Vets Warn Laminitis Is On The Rise

As the days begin to lengthen and the warmer weather starts to set in, horses and ponies finally get the chance to spend time out in the field in a more natural environment. Horses and ponies are truly at home out in the field, eating their natural diet of grass, but this does not come without hazards. The second highest killer of horses and ponies in the UK, laminitis is a very serious concern for owners at this time of year.  Weight management is key for horses and ponies on pasture, as they can quickly gain weight if left to graze freely on good quality grass. Fencing off small areas in the field or using a grazing muzzle will help to reduce the amount of grass they can consume. Rapid weight gain is a common trigger of laminitis and it is important to be vigilant with your horse’s weight, maintaining a healthy body condition score of 3 out of 5.

Horse and Hound have written a wonderful article on the prevalence of Laminitis this season, the article also states ‘although grass looks lush, grazing may be lacking vital nutrients after a winter of waterlogging (news, 12 June)’. Highlighting the importance of feeding a feed balancer all year round.

It is a common misconception that good quality pasture will provide your horse with everything they need nutritionally, with research showing that even horses or ponies on good quality pasture 24 hours a day are unlikely to be receiving a balanced diet. When spring grass is plentiful, bucket feeds are often reduced to prevent excess weight gain and this can lead to nutritional deficiencies in your horse’s diet. Feed balancers allow you to take advantage of reducing your horses bucket feed whilst providing your horse with a concentrated source of essential nutrients to balance a ‘pasture only’ diet. Feed balancers have been designed to complement a horse’s natural diet, reducing the nutritional pitfalls that occur on ‘pasture only’ diets. The beauty of feed balancers is that they can be fed all year round, as a sole bucket feed when pasture is enough to meet your horse’s energy requirements or during winter when they need a helping hand to maintain their condition.

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