Laminitis (Founder)



Examples

When radiographs reveal some degree of ventral rotation of the third phalanx away from the hoof wall, one must be concerned about the horse's future usefulness, despite clinical soundness. Figure 6 is a lateral radiograph of a horse's foot showing a suggestion of ventral rotation of the third phalanx away from the hoof wall. This radiographic change is consistent with a diagnosis of laminitis or founder. However, in reviewing the radiographs alone, one cannot determine whether this is recent ventral rotation or a sign of a previous disease problem. The clinical examination enables one to make this determination. There may be no clinical evidence of a current problem, although careful examination of the hoof may reveal the increased width to the "white line".

It has been my experience that, once an animal does founder (this is particularly true in ponies), he has a propensity to founder in the future. Therefore the buyer should be warned of this possibility. With good care (particularly good foot care), a clinically sound horse with a slight degree of ventral rotation could perform satisfactorily for many years. However, this abnormality could potentially become a serious problem. Figure 7 shows even more severe ventral rotation of the third phalanx away from the hoof wall; this necessitates a guarded prognosis for the future soundness of this horse.

Figure 6. Figure 7.
Lateral radiograph of the foot demonstrating minimal ventral rotation of the third phalanx away from the hoof wall, consistent with a radiographic diagnosis of laminitis. Lateral radiograph of the front foot demonstrating significant ventral rotation of the third phalanx away from the hoof wall, consistent with a radiographic diagnosis of laminitis.