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 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: Is there any new information you can share in regards to preventing or treating laminitis?
By Juliet M. Getty, PhD
A: Most laminitis is caused by an elevation of insulin as a result of metabolic conditions such as equine metabolic syndrome and PPID (equine Cushing’s disease). While much of the cause is genetic, that doesn’t mean a genetically predisposed animal is doomed to develop laminitis.
Extra care needs to be in place to remove sources of excess sugar and starch from the diet. It is also a good idea to educate yourself on how pasture grasses behave in your climate and under what conditions it is dangerously high for your particular horse. Alfalfa hay is typically low in sugar and starch, but because of its high protein content, it may be too high in calories, potentially leading to excessive weight gain. Too much body fat can exacerbate insulin resistance.
If your horse develops laminitis, do what you can to remove stress, since the stress response can make things worse. Appropriate hay should be provided 24/7. Use slow feeders if necessary, but take the time to get the horse accustomed to it and avoid stress.
Anti-inflammatory nutrients can relieve pain. These include CBD, curcumin extract (from turmeric), and herbs such as boswellia and jiaogulan. Omega 3 fatty acids can also reduce inflammation and circulating insulin. Magnesium and butyric acid are also beneficial in reducing insulin.
Use bute sparingly, if at all, since it can interfere with healing. All NSAIDs have the risk of ulcers, so adding a lecithin/apple pectin preparation is very important when offering an NSAID.
Juliet M. Getty, PhD, is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Located in Lewisville, Texas, her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices.
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Click here to read part 2 of the Dec. 15, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Can eating seeds and seedlings from maple trees be dangerous to my horses? Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.