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18 Valuable Tips for Feeding of Laminitics

laminiticVets, research workers and and experienced horse handlers all agree that management of a laminitic is everything. There is no cure, therefore avoiding the disease in the first place is important, and experts agree that careful management could drastically reduce the number of cases.

18 tips to help manage a laminitic:

  1. Most importantly horses and ponies should never be overfed anything, including grass and concentrate feed, and should never be allowed to become too fat.
  2. A horse’s body condition should be assessed regularly – a weigh tape and condition scoring can be used.
  3. If necessary concentrate feed can be withdrawn and replaced with a broad-spectrum vitamins and minerals supplement. Optimal micronutrients can help support the healing process.
  4. Overweight horses should not be starved, but should be fed to ensure gradual weight loss.
  5. Help avoid wood-chewing by feeding hard, stemmy hay/and or straw (but ensure good dental care).
  6. Plenty of fibre should be fed to aid hind-gut function, especially after a bout of laminitis and associated gut disturbance.
  7. A minimum of 1% bodyweight per day should be fed in forage, i.e. 5Kg for a 500kg horse.
  8. Monitor grass intake and restrict with strip grazing, or muzzles (with supervision), or turnout on a bare paddock with hay.
  9. Horses should not be turned out on large overgrazed paddocks without supplementary forage as stressed grass may contain relatively high levels of fructan.
  10. Grass is thought to be at its safest during very early morning hours before dawn, so consider turning out overnight from dusk until dawn.
  11. Horses should not be turned out on frosty grass, especially on sunny days, when fructan levels can soar.
  12. Do not allow horses and ponies to become overweight as they are at higher risk of insulin resistance, which will increase their risk of laminitis.
  13. Dietary changes should be made gradually to avoid further hind-gut disturbance and several small meals should be fed a day rather than one of two larger feeds.
  14. Course mixes and cereals should be avoided and replaced with high-fibre cubes and vegetable oil if concentrate feed is necessary.
  15. For an underweight laminitic the maximum recommended amount of high-fibre cubes, high quality chaffs such as quick dried alfalfa, and vegetable oil can be fed, as well as forage.
  16. An exercise regime should be maintained, with the vet’s advice – particularly if the horse is overweight or in a restricted area. Exercise boosts insulin sensitivity and aids circulation.
  17. Probiotic supplements such as Digestive Care can be used to help normalise gut function after a bout of laminitis.
  18. LamiCare supplement can be added to the diet to help support normal vascular and metabolic balance in laminitics.

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The article above has been written including excerpts from ReadySupp’s consultant nutritionist Clare MacLeod’s (MSC RNutr) book ‘The Truth About Feeding Your Horse’ – which you can purchase online at equinenutritionist.co.uk

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Posted in Digestion, Equine Health, Equine Nutrition, General, Horse Feed, Supplements
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