The promise of spring is just around the corner! But with it comes the risk of Laminitis for all our susceptible horses.
There are a few very simple steps you can take to help prevent the onset of this horrible disease…
Photo Insert: Regions to keep an eye on to determine body condition.
Maintain a healthy body condition score – Get familiar with where your horse sits on the Henneke scale and monitor them closely over the next few months. They should sit between 4-6 (out of 9) which means for example that you should easily be able to feel the ribs and there should be no obvious fat deposits on the crest, shoulders or tail head.
Photo Insert: Obese horse showing classic fat pads on crest, shoulders and tail head. This horse is a ticking time bomb!
Exercise your horses and create living conditions that encourage movement. Ride, lead, chase, drive – whatever you have to do to get them moving! Set up a track system if necessary, keep them in a herd situation to encourage movement, a bossy mare is very useful here!
Diet – reduce Iron intake, limit sugars and balance the mineral profile. Restrict grazing without restricting movement (track system comes in handy here!), balance mineral intake. Test the primary forage if you can, if you can’t – feed a high-quality supplement that has good levels of Zinc and Copper and no added Iron – Missy’s Bucket is a good choice. Add some magnesium to the daily ration as magnesium has been shown to help horses prone to Laminitis. Missy’s Bucket – the best option to balance Minerals when testing the pasture and hay is not a practical option.
Find a good trimmer and make sure the hooves are trimmed on a short cycle – in spring this means at least every 4 weeks. See GoBarefoot for trimming help.
It is, essentially, that easy! But we know that sometimes these steps can be difficult to put in place and with all the conflicting info out there it can be hard to know where to start! If you want more info including a step by step, easy to follow guide – take a look at the e-book – ‘What is Laminitis? A Practical Step by Step Guide to Recovery’
And stay tuned for more articles in this Laminitis series.
Vitamin E and Selenium are commonly deficient in the Equine diet and deficiency symptoms are commonly seen in horses. Low levels will also cause a decline in health and performance before symptoms are obvious.
Psyllium (Plantago) Husks are the thin outer coating on Psyllium Seeds and are rich in a form of soluble fibre called mucilage. Large doses of Psyllium Husk form a gel in the intestines and can be used to help horses move sand out of their digestive tract.