Traditionally, Laminitis was most often associated with overweight ponies and lush spring grass. As time goes on, we are now considering Laminitis a risk in all breeds and types of horse and are owners are much more aware of the risk of a laminitis attack all year round.
Why is Autumnal Laminitis particularly prevalent now?
Autumn is now being seen as a seasonal spike in Laminitis. The warmer days and cooler nights are ideal conditions for an influx of grass to grow. Once your horse has had Laminitis, the chance of recurring episodes is higher and therefor in this instance, prevention is much better than cure.
What are the signs to look for?
- Reluctance to move.
- Signs of pain
- Constantly shifting weight and particularly resting on their heels.
- A strong digital pulse.
What should you do if you spot these signs?
- Call your vet immediately, even acute signs of Laminitis are considered an emergency and should be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.
- If you can and it is safe to do so, remove the horse from grass, and provide him with a bedded stable with hay that has been soaked for a minimum of 12 hours and water.
- There are a number of products available to cushion soles and frogs. Including hoof boots, frog supports and heart bar shoes.
What can I do to avoid Autumnal Laminitis?
- Avoid large changes in diet - particularly changes from summer grazing to winter grazing. All changes should be made as gradual as possible.
- Avoid feeds which are high in sugar and starch. Feed a Feed Balancer which is both molasses free and low calorie and suitable for a horse prone to Laminitis.
- Keep an eye on your horses weight - increasing exercise is key to keeping the pounds off your horse. If you cant ride, try leading out in hand, do groundwork or lunge.