Safe Pastures for Horses with Laminitis By Dr John Kohnke BVSc RDA The most commonly asked questions by owners of horses and ponies with a history of laminitis and founder are: Which type of pasture is safe to graze and at what times is it safe to turn my horse out to graze? In her book The Truth About Feeding Your Horse (2007), nutritionist Clare MacLeod says "Haylage can be a safe feed for laminitis-prone horses and ponies, but a high dry matter, high-fibre, low-protein haylage with low residual sugars should be selected." If you are considering a particular feed for your laminitic horse, call the manufacturer to see if they have had the feeds sugar and starch levels tested and ask to see the results. Excessive intake of grass or grain engorgement – for example, if a horse or pony gets into the feed room. Consider the use of probiotic and prebiotic supplements to help maintain the pH and microflora of the hindgut. Laminitis results from the disruption (constant, intermittent or short-term) of blood flow to the sensitive and insensitive laminae. You should NEVER feed a feed to a laminitic horse if it has any of the following ingredients: Oats, corn, wheat, rice or barley Millrun, millmix, bran (rice or wheat), pollard Any form of steam flaked, micronized or extruded grain Feed a low sugar complete feed at the recommended rates for your horse’s bodyweight and current activity. If you will be feeding soaked hay with unknown mineral profiles, or that changes all the time, at least check with the state university of the area where the hay was grown to find out what mineral deficiencies and imbalances are common, and to get advice on supplementation. Pryde's EasiFeed, 256 Quia Road, Gunnedah, NSW, 2380, Australia. Slowly and carefully move him to a stall. If the horse is able to exercise, a gentle exercise routine each day will also help them to lose weight and reduce their risk of further bouts of laminitis. Do you know what is missing from your pasture? Dr Nerida RichardsEquilize Horse Nutrition Pty Ltd. How Well Do You Know Your Feed Manufacturer? Feed more hay to laminitic horse, equine nutritionist says. Lucerne haylage or silage that has been produced specifically for horses is also a low sugar forage option. If additional weight gain is needed add some oil to the diet. To prevent boredom in these horses, make their forage hard to eat so it is more time consuming for them. If your horse needs to lose weight you must do it carefully, as forcing the laminitic horse into rapid weight loss can also stop them from healing their damaged hoof tissue and may cause other problems like hyperlipaemia. Getting the right feed for a laminitic is important for any owner of a horse or pony with laminitis. Simply watching what you feed isn’t enough on its own; you are likely to also have to make some lifestyle changes. Laminitis can also be associated with sepsis or endotoxaemia and this includes grain-induced laminitis due to starch-overload and health problems such as retained placenta. Broodmare Nutrition: A case of now or never! Any form of steam flaked, micronised or extruded grain. Does The Horse Feed Contain What The Horse Needs? LAMINITIS DEFINED. Steam extruded feeds are low in sugar and starch which is beneficial for all laminitics. I’ve seen horses open doors, open the lid to the feed bin and perform miracle acts to get at that sweet feed. The basis of feeding horses with laminitis involves formulating a balance diet. The Facts on Beet Pulp. Fresh, clean tepid water is a key to overall health as well as circulation of nutrient rich blood. How to determine what makes a quality horse feed? Laminitis is a debilitating disease that is sadly all too common. Here are some guidelines for making it a lot easier: All horse’s diets should be based on forage and the laminitic horse is no different. The sensitive lamellae act like Velcro to form a strong bond to hold the pedal bone in place within the hoof. These feeds … Soaking hay for 12 hours in cold or 4 hours in warm water can reduce the NSC and calorie content, or alternatively mix hay with lower-calorie oat or barley straw (up to 50:50). However, recent research has … She is getting no grain, and she has never developed laminitis, inflammation of the soft connective tissues within the foot that can result from a variety of causes, including a diet too rich in NSCs. However, in many cases, high intakes of sugars and starches from pasture and grain play the bigger role in the development of laminitis. If your horse is not losing weight, reduce the amount of low sugar forage being fed to 1.5% of the horse’s current bodyweight (7.5 kg/day for a 500 kg horse). In laminitis the blood flow to the laminae is disrupted, meaning that they weaken and possibly die. This may increase the risk of laminitis for individuals that are insulin resistant. To gently encourage your horse to lose weight you should: Feed up to 2% of your horses body weight (10 kg/day for a 500 kg horse) per day as low quality, low sugar forage, including mature or stemmy tropical grass hays and/or weather damaged lucerne hay. