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Best Advice on How To Prevent Laminitis ...
If you have a laminitic horse or pony or one that is prone to laminitis, never allow your horse or pony to become overweight.
You should be able to feel your horse's ribs and it should not have a hard crest (see horse neck conformation).
Judges of pony classes should be encouraged to mark down overweight ponies.
Many vets feel that the fashion for grossly fat ponies in the show ring is a major cause of laminitis. The traditional 'well-covered' standard in showing has probably been taken a little too far.
How to prevent laminitis or manage it?
Watch out all year round for sudden flushes of grass.
And don't be put off guard in the Autumn.
Always make sure your horse or pony has their feet trimmed regularly.
- Restrict rich or large intakes of food that may give rise to the problem. This is particularly important for fat ponies which have more pressure on the feet and in all horses that are prone to the problem.
- Your horses diet should also contain supplements and nutrients that are known to help limit laminitic damage and improve digestion of food, helping to prevent the problem.
- Most ponies are safe if they are only allowed to graze for an hour in the morning or an hour in the evening.
- Make use of starvation paddocks to restrict your horses intake of grass and consider using a muzzle to prevent ponies and horses prone to laminitis, eating too much.
- Avoid using your horse on the road and on hard surfaces as this traumatises the feet and may cause a recurrence of laminitis.
Make sure that medical conditions such as colic and other infections are treated quickly as colic and other ailments can result in the release of toxins that may bring on laminitis.
Always ensure that rich concentrated food is locked away and there is no risk that your horse will be able to gorge on them.
Managing laminitis :
At the start of treatment horses are better stabled on a deep clean bed (shavings may be best), which gives support and comfort.
- As your horse improves he can be let out onto an even concrete yard or small starvation paddock with no grass.
- Do not feed any concentrates or allow grazing. Feed only hay or other roughage.
- Your horse should not be starved and adding supplements to any feed will aid the proper recovery of the foot and help the rest of the body.
- Simple hoof growth formulae can be useful. MSM and vitamins and minerals as well as a Laminitis Prone Supplement. Immune support may also help the healing of the damaged tissues within the foot.
Walking too early may make laminitis worse and forcing early exercise may encourage separation of the sensitive laminae.
Wait until things are more stable then try walking on soft ground to encourage circulation.
On-going care of the laminitic horse
- Continue with box rest for at least 30 days or until advised by your vet
- Provide a deep, supportive bed of clean, dry wood shavings or another material that moulds to the underside of the foot.
- Review the horses diet with your vet.
- Pick out and thoroughly disinfect hooves twice a day to avoid any build up of foreign matter.
Laminitic Horse Hoof Care
Hoof care is very important in confirmed cases of laminitis.
Quick removal of shoes may further traumatise the feet and if the sole has already dropped then shoes will make the feet more comfortable by raising the sole off the ground.
Frog support is often important in laminitis cases and temporary padding placed over the frog may provide useful support until x-rays can be done or your farrier consulted.
Once the laminitis has settled down corrective shoeing can restore the natural shape and conformation of the foot.
Both your vet and farrier should work together and trimming should be carried out once a month.
Using x-rays as a guide your farrier will aim to shorten long toes, rasp back the front hoof wall to make it parallel with the pedal bone, remove excessive heel length and fit corrective shoes as required.
In special cases heart bar shoes provide support to the pedal bone through the frog. Glue on shoes or plastic strap on shoes may also help to eliminate trauma.