What is Founder?

The way founder occurs is due to a lack of blood flow in the laminae which produces swelling and inflammation in the hoof.
Over time, the cells of the laminae are damaged because of the lack of oxygen and nutrients in the blood.
If you do not catch the problem right away in the early stages of founder, the laminae start to die and cause even more problems and pain.
When the laminae die, the pedal bone no longer has support to hold the weight of your horse. Sometimes the pedal bone can protrude through the sole, resulting in an irreversible case of lameness and excruciating pain.

Founder (laminitis) in horses is a serious condition of the foot caused by the pedal bone rotating and pointing towards the horse’s sole.
It is also one of the most common reasons for disability and lameness in ponies and horses. This is extremely painful and in some cases it may be necessary to euthanize.

Symptoms of Founder in Horses

Founder can be found in any of your horse’s feet but it is most often reported in the front. Some of the most common signs of founder are:

Sudden lameness
Reluctance to walk or move
Pulse felt in the foot
Alternating weight from leg to leg
Does not want to lift, bend, or raise a leg
Warm foot
Laying down more often
Obvious pain when standing or moving
Movement or rotation of pedal bone
Standing with front legs out in front of their body
Standing with both front and rear legs under their body


Acute founder is a sudden breakdown of the attachment between the hoof and the laminae (coffin bone) .
Chronic founder is the continuation of acute laminitis past 72 hours.
Support-limb founder happens to the healthy foot that has to bear the weight of an injured foot

Causes of Founder in Horses

One of the leading causes of founder is from obesity, but there are other suspected causes as well, which are:

Feeding your horse a large amount of soluble carbohydrates causes an overload of undigested sugars and starches. High fever or illness causing equine metabolic syndrome (EMS)
Severe cases of colic Stress such as travelling, foaling, or changes in the environment
Infections such as severe bacterial infections can cause blood poisoning (toxemia) and founder
Working too fast or hard for a long period of time
Cushing’s disease is a pituitary gland disease that causes increased hunger, thirst, sweating, and weight loss
Black walnut shavings in bedding

Diagnosis of Founder in Horses

As with any veterinary visit, you should be prepared to tell the veterinarian your horse’s medical and vaccination history. This will preclude a comprehensive physical examination including blood pressure, body temperature, weight, height, temperament, body condition grade, heart and respiration rates, and behavior. A lameness examination will be conducted as well which include a standing exam to check your horse’s appearance and conformation, palpation of certain areas for pain, heat, and inflammation. A static flexion will be done to check range of motion. The veterinarian will then ask you to trot your horse to observe the muscles and joints in motion. A nerve block injection may be done to numb the area before the veterinarian has you trot your horse again to see if the lameness is relieved. This may not be necessary because it is usually obvious to the veterinarian by now if your horse has laminitis.  A hoof testing is done next to put pressure on certain areas of the foot to find the exact cause and location. This procedure is done by pulling and pushing on the hoof with a special tool and then looking at all four of the hooves to determine how severe the laminitis is. The diagnostic tests needed include an endogenous ACTH, serum glucose and insulin levels, complete blood count, chemistry panel, bacterial and fungal culture, and packed cell volume (PCV). In addition, the veterinarian will need to get x-rays of the feet to check the alignment of the coffin bone and may do an ultrasound as well for a more detailed view.

Treatment of Founder in Horses

Treatment of founder depends on the cause. The underlying problem has to be treated at the same time to ensure success. Medications The veterinarian will administer a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to relieve pain and inflammation. Thyroid hormone supplements will be given if your horse is found to have Cushing’s disease. Heel Wedge Cuffs or Foam Supports Sole putty is used from the heels to the tip of the frog to provide frog support. Cold Therapy The best way to do this is by immersing your horse’s foot in ice water for approximately 72 hours. You have to consistently replace the ice to keep the foot below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Complete Stall Rest You will need to keep your horse in a small and private area with enough bedding to keep support on the frog. The veterinarian usually suggests this for at least one week. Surgery The options for surgical repair are deep digital flexor tenotomy or a hoof wall resection.

