Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School


Program or Major

Equine Studies: Industry and Management

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Christina Keim


Equine laminitis is a disease of the hoof characterized by inflammation or disruption of the sensitive and insensitive laminae located within the hoof. These structures are responsible for maintaining a secure connection between the third phalanx (P3) and the hoof wall. Damage to these laminae can weaken the attachment between the hoof wall and P3, causing separation and eventual rotation of P3. Equine laminitis can result from multiple triggers, but the most commonly seen cases of the disease are those which are related to endocrinopathy and metabolic related issues. This review will focus on determining the metabolic risk factors associated with this disease, and what can be done to manage these animals. It has been shown that horses predisposed to developing endocrine or metabolic related laminitis are often characterized by a prior history of endocrine issues. They can also be affected by high serum insulin and triglyceride concentrations, as well as insulin resistance, often associated with diets high in non-structural carbohydrates. These horses have also been known to exhibit physical characteristics such as a body condition score of seven or greater and deposition of adipose tissue. Because laminitis is associated with high sugar intake, effectively managing the animal’s diet is a key factor in mitigating the risk of developing the disease. It is also important to maintain proper hoof care and effectively manage pain to keep the animal comfortable.