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Laminitis - Five things to think about...


Up to 45% of horses in the UK are obese, and more are overweight…

Laminitis isn’t just for ponies!

Things to know about laminitis:

  1. Up to 45% of horses and ponies in the UK are obese, and even more are overweight putting them at greater risk of laminitis. 
  2. If you suspect your horse might have laminitis, it is essential to remove it from any grass or high sugar feed immediately but it is important never to starve a horse with laminitis – they should be fed a diet of soaked hay alongside a low calorie feed balancer. Starving horses can cause them to mobilise fat stores too rapidly which can lead to life threatening liver disease.
  3. Fat horses or horses with laminitis should be placed on a carefully controlled diet after speaking to your vet. The majority of laminitis is caused by endocrine disorders such as PPID (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction, or Equine Cushings Disease) or EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome). These diseases affect how the horse produces insulin and how it deals with sugars in its diet.
  4. Horses can have laminitis without having a laminitic stance! Only very severely affected horses develop the typical stance and weight shifting behaviour
  5. If your horse is ‘footy’, ‘pottery’ or has growth rings on their hooves that are further apart at the heel than the toe even if they aren’t noticeably lame, they could have laminitis, and this is the best time to act to prevent the condition becoming worse.

Case Study: Rosie

Rosie when she was diagnosed

Rosie has struggled with laminitis over the Winter and Spring this year. After examination by a vet, she was diagnosed with Equine Cushings Disease (PPID). PPID is controlled with medication, but blood testing when she had her latest episode showed that she also suffers from Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) as well. This explains why her laminitis had returned.

Rosie has been on a careful diet and exercise program for the last three months and has also had some remedial farriery. It’s been a tough three months getting her back sound and comfortable but we are really pleased she is now back out and about again!

Rosie is still on a careful program to help her gradually lose weight and build fitness, and to manage her EMS, but she is doing incredibly well. Her weight and fitness levels are improving all the time. Rosie’s improvement and ability to return to her work is all down to the hard work of her owner to help her recover.

Rosie feeling much better – being able to work again will also help her recovery

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