How Do I Feed A Horse With Laminitis

by Sarah Macey

Feeding And Management Should Your Horse Get Laminitis
It is quite Common that horse owners are led to believe that they should starve a horse or pony that has laminitis, but would you starve an ill person?

I believe it is vital that the horse or pony with laminitis receives a fibrous diet supplemented that has sufficient minerals and vitamins to keep the horses metabolism working well.

It is vital to remove the cause of the disease. Do not starve the animal completely or you may risk inducing hyperlipeamia. This occurs when high levels of fat are released into blood in response to starvation.

Use an alfalfa or alfalfa/straw chaff as this will provide much needed calcium in the diet. It has been suggested that laminitics are calcium deficient.

Feed an alfalfa based chaff with a mineral and vitamin supplement as a compliment to hay and water. By doing this you will  minimise the risk of  laminitis.

Prevention is by far preferable to cure
It is important to reduce the exposure the horse has to causes of laminitis. Do not allow your pony or horse to get too fat.

Ensure your farrier is called to trim the feet regularly and restrict grazing especially in the spring and be aware there is often a grass flush in the autumn.

Use a muzzle for short periods if you are unable to strip graze or manage the pasture. If you use one with a grid on the bottom this will allow the horse to drink and nibble.
Muzzled

I would recommend that you provide hay and/or straw if your horse is stabled or in a bare paddock. Feed a low carbohydrate, high fibre diet and do consider using a mineral and vitamin supplement to provide a balanced diet if you are feeding below recommended quantities of compound feed.

Identifying Laminitis
Commonly you will notice that the horse shifts weight from side to side and will have difficulty walking. You will notice that his hooves will feel warm to touch and there may be a strong pounding pulse at the digital artery around fetlock.

Another sure sign to watch out for is if you notice that your horse rocks back off of his front feet so as to keep his weight off of them.

Here are six simple steps to help prevent Laminitis
1.Feed liberal quantities of forage.
2.Make changes in concentrate feed slowly over at least a two-week period.
3.Keep all concentrate feeds small, under 2.5kgs per feed for a 16hh horse and keep the feed under 1.5kg for a 13hh horse.
4. If more feed is needed add another meal later.
5.Watch your horse’s weight. If he is obese, try to control his  feed intake.
6.Try to feed your horses with a high oil, high fibre coarse mix or feed a high fibre cube.

Management of a Laminitic
Feed bulk roughage with a low feed value, such as oat straw and reduce the hay and bulk out with straw which will bulk out his food. Turn out on sand arenas for some of the time and if you have no other turn out is available use electric fencing to restrict access to rich grass. If you can, get some sheep or cattle to keep the grass down. Increase the horses workload before increasing feed and use oil as an energy source i.e. Soya Oil or Pure Vegetable Oil. Feed little and often, so you do not overload the stomach and do not overfeed or feed in anticipation of work.

Do not turn your horses out on frosted paddocks and consider whether you should turn out on bare paddocks. You may find that using a muzzle on less stressed pastures may be better.

Feeding the Laminitic
When your horse/pony has had laminitis you should feed at least 1% of body weight as forage ie hay and or oat straw. Split this into frequent meals and feed him small meals.

Feed a suitable supplement to provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals. As your horse/pony recovers consider the following to decrease risk of another attack.
Keep cereals in the diet to a minimum and use slow releasing energy sources such as fibre and oil.

Now I am sure you have gone gaga reading all this.  Just simply break this advice down in to bite size pieces and keep it simple and you will be ok.

The Stable Doctor
http://primestables.co.uk/news
Advice is given without legal responsibility

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