Laminitis - Think now


What is Laminitis?

“Bacteria breaks down undigested material causing acidity in the hindgut, which kills the bacteria that digests fibre. As the bacteria die, they release toxins into the gut, which are then passed into the bloodstream through the gut wall. These toxins provoke a response within the horse that is thought to disrupt blood flow, which, in the feet, can cause laminitis.” The Blue Cross

Blood flow to the laminae is disrupted, causing inflammation and swelling in the tissues of the hoof, usually combined with severe pain.

Laminitis causes lameness, heat and pain in the hooves, with a strong digital pulse that can be felt in the arteries down the back of the fetlock and pastern.

Any horse or pony can be affected by laminitis.

Laminitis can affect any of the feet, though it is more commonly seen in the front feet.

Ponies and horses who are overweight or have suffered previously from laminitis are particularly susceptible to re-occurring bouts.

Where severe damage occurs to the laminae, weakening the relationship between the hoof wall and the pedal bone, a condition called founder occurs, which is the rotation or sinking of the pedal bone towards the sole of the hoof. This is excruciatingly painful and will likely require your pony or horse being put to sleep.

Types of laminitis

  • Overload
  • Inflammatory
  • Metabolic laminitis (those with PPID or EMS)

Causes of laminitis

Overload on one leg due to the injury of another, or concussion from too much road work, especially for those with poor quality hooves.

High starch and sugar intake, including free access to rich grazing and/or good quality hay, or breaking into the feed room!

Additional stresses or inflammation, such as certain types of colic, retained placenta, diarrhoea and excessive changes in daily routine causing stress.

Obesity and/or EMS, as excess weight adds an increased strain on the horse’s vital organs as well as its limbs.

PPID

Signs of laminitis

Difficulty walking, lameness and/or prolonged periods of lying down that are uncommon for your pony/horse.

Deformity of the hoof wall and the formation of laminitic rings

Sensitivity to hoof testers

An increased digital pulse

Leaning back into the typical “laminitc stance” to reduce the weight bearing on the front feet.

Cresty neck, indicative of excessive weight gain

Prevention and care of the laminitic

DO make sure the supporting limb is well supported in overload cases.

DO reduce pain (in consultation with your vet) some cases will need to be box rested on nice deep beds for support and comfort.  This also helps to protect weakened laminae.

DO feed a low carbohydrate, starch and sugar diets. Avoid feeding whole grains and molasses.

DO feed a probiotic to maintain a healthy hindgut.

DO find out if there are any underlying metabolic causes such as EMS and PPID.

DO restrict grazing, especially in the spring by implementing strip grazing or a track system (more info on this next month!)

DO have an exercise programme in place to burn additional calories and help your pony to lose weight where this is the cause of the laminitis.

DO keep track of your pony/horses’ weight to recognise additional weight gain more quickly.  Don’t be afraid to let you r overweight pony/horse to lose weight over the winter months.

Unintentional weight gain can more than double the risk of laminitis occurring. “Risk factors for laminitis: Recent developments. Dr Dee Pollard”

DO NOT turn out onto frosty grass.  Sunny days and cold frosty nights allow sugar to accumulate in the grass.

DO NOT starve your laminitic, speak to a trusted feed brand or your vet to establish a supportive diet.

For those ponies and horses who are dieting, aim for approximately 1.5% of their bodyweight in feed, including all forage.

Exercising can be done in hand on a soft surface once your laminitic is in recovery.

A recent stud of 1,070 horses and ponies in Great Britain was recently undertaken by Dr Dee Pollard, with support from Dr Claire Wylie, Dr Richard Newton, Prof Kristien Verheyen and colleagues at AHT and RVC, funded by World Horse Welfare outline so key figures below:

  • A common year-round welfare concern causing pain and lameness in affected feet
  • 78% had difficulty turning
  • 72% had a short, stilted walk
  • 70% were lame at walk
  • 58% had an increased hoof temperature
  • 51% had a clearly elevated digital pulse
  • 51% shifted weight from foot to foot
  • 51% were reluctant to walk
  • 1 in 10 horses/ponies developed an episode of laminitis every year
  • Seasonal laminitis is most prevalent in April and May
  • Laminitis is most common in Connemara’s followed by New Forests, Shetland’s, other natives and Welsh ponies. This includes breed crosses.

Blue Chip Lami Light Feed Balancer 15kg - £32.95

  • The ultimate diet feed balancer
  • High in fibre
  • Provides all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients your horse or pony needs to maintain optimum health and well-being on a daily basis
  • Whole-cereal and molasses free formula
  • Low in starches and sugars
  • Quadruple action digestive supplement containing pre and probiotics, nucleotides and sepiolite clay to promote the development and maintenance of a healthy digestive environment, increasing the efficiency of nutrient absorption
  • Contains SoundHoof™ A complete hoof supplement with MSM, biotin, methionine, lysine, organic zinc and organic copper for the formation of strong, pliable, good quality hooves
  • Contains nucleotides which are essential building blocks of DNA and RNA, essential to every cell in the body. Nucleotides help support immunity, stamina, cell replication and repair of damaged cells

 

Blue Chip Super Concentrated Senior Balancer 3kg - £24.95

  • Includes CushinCombo, a combination of chaste tree berry, antioxidants and omega oils
  • Chaste tree berry is said to have a positive effect on the pituarity gland
  • Includes a complete joint supplement, containing glucosamine and rosa canina which is known to support and maintain healthy and supple joints, keeping your horse or pony active in later life
  • Whole-cereal and molasses free formula
  • Extremely low in starches and sugars
  • Double-action digestive supplement, combining a high concentration of probiotic with nucleotides
  • Contains SoundHoof™ A complete hoof supplement with MSM, biotin, methionine, lysine, organic zinc and organic copper for the formation of strong, pliable, good quality hooves
  • Contains nucleotides which are essential building blocks of DNA and RNA, essential to every cell in the body. Nucleotides help support immunity, stamina, cell replication and repair of damaged cells
  • Antioxidants: Selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E to aid the ‘mopping up’ of free radicals and promote a healthy immune system

For further advice on these products, suitable for those who are laminitis prone or overweight, please contact the Blue Chip office.

www.bluechipfeed.com

info@bluechipfeed.com

0114 266 6200