August 31, 2021 5 min read

The onset of Laminitis can be sudden for many horses and it can be a very overwhelming and stressful time for caring owners. There is so much conflicting advice out there and it can be confusing to know where to start, especially in the heat of the first few days!

Here is a guide to get you started on the path to recovery.

STEP 1

Implement the Emergency diet immediately. This diet strips all additional sugars and starch from the diet and gives you space to breath while you arrange the other feeds, supplements and management practices. Immediately stop all other feeds, treats and supplements.

  1. Lock the horse off green pasture, they must have no access to grass whatsoever, even short grass can be too much for the acutely Laminitic horse or pony. A sand yard, arena, round pen or other non-grassed area is suitable.
  2. Determine how much the horse weighs and feed 1.5% of soaked hay per day in a slow feeder net. Hay needs to be soaked for 30 mins in hot water or 60 minutes or more in cold water to remove excess sugars, drain the water out of reach of the affected horse as it will be full of the sugars. Feed the required amount over several feedings per day in a slow net. Try not to allow the horse to be without food for more than 2 hours at a time.
  3. Feed two small feeds daily as a carrier for minerals and salt, this can consist of a small amount of Maxisoy hi fibre pellets or speedibeet/micrbeet and a dipper of soaked hay pellets (must be low sugar) or a small amount of chaff. Any feeds including hay need to be less than 10% ESC and Starch combined with the starch component less than 4%, if using another bagged feed make sure you read the label!
  4. Add the following to the carrier feed – daily amounts for a 500kg horse, half these amounts for a 250kg pony, adjust according to bodyweight:
  • Missy’s Bucket Minerals or other appropriately balanced and low sugar mineral supplement
  • 2 tbsn of plain white salt
  • 1 tbsn Magnesium oxide – Not needed if feeding Missy’s Bucket pellets
  • ¾ cup of freshly ground linseeds – use a coffee grinder
  • 2000IU vitamin E – Can get human caps from chemist warehouse or similar

STEP 2

Talk to your vet about obtaining an accurate diagnosis. Laminitis can be caused by multiple factors, the most common two are;

  1. Equine Metabolic Syndrome or
  2. PPID/Cushing’s disease.
These two causes can occur together or in isolation and their treatments are different so its important to determine the cause to implement effective strategies for treatment.


PPID is managed with drug therapy, EMS with diet. If they both occur together which is common you will need to address both treatments.

STEP 3

Find a good Farrier/Trimmer who is experienced with Laminitis rehab.

The hooves must be trimmed according to the internal structures. If your budget allows get radiographs to determine the positioning of the pedal bone inside the hoof, this will help your Trimmer to give the best trim possible, it also will help to give you a more accurate prognosis based on the degree of damage and rotation of the Pedal bone inside the hoof.

If you do radiographs make sure your vet puts markers on the hoof so the dorsal wall, coronet band and tip of the frog can be easily identified on the films.

Finding a Vet and Farrier/Trimmer who work together is ideal.

Hoof trims in the early stages should be performed every 2 weeks and its very beneficial for the horse to wear hoof protection in the form of boots and pads. Movement is important and if the horse isn’t comfortable it won’t move. Boots can help encourage movement and therefore blood flow and healing. The horse will need somewhere comfortable to stand and lie down, ideally sand or other soft, non edible material.

Avoid more than a couple of days of NSAID (Bute) treatment. If the horse is sore and the hooves are unstable, the last thing you want is for pain to be blocked as the horse may do even more damage to the feet if it starts moving around too soon. NSAID’s can also cause stomach upset and interfere with healing in the long term. 

STEP 4

Movement is important but only once pain medication has been stopped and the feet have been appropriately trimmed and booted.

If the horse is not voluntarily moving much then the horse will need to be hand walked, in straight lines, several times a day. The more this can be done the better, again provided the horse has boots with nice thick pads and has been well trimmed. If the horse is very unwilling to move don’t force him/her.

Other things to consider:

  • Make sure the horse has a friend, social isolation is extremely stressful for a horse and stress will delay healing
  • Don’t starve the horse or pony. Extreme feed restriction is stressful, and it can also induce a serious condition called hyperlipidaemia and can worsen IR.

Missy’s Bucket Range of feed supplements provides essential nutritional support for Laminitis recovery and prevention. 

Insulin Resistance is the most common cause of Laminitis and Minerals play an important role. A mineral balanced diet is crucial in promoting healthy insulin levels and optimal recovery from Laminitis.

Missy’s Bucket supports horses through Laminitis by providing the minerals, vitamins and antioxidants often deficient in pasture and hay diets. 

Targeted ingredients promote antioxidant defences, balanced immune and thyroid function, normal glucose metabolism, healthy nerve and muscle function, and proper insulin sensitivity. 

  • Zinc supports antioxidant activity and healthy insulin sensitivity. In humans and rats, Zinc deficiency has been associated with IR and type 2 diabetes.

  • Copper provides antioxidant properties; low levels cause IR in rat studies.

  • Selenium supports balanced immune function, antioxidant defences and thyroid function.

  • Iodine promotes healthy thyroid function which is required for insulin sensitivity.

  • Magnesium maintains healthy cellular insulin receptor numbers and supports insulin responsiveness, its link with IR has been well established in humans for decades. Magnesium deficiency can worsen IR and make it harder to control and adequate levels have a protective effect.

  • Amino acids support immune function, muscle and hoof growth

Dietary management including optimal mineral balancing forms the keystone of Laminitis prevention, management and recovery. Along with a low sugar diet, excellent hoof care and an appropriate exercise program, Missy’s Bucket provides the commonly lacking and crucial vitamin and mineral additions for Laminitis support and prevention.

Find out more about the Missy's Bucket products here




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