Feeding a Laminitic

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6 June 2012
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My horse got the dreaded 'L' beginning of January. He was fat and had recently had a steroid injection for coffin joint arthritis, which I believe contributed. Has been on box rest with soaked hay and small feeds up until 2 weeks ago when the vet said I could start to introduce limited turnout with a muzzle. Also started light exercise.
He's lost around 70kgs and still has another 20 or so to go before he is at an ideal weight.
My question is what do I feed him going forward?
At the moment he gets Honeychop Lite & Healthy with a small amount of Speedibeet, supplement wise 365 Balancer, Mag Ox, Linseed, salt and Thunderbrook Laminease.
I would like to simplify this but still want to be sure he is getting all the right vits and mins as we are also trying to transition to barefoot at the moment.
He gets 7kgs of 12 hours soaked hay per 24 hours.
Ideally I would like a powdered supplement as I'm not keen on all the fillers that come with the pelleted balancers.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

Leo Walker

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I'd feed pink mash and either progressive earth, forage plus or equimins. Equimins worked out the best spec for the lowest price for me. I'd still add some mag ox and the salt. Pink mash has linseed in and is 0.5% sugar and less than 3% starch. Its very good for gut health which is something that is being implicated in laminitis more and more.

Some horses wont eat it, but if hes eating honeychop he doesn't sound that fussy, so I'd imagine he would be fine :)
 
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Thanks Leo Walker
The only thing I can't get him to eat are the Simple Systems chops, tried both the lucie and timothy in the past and he won't entertain it.
 

supsup

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I don't think there's a whole lot of room to optimise and still provide all that's needed. I might drop the Laminease unless you're convinced it's helping, as there's no solid evidence these herbs help with laminitis. You could also try simplify your carrier (chaff plus speedibeet) to feed just one thing (whether that is only honeychop, or only beet, or something else like the pink mash). I wouldn't consider the pink mash to be a linseed substitute though, because you'd have to feed about a kilo of mash to get about 100g linseed (~daily dose), and I doubt you'd want to feed that much of it. I think I'd rather stick with a small amount of whatever carrier you like, plus the extra linseed.
For the powdered balancers, I largely agree with Leo's list. In this case (given your horse is only getting soaked hay), I'd probably choose either the Equimins Advance Complete, or one of the Forageplus balancer versions that also contain a fairly complete list of vitamins (not just minerals). The FP also contains quite a bit of magnesium already (12g per dose) so you could probably drop the extra MagOx, while the Equimins is low in magnesium and you'd probably want to keep supplementing it (though you could always pre-mix the balancer with MagOx, and have one bucket less to deal with).
That would leave you with a carrier, balancer, linseed, salt and possibly extra MagOx. I don't think you could optimise much more. Although, I just saw that FP is now also doing a pelleted balancer. If that is tasty enough to be fed on its own, you might be able to drop the carrier altogether, and just add a bit of linseed and salt and be done.
 

JillA

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Have you established whether there is an underlying metabolic cause such as PPID? If there is (and there is in most cases) you are facing an uphill struggle unless you treat for that. Otherwise, good clean straw for very low calorie fibre (and if he is hungry enough he WILL eat some of it) and a little unmollassed beet pulp as a supplement carrier (ditto). You could add biotin and or methionine to help his hoof quality. Cruel to be kind I'm afraid, so long as he doesn't get an empty stomach and therefore ulcers.
This for me is the gold standard website for advice, based on both science and experience http://www.thelaminitissite.org/
 
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He was tested for PPID at the same time the vet diagnosed the lami and it was negative.
Vet suspects he may be insulin resistant but said we would hold off testing as the weight has come off nicely just with a change in diet.
He has straw bedding and does eat a small amount overnight after he has finished his hay. I was going to put him on shavings but our yard owner
said a small amount of good clean straw wouldn't do him any harm.
 

