What Happens in the Hoof?
The causes can vary, but the result is the same. The suspensory apparatus of the hoof loses its functionality because the lamellae are being compromised. The bearing edge is the most accessible weight-bearing structure in the hoof. Physical forces reach and influence it first and are then transmitted to the inner parts. If the compromised connective tissue cannot withstand these forces, it will be unable to keep the hoof wall connected to the suspended coffin bone. The hoof wall continues to deviate from the bone, especially the parts of the hoof wall that are already bent concavely to the ground. The thick dorsal hoof wall is exposed to the most leverage and therefore affected the most.
Without the coffin bone attached adequately to its protective hoof wall, the bone may sink into the capsule if support is lacking. The weight of the horse drives the bone down, the horn capsule gives way, and the bone sinks closer to the ground. The coffin bone can even break through the sole if the lack of support is severe enough. As long as the bearing edge has to carry any weight, there can be no support for the coffin bone in acute laminitis.
With the correct treatment of the hoof capsule and support of the coffin bone, the parallelism of bone and hoof wall can be restored.
7 months later:
4 months later
8 months later
Severe chronic laminitis with chronically compromised lamellae