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Why You Should Take Laminitis Seriously

Spring grass is on the way!

Spring has sprung and the new grass will be on the way soon. While that will be welcomed by most, owners managing laminitic horses and ponies will be preparing for a worrying time. As many of us are aware laminitis is a dreadful condition that can cause a great deal of pain and suffering, it is troublesome and logistically complicated to manage once established, and unfortunately can result in the loss of life for many seriously affected horses and ponies. Laminitis is usually a manifestation in the feet of a systemic condition, so there are a number of different causes. Several theories of why and how it happens exist, which confirms that it is not fully understood yet. Horses and ponies at risk of laminitis:

  • Grazing pasture grass 24/7, especially if overweight and in no or light work only
  • Suffering from Cushing’s Syndrome (PPID) or equine metabolic syndrome
  • Have had laminitis in the past
  • Overweight
  • Broodmares
  • Unbalanced hooves (usually involved other factors as well)
  • Excessive weight bearing on the other foot e.g. with severe lameness such as fracture

Do’s:

  • Call your vet without delay if a bout is suspected
  • Maintain a healthy body weight and fat covering for all horses and ponies and keep susceptible animals in lean (but not underweight) condition
  • Monitor condition regularly and keep records
  • Restrict grass – if necessary all year round – to avoid over-ingestion of fructans and to restrict energy intake (use track systems, dry lots, strip grazing, muzzles)
  • Exercise as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of IR
  • Keep the hooves regularly trimmed and in good balance
  • Ensure a balanced diet i.e. feed a vitamin and mineral supplement to horses and ponies on a restricted diet

Don’t’s:

  • Allow any horse or pony to become too fat
  • Expect a horse in light work to maintain a healthy bodyweight on pasture 24/7 (this is unlikely for most)
  • Starve for weight loss – if you need to restrict under 1.5% bodyweight intake, change the forage to a lower energy version
  • Expect specialist feeds to treat or reduce risk; they may be safer than other feeds, but they don’t have a therapeutic effect (some feed/supplement ingredients may help support vulnerable tissues but they are not treatments)

Take laminitis seriously because one bout makes future bouts more likely. Take action quickly and implement a long-term plan to keep your horse or pony slim, on restricted grazing and in as much exercise as possible.

ReadySupp LamiCare is suitable for horses and ponies prone to laminitis and provides a comprehensive formulation to support glucose levels and optimum hoof health. For 25% OFF during March and April use the code: LAM25 Click here for more details. 25 off for spring

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