Laminitis Prevention and hoof care

Laminitis Prevention and hoof care

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Laminitis prevention and hoof care

Preventing laminitis and maintaining hoof care is a key consideration in day to day horse management practices . Even mild cases can have a detrimental and long-term effect, so it needs to be taken very seriously. Laminitis is the scourge of modern feeding practices and continues to be a killer of many horses and ponies. Once the sensitive hoof structures have been damaged, it’s a long-drawn-out process to recover healthy hooves .

A helping hand in Laminitis prevention and hoof care

Laminitis is often linked to the over-consumption of starch and sugars. In order to help prevent this overload to the digestive system, Fibregenix has formulated the ultimate helping hand. Lami Low-Cal is a carefully formulated low-calorie diet feed balancer. It’s high in fibre, free from whole cereal and molasses and exceptionally low in sugar and starch.  It provides every beneficial essential nutrient required daily for horse and ponies that are prone to laminitis or weight gain. Of particular note is the hoof care element of Lami Low-Cal.  This contains key nutrients for good hoof health such as biotin, zinc chelate, essential amino acids, and MSM.

Gut health benefits

This specialist balancer supplement has been carefully formulated for preventing laminitis and subsequent hoof care.  It includes a live yeast probiotic digestive enhancer and a gut health pack of MOS and FOS prebiotics. This potent combination promotes overall digestive health and assists in reducing lactic acid levels in the gut environment. Extensive research and studies have shown that the equine approved live yeast probiotic in Lami Low-Cal increases fibre digestibility. This is beneficial when a horse or pony is on a restricted or nutritionally poor-quality fibre diet.  The specific MOS prebiotic assists in removing pathogenic bacteria for an improved healthy gut environment and stimulates the immune system.  Additionally, the FOS prebiotic provides a food source for the beneficial gut bacteria.  Plus it has the added benefit of immune system boosting properties for preventing laminitis.

Power of purified Nucleotides in preventing laminitis and hoof Care

nucleotides 1

A unique and innovative addition to the complex formulation of Lami Low-Cal is an added Nucleotide supplement. Nucleotides are the molecules that make up the structural units of DNA and RNA. They’re especially beneficial due to their integral role in the repair of the damaged laminae brought on by laminitis.

By increasing the number of red blood cells in the body, more oxygen can be carried to the injured tissue. This boosts the oxygen flow and helps your horse or pony back into recovery and work quicker  Additionally, nucleotides promote rapid cell proliferation which aids the growth of the hoof wall. Another benefit is that they play a key part in maintaining a healthy immune system, so any bacterial infections present can be effectively fought.

Comprehensive hoof supplement

The comprehensive hoof supplement in Lami Low-Cal includes biotin, methionine, lysine, and organic chelated zinc and copper. These amino acids, vitamins, and mineral nutrients are highly important in the formation of pliable, good quality hooves. As a further benefit, Organic MSM has also been added to the balancer formulation providing a source of sulphur which is also essential for the development of hoof wall material.

Beneficial Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

Lami Low-Cal contains a balanced ratio of both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids improving overall health and well-being in the laminitic horse or pony. Omega 3 is particularly important in the role of hoof care as it has healing properties and is a natural anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid.  Omega 3 deficiencies can exacerbate hoof wall problems so ensuring the diet is not deficient in this essential fatty acid is paramount.

A No brainer…

Adding Fibregenix Lami Low-Cal to your horse or pony’s diet is, therefore, a valuable asset in the diet to help fight the negatives issues that accompany metabolic problems such as laminitis.  Furthermore, it will also assist in maintaining general good health and well-being along with good husbandry standards into the future.

You can find a downloadable fact sheet on laminitis under our FAQs.

Managing weight loss in horses

Managing weight loss in horses

horse before and afterThe Obesity Crisis

Managing weight loss in horses is vital, especially when your horse or pony is an easy keeper. It’s hard when you have a pony that’s looking too well for the good of their health. But with persistence and determination and correct dietary support, there’s a healthy way to achieve great results. Adding Fibregenix Lami Low-Cal to the diet has enabled Kristy’s pony (photo left) to shed those extra kilos.

“My daughter’s pony, Holly, has always been a heavy set lady but with Lami Low-Cal and a lot of hard work (on Holly’s behalf), I finally have her looking amazing. Lami Low-Cal pellets saved her…..”
Kristy M, NSW

You have to remember when you have an overweight horse/pony you can’t deprive them of feed.  By this, I mean reducing total dry matter feed intake to 1% or below.  Horses and ponies generally need approx. 2% of their body weight in total dry matter intake per day.  This satisfies gut fill and digestive health.  Equines have evolved to be trickle feeders.  The digestive system is genetically wired to be eating for long periods of the day – up to 18 hours. Below 1% can create a risk of colic, ulcers as well as mental stress which can lead to stereotypical behaviour.