Leo Walker

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I wouldn't consider the pink mash to be a linseed substitute though, because you'd have to feed about a kilo of mash to get about 100g linseed (~daily dose), and I doubt you'd want to feed that much of it. I think I'd rather stick with a small amount of whatever carrier you like, plus the extra linseed.
I wouldnt want more than about 50gms of linseed for a lammi prone pony on a diet though. I used to give a heaped 50ml scoop to mine, it was enough to make him shiny and stop the horrible scurf he used to get, but not enough to gain weight.
 

windand rain

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Not entirely sure why you would be feeding linseed at all unless it is for coat/hoof condition while trying to get him to lose weight There is enough of everything in Pink mash and a good broad spectrum vitamin and mineral to sustain him. My laminitic pony who is forever a laminitic pony in spite of the fact he hasnt had it for 4 years is in great condition is not ribby but not fat is fed pink mash, grass nus soaked alfalfa chaff and equimins or equibites for vitamins. What does him best and has kept him sound has been living all summer on a track which is shut off at one end. He has to move from one end to the other as his water is at one end and full circle from that is a grazing area and feeding area so he gallops round the track three times a day at least as he is a bit of a piggy so even opening the grass on the track for an inch will make him go careering around the track to get it first. He did have a dessert spoonful of linseed at coat changing time but I now think he gets enough in the pink mash
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I only give him a heaped 50ml scoop of linseed per day, it seems to stop him itching and rubbing his tail. Unfortunately I am on a livery yard and not able to set up a track. I share a paddock with one other pony and we intend to strip graze, mine may need a muzzle but as this is my first summer with a laminitic I will just play it by ear and see how we get on. He is only out for an hour at a time at the moment but I'm hoping I can get to a point where he can have a reasonable amount of time out.
 

meleeka

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I’d probably drop the Speedibeet. It is conditioning so If he’s prone to weight gain it won’t help. I’d feed a supplement such as Progressive Earth mentioned above and just add a bit of water to his chaff to damp it.
 

windand rain

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My vote would be for strip grazing and a bucket of straw chaff as a feed and equibites for vitamins. However pink mash might be better if he really needs the linseed. You could always add straw chaff to the pink mash. If he wont eat it he is not hungry enough and of course will lose even more weight
 

supsup

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If you're only feeding a 50ml scoop linseed now, then I agree, a relatively small amount of pink mash might supply the same. The main reason (from my point of view) for feeding linseed is to supply anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, which the horse normally gets from fresh grass. If a laminitic doesn't get any access to fresh grass they will otherwise miss out on these fatty acids, as they are not supplied by any other typical feed ingredient in the right proportions. It's not to add condition or make the coat shiny (although those are nice side benefits). However, you do need about 100g of linseed to supply the same amount of omega 3s as an average (500kg) horse might get from a diet consisting entirely of fresh grass (of course, proportionately less if you have a pony). That would be my motivation for feeding it to a horse with inflammation in the hooves (laminitis). In the grand scheme of things, the calories in 100g linseed (about 2MJ) are a small amount compared to the average daily maintenance requirement of a 500kg horse (~70MJ). You'd have to feed about 300g less hay to compensate for the extra colories from 100g linseed.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a judgement call to balance the potential benefit of extra omega 3 fatty acids vs. having to restrict forage a little bit more to allow weight loss to continue.

It is not correct to say that speedibeet is a conditioning feed. Yes, it is high in calories per dry weight, but given that it is pretty much always fed soaked, 4/5th of the volume is calorie-free water. So, "as fed" by volume it is actually pretty low-calorie if fed in small amounts as a carrier.

Out of the Pro Earth balancers, the Balance+ one is the most "bare bones" one with mostly just minerals plus Vit E. The Pro Hoof, Pro Hoof Platinum and Laminae versions have progressively more additional vitamins and higher levels of magnesium and "extra goodies". As you can imagine, with more extras the cost also increases. I'd say it's up to you to compare the ingredients and make up your mind what you're happy to pay for, and which "extras" you believe are really necessary. I'd probably weigh up if picking one with higher magnesium levels would be worth the extra cost as you'd be able to stop feeding separate MagOx.
From my POV, Equibites are not a replacement for a proper balancer, even if they are marketed as such. If you compare the ingredients per dose, you'll find that you'd have to feed an awful lot more of them than the recommended amount to supply a comparable level of vits&mins as in the powdered balancers, and some important nutrients (e.g. selenium) are left out completely. Presumably because it is relatively easy to overdose on selenium if you feed to much of a supplement, and the risk that someone will feed the Equibites like treats (i.e. not watch the amount) is just too high.
 

spider

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My horse who had laminitis last summer gets half a scoop Hi Fi Molasses free and a mug of Baileys lo-Cal balancer twice a day. he also has soaked hay at night and is on sparse grazing/starvation paddock in the day. He is looking great at the moment. Look for feeds approved by the Laminitis Trust.
 

windand rain

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You could of course use lammigel a complete feed with high levels of omega oils worth checking out it is made by the Equidgel company no need for added vitamins it is hydrating and supplies soluable fibre
 
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