If you suspect that your horse has laminitis it is very important that you start treatment immediately. If not treated soon enough, your horse can become foundered and then you have real problems. Or should I say, your horse has real problems. Below are the laminitis signs and symptoms that you should look out for.
Soreness in the feet – Laminitis generally occurs only in the front feet, but all four feet can be affected as well. If your horse has sore front feet he will stand with his front feet placed forward with the weight on his heels. His hind legs will be well up underneath his body carrying as much of the weight as possible. He will be reluctant to walk and will have difficulty turning. He will turn by leaning back and pivoting around on his hind legs.
If all four feet are sore he will most likely spend much of his time laying down and may refuse to get up. When he does stand, he will have his front legs pulled back and his back legs stretched forward so that his feet will be toward each other in the center of his body.
Walking stiffly – This is one of the very first signs of laminitis.
Shifting weight – When both of his feet are sore, he will shift his weight from one foot to the other because of the pain.
Increased digital pulse – You will feel a pounding digital pulse from the digital artery at the fetlock.
Pain in sole – Applying pressure to the sole in front of the frog will be painful for the horse.
Heat in feet – The foot and coronet will feel warm to the touch.
Heavy breathing, glazed eyes, sweating or anxiety – These symptoms will be caused by the extreme pain.
If your horse is showing any of these laminitis signs or symptoms, you should seek veterinary help as soon as possible. Laminitis will never get better on its own and if left too long your horse will founder and you do not want that to happen.