10 Ways to Protect Your Horse From Laminitis This Spring
Cameron Jensen - Monday, August 28, 2017
The arrival of Spring often strikes fear in the hearts of horse owners — and for good reason. A diagnosis of laminitis is devastating. Often, by the time a diagnosis is made, the hoof disease has already taken hold and management becomes a lifelong task.
With the arrival of Spring just weeks away, we turn our attention to those horses most at risk. There’s much you can do this season to protect them. We share our top 10 tips.
Tip 1: Restrict high-energy Concentrate
Your horse’s diet should be designed specifically for their workload. Avoid overloading them with excess commercial horse feed by providing only the daily rations they need, matched to their caloric requirements for energy.
Tip 2: Remove sugars, add fats
If your horse is losing weight unexpectedly or their workload is set to increase with the start of Spring, give them energy with fats, not sugars. Fats in the form of oils can be safely added to your horse’s daily feed rations when additional calories are needed.
Tip 3: Store horse feed securely
If any horse has unrestricted access to commercial horse feeds, the consequences can be deadly. All horse feed should be stored in closed containers within a closed feed room that cannot be accessed easily by roaming horses.
Tip 4: Only make dietary changes gradually
When changing hays and commercial horse feeds, dietary changes must be made with care. Click here to learn more. However, if your horse is already fed Running Cool, feeds can be swapped without the need for a gradual approach.
Tip 5: Limit access to fresh Spring grass
Young, growing grass which appears in early Spring and following drought must be approached with caution. If your horse’s Winter diet has comprised mostly hay, allow them to graze for 15 minutes of grazing per day in the mornings, then increase steadily. Click here to learn more.
Tip 6: Test hay for starch and sugar
Just like pasture, hay may also contain high levels of non-structural carbohydrates (NCSs), including starch and sugar, that are responsible for pasture-induced, or endocrinopathic, laminitis. When changing hay sources, test a sample if your horse is particularly at risk.
Tip 7: Remain vigilant with preventive healthcare
Prevention is, by far, better than cure and this isn’t more true than in cases of laminitis. Regular de-worming, vaccinations and veterinary checks are paramount to protecting your horse from this potentially fatal disease.
Tip 8: Regularly trim and balance the hooves
Healthy hooves are a must when avoiding laminitis. Regardless of whether your horse is kept shod or barefoot, regularly trimming every 6-8 weeks will help to ensure their hooves remain healthy and any problems are detected early.
Tip 9: Support both hooves during lameness
If lameness arises at any time, both hooves must be supported. In many cases where the unaffected hoof is left unsupported, mechanical laminitis can occur as a result. Instead, both hooves should be considered.
Tip 10: Avoid hard ground when training or exercising
Excessive concussion can have adverse affects on your horse’s hooves. Particularly when cantering or galloping, riding over hard ground should be kept to an absolute minimum — if not avoided altogether.
At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.