A GEN­ERAL MAN­AGE­MENT STRAT­EGY FOR RE­DUC­ING LAMINITIS RISK

EQUUS - - Eq In Brief -

1. Graz­ing. Some horses can eat large quan­ti­ties of new grass with­out any trou­ble, but oth­ers may de­velop laminitis after eat­ing just small amounts of lush grass. In fact, most laminitis cases are caused when horses graze too much on rich pas­ture, par­tic­u­larly in the spring and fall when grass can be high in sug­ars. Talk to your vet­eri­nar­ian about your horse’s risk; you may need to limit his ac­cess to lush pas­ture, fit him with a graz­ing muz­zle or tem­po­rar­ily move him to a dry lot.

2. Diet. Re­duce the sug­ars and starches in the diet of horses who have had laminitis, are in­sulin re­sis­tant or are oth­er­wise at risk. Many low-sugar feeds are now avail­able as sub­sti­tutes for sweet feeds that con­tain mo­lasses or other sug­ars. In fact, many feed com­pa­nies of­fer prod­ucts specif­i­cally for­mu­lated for laminitis preven­tion. And don’t for­get that some treats can be high in sug­ars: For at-risk horses, stick to small amounts of car­rot slices or peanuts in the shell. 3. Hoof care. Over­grown and un­bal­anced hooves can de­velop me­chan­i­cal laminitis. And should laminitis oc­cur, ne­glected hooves are more likely to founder than are healthy, bal­anced hooves. Keep your horse on a reg­u­lar (ev­ery six to eight weeks) far­ri­ery sched­ule. 4. Weight main­te­nance. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween obe­sity, meta­bolic dys­func­tion and laminitis is not en­tirely un­der­stood, but one thing is clear: Obese horses are far more likely to de­velop laminitis than are those at op­ti­mal weight. Pe­ri­od­i­cally as­sess your horse’s body con­di­tion--and, if he’s start­ing to put on ex­cess pounds, de­vise a diet and ex­er­cise plan to ad­dress the is­sue.

Should laminitis oc­cur, ne­glected hooves are more likely to founder than are healthy, bal­anced hooves.

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