7 Scary and Real Laminitis Statistics

Laminitis can happen to any horse, anytime, anywhere, and sometimes there does not even appear to be a reasonable cause for the occurrence. Once a horse gets laminitis, they are very likely to get it again, and again. Here is why it is so important to watch out for this deadly condition.

  • 25% of horses who get laminitis will end up euthanized. Laminitis is the 2nd leading cause of death for domestic equines. The loss of your beloved horse, pony, or donkey due to laminitis is a painful and expensive way to suffer such an enormous and tragic loss, both for your beloved friend and for yourself.

The suffering that most horses will endure before the ultimate decision of ending their life is made is unimaginable. The process is horrible for both the equine and human alike.

  • Another 25% of horses who get laminitis will suffer permanent disabilities with significantly reduced physical abilities, necessitating an early retirement or premature death.

Some horses who survive laminitis will do so only to endure a lifetime of constant pain.

Some will be reasonably sound at times and sore other times.

Nearly all will have restricted physical abilities ranging from no longer being able to compete competitively, to not riding on hard surfaces, or not being able to go up and down hills.

The level of usefulness will depend on the severity and damage from each episode and on the care that the horse is provided while healing from their laminitic episode.

  • Most will incur many thousands of $$$ in treatments and rehabilitation as well as likely incur very costly lifelong custom farrier or veterinary needs.

Once the fear of laminitis is spoken out loud the bills start incurring.  Thus it is imperative to have a veterinarian out as soon as possible.

Likely the vet will prescribe medications, food alterations, and a call to the farrier.

The farrier will likely prescribe specialized shoes, trimming, or pads to try to keep your horse as comfortable as possible while hopefully facilitating the best recovery possible.

  • 90% of laminitic onsets are due to an insulin resistance or imbalance, a metabolic disorder, or an endocrine system imbalance.

Sine the 1980s we have become aware that the occurrence of laminitis and founder comes most often (90% of cases) as a direct result of an insulin or sugar imbalance, as is the same situation with the all-too-common metabolic disorders plaguing too many of our beloved equines these days…

Essentially anytime that there is an imbalance of insulin in the system, the horse is at risk of becoming laminitic, particularly in the spring time when horses are allowed to graze in fresh grass.

Eating fresh grass causes a HUGE surge of sugar in their system and they are immediately at great risk of laminitis and founder, as well as colic.

Through proper supplementation, the balance of insulin and sugar can be addressed naturally, helping to maintain or restore metabolic balance.

The goal in holistic treatment of chronic laminitis is to provide nutritional support to prevent and possibly even reverse damage.

Preventing damage caused by circulating free radicals, preventing further damage to laminae and encouraging healthy laminar attachments, as well as returning the horse’s metabolism to proper balance.

Note: Cure or return to work may not occur with laminitis cases secondary to Cushing’s Disease or those with severe damage to the coffin bone.

  • Treatment, rehabilitation, and lay-ups can take anywhere from 4 months to 2 year, the latter being more likely, with at least 4-6 weeks of acute care and 1 year minimum restricted light use.

The pain and distress of an acutely laminitic horse is a very difficult thing to witness. When you care about your horse, every hour seems like an eternity.  However, the truth is that a horse’s will to live is extremely strong.

It is critically important to understand that you cannot get the pain under control unless you eliminate the cause or trigger of the laminitis.

Traditionally this has been done with the use of medications, feed restrictions, and corrective shoeing.

Now we have come to understand the significant importance of balancing the internal workings of the horse, particularly their insulin levels.

  • MANY horses who become laminitic once will end up with a lifetime of chronic recurrences and premature deaths.

Laminitis is considered a relentless disease because once a horse has had one episode the chance of having another is escalated.

There are two primary reasons for this.

One is that laminitic horses have a metabolic disease with the same glucose and insulin profile of type 2 diabetes, i.e. elevated blood glucose levels with deficient insulin or abnormal insulin action.

The other reason is that horses with laminitis have immune system deficiencies that make recovery difficult and leave them vulnerable to infection, such as chronic hoof abscesses.

When there is even the slightest challenge or infection present, the already elevated glucose concentrations in the liver and the circulating blood increase, which increases the risk of laminae separation and the next recurrence of laminitis.

There are so many variables involved in a horse getting laminitis, but the fact is that 1 out of 7 horses WILL get it in their lifetime.

Balancing our horses through nutritional supplements is easy, healthy and super affordable.