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. It contains high levels of calcium, as well as magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, lysine, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folic acid. Horses and ponies prone to laminitis still need plenty of forage in their diets. Feeding materials that have reasonable protein and low sugar/starch levels are a good starting point. Water: Often overlooked as a nutrient, water is one of the best allies in the defense of laminitis in your horse. Learn what to feed your horse and how to prevent it. Horses should get a minimum of half an hour active walking per day. Consider feeding either a low calorie, fibre-based feed that is balanced in vitamins and minerals or a low intake, … By learning more about laminitis and its causes, signs and treatments, you may be able to minimize the risks of laminitis in your horse or control the long-term damage if it does occur. Reasons why Pryde's EasiFeed is different, Thoroughbred Yearling Prep - Feeding the Muscles. Keyflow® feeds also have the additional benefit of Protexin, a probiotic which, is ideal for a horse with laminitis. As most horses and ponies prone to laminitis tend to hold weight easily it is unlikely that they will need large concentrate meals, however, it is still very important that they get a balanced diet, providing all the essential vitamins and minerals for health and well-being. If your horse has gained weight then winter can be a great time to kick start weight loss. Studies show that these can benefit fibre digestion and affect systemic blood inflammatory cytokines. We recommend fat scoring your horse and weighing them, using our scientifically validated weigh-tape, every fortnight. Laminitis is most commonly linked with poor nutrition, we explain how dietary management is key to reducing the risk of a horse or pony getting laminitis. As explained, there are differences between the conditions in grass and the horse that give rise to spring and autumn laminitis, but both centre around the dysfunction caused by too high a protein and sugar intake. It can occur occasionally, for example if a horse or pony breaks into the feed room. Other feeds claim to be ‘Low GI’, but again, if they contain any of the ingredients listed above, they should be avoided for laminitic horses. Laminae are finely structured tissues which bind together the inner hoof wall and the pedal bone. Research shows that laminitis is typically caused by more than one factor. These include mature or stemmy tropical grass hays and mature or stemmy lucerne hay (including lucerne hay that has been weather damaged). This is grossly misleading and these feeds present as much danger to your laminitic horse as a feed that contains grain. Do you get what you should be getting in your horse feed? If you believe that your horse is suffering from laminitis, don’t panic. You should NEVER feed a feed to a laminitic horse if it has any of the following ingredients: Millrun, millmix, bran (rice or wheat), pollard, Any form of steam flaked, micronized or extruded grain. Laminitis affects structures called sensitive lamellae that are located inside the horse’s hoof. Laminitis is serious and can cause permanent damage so you should always seek veterinary advice. There are so many conflicting “do’s and don’ts” out there that it can give you a major headache just thinking about it! Pay particular attention to any regional fat deposits such as a cresty neck, fat pads behind the shoulder or fat-filled eye sockets as these could indicate an increased risk of EMS. Consider feeding either a low calorie, fibre-based feed that is balanced in vitamins and minerals or a low intake, low-calorie balancer. This is thought to affect blood flow to the laminae in the hooves, possible through Insulin Growth Factor Receptors. It is very important to make sure the diet you are feeding your laminitic horse is balanced. Note hay will usually contain 10-12% moisture (or more), so 7.5 kg on a dry matter basis = 8.5 kg as fed weight for a hay … The basic principles of feeding laminitic horses are well-established: Avoid high-sugar and -starch feeds and lush green grass. As well as being low in sugar, the diet also needs to provide good quality protein to allow damaged hoof tissue to repair, as well as meet a horse’s requirements for vitamins and minerals. June 14, 2015 Restricting Kurt’s food intake has not reduced his girth. Equine Dedicated Mills - how safe is your horse feed? Sugars in feeds cause a horses blood insulin to rise after eating and this is what researchers now believe triggers most cases of laminitis and certainly most cases of grass or pasture laminitis. Constantly assess your horse’s body weight and adjust the diet according to the rate of weight loss. But that tired-looking autumn grass can be just as dangerous for some animals at risk of laminitis. There are a few ways you can give your horse access to low sugar forages. We find them much more focused when we put them onto Easisport. Certain types of horses are prone to laminitis such as easy keepers, horses with crest necks, obese or insulin resistance horses. Below is a guide to help … Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet from British Horse Feeds are both approved by the Laminitis Trust. Assess the body condition (fatness) of