Laminitis is more prone in wetter seasons where there is plenty of lush green grass.
While there are many situations that can cause laminitis, the most common cause is obesity caused by overgrazing and under-exercising. While autumn rains provide lusher pastures they also limit exercise time, as it gets darker, and colder weather sends horses into their stables earlier.
This results in horses and ponies being unable to work off all the sweet sugary starches that are found in lush grass.
What is laminitis?
Laminitis is a condition that causes lameness and pain in the horse’s laminae/hoof. When a horse has laminitis the laminae becomes inflamed and the foot weakens – in severe cases the laminae tissue can even tear causing the pedal bone to rotate downwards. Once the pedal bone has rotated its point can actually puncture the soul of the hoof – this can cause the horse to get a disease known as “founder” and it may need to be put down in severe cases.
You might notice that your horse has laminitis by the following signs. If your horse is standing with his forelegs stretched out, half-crouching, or looking like it is trying to support its own weight. You may also notice that the horse’s hooves are hot and he a high temperature, and has a beating pulse above his hoof.
How to avoid laminitis?
· Avoid turning your horses out when the grass is extremely lush
· Add fibre to the horses diet (feed them dry hay)
· Give your horse supplements such as vitamin or mineral supplement where possible – this will ensure that they get the nutrients they need without extra calories
· Make sure your horse gets regular exercise
· Make sure that your horse’s hoof care is “up to date” – that your farrier is regularly trimming your horse’s feet.
There are a number of equine supplements and horse products available to help you keep your horse healthy and to make sure that it gets the necessary nutrients without becoming obese. If your horse stays healthy and eats correctly the chances of it getting laminitis are much smaller.