Feeding the Laminitic or metabolically challenged horse or pony – By Fibregenix

Horses and ponies that are prone to laminitis need a low calorie, low sugar and low starch diet.  Fibregenix Lami Low-Cal diet feed balancer is 100% free from whole cereals and molasses and therefore fulfils those requirements making it the ideal way to ensure any laminitic prone horse or pony receives the correct levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients on a daily basis. Lami Low-Cal additionally contains a comprehensive hoof improvement supplement, formulated with biotin, zinc and copper and lysine and methionine.

Modern research shows laminitis to often be caused by toxicity in the gut. Fibregenix Low-Cal contains a gut health package of MOS and FOS prebiotics with a dual action of feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut whilst helping to remove harmful bacteria. Studies have shown that feeding a short chain FOS can moderately improve insulin sensitivity of obese horses, as can feeding higher levels of magnesium. Therefore this dual action of MOS and FOS, together with the equine approved Actisaf live yeast probiotic combined with nucleotides, helps to maintain good digestive health overall and promotes a healthy environment for the beneficial bacteria.

Lami Low-Cal also contains a generous level of magnesium which helps to keep your horse or pony calm and settled and helps to increase insulin sensitivity.  Insulin resistance is often linked to over-weight horses and ponies, laminitis, Equine Metabolic Syndrome, PSSM and Horses with PPID (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction) more commonly known as Cushings.

Horses with Cushings usually become either overweight or underweight. They generally exhibit regional adiposity (seen as fat deposits along the shoulders and tailhead, a cresty neck, etc.) resulting from insulin resistance. Reducing circulating insulin levels is key to managing the diet and, consequently, the condition. Magnesium is shown to produce a reduction in fat deposits, especially on the crest and base of the tail.

Since the body releases insulin in response to elevated blood glucose levels, as with Laminitics, avoid feeds that are high in sugar and starch. If your Cushing’s horse is overweight, avoid restricting his diet entirely. You can remove concentrates, but restricting hay is the worst thing you can do as hunger will stress your horse. Additionally, elevated insulin levels prevent your horse from burning body fat, so you defeat your purpose. Instead, provide free-choice low % NSC hay alongside Low-Cal diet feed balancer which has a starch/sugar combined feed value of just 8.8%.

It is good practice to have your hay analysed so you know what your Cushing’s horse is eating. Look for forage that has an NSC value of preferably less than 10%. If your hay’s value is higher than this, again, soaking it for up to an hour will be beneficial as this will remove some of the sugar (although remember to discard the water).

Underweight Cushing horses, however, need more calories than hay can provide, so in this case consider using a low-starch feed, such as beet pulp (molasses-free), together with Fibregenix Platinum Pro or Prime Original.

From a general husbandry point of view, it’s essential to maintain the fibre intake of any horse or pony prone to laminitis, but this should be controlled to limit the sugar and calorie intake.  Ideally, the horse or pony should be kept off pasture during any high risk periods (Spring/Autumn) and instead turned out into a bare paddock with sufficient soaked hay to reduce the soluble carbohydrate content and therefore the calories. Adequate amounts can then still be fed to ensure your horse or pony is receiving the correct daily intake of fibre to help to keep his gut working efficiently.  Never forget horses have evolved as trickle feeders! Alternatively, as a prevention method, grazing muzzles can be used or strip grazing introduced to reduce the amount of grass consumed, whilst still allowing for daily turnout.  Hay may be soaked for several hours.

Fibregenix Low-Cal has been created to provide suitable nutritional support for a variety of metabolic conditions however, it is imperative that veterinary advice and care is followed in conjunction with your carefully monitored feed regime.