your horse and have a clear goal in mind as to whether you want the horse to gain, hold or lose weight. Recent research proves that intensive ice soaking prevents laminitis in the early stages. Feeding a horse with a history of laminitis can be a time consuming and confusing task and one that, if not done properly, can have painful consequences for your horse. How does Pryde's EasiFeed stack up as a Horse Feed Company? A high fibre, low starch and low sugar diet is essential for laminitics, so avoid feeds that contain cereals or molasses. Emergency diet for a horse with endocrinopathic laminitis Feed: Hay - feed approx. Feed hay, but not grain or sugar-rich carrots and apples. Does the horse feed contain high quality protein. Wheaten chaff, with minimal grain … Laminitis won’t occur for 12-18 hours after the grain has been eaten. Contact us for advice on how to get the best from your horse. If this reduction doesn’t achieve the weight loss you want, reduce the amount of forage being fed to 1.5% of the horse’s ideal bodyweight. Make sure it’s impossible. We have also had great results with horses who have excess energy when working them. If you decide to try haylage, as with all new feeds, introduce it slowly over several days, and monitor your horse closely. Fructan levels in pasture grasses are known to vary by season, location, time of day, grazing pattern, plant species, and field topography. Supplements: Horses with laminitis may benefit from supplemental magnesium and chromium, both of which assist in sensitivity to insulin. If your horse needs extra feed in addition to the low sugar forage you are feeding you must be VERY careful when selecting a suitable feed. Often cereal chaff, such as oaten chaff, is used to make up a ‘hard’ feed’ for a stabled or confined horse or pony. This can make it a useful dietary addition to the feed for metabolic horses if they can tolerate it. If the goal is to gain weight you should: Provide your horse with access to as much low sugar pasture or hay as it wants to eat. Laminitis causes the sensitive lamellae to s… Side Bar – Feeds acceptable for feeding to horses with ECD, EMC, and IR Grass forages, grass/legume mixed forages, low quality pasture, variety of natural forages Concentrates containing a small amount of oats, beet pulp, rice bran, soybean hulls, flax seeds, vegetable fats. One way you can do this is by placing their hay in 2 or 3 hay nets, which makes the hay hard to pull out. The laminitic horse’s diet needs to be low in sugar (we could get all very technical here and call sugars non-structural carbohydrates, water soluble carbohydrates, starches, ether soluble carbohydrates or non-fibre carbohydrates, but let’s just keep it simple and say ‘sugar’). If you can’t access these kinds of hays, soak the hay you do have available in warm water for 30 minutes, before tipping all of the water off, rinsing and feeding. Alfalfa is nutritionally dense. Keeping your horse at a healthy weight for their breed and height is an essential part of minimising the risk of laminitis. You should aim for a fat score of between 2.5-3 on a scale of 0-5. Fast Fibre, Veteran Light and ‘L’ Mix are designed specifically for horses and ponies prone to laminitis and are high in fibre and very low in starch and sugar, each with a combined level of under 10%. Does the horse feed manufacturer have good raw material quality control? Many feeds that contain grain by-products like millrun, bran or pollard advertise themselves as being ‘grain-free’. Easisport is our go to feed when we have horses that have a hisotry with laminitis and tieing up. 1.5-2% bodyweight hay (depending on whether weight loss is needed (1.5%) or not (2%), so 7.5-10 kg for a 500 kg horse, 3.75-5 kg for a 250 kg pony), soaked for at least 1 hour then drained to reduce sugars (or analysed to show combined sugar/starch no more than 10%). Feed hays that are typically low in sugars. As oxidative stress is involved in the laminitis process, higher than maintenance intakes of vitamin E are recommended. OR Switch to using a low sugar complete feed at the recommended rate for your horse. Ideally, feeds for laminitic horses should have a sugar and starch level of less than 12%. If you do feed hay out of hay nets you may need to dampen it down slightly to reduce dust. Tips for feeding a horse that won’t sweat, Equine Gastric Ulcers - Using Feeding Management to Reduce Their Incidence and Severity, The horse's digestive system - The Gastrointestinal Tract. Causes of Laminitis in Horses. Wheatfeed, millrun, millmix, broll, bran (rice or wheat), pollard, middlings or any other variation of these ingredients. You should never feed a laminitic horse with a feed that has any of the following ingredients: Oats, corn, wheat, rice, triticale, rye, barley or other cereal grains. Once your horse and pony have had laminitis they will be more vulnerable to repeat episodes in the future. And some people think it’s a cheap filler that does nothing for a horse except help with satiety. To maintain your horses weight you should: Allow the horse access to up to 2.5% of its bodyweight of low sugar forage (12.5 kg for a 500 kg horse) per day. 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