The Low Grade Laminitis Masterclass has 3 lessons to take you step by step through what you need to know to spot the most common signs of inflammation or low grade laminitis.
Laminitis means inflammation in the hoof, so they are essentially the same thing. Many of the of signs low grade laminitis are actually opposite to the signs of acute laminitis, which is why they can easily be missed.
Most of us know how to spot acute laminitis, and would call our vet immediately, but if we can learn to catch the signs of low grade laminitis we can get ahead of the problem and take action early.
This is a companion guide to the video series
Digital Pulses - Lesson 1
Why Take A Digital Pulse?
The digital pulse can tell you what’s going on with the horse. If there’s any inflammation in the body, you can detect it through a digital pulse really early on. A digital pulse can show up a day or 2 before a lameness and is an early warning sign for laminitis.
Many people think if their horse hasn’t had laminitis they don’t need to take the pulse regularly – or at all. But the truth is, any horse can get laminitis, and if you take the pulse regularly you have a better chance of getting ahead of the problem, often preventing any serious issue completely!
How Often Should You Check?
You see – when you find a digital pulse, one of the very first pieces of information you’ll need is… ‘Was the pulse there yesterday?’ There’s only one way to know that, and that’s to take the pulse every day.
Just as we pick the feet out to check there’s no stones and have a look. We don’t actually NEED to pick the feet out, what we’re actually doing it checking that there’s nothing wrong.
We’re actually checking that we don’t need to check! (yup – clever hey!)
So what we’re doing when we’re checking a digital pulse is confirming that it’s all ok.
Start taking your horses digital pulse every day. Some horses show a pulse in 1 foot but not others, so make sure you check all 4 feet.
What Are You Feeling For?
When taking a digital pulse you are feeling for how hard the pump is against your fingers.
While it may be worth noting the speed of the pulse, you don’t often use the digital pulse to monitor pulse rate. The horses normal resting pulse rate is between 30 – 40 beats per minute. That’s roughly half the speed of ours (which is 60 – 100 bpm).
The stronger the pulse is the more difficulty the blood is having getting into the foot, that’s what gives you the detectable pulse, and why you’re feeling for how strong it is – ie how much pressure.
Why Is The Pulse There?
A digital pulse is an indication that circulation is compromised and the blood is struggling to get into the foot. That can happen either due to pressure in the hoof capsule (usually inflammation, oedema or pus) or vasoconstriction - the blood vessels narrowing.
Where To Find The Pulse?
Current Inflammation - Lesson 2
Check for these 5 common signs of inflammation in the hoof.
Watch the video for explanations of what these things look like.
- 1Is there a detectible digital pulse?
- 2Is there an exaggerated heel first landing or short choppy stride?
- 3Is your horse standing with legs camped under?
- 4Can your horse turn easily?
- 5Does the hoof grow too fast or too slow?
Historic Inflammation - Lesson 3
Inflammation can come and go as the body responds to its environment. If you don't have any current inflammation that's great! But it's also worth checking to see if there has been inflammation in the past year.
Low grade laminitis is often intermittent, which can make it more difficult to catch when it's happening, but will still have a detrimental affect on the hoof health and the performance and comfort of your horse.
Check for these 5 signs - watch the video for explanations of what these things look like.
- 1Is there bruising in the hoof capsule? (wall, frog or sole)
- 2Are there any growth rings in the wall?
- 3Do the hooves suffer with persistent hoof infection?
- 4Does the hoof have long toes and underrun heels or are the heels growing faster than the toe?
- 5Is the white line stretched?