Recovery of Founder in Horses

The prognosis for founder in horses is guarded. While some horses are able to withstand the treatment or heal on their own, others may be in constant pain and may need to be euthanized.

Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/horse/condition/founder

Perhaps the most prominent of all disorders affecting racehorses is “bleeding” or exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH).  We now know, for a fact, that most racehorses will bleed during their careers.  Many horses bleed every time they undertake intense exercise, such as racing and breezing.  We also know that bleeding can occur in situations other than dash or flat racing.  EIPH has also been detected in horses such as three-day eventers, steeplechasers and polo ponies… among others.  EIPH has also been observed in draft horses pulling heavy loads.  The one common denominator is strenuous exercise.

Even though EIPH has been recognized for over 300 years, we still have more questions than answers when it comes to the cause and prevention of EIPH.  Research in the last 30 plus years has shed some light on why horses bleed during strenuous exercise… but even today there is no true consensus regarding the cause of EIPH.

How do we treat and prevent bleeding?  It is a tough task.  In large part, it is because of the controversy concerning the potential performance-enhancing effects of furosemide (Salix, formerly known as Lasix), the drug administered to racehorses who have a history of bleeding.  Also, in many instances, Salix is not the answer because it has a short half-life.

How Common is EIPH???

To answer this question, we need to define what EIPH is.  Once upon a time, before the advent of endoscopes, a horse was called a “bleeder” only when it shed blood from their nose after a race (epistaxis).  However, research studies have shown that epistaxis occurs in only an extremely small percentage of racehorses that actually bleed (1-2%).

Therefore, if bleeding is defined as the presence of blood in the windpipe or trachea after hard exercise, the percentage of affected absolutely horses skyrockets.  This type of EIPH has been referred to as “internal” bleeding.  In this case, the horse bleeds from the lung, up into the trachea and not out of the nose.

In studies of Standardbreds and thoroughbreds, where these horses were scoped 60-90 minutes after racing, bleeding was detected in 50-60% of horses!  In studies where the same horses were examined after three races, almost 90% bled on at least one occasion!!!

Another indicator of bleeding is the presence of a red blood cell breakdown product hemosiderin in lung macrophages.  These are detected from a broncho alveolar lavage (BAL) or tracheal wash, in which a small amount of fluid is placed into the lung and then drawn out to be analyzed, which essentially “washes” part of the lung.  Studies have shown that over 90% all racehorses have these hemosiderin-laden macrophages in these lung secretions, indicating that there was some degree of bleeding that has occurred in the recent past.

Also, it is apparent that even young racehorses experience some degree of EIPH soon after beginning fast work.  In general, the incidence and severity of bleeding increase with age, due to scarring that occurs from previous bouts with EIPH.  Consistent with this bleeding from the nose is more prevalent in older horses.

All of this tells us that EIPH does occur in most… if not all, racehorses.  The severity of bleeding will probably vary greatly between horses but appears to greatly worsen as the age of the horse increases.  There have been very few studies on “bleeding horses” performing other intense exercise (eg., three-day eventing or polo).  In one study of top-level three-day event horses, only about 13% had evidence of bleeding after the cross-country phase of the competition.

Can EIPH Alter Athletic Ability?

EIPH causes a decrease in racing performance when a horse bleeds.  However, this is another one of the combative issues surrounding EIPH.  Remember that most horses will bleed to some extent during strenuous exercise, thereby making it almost impossible to sort out the effects of bleeding on racing and performance.  Furosemide is administered as a pre-race in the belief that it will prevent bleeding and allow the horse to perform at their best, thereby “evening the playing field” among bleeders and non-bleeders in that race.

Some believe that mild bleeding likely has minimal or no effect on performance.  We tend to disagree. You try to run a race then then pinch your nose closed for the last 1/8th of the race.  That short lack of oxygen will take a few ticks away from your time, plus increase lactic acid levels.  Obviously, severe bleeding would impair exercise performance by decreasing oxygen uptake in the lung, which shrinks the amount of space in the airway.  Also, blood could flood many of the airways which will prevent the normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

The long-term effects of repeated bleeding episodes on lung health and function also should be considered.  Researchers have proposed that EIPH contributes to the development of chronic inflammatory airway disease (CIAD), which is a condition that is associated with a decrease in athletic performance.

