It has been a bit of a slow start to Spring with a lack of rain and sunshine meaning the grass in many places has been struggling to grow. However, with warm and damp weather forecast for the next few weeks we could soon see a sharp growth in the grass and its quality. Which means for many horses and owners the worry of laminitis.
By thinking and planning ahead around your horse’s diet and grazing regime you can help to minimise the risk of laminitis. So check out our tips below and be prepared!
- It seems like common sense but make sure you introduce your horse gradually to new pasture. Transition your equine slowly to any change of diet over a period of several weeks.
- Limit the time your horse spends out at grass; if this is not an option consider the use of a grazing muzzle.
- Strip grazing is also a great way of managing your pasture and ensuring your horse does not over indulge. It also makes it easier to monitor the amount of grass your horse is on and eats, as well as getting them to move and exercise more.
- A regular exercise regime is key to ensure that calories in are balanced with calories out.
- Studies have found that the risk of laminitis can be increased in fields that have been exposed to cold nights and sunny weather, particularly after a frost. The level of fructans in the grass will be higher first thing in the morning, so consider when you are turning your horse out.
- Always take into account what else you are feeding. What hard feed is being provided to your horse and are they getting hay or haylage. Soaking hay can reduce the nutrient content to provide regular fibre intake but with less calories.
- If your horse does suffer with laminitis make sure you don’t starve them off their food intake. They still need to receive the correct amount of vitamins, nutrients and minerals, as well as fibre for a good digestive system. There are many feeds now available for the laminitis prone horse and remember always seek advice from your veterinarian.