$10 Flat Rate Shipping. Free Shipping for hygain.com.au orders over $99
If you’re a horse or pony owner, chances are you’ve heard of laminitis at some point. Research indicates that 1 in 10 equines are affected by the condition each year and that it’s just as common as colic, which means it’s worth knowing a thing or two about what to feed -and what to avoid! The good news is that in many cases laminitis can be managed with low starch feed/supplements and by reducing carbohydrates. Hygain has made this process much easier by specifically developing feeds/supplements for horses or ponies prone to metabolic issues such as laminitis.
Laminitis is the inflammation of the tissue located between your horse’s hoof wall and coffin bone, known as the laminae. When inflammation is present, these laminae structures become weakened and the bond between the hoof wall and coffin bone becomes compromised. The weight of the horse can then push the coffin bone towards the ground, ultimately causing the coffin bone to rotate. The rotation and/or sinking of the coffin bone, is commonly termed “founder.” Founder is the dreadful end result of laminitis.
Laminitis can be caused by a broad range of factors, meaning all horses have the potential to suffer this affliction.Obesity and carbohydrate overload are usually the first risk factors that spring to mind. But it’s important to highlight that laminitis can also be caused by multiple factors including Equine Metabolic Syndrome, insulin resistance, Cushing’s disease, hoof concussion, toxaemia, stressful events and in response to some medications. This somewhat exhausting list goes some way towards explaining why there is so much talk about laminitis -It can be triggered by many different events!
You may be familiar with the classic “leaning back” pose of a laminitic horse. A horse exhibiting this trait is in pain and attempting to relieve the pressure off its feet. Whilst most common in the front feet, laminitis can affect all four feet. A laminitic horse may be reluctant to move or it may lie down to take the weight off its feet. An increased digital pulse is also a common sign.Take swift action as soon as you spot signs of laminitis. Call your vet, who may work in conjunction with your farrier to diagnose the severity and map a path to recovery.
A common cause of laminitis is carbohydrate overload. The carbohydrates that we feed horses/ponies can be divided into two types: structural and non-structural. Structural carbohydrates are rich in fibre and are essential for the equine diet (e.g Teff hay). Non-structural carbohydrates are sugars and starches that contain more calories (Examples are oats, barley, corn, molasses and short, “lush” pasture). It’s these non-structural carbohydrates that can contribute to carbohydrate overload (and the onset of laminitis).
If your horse is afflicted by laminitis, one of the most important steps is to place the horse on low starch feed and to consider taking the horse off-pasture until the episode is resolved. For obese or insulin-resistant horses, high sugar pasture should be avoided so that their insulin sensitivity can improve. When your horse does return to pasture, it’s important to manage its carbohydrate consumption. Pasture is particularly rich in non-structural carbohydrates during the spring and autumn and after rain. It may be best to restrict the grazing access of horses prone to laminitis, in conjunction with consuming low starch feed.
Once the roughage portion of the diet is established (for a horse affected by laminitis), the next step is to take a closer look at your horse’s vitamin and mineral requirements. As well as shifting away from a carbohydrate-heavy diet and towards low starch feed, it’s important to make sure your horse is consuming everything it needs to repair laminae damage and have the best chance of healing from laminitis.
Hygain® Balanced® is a pelleted, low dose balancer feed concentrate that provides high levels of Vitamin E and Selenium for cell health, Biotin for hoof and coat health, Chelated Minerals, quality protein and essential amino acids for muscle development.
Hygain® Allcare™ contains a mega blend of vitamins, minerals & yeast strains.
It’s a big mistake to place a horse suffering from obesity-induced laminitis on a starvation diet. Instead, the horse should be given low starch diet rich in nutrients so that the laminae is encouraged to heal. Horses require a minimum of 1.5% of their bodyweight in roughage per day for optimal health and wellbeing. For a laminitic prone horse/pony, low sugar roughage sources may include Teff hay, Rhodes grass hay, lucerne hay, beet pulp or soaked grass hay. Some specialist feed suppliers have analysis available. Look for less than 10-12% NSC.
High starch feeds should be avoided, including treats such as carrots and apples. To manage and prevent laminitis from occurring, choose a low sugar and starch diet. Look for a combined sugar and starch content of less than 10% (NSC).
There is no question that laminitis is a painful and debilitating condition that is sadly all too common. As horse owners, we can best support our equine companions by managing risk factors, managing diet, and by consulting equine health professionals.For further advice, start a conversation with your vet, farrier, or by reaching out to Hygain's Nutritional Team. We value discussions with customers and welcome the opportunity to discuss your horse’s nutritional needs.
ArticleDrop | 06.10.20