Most horses that work at high energy intensity tend to bleed and those that do and are bleeders require a special management program.  Minimizing your horse’s exposure to stress, allergens, and dust and also maximizing their level of fitness for their job will ensure you that every breath they take is as healthy as possible.

Just like people, horses experience medical issues that can leave owners not knowing how to proceed. We know that you want the very best for your four-legged companion, but what exactly does that entail? Are the potential adverse reactions to conventional medications worth the risk? When problems arise (and they inevitably do) it is important for horse owners to know their options in terms of the way specific ailments are treated. This is where CBD comes into play.

By now you are likely familiar with the benefits that CBD has for people. From promoting relaxation to easing pain, CBD oil is improving lives every single day. It was only a matter of time before people began wondering if the powerful herb could also benefit their animals. As it turns out, it can! In fact, over three decades worth of studies suggest that CBD is an incredibly effective way to boost overall wellness in dogs, cats, and horses.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about CBD oil for horses. The ways in which it can benefit your horse may surprise you. Let’s get started!

cbd oil for horses

What is CBD Oil

CBD oil is a liquid substance derived from the cannabis plant. The oil is all natural and non-toxic and is finally getting the attention it deserves in terms of how we treat certain health issues.

With the growing conversation surrounding CBD oil for animals, many pet owners have questions regarding how an herb could have such incredibly medical benefits. Before we dive into all of the ways that CBD oil can help your horse, let’s clear up a few misunderstandings.

Facts Vs. Fiction: What You Need to Know!

Think of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant as a kind of umbrella term. Under the plant are both the marijuana plant and the hemp plant. Although the two have similarities, they also have important differences that horse owners should be aware of.

Cannabis plants are comprised of 80 different cannabinoids. Of these cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the most studied. This is also where many misunderstandings stem from.

There is still a rather negative stigma surrounding the cannabis plant due to its association with the “stoner” characters portrayed on television. However, this generalization couldn’t be farther from the truth in terms of the cannabis oil used for treating ailments. In efforts to help remove the stigma, we want to explain a few things more in depth. We hope that our readers will then be able to educate others and that more correct knowledge regarding cannabis oil will be passed on from there. The more pet owners that know the benefits of CBD oil, the more animals that can be helped in an all natural, non-toxic way. We feel that’s something we all can stand behind.


Perhaps the most important difference between the hemp plant and the marijuana plant is that CBD oil derived from the hemp plant contains no more than 0.3% THC. Why is this so important? We’re glad you asked.

THC is the chemical compound that gives its users the euphoric, “high” feeling associated with cannabis. Due to the fact that the levels of THC in the hemp plant are virtually non-existent, hemp-derived CBD will not get your horse high or experience any euphoric feelings. Many pet owners wonder if CBD for animals will get their pet “high.” The answer is absolutely not.

Additionally, CBD derived from the hemp plant is legal in all 50 states and can be purchased with a click of a button.


It is important to note that CBD can also be derived from the marijuana plant. The CBD oil will contain higher traces of THC, the psychoactive property that most associate with getting high. Although many studies prove that horses can tolerate marijuana-derived CBD*, it is not legal in most states. Therefore, the CBD oil that you purchase for your horse will be derived from the hemp plant, not the marijuana plant.

*Additionally, it is necessary to mention that while horses can tolerate marijuana-derived CBD, other animals, like dogs and cats, cannot. Again, in most cases, this won’t be an issue but if you live in a state that has legalized marijuana products it is imperative that you only purchase hemp-derived CBD for your animals.

CBD & Horses: How They Interact

So, how does it all work? Hemp and cannabis both contain chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Horses (like people) have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The receptor system interacts with cannabinoids (such as CBD cannabidiol) to help maintain overall homeostasis within the body. As you may imagine, it is imperative that the system works efficiently.

When a cannabinoid such as CBD is introduced, it helps to support the overall function of the Endocannabinoid System. It is comparable to the way that vitamin C supports the immune system.

cbd oil for horses

CBD Hemp Oil Benefits for Horses

Horse owners are finding that hemp derived CBD oil can benefit their four-legged friend in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at all the ways CBD oil can benefit your horse.


