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LAMINAE – The “Glue” That Keeps The Foot Together

Please don’t roll your eyes and say, “my horse does not have laminitis”. First off it’s not a sexually transmitted disease and secondly virtually all the horses we work with has it in one form or another when we start working with them, as you will see a bit further down.

The actual Laminae is so important it really deserves a page of it’s own!

Before we get into what it looks like, we would like you to understand this…

The only thing holding your horse’s coffin bones to its hoof capsules is the laminae, so if there is one thing we should really concentrate on, then it is the well-being of the laminae….through what we feed, how we trim and the exercise we give through turn out and/or riding/lungeing.

When the Laminae becomes inflamed, it starts to die off and your horse has Laminitis. Stretched White Line, aka Flare, in a lot of cases, is an early warning sign that  Laminitis is on it’s way as the laminae will not let go if it isn’t inflamed and the stretched whiteline is coming about because of the laminae letting go.

When the “died off” Laminae no longer holds the hoof capsule connected to the pedal bone, the hoof capsule moves forward and away from the pedal bone. The pedal bone (without anything to hold onto) tips down and your horse now has foundered.

So, to put this extremely simple, if we can avoid the inflammation, we can avoid the eventual founder. This is not possible in all cases, but generally speaking….kindof like if we stop the horse from walking faster, it’s less likely to run away with us.

Founder is something everyone fears and no wants for their horse and yet it is something that can be prevented (in a lot of cases) and certainly not that difficult to reverse. This depends of course on the real cause or the length of time the laminitis/founder was left unattended and therefore how badly the coffin bone has disintegrated and also, if you are willing to change  with regard to feeding, etc.

The laminae we are talking about here is the Epidermal or outer non-sensitive laminae and the Dermal laminae or inner and sensitive laminae.

The Epidermal laminae is attached to the inside of the hoof capsule and the dermal laminae is attached to the coffin bone.

Together the two are responsible for “keeping the hoof (capsule) on the foot”, much like velcro (hook and loop tape). What we mean is that these two layers of laminae together form the bond between the hoof wall (or capsule) and the pedal bone.

Here’s what it looks like close up:

Ok, now that you know that, take a look at the picture below and see what the laminae looks like in real life. Can you see how wide or thick it is in relation to the rest of the inner structures?

And here’s a picture of a “dismantled” hoof from a clinic. Now you can see the Epidermal Laminae in the hoof capsule and the Dermal Laminae on the Pedal Bone.

Let us know if you have any questions!

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