Reducing the dietary risk factors for laminitis

By Peter Fishpool

Recent weather has seen the flora of the countryside simply explode with life and colour, but although our equines will gladly tuck into the rich grasses, horse owners must be vigilant in their care to avoid the risk of equine laminitis.

How Does Laminitis Occur?

Although there are other causes of laminitis such as stress, toxicity and trauma, laminitis is often linked to obesity and the intake of excess lush spring pasture, which has been shown to result in damage to the internal structures of horses’ and ponies’ feet, when the sensitive laminae tissues become inflamed or damaged.


Horse GrazingFeeding to Avoid or Manage Laminitis.

Feeding the laminitic horse or pony can be a tricky business, with many horse owners opting for restricted grazing and reduced quantities of concentrate feed. However, although the link between laminitis and obesity is proven, a simple reduction of calories does not always result in a healthy horse. Often a limited, restricted diet can result in a diet which is not balanced, which overall does not help the health of the horse or pony.



Vitamins and minerals are vital to health and well-being, and an ideal diet involves ample low calorie forage such as soaked hay, and a low calorie fibre based feed with a vitamin and mineral supplement.

Scientific Nutritional Products’ Horse and Pony Supplement is ideal for those horses in rest or light work in order to maintain health and well being.


Whatever brand you choose, look for a supplement with high levels of key, essential vitamins and minerals promoting optimum health, as this will help to support laminitis-prone horses and ponies on low levels of concentrate feed.


*While a horse or pony suffering from a lamintic bout would be too uncomfortable to be ridden, research has shown that equines that undertake regular exercise are at much less risk of suffering from laminitis. So to help prevent the condition from developing, try to ensure you stick to a regular routine of riding in spring and summer time.

*Try to get NON-laminitis-prone equines to graze new, fresh pasture before a metabolically-sensitive horse or pony is ‘let loose’ on the grass.

*Start turn out in the more lush fields for a short amount of time and build up to several hours each day over a period of weeks.

*Consider using a grazing muzzle which allows the equine to enjoy the fresh air and a welcome leg stretch, but without excessive consumption of rich grass.


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