• horse;
  • laminitis;
  • chronic;
  • histopathology


Reasons for performing study: The histopathology of laminitis during its transition from the acute to the chronic phase has not been previously documented. Studying hoof lamellar tissues 7 days after induction of laminitis may provide insight into the intractable nature of the chronic phase of the disease.

Objectives: To induce laminitis and investigate hoof wall lamellar tissues 7 days after dosing.

Methods: Laminitis was induced using oligofructose in 6 normal Standardbred horses. The dorsal hoof lamellar tissues of these and 12 normal horses were processed and examined by light microscopy. Serial sections of a lamellar tip affected by laminitis were used to create a 3 dimensional reconstruction.

Results: Transverse sections of dorsal hoof wall lamellae were significantly longer than normal. Many secondary epidermal lamellae were not connected to primary lamellae and existed as spherical or ovoid, discrete islands isolated in the lamellar dermis. The lamellar basement membrane was intact.

Conclusions: Lamellar tissue has the ability to reorganise rapidly following an episode of acute laminitis. Although histopathological evidence of ongoing acute laminitis was absent by 7 days, there was marked disruption of lamellar architecture.

Potential relevance: The architecture and subsequent strength of the resultant lamellar interface could be greatly influenced for the better by strategies that minimise mechanical displacement during the acute phase of laminitis.