With the shining sun comes extremely rich grass, and all the problems that that can bring for laminitic horses and ponies. Laminitis is the most common and often crippling disease affecting equines. The starches and sugars is exactly what the grass will be producing during the sunny summer months, and these are what causes issues in the insulin resitant disease.
Although Spring grass* is considered the worst culprit in causing laminitis, grass that has faced a summer drought will also be extremely high in fructans, which cannot be digested by the enzymes in the horses gut, which results in a similar result to a starch overload. Put simply, endotoxins and exotoxins enter the blood stream and attack the lamellae in the foot.
We also must not rule out the possibility of laminitis triggered by frosted grass, which can sneak up on us as early as Autumn.
Short fresh grass contains the most sugar, with fresh ryegrass and clovergrass containing the most sugar. Longer grass reduces the store of sugar in the plant.
The best way to prevent weight gain and insulin resistance is exercise, and with the sun shining and the evenings stretching out past 9pm, why not make the ost of this time of year to burn off those extra calories!
What to look out for!
- Lameness is often more noticeable in the front feet, but can occur in all four feet
- Horse taking mall pottering steps
- Walking ptting the heel down before the toe
- Shifting weight from one foot to the other
Laminitis should be treated as a medical emergency, remove all bucket feed and content your vet and farrier.