Laminitis: the simple way to prevent what can’t be cured.


Protect your performance horse from laminitis without changing their diet.

Laminitis is a distressing and potentially crippling disease that affects the hooves of the horse. All horses are at risk. Laminitis has affected many champion performance horses at the peak of their career. Sadly, it is the second biggest killer of horses after colic.

What are Laminitis and Founder?

Laminitis damages the sensitive soft tissues known as ‘laminae’ which connect the skeletal pedal bone to the inside of the hoof wall. They provide the support for the weight of the horse. Damaged and weakened laminae may allow the pedal bone within the hoof to ‘sink’ downwards and ‘rotate’ backwards. This leads to abnormal hoof growth with obvious ‘growth rings’, long toes, flat soles and separation of the sole from the hoof wall at the white line (often followed by ‘seedy toe’).

Laminitis most commonly affects both forefeet of the horse, but can affect the one hoof, the back hooves or all four simultaneously.

Hoof Diagram
The physical damage to the hoof as a result of laminitis is referred to as ‘Founder’.

Could your feed cause Laminitis?

A diet that includes too much soluble carbohydrates is the leading cause of laminitis. Most as at risk are horses that eat lots of cereal grains, which are abundant in starch, and lush green grass (especially in late winter and spring), which has high levels of sugars.

The chemical process of feed induced laminitis

Horse Diagram
The chemical process of feed induced laminitis (click to enlarge)

An excess of starch or sugar consumption will overflow into the hindgut where bacteria helps it to undergo rapid fermentation into lactic acid. As the acid builds up, it damages the gut lining and substances such as bacterial endotoxins enter the bloodstream.

These toxins stimulate production of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs damage the delicate laminae of the hoof, resulting in laminitis.

Once a horse has foundered it is likely to suffer from repeated attacks. They can develop sensitivity to the carbohydrates in feed such that even small amounts of grain or lush pasture will trigger an attack.

4 ways to reduce the risk of laminitis in your horse

Even if your horse has never had Founder, now is the time to make preventative
changes in order to minimise their risk of developing this potentially fatal disease.

  1. Keep hooves trimmed correctly.
  2. Prevent unnecessary stress on hooves by limiting working or standing on hard surfaces.
  3. Carefully manage feed to exclude excess carbohydrates and reduce the risk of lactic acid production.
  4. Include Founderguard® in your horse’s diet.

If you think you have a case of laminitis, call your veterinarian for advice. The sooner you call. The more likely you will be able to successfully treat your horse’s laminitis.

Founderguard®: the simple way to prevent what can’t be cured.

Founderguard® is a clinically proven to prevent feed induced laminitis and founder. Founderguard® comes as a readily accepted pellet that is fed either on its own or mixed with feed.

Given daily, the fibrous pellet breaks down in the large intestine, where it prevents the suppresses the activity of the bacteria which start the fermentation process that produces lactic acid, and maintains gut microbes in the correct balance.

Founderguard® is available in 1kg and 5kg buckets, providing 40 and 200 daily doses for a 500kg horse each. Talk to your vet to find out more about Founderguard®.