Excessive tail growth in horses with chronic laminitis and founder

December 16, 2011

Angel's tail before and after getting several inches trimmed from it. Laminitis caused the tail to grow excessively.

Angel’s tail before and after getting several inches trimmed from it. Laminitis caused the tail to grow excessively.

In all the thousands of articles online about the effects of chronic laminitis, a topic that seems to get no coverage is excess tail growth.

At first, I didn’t even consider that a laminitis-related issue. But, I was talking to someone at the laminitis conference that I attended in 2007, and the tail thing just came up. She must have mentioned it, because I remember my surprised response being something on the order of, “Your horses, too!”

The more I thought about it in the following days, the more the excessive tail growth had to be laminitis, because Angel always had a lousy tail and suddenly the hair was growing maybe 18 inches a year. I’m guessing on that measurement, but every year at the first snowfall, I cut off at least a foot of the tail, and I also cut it back in the summer because she was always stepping on it. Same for Goldie and Stitches. In fact, Stitches’ tail was bitten off by a fellow horse when she was a 2-year-old, and I never could get it to grow beyond her hocks after that. Suddenly, after the laminitis started, it was dragging the ground.

I spent hours searching online trying to find any article on excessive tail growth, and I just keep getting how-to articles on growing a long horse tail or information on the plant horsetail.

I thought I had a lot of photos of this in my collection, but I’m afraid the pickings are slim. But, here is one set of photos of Angel’s tail before and after I trimmed it.

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