Any horse or pony is at risk of laminitis, which is now as common as colic in the equine world and can mean your beloved pet has to be put down.

About laminitis in horses

Laminitis can just be one single and acute episode, but it's more often a recurrent condition which is usually associated with grass and pasture. Although, it can also arise as a result of some types of gastrointestinal disorders. The animals that are most at risk of grass-induced laminitis tend to have higher levels of insulin and fats in their body, often characterised by excess weight.

Top tips to avoid laminitis in your horse or treat laminitis prone ponies

There are lots of things you can do to help avoid laminitis in your pony, and one of the best tips is to ensure you don't overfeed them. It's natural for horses to lose weight over winter months, so it's a good idea not to try to compensate for any shortage of grass by feeding them too much or too many rich foods.

Regular appointments with your farrier are an essential care aspect for all horses, but particularly if they could be prone to laminitis. Your blacksmith will pick up early warning signs quickly, and could help you turn potential laminitis around before the condition develops.

Native ponies can be particularly prone to laminitis, often as a result of grazing on pastures that are typically too rich for them. One important tip for any horse owner is to keep livestock off grass after frosts and in freezing weather. The grasses produce sugars during frosts, and are consequently much richer. Contrary to popular belief laminitis doesn't just strike during early spring and summer months, but can affect horses at any time of year.

Finally, some pony owners find that rugging up in winter, rainy weather, and on cooler days can lead to added weight gain. It may be tempting to give your best friend a warm rug in mid winter, but could reduce his natural impulses to move round more. Cutting out rugs is one top tip for anyone with horses that are resting through winter.

Latest veterinary research indicates that ultrasound Doppler scans can be useful for identifying blood flow rhythms in horses with laminitis.

Ask your vet about this if you'd like to find out more.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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