Here at Trickle Net HQ, we can clearly see the effects of the Spring grass already.
Owners are calling in everyday to purchase Trickle Nets and get advice on avoiding or managing laminitis. It’s wonderful to finally feel the sun and see the grass grow. Though you must consider, is your horse in danger? Is your horse obese? Do they have EMS or Cushing’s disease? Or have they suffered any stress or trauma recently? Have they suffered from laminitis before?
If your horse or pony is in the ‘at risk’ group, you need to take measures to prevent the onset of laminitis. Spring brings the sun and brighter warmer days, but with the cold nights not yet over we see dangerous levels of NSC’s in the new grass. NSC’s are Non-Structural Carbohydrates. NSCs in grass can be split into sugars (fructose, sucrose and glucose), starches and fructans (chains of fructose) Eating large amounts of NSCs can cause trouble for horses with metabolic or digestive problems.
NSCs are produced through photosynthesis, the process by which plants use sunlight energy to produce sugars. This means that NSC levels will be highest at the latest sunny part
of the day, around 3 to 4pm. However, if night temperatures fall below 4.5 degrees, the plant cannot use the stored
energy for growth. This means frosty morning grass can be particularly high in NSCs. What can we do to reduce the
risk of laminitis in our horses through Spring? Reduce sugar and starch intake. Look at the content of your horses feed, and question does he really need this? Soak hay and keep hard feed to bare minimum if any. Increase exercise. Even ten minutes daily, walking in hand can make a difference to insulin levels.
Walking burns 4 times the calories of standing! If there is frost in the morning,consider turning out after it has thawed. Once the frosty nights are over,
night time turnout will provide grass with lower sugar levels. Get familiar with your horse’s digital pulses. Learn how to check and monitor for changes. Use a weigh tape regularly. While it may not be very accurate, it will enable you to
keep a record of any weight loss or gain and make appropriate changes.
Consider grass free turnout. If you are lucky enough to have a ménage or crew yard, you can add low sugar forage in Trickle Safe grazing in Spring Nets to simulate grazing while keeping sugar intake minimal. If your horse is overweight, don’t rug! Horses burn calories to keep warm. Overweight horses in the UK climate do not need rugs. Consider the necessary evil which is a grazing muzzle. We don’t like them, but they do have a place. If your horse looks ‘footy’ at any time, get them off the grass and call the vet. If laminitis is caught early, management and recovery are much easier.
Prognosis on a mild attack is usually favorable, but a mild attack can quickly become severe if not managed. Lastly, don’t be under the illusion
that your horse or pony won’t get laminitis. ANY horse or pony can become laminitic when certain triggers are active. It’s up to you to look for those triggers and prevent them where possible. Preventing laminitis is the most
successful way to manage it, guaranteed! Happy Easter everyone!
For more advice on laminitis or
Trickle Net products, give us a call
on 01522 720972.
Trickle Net UK