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Laminitis or General footsoreness? Is there anyway to know the difference?

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  • Laminitis or General footsoreness? Is there anyway to know the difference?

    So my 22 yr old gelding just got trimmed and shod 2 days ago. This is the start of his 2nd shoeing cycle without pads. I started using Durasole about 6 weeks ago at the start of the first shoeing cycle without pads and it worked fantastic. Tuesday he was shod with the usual 4 shoes all around (no pads) and I noticed yesterday he was quite hesitant to open his stride at the walk on pavement or over hard ground. On grass he felt 100% normal. He has no other symptoms so I am assuming it is not laminitis (and he has no history of laminitis) but is there anyway to know for sure? If I have the farrier out with hoof testers would he be able to determine the difference or will I need the vet out to take rads?

    I put some durasole on yesterday and will continue to do so, I could also pack with Magic cushion if needed but I am little freaked about the possibilty of laminitis.

  • #2
    Laminitis is inflammation of the laminae, so rads won't show that anyways (unless there is also movement of the coffin bone = founder).

    Feel for the distal pulse and if it's pronounced as a bounding pulse, that is a sign that something is amiss (also true for checking for abscesses).
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


    • #3
      Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post

      Feel for the distal pulse and if it's pronounced as a bounding pulse, that is a sign that something is amiss (also true for checking for abscesses).
      Checking a digital pulse is the way to go. If there's a problem the pulse is usually very strong. It's unlikely to be laminitis; given the timing, it sounds like your horse is just a bit foot tender. However, you should know how to check.

      Here's a link to a video if you're unsure how to do it:


      Is there a reason why you aren't using pads on your horse any more? Some horses are just more comfortable with them.
      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


      • #4
        If you think laminitis is possible, get him in ice now. Deep bedding and stalled. Does he have a digital pulse?


        • #5
          I just had this same problem. He had a pulse and was lame. The farrier came out and said he was foot sore, that he didn't respond to hoof testers but was ouchy when he moved. She finally put these glue shoes on him, and with those he was sound right away. So I ordered him a pair of boots.


          • Original Poster

            Thank you very much for the info! I have no experience dealing with laminitis and as I said earlier he has never had it in the past that I am aware of. I suspect he is just foot sore as the footsoreness is quite subtle and I think only someone looking carefully that knows how he normally moves would notice. I even rode yesterday and he was completely sound w,t,c in grass. He was sound on the hard surfaces too just a hair choppy up front which I initially attributed to stiffness due to his age, I didn't realize until the end of our ride when we returned to the hard ground/pavement that it was footsoreness as any stiffness would have been gone by that point.

            I will check for a digital pulse this afternoon when I head out to the barn. Thanks for the video Bogie! If there is any sign of digital pulse I will call my vet immediately.

            He is not in pads any more because he had a case of hoof canker growing out his frog this past winter in his left front. The hoof canker was removed in a very timely manner via surgical debridement and is now completely healed. I don't want pads on because I want to know what is going on with his frogs/feet on a daily basis so I can catch any regrowth immediately, that is not possible to do with pads. I am not completely opposed to rim pads but I would like to just use the durasole if that works. After using the durasole on his soles for a week when we pulled the pads this winter he was more sure footed on rocks than he has been in years so I think with the right sole toughener he will be just fine.

            I thought I read somewhere on here that when the sole is trimmed that the hardened layers get removed and more sensitive sole is revealed and then you have to reapply the durasole? Has anyone else had this problem?


            • #7
              In my opinion, I don't see how he could show foot (sole) soreness in shoes on smooth pavement.... as in no rocks or stones getting to his sole. I'd be thinking along the lines of being "nailed" or shod too tight or something related to the reset.


              • #8
                Laminitis will show up as increased soreness on tight turns -- however, so does sidebone and probably other issues. Still, tight turns are used to diagnose laminitis, along with pulses, stance, rads. Pulses, however, can change with the surface the horse is standing on, the ambient temperature and whether the horse is experiencing pain in the foot from any source. Early diagnosis is kind of a guessing game -- but well worth any foot soaking and diet changes to prevent full-blown cases.

                Disclaimer, I am no expert -- just an owner with a laminitis-prone horse and sugar-packing pastures.


                • #9
                  Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org