Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.
Below you will find Part 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: How do I keep my pony from coming down with laminitis this fall?
By Blue Cross, a national pet charity in the United Kingdom
A: Here are some tips to help keep your horse or pony safe from this terrible disease.
- Restrict grass intake with strip grazing as ponies can survive on very little pasture grasses. Grass is very high in soluble carbohydrates (fructans), which can lead to laminitis if ingested in large amounts, especially during spring and autumn.
- Turning a horse out at night and bringing it in during the day can help as there are fewer fructans in the grass at night.
- Do not turn a horse out on lush or frosted grass.
- Try to decrease the sugary ryegrasses and clover when seeding a pasture mix and allow more traditional grasses and herbs to flourish.
- Turn out a group of ponies together that need the same management program. This will minimize stress, keep them occupied and allow them to carry out their normal behaviors while still being restricted.
- Monitor your horse’s diet carefully and remember to feed in accordance with the type and load of work. Dieting ponies and horses should be given around 1.25%-1.5% of their bodyweight each day as food – this includes any grass and hay intake.
- Following the rule of feeding little and often mimics the horse’s natural feeding pattern and will help keep the animal’s digestive system working correctly. It will also satisfy the horse’s need to chew and prevents boredom.
- Never starve a horse or pony as this can lead to serious health problems.
- Only feed high fiber, low carbohydrate and low sugar products.
- Maintain a good exercise program to prevent obesity.
- Schedule a farrier visit every 4-5 weeks to keep your horse’s feet in optimum condition.
- Check the horse’s digital pulses daily as changes can then be detected quickly and the appropriate action can be taken.
Blue Cross is a national pet charity in the United Kingdom that was funded in 1897. They provide support for horse and other pet owners who can’t afford private veterinary treatment, help to find homes for unwanted animals and educate the public on the responsibilities of animal ownership.
Click here to read part 1 of the Oct. 15, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: How do I make sure my horse is getting the proper nourishment for developing healthy hooves?