Ask an Expert

Laminitis vs. Founder

May 28, 2013

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.