When Is It Time to Put a Laminitic Horse Down?

Author Rodney Snyder

Posted Oct 30, 2022

Reads 73

Dog looking out over mountains

It is difficult to make the decision to euthanize a horse. When a horse is suffering from a chronic and incurable condition, such as laminitis, owners must evaluate the quality of the horse's life and make the decision based on what is best for the horse. If a horse is in pain and is not responding to treatment, euthanasia may be the most humane option.

Laminitis is a painful condition that affects the feet of horses. The condition is caused by inflammation of the sensitive laminae, which are the tissues that connect the hoof wall to the coffin bone. Laminitis can be caused by a variety of factors, including overeating, infection, trauma, and certain diseases.

There is no cure for laminitis, and horses who suffer from the condition often experience chronic pain. In severe cases, the coffin bone may rotate or sink within the hoof. This can lead to further pain and disability.

Horses with laminitis often require special care and management. They may need to be on a special diet and may need to be confined to a small paddock or pasture to prevent them from moving around too much and exacerbating the condition. In some cases, horses may need to be on complete stall rest.

Owners of horses with laminitis must closely monitor their horse's condition and seek veterinary care if they notice any changes. Treatment options are limited and often only offer temporary relief from the pain. Ultimately, the decision to euthanize a horse with laminitis is a personal one that must be made based on the horse's quality of life.

What are the signs that a horse is in pain from laminitis?

One of the most common signs that a horse is in pain from laminitis is when they are reluctant to move or put weight on the affected foot. Many times, the horse will lie down and rest more often than usual. If you touch or pick up the affected foot, the horse may flinch or try to pull away. Lameness is often evident, and the horse may stand with the front of the foot on its toe to try and take the pressure off the heel. In more severe cases, the horse may lie down for long periods of time and may even roll onto their back. The affected foot or feet may be hot to the touch and the digital pulse may be increased. In chronic cases, the horse may have a sunken in appearance and their body condition will decline.

What are the financial considerations for putting a horse down with laminitis?

There are many financial considerations to take into account when making the decision to put a horse down with laminitis. The cost of the veterinary care and medication required to treat the condition can be expensive, and often ongoing. There may also be the cost of funeral arrangements and disposal of the horse's body to consider. There can also be a financial impact on the horse's owner in terms of lost earnings from riding or showing the horse, or from breeding the horse. There may also be legal implications if the horse was injured due to negligence on the part of the owner or carer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is laminitis in horses?

Laminitis is an inflammation of the lamina of the hoof. Horses are most commonly afflicted, but it also occurs in ponies and donkeys. The disease process involves a breakdown of the bond between the hoof wall and the distal phalanx, commonly called the coffin bone,...

Can a horse with laminitis be euthanized?

Yes, horses with laminitis can be euthanized if their pain is severe and cannot be effectively treated with parenteral antibiotics or other treatments.

What is laminitis and how is it treated?

Laminitis is a condition of the hooves that can affect any horse, but is most common inMendelian horses (genetic equines with a mutation on the MUF1 gene). The hooves become hard and nodular (similar to knucklebones), lose their flexibility, and may even fracture. Treatment typically includes rest, antibiotics, and pain relief medications.

How common is laminitis in horses?

Laminitis is an extremely painful condition affecting 1 in 10 horses/ponies every year.

When to take an xray on a horse with laminitis?

An x-ray may be taken if there is concern that the pedal bone has sunk or rotated, or if the animal is not improving despite appropriate therapy.

Rodney Snyder

Rodney Snyder

Writer at Nahf

View Rodney's Profile

Rodney Snyder has always been passionate about writing. He started his career as a journalist, covering local news and events. His love for storytelling led him to explore different forms of writing, including fiction and poetry.

View Rodney's Profile