Laminitis is an inflammation of the soft tissues connecting the coffin bone to the hoof capsule so it can't be "seen" on xrays but effects from it can be. Things like bony column rotation, thin soles, laminar wedges, sinking can all be effects from laminitis. Laminitis can flare up and recede, which can cause lameness that comes and goes. How lame a horse would be will depend on may things: how stoic the horse is, how severe the pain is, how well the trim is conforming to/supporting the internal structures of the foot. Chronic, low grade laminitis can present as a general unwillingness to move which can be misdiagnosed as the horse being lazy. Generally, there will be evidence in the hoof capsule that there are ongoing issues: very visible growth rings; a difference in the width of the rings in the front of the hoof capsule vs those in the back; laminar wedge formation; thin soles; heels that grow more quickly than the toes.
If a horse has chronically sore feet it may become sore in it's entire body as it compensates by trying to shift its weight onto the feet that don't hurt as much and by moving differently. Over time, every body part can become sore as it tries to do jobs in ways that it isn't designed to function.
In order to properly test for you need to have serum iron, TIBC and Ferritin done. Your vet will need to draw a blood sample and send it to Kansas State University as this is the only lab that can run the equine ferritin. There is no other way to diagnose this correctly in ANY species. You can have a read here for more info:
Lavinia, Dante, George Too and Peanut
Jan 05, RI
EC Support Team