Laminitis is a serious, crippling condition that horses, ponies and donkeys can all get. Severe, reoccurring, cases of laminitis can lead to your horse having to be put down to prevent their suffering and lack of quality of life. Treatment, successful or not, can require a lot of time and money as well as a huge commitment of time and energy. Often, Lamanitis starts with hindgut acidosis, a build-up of lactic acid in your horse’s hindgut. Fortunately, prevention is more than possible.
Understanding the link between Hindgut Acidosis and Laminits.
Laminitis is the painful inflammation of the tissues (laminae) that hold the hoof wall to the pedal (coffin) bone in your horse’s hoof. The weakening of the lamina leads to an agonizing tearing of the support structure of the pedal bone. If not treated quickly, the pedal bone will drop or rotate downwards. While it has often been thought of to be a disease of fat ponies, laminitis can be triggered by an array of causes. Unfortunately, any equine can be affected, of any age, sex, and at any time of the year.
When a horse consumes large quantities of rich pasture, they can have problems with incomplete digestion in the small intestine. This can lead to the build-up of lactic acid and irritation in the hind gut causing damage to the stomach lining and cell layers. This, in turn, leads to toxins being released into the blood stream which can cause circulatory problems with the hoof and that leads to laminitis. If you suspect your horse is suffering from laminitis, you should phone your vet immediately.
How to prevent Laminits
You should try to keep your horse at a healthy weight as obese equines are more likely to develop laminitis. In horses that are susceptible, you should do your best to limit sugars and try to stick to a high fibre, low sugar, low starch diet. Try to keep your horse from grazing in rich pastures, particularly on a cold but bright and sunny days. Also, if your horse is prone to the disease, you should keep them away from high-energy forages such as alfalfa or clover.
If you suspect your horse of hindgut acidosis, it is a good idea to treat your horse with a product such as abuscralfate which contains sucralfate. When sucralfate is administered in conjunction with omeprazole, sucralfate will coat the problem area which avoids further acid damage and allows the omeprazole to treat the cause.