“Laminitis is an extremely painful condition resulting in damage to the soft tissues anchoring the third phalanx to the hoof, which can result in life-threatening debilitation. Specific therapy is not available. The most important principles of therapy include aggressive nutri­tional and medical management of primary disease processes, cryotherapy, anti-inflammatory therapy, pain management, and biomechanical support. This review focuses on the principles of evidenced-based therapies.”


The authors are Colin F Mitchell, Lee Ann Fugler and Susan C Eades of the Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University.


“The goal of medical and biomechanical therapies in acute laminitis is to minimize damage to the laminar attachments. Therapeutic measures aimed at resolution of the primary disease process should be instituted immediately. Cryotherapy, if clini­cally practical, should be applied to the hoof wall and pastern and maintained in a manner that keeps the hoof wall surface temperature at 7°C–10°C for 48 hours. Anti-inflammatory drug therapy is indicated to reduce inflammation associated with acute septic diseases. Analgesic therapy is most often achieved by use of NSAIDs; however, alternative analgesic therapies may be needed when NSAID therapy is not sufficient or not tolerated. Mechanical support should be instituted to limit displacement of the third phalanx and increase patient comfort. There are mul­tiple ways to provide mechanical support, with no single therapy being appropriate for all horses. It is necessary to examine the response of each horse individually and alter the therapy, based on pain. Applying support directly to the frog and heel region of the hoof and increasing the contact or weight-bearing surface of unaffected parts of the foot are among the most effective meth­ods of biomechanical support during the acute stage of laminitis. Horses should be monitored frequently, and the response to all aspects of the treatment regime should be assessed and adjust­ments made on the basis of this response.”

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