One of the most common health conditions that many horses face is arthritis. The disease is caused by chronic inflammation which leads to permanent degradation of the cartilage surrounding the horses’ joints. Arthritis can cause the horse to experience a terrible amount of pain and ultimately affect their quality of life. Luckily, CBD may be able to help. When it comes to arthritis, the disease is unable to be entirely reversed. However, horse owners may help support mobility with CBD oil.


Perhaps the hardest part of being a pet owner is recognizing that your horse is in pain. Conventional pain medications are accompanied by a slew of potential adverse reactions that leave many wondering if the risks are worth the possible reward. Of course, you don’t want your beloved horse to be in pain, but at what cost?

Luckily, CBD may play a role in easing the pain. The best news? Studies suggest that CBD hemp oil has virtually zero side effects, much unlike those associated with conventional pain medications.


At one point or another, many horses are diagnosed with gastric ulcers. Sadly, up to 90% of adult horses will be diagnosed with gastric ulcer disease at some point in their life. The ulcers can be incredibly painful and affect the horse’s appetite and overall nature. In cases of equine gastric ulcer syndrome, CBD may be able to help. Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD can boost appetite as well as overall wellness.


Every day, hundreds of horses are diagnosed with a disease called laminitis. Laminitis is the inflammation of the tissues within the horse’s hoof. The disease often causes the horse to experience a severe amount of pain and negatively affects their quality of life. If your horse has been diagnosed with laminitis, you may be interested in trying CBD. Studies suggest that CBD can ease pain and discomfort associated with inflammation.


Another ailment that could potentially benefit from CBD oil is colic. Colic is a condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract and can cause the horse to experience abdominal pain. While more studies need to be done, CBD may play a role in easing inflammation.


Desmitis is caused by inflammation of the horse’s ligaments, typically in the legs and coffin joint. The commonly diagnosed disease is another which may benefit from a CBD oil supplement.


CBD oil may play a role in promoting a healthy heart. Studies suggest CBD supports blood vessels and an irregular heart rate. CBD oil may also help decrease an elevated heart rate by promoting relaxation.


CBD may contribute to an allergy-free life. Many times, allergy symptoms appear in the form of skin conditions which can create even bigger issues for a horse owner. Skin issues such as hives and pruritus (severe, intense itching) may be soothed by implementing CBD oil into your horse’s life.


CBD hemp oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that these fatty acids help to absorb vitamins and therefore support overall immune function. By implementing CBD oil into your horse’s diet, you can boost overall wellness and health.


Added stress on the joints, either due to trauma or chronic wearing, will ultimately lead to the development of arthritis. If your horse is aging or has experienced physical trauma of any kind, you may want to consider CBD. Studies suggest that CBD oil may promote mobility!

cbd oil improves joint pain in horses


Additionally, CBD oil may promote healthy digestion. Some people have noted an improvement in bloating, nausea, indigestion, lack of appetite, and heartburn after using CBD oil.

Interestingly enough, in humans, CBD may also play a role in easing nausea and boosting the appetite. The research is even acknowledged by the National Cancer Institute.


Just like humans, horses can experience bouts of anxiety, particularly when traveling in a trailer. Additionally, some competition horses may experience something called “arena anxiety” which can also affect the anxiety level of their rider. In these instances, CBD may be useful. Clinical trials suggest that CBD oil may promote relaxation in stressful situations.

Horse owners may administer the oil prior to a stressful event. Because hemp-derived CBD has less than 0.3% THC, your horse won’t feel loopy or drowsy. They will still be able to perform or travel, just in a potentially more relaxed state.

Additionally, horses are herd animals and can often face separation anxiety if they are left alone for periods of time. Luckily, CBD may ease those feelings. If you know that your horse is going to be on their own for an extended period of time, you may want to consider CBD oil.


