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Laminitis in horses

Posted in : on 10-11-2021

Laminitis in horses is a very painful condition. The inflammation in the hoof (often due to an imbalance in the sugar metabolism) causes problems. What are the causes of this condition and more importantly: how can you prevent and treat it?

What is laminitis?

Laminitis in horses is an inflammation between the hoof wall and the coffin bone. The coffin bone is attached to the hoof wall by hoof flaps. These flaps could imflammate and cause pain. Laminitis is mainly occur in the front hoves. A horse that already had laminitis will always remain susceptible to laminitis.

How do you recognize laminitis?

A horse or pony with laminitis walk cripple. An horse tries to reduce the pain by placing them far in front of them. In severe cases the horse can’t walk at all!

Causes of laminitis

Laminitis can have a lot of causes. Luckily we’ve learned quite a lot over laminitis over the years. Below you can find the most common reasons of laminitis.

  1. Overweight

Obesity and laminitis go hand-in-hand. It causes an even worse condition and a greater chance of insulin resistance. In addition, any additional weight puts extra stress on the hooves. Insulin resistance is an insensitivity to insulin, whose main function is to regulate blood sugar levels. Horses with insulin resistance make a lot of insulin to process the sugars they absorb from food. A long insulin rise causes the cells to become insensitive to insulin. As a result, the horse is eventually no longer able to produce enough insulin to bring the blood sugar level up to standard. This makes the horse particularly susceptible to laminitis.

  1. Food

One common cause of laminitis is the intake of an excessive amount of energy-rich food. These are also known as fast carbohydrates. For example, by feeding a large amount of concentrates at once. Food with a lot of molasses or eating fresh (spring) grass with a high fructan content is also very risky. With too many quickly digestible sugars, there is an incorrect selection on the bacterial flora in the cecum. The acid-forming bacterial forms grow the fastest and create a more acidic environment. This can make the intestinal wall diseased and then allow toxins to pass through the blood. If these get into the blood, laminitis can develop.

  1. Diseases
    Diseases such as EMS-syndrom or PPID could cause laminitis. This disease disrupts the hormonal balance and thus increasing the chance of laminitis.
  2. Sole bruises
    Not timely and proper trimming and/or shoeing by a recognized farrier can lead to sole bruises and inflammation in the hoof. Due to imbalance in the hoof, the blood circulation is less good, the hoof mechanism works poorly, and pressure points appear in the wrong places. This makes the horse more sensitive to laminitis.

What to do with laminitis?

When your horse has laminitis you can best the following:

  • Consult a vet
  • Give your horse sugar food low in sugar
  • Stop or avoid grazing
  • Place your horse on a wet and sandy surface to cool and distribute pressure.

How to prevent laminitis

With the following tips you can prevent laminitis:

  • Avoid grazing in pastures with a high fructan (sugar from grass) content. Fructan occurs naturally in grass and is difficult for horses to break down.
  • Limit the intake of sugars and starch. For horses that are sensitive to sugars, choose (concentrate) feed with little sugar in the form of starch. Grains such as corn and wheat naturally contain a lot of sugars, so it is better not to choose food based on wheat and corn. Also adjust the amount of concentrate when your horse goes out into the meadow.
  • Avoid being overweight. Preventing your horse from becoming fat (again) also prevents problems with insulin resistance. For many animals, giving only lean hay and limited grazing is the best option.
  • Prevent a magnesium deficiency. A magnesium deficiency makes the cells more insensitive to insulin, causing the blood sugar level to fluctuate more strongly.

Extra support

In addition to all the above tips, it is also advisable to provide your horse or pony with extra support with a supplement such as Glucose Support and/or Magnesium. Especially if your horse is sensitive to sugars or has had laminitis before. The most chosen supplements to support and prevent laminitis are:

HorseFlex Glucose Support supports glucose absorption, has a positive effect on the immune system and supports a proper function of the pancreas and intestines. It helps to balance the glucose level during the fluctuating sugar levels in the grass and a change of ration. Very suitable during the grazing season when the fructan content in the grass is high.

HorseFlex Magnesium Chelate is the best absorbable form of magnesium and therefore very suitable for an increased need for magnesium. A magnesium deficiency makes the cells more insensitive to insulin, causing the blood sugar level to fluctuate more strongly. For this reason, a magnesium cure is increasingly used in the treatment of laminitis horses.

Both products are also available in an attractively priced combi deal: view the combi deal now

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