This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
Founder (laminitis) is an inflammation involving the sensitive part of the foot contained inside the horny wall. It is sometimes the result of hard driving and pounding on the hard roads; but it also comes from gorging with food, drinking too much water while warm, or, as a sequel to some other disease, etc.
Symptoms. - The symptoms of acute founder are well marked and need not be mistaken. There will be full bounding pulse, rapid breathing, high temperature, and an anxious look about the eyes, indicating the most intense suffering. But the most prominent symptom is the manner of standing and walk ing. The fore feet will be set forward and the weight of the body will be thrown back upon the hind feet to relieve the fore feet. The horse will not back, and if made to move forward, supports almost the entire weight of the body upon the hind feet, and moves with great difficulty. He will stand in the position described, letting himself back a little further all the time until at last completely worn out, he drops down and remains most of the time in a recumbent position.
Treatment. - If the horse is lying down, remove the shoes (it cannot be done while standing). Give a full dose of aloes at once and give half-ounce doses of nitrate of potash every four hours for twenty-four to thirty-six hours, then continue the same dose three times a day for a week After removing the shoes, put flaxseed-meal poultices on the feet; have them as hot as can be borne without burning, and keep them so by the addition of hot water every half hour. As soon as the bowels have moved freely and the extreme pain has subsided the bottoms of the feet should be trimmed, dressing away the wall to let the frog and sole down on the ground and relieve the pressure from the wall. The poultices should be continued until the horse can walk fairly well on his feet, then omitted, and a sharp cantharidine blister should be applied around the coronet. After the bowels have been opened the horse should be fed moderately upon soft feed. Sometimes founder comes from driving a horse when the bowels are loose and causing scouring; in that case a dose of raw linseed oil, with an ounce or two of laudanum added, should be given instead of the aloes.