Your horse’s weight gain may have crept up over the years without you noticing. It’s only when that girth buckle or rug straps needs letting out, that you suddenly see what’s been going on. What you need to remember is weight loss shouldn’t be rushed if it’s to be healthy. Crash diets for horses don’t work any more than they do for humans.

Apart from the risk of metabolic problems eg, Cushing’s, PSSM, Insulin resistance, laminitis, EMSetc, obesity will affect joint health.  Although degenerative changes occur over the years, being overweight can result in far more serious joint issues than necessary.

To manage your horse’s weight make the following:

Assessment

  • Weigh on a weighbridge, scales or use a weigh tape (less accurate)
  • Assess Body Condition Score
  • Evaluate the current feeding programme.
  • Consider the weekly workload and soundness for exercise
  • Set realistic weight loss goals.  Aim for around 0.5% per week.  Reassess every 2-4 weeks
  • Make all dietary changes gradually and avoid prolonged periods of not feeding
  • Never suddenly starve obese ponies, donkeys and miniature horses (especially if pregnant).  This can result in hyperlipemia 
  • Develop a weight management programme once the desired weight/condition has been achieved

Restricted Grazing

So what can you do when the natural feeding pattern of the horse is for unrestricted access to pasture? Keep feeding – don’t starve. The key to weight loss is to feed less nutritious forage.  Think fewer calories but still maintaining enough to not upset the digestive system which would create digestive problems.  Reduce the standard 2% daily intake down to 1.5% or in extreme cases 1%.

Restricted grazing is an essential part of weight loss. Furthermore, some or all of the below can be employed.

  1. Turn out just at night when the grass fructans are at their lowest
  2. Use a grazing muzzle
  3. Create a strip graze protocol in the paddocks
  4. Consider yarding your horse/pony with a slow feeder hay net -(vital if there are accompanying metabolic issues)

Be mindful that reducing forage, whilst good for calorie control, can result in vitamin A, E, essential fatty acid and other nutrient deficiencies.   These will need to be supplemented, particularly at times of the year when the paddocks might be sun-scorched or overgrazed. Lami Low-Cal will support restricted grazing and the diet in general, ensuring your horse/pony stays healthy on his weight loss journey.

Check List for Managing Weight loss in Horses and Ponies

  • Whether a brisk walk in the bush, a lunge, horse-walker exercise or work over poles, etc.  ALL exercise is important to help horses get in better body condition.
  • Keep feeding – Don’t starve your horse. After the first week, the aim is to lose between 0.5% and 1% of body weight per week. Rates higher than this can become dangerous. Vet practices often have portable weighbridges and will visit yards, or try a weigh tape for a less accurate but ball-park figure.
  • Feed little and often – Many horses are fed unlimited forage in summer when pasture is less available. The quality of forage and quantity being fed is important. Avoid long periods of fasting by using small-mesh haynets and splitting the daily ration into several evenly-spread portions. Horse owners often worry about gastric ulcers when restricting feed intake, but fasting overnight or for short periods during the day isn’t a problem.
  • Low sugar – Make low sugar forage the bulk of the diet. Soaking hay in cold water for about an hour is recommended to help reduce sugar levels. Consider submitting hay for forage analysis.
  • Trickle feeding – If no access to pasture and at  low level of exercise, a reasonable starting point is to feed 1.5% of body weight of hay per day. Divide into several smaller meals to encourage continuous trickle feeding.
  • Add a Balancer – Feeding a low-calorie balancer is recommended for any horse on a forage-only diet. Try Fibregenix Lami Low-Cal, the diet feed balancer.
  • Restrict grazing – Limit access to pasture. Grass can contain as much sugar as horse/pony pellets especially in Spring.
  • Treats – Avoid treats such as carrots and apples. Look for low-sugar fibre based treats.

Conclusion to Managing Weight Loss In Horses

Keep notes – Monitor and record the results. Take fortnightly or monthly girth and belly circumference measurements, body condition scores, and if available weigh on a weighbridge. Consult your vet/nutritionist after four to six weeks and review the feeding plan.

Managing weight loss in horses can be a case of ‘tough love’, but it’s our responsibility to keep them fit and healthy for prolonged and happy life.  Persistence is key – being diligent and maintaining your horse at a healthy weight will potentially save him from weight-related illnesses, as well as being easier on your purse.

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