Founder vs. Laminitis

Q. I hear a lot of people use the words laminitis and founder interchangeably. Are these two conditions the same thing?

Alyson, via e-mail

A. That's a more difficult question to answer than you might expect, because the two terms are used interchangeably by a lot of people. However, "founder" implies more of the chronic condition, or the horse that has already had its coffin bone rotate or sink. That is classically a "foundered" horse, versus a laminitic horse that has the onset inflammation of the laminae, which support the coffin bone within the hoof capsule.

About the Author

Bryan Fraley, DVM

Bryan Fraley, DVM, is an equine foot specialist and farrier who operates Fraley Equine Podiatry, an affiliate of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky. He started shoeing at age 15 and graduated from Colorado State University’s veterinary school in 2004. He frequently treats laminitic horses but is also often dispatched to help show- and racehorses with foot pain. Fraley works closely with farriers nationally and internationally to tackle their most difficult cases.

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