When we look at the vast majority of health issues (including nearly all of the aforementioned conditions),  we find that they all have one major thing in common: inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of nearly every disease that both people and our animals face. From allergies to disease, inflammation is generally to blame. Therefore, reducing inflammation is paramount in not only providing relief for current health issues but also to prevent diseases from developing in the future.

CBD Oil for Horses: Dosage 

The dose of CBD oil varies greatly from species to species as it is typically based on weight. Obviously, a horse will require a significantly higher dose of CBD oil than your dog. Any CBD product that you purchase will have a recommended ml per lb label which can help pet owners accurately administer the product. With that said, as always, we recommend consulting with a holistic veterinarian regarding the appropriate CBD dosage for your horse’s individual needs. Some conditions may require less or more of the supplement than others.

cbd oil for horses

Choosing the Best CBD Product

With the rise in popularity of CBD oil, many companies are producing a wide array of CBD products. From balms to sprays to specially formulated treats, the options are growing by the day. When it comes to CBD for horses, most experts suggest sticking to CBD oil. CBD oil comes in tincture form with an easy-to-use dropper. The dropper allows pet owners to have total control over how much of the product their horse receives. Additionally, most horse owners report that administering CBD oil is an easy process that their horse doesn’t seem to mind one bit.


In order to support mobility, you may want to check out CBD oil. The oil can be administered directly into the horse’s mouth. Experts recommend administering the oil under the horse’s tongue (when possible) as it will be absorbed the fastest that way.  Again, the appropriate dosing will be provided on the label but we also recommend talking with your holistic veterinarian. Acute pain and chronic pain may require different dosages.

The Best CBD Oil for Horses

We know that you want the very best for your horse. That means choosing the very best products available. In terms of CBD oil, we hope that you’ll trust the quality of our full spectrum CBD oil. However, if you decide to shop around there are a few important things to be aware of.


First and foremost, make sure that the CBD oil that you purchase for your horse is all natural. If the product is not all natural then it may have been treated with pesticides, fungicides, and/or solvents. Using a CBD product that contains traces of these toxic chemicals ultimately defeats the whole point of choosing a holistic remedy. Choose all natural! You won’t regret it.


Next, make sure that the CBD oil comes with a certificate of analysis. The certificate of analysis is a lab report which shows exactly how much CBD the product contains. Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity, many companies are selling products that only contain traces of hemp extract, yet they are marketing them as CBD products. Not only are these products a waste of money, but they won’t deliver any positive results. Any reputable company should be able to provide their product’s certificate of analysis.


Additionally, we recommend full spectrum CBD oil as opposed to CBD isolate. CBD isolate is cheaper for companies to use and, therefore, many companies use it. However, it is important to choose a company that uses full spectrum CBD if you want to see optimal results. Here at Honest Paws, we are proud to use full-spectrum CBD oil.


Finally, let’s discuss price points. With so many companies producing CBD oil and CBD products, you’ll likely find a wide range of prices. When it comes to CBD you truly get what you pay for. Yes, some companies may sell their oil at a lower cost, but are you reaping all of the potential benefits that the oil has to offer? Are you purchasing a lab tested, quality product? These are questions pet owners must consider before choosing the best CBD oil for their horse.

Is CBD Safe for My Horses

Studies suggest that CBD oil is safe for horses and has the potential to deliver incredible results. If your horse is suffering from any of the aforementioned health concerns, CBD oil may be a great option for you.

happy healthy horse

CBD Oil for Horses: The Bottom Line

We know that your horse means the world to you. Most owners would go to the ends of the earth to ensure their horse’s happiness and health. We also know how difficult it can be when health issues arise. For some, the ailments are nearly impossible to prevent. If you recognize any symptoms of disease, don’t delay in seeking medical care for your horse.

Before we close, we want to mention one thing. Even though experts have been studying the effects of CBD oil on animals for over three decades, there is still research that needs to be done before all pet owners will willingly hop on the CBD bandwagon. We get it. The idea that an herb can provide such incredible benefits is a lot to process; however, we’re excited about the data and anecdotal evidence available and look forward to more conclusive studies!

Here at Honest Paws, we have seen results in our own animals and we feel confident that you will, too. For supporting various health issues and boosting overall wellness, we recommend CBD oil for horses.