Laminitis vs. Founder

Do you know the difference between laminitis and founder?

Do you know the difference between laminitis and founder?

Dr. Scott Morrison, a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, explains the difference between acute laminitis and chronic laminitis, or founder.


If my horse has laminitis, does that mean he has foundered?


Acute laminitis usually lasts for only a few days. External causes, like concussion on hard footing (commonly called “road founder”), chemicals like nitrate fertilizer, infections, colitis, pneumonia or retained placenta in a mare can all cause laminitis. But those cases often heal and don’t result in chronic laminitis. A horse can have laminitis, heal and not founder.

When the laminae in the foot become so inflamed and damaged that they no longer support the coffin bone, which then rotates and sinks, the condition is then called chronic laminitis or founder. That is when a long-term maintenance program provides the best possible outcome for the horse living with laminitis.

– Dr. Scott Morrison, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital
American Association of Equine Practitioners

*AQHA and the provider of this information are not liable for the inherent risks of equine activities. We always recommend consulting a qualified veterinarian and/or an AQHA Professional Horseman.


4 thoughts on “Laminitis vs. Founder”

  1. my horse had laminitus with rotation- spent 14 days at University of Wisconsin is now on pergolide every day and is barefoort for the first time. should i keep him barefoot? what supplements can igive him for arthritus (he is 27) that won’t upset his condition.
    read so many articles my brain is spinning…. he is on a dry lot – grass hay only twice a day……. doing great – rode him for the fist time…… what do i need to do to keep him sound as he is now? shoes -vs- no shoes……… i really need help.
    this article finally helped me understand the difference.

  2. Carole,

    You say he’s “doing great,” so I wouldn’t make any drastic changes if I were you. Barefoot is definitely the way to go, in my opinion. If he’s comfortable barefoot, why consider shoeing? Diet is going to be the most important factor in keeping him sound. If you’re giving pergoglide, I assume the horse has been diagnosed with Cushing’s? You shouldn’t have any problem finding dietary supplements for arthritis that don’t affect what you’re doing for the laminitis. There’s also an arthritis treatment that’s injected (Adequan) that may work for you. Talk to your vet.

    There is a lot of information about laminitis/founder on the internet. It’s a little dated now, but this site has a very detailed interpretation of what it all may mean.

    Very detailed and maybe over the head of the average horse owner, but there’s some interesting stuff there. Big emphasis on diet. Good luck!

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