Laminitis is a severe, painful inflammation of the laminae, which are interlayered tissues that connect the soft and solid structures within the horse’s hoof. Various factors can cause laminitis, with overfeeding of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) being one of the most common. Horses with equine metabolic syndrome or Cushing’s disease are at an increased risk for developing laminitis.
Horses with these conditions that develop laminitis should be immediately removed from pasture. The horse should be fed tested low-NSC hay (less than 10%NSC) at the rate of 1.5 to 2% of body weight. Lucerne hay can be part of the diet during the acute stages, but is high in calories so intake should be controlled. Chaff, Speedi-Beet, and soy hulls can provide part of the fibre intake.
If weight loss is required, the diet should still be based around low sugar hay with nutrition balanced using a low intake vitamin and mineral supplement or concentrate feed to supply amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, including Barastoc Groom or Stud Balancer.
As oxidative stress is involved in the laminitis process, higher than maintenance intakes of vitamin E are recommended. Studies have shown that the most effective way of increasing vitamin E status is by using natural-source vitamin E which is included in Barastoc feeds.