Founder in Horses Signs Causes Treatment and Prevention

Founder in Horses: Signs, Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Horses are among the best creatures that are familiar for their strength and agility. But like other animals, they can also suffer from various health issues; the most common is founder. 

Founder, known as laminitis, is a painful and often life-threatening condition. It affects the hooves of horses. If it is not appropriately managed, it can lead to lameness and euthanasia. So, knowing about signs, causes, treatment, and prevention is essential for keeping your equine healthy and robust. 

What is the Founder Condition in Horse?

The founder is caused by inflammation of the laminae, which are delicate tissues that connect the hoof wall to the coffin bone. These tissues provide structural support to the hoof to bear the horse’s weight. 

When a horse suffers from laminitis, the laminae become inflamed and weaken. It can separate from the hoof wall, leading to excruciating horse conditions. This condition can lead to rotation or sinking of the coffin bone within the hoof capsule, thus resulting in more complications and health-related issues. 

Signs and Symptoms of Founder in Horse:

Early founder diagnosis in horses is vital for quick intervention and treatment. Let’s talk about the signs and symptoms of founder in horses. They vary depending on the severity of the condition, but here are some common indicators that will help you understand whether your equine is suffering from laminitis. 

Lameness is the most common and obvious sign of founder in horses. It will not be able to walk correctly, and it may walk with a pronounced gait. Lameness, especially in the front feet, should not be ignored and diagnosed properly for early treatment. 

2. Weight Shifting:

Horses that are experiencing laminitis frequently shift their weight from foot to foot in an attempt to relieve pain. 

3. Reluctance to stand and Move:

Laminitis increases pain intensity during movement, making the horse reluctant to stand and move. If your equine lay down more often than usual, it is a sign of founder because standing can be extremely painful in this condition. 

4. Heat and Swelling in the Hooves:

Heat and swelling in the hooves are caused by laminitis, so increased temperature can be an early sign of this disease. You can use a hoof thermometer to check for heat due to inflammation. 

It can be due to laminitis if you experience abnormal changes in the growth and shape of hooves, like ridges or rings. 

Causes of Founder:

Various factors can cause Founder, but if we talk about significant reasons, the following are a few leading causes of this disease. 

Overeating grains is a common cause of founder in horses. Excessive consumption of grains increases the blood sugar level in the body. Horses start experiencing digestive upset, and the body produces insulin to control the sugar level. Still, in some cases, the response of the horse’s body towards insulin is impaired, which leads to founder. 

2. Obesity:

Obesity is another cause of laminitis in horses. Overweight horses experience increased strain on their hooves that can lead to founder. 

3. Infection:

Severe infections of the horse’s hooves can also lead to laminitis. So don’t ignore this sign for proper take care of equine. 

4. Medications:

Some medications can lead to laminitis with high doses for extended periods. 

5. Stress:

If your equine is facing high-stress situations like extreme levels of exercise and long travels, it may lead to laminitis. 

Treatment of Founder:

Early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential to minimize hoof damage pain and enhance the chances of recovery. So, if we talk about its treatment, you can choose the following options. 

1. Rest:

Provide maximum resting time to your equine suffering from laminitis. It will help reduce pressure on the hooves. Movement of the horse will also be restricted due to rest, and it will also prevent further damage to feet. 

2. Cold Therapy:

Inflammation can be reduced with the help of cold therapy. So, apply ice or cold packs to the hooves of the equine. 

3. Medication:

Sometimes, it is essential to go for proper medication to treat laminitis. So, consult with your vet to initiate an appropriate medication process. 

4. Dietary Adjustment:

Laminitis can also be caused due to overconsumption of grains. So, adjust the diet of horses to eliminate high starch and sugar feeds. You can consult your veterinarian to create your horse’s most suitable diet plan. 

Natural Supplements to Help Treating Founder in Equine:

Along with the treatment mentioned above, you can also include natural supplements in your equine’s diet. It can help treat the founder in equine. You can go for the following natural supplements. 

1. Equinety Horse XL:

Equinety Horse XL is a natural amino acid supplement that can contribute to the horse’s overall well-being. It improves hoof health, thus reducing the chances of founder in them. It is based on 100% natural amino acids essential for tissue repair and regeneration. By promoting healthy hoof growth, this supplement is ideal to use for strong hooves. 

2. Equinety Ultimate OEC:

 Equniety Ultimate OEC is also a natural product that can enhance joint health, immune system, and digestion. So it is also great for supporting the health of your equine. Laminitis is associated with inflammation, and Equniety Ultimate OEC has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of laminitis. This natural supplement also provides digestive support by nutrient absorption. It will not only reduce the risk of the founder but also help overcome other health-related issues.

Founder Prevention Tips:

By following the right prevention tips, you can reduce the risk of laminitis in horses:

1. Balanced Diet:

A balanced diet is the key to ensuring the overall health and well-being of your equine, reducing the chances of laminitis. The appropriate level of forage and limiting the consumption of grains will be beneficial as a precautionary step.  

2. Natural Supplements:

Natural supplements contain all the necessary ingredients that help your equine stay healthy and strong. So, add a natural supplement to your horse’s diet. 

3. Weight Management:

Obesity increases the chances of laminitis so weight management with exercise and proper diet will help you prevent founder in horses. 

4. Stress Management:

Provide a peaceful and calming environment to your house with a moderate level of work and exercise. 

5. Deworming and Vaccination:

Deworming and vaccination of horses also help in the prevention of infections and systematic issues that can be the cause of laminitis. 

Expert’s Equine Guides for You:

Jessica Lash

Jessica Lash is a Midwestern-based freelance writer and photographer. She loves great stories, fast horses and gummy bears. 

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top