What is Nutrition Related Laminitis?
Nutrition-related laminitis is a condition where inflammation is caused in the laminae tissue inside the hoof.
It can affect one or all feet, but most often seen in the front feet where blood flow to the laminae is disrupted and the structure is weakened due to the inflammation.
The hoof wall to bone bond is interfered with and the laminae is unable to hold the coffin bone in place.
This results in an extremely painful side effect where the coffin bone is pushed towards the ground (weight) and the pull of the deep digital flexor tendon rotates the coffin bone.
What Causes Nutrition Related Laminitis?
There are many factors that can contribute to laminitis but a common cause is nutrition-related through carbohydrate overload. When the diet is overloaded with carbohydrates, starches and sugars (e.g grains) the following cascade of events results:
- Decreased pH in the hindgut (acid increases)
- Death of the acid utilising Gram-Negative Bacteria (Good microbes)
- Endotoxin release into the bloodstream
- Histamine – blood vessel constriction/dilation
- Laminae Destruction
- Hoof Deterioration
What can Help Reduce The Risk In Horses?
To help reduce the risk of nutrition-related laminitis in horses, make fibre the base of the diet with adequate intake daily. This will preserve the correct pH environment in the hindgut, making for a healthier environment for the good microbes to thrive.
Look for feeds that have NSC% (Sugar and starch) less than 10%.
If you need to feed a grain for extra energy, choose ones with lower starch and sugar % e.g oats
Also match grain input to workload, to avoid overloading.
For horses on pasture with high fructans (sugars) reduce time spent when sugars are at highest and allow access to a low sugar/starch grassy hay-like Rhodes grass.
What are Suitable Supplements For Laminitis?
CEN Oil is a trusted high-quality source of Omega 3 safe for horses who are prone/suffer laminitis. Not only does it promote anti-inflammatory conditions but can be used as a safe cool source of calories.
Highly beneficial for horses on hay reliant diet who will be deficient in Omega 3. Omega 3 is essential for overall health, particularly for brain, nerve and muscle function, the immune system, coat/skin, joints and hooves.
CEN Complete Grain Free feed is a safe complete feed for horses prone/suffering from laminitis. NSC% (sugars and starches) at less than 10%, it is a high fibre, non-grain based feed with a high vitamin and mineral profile at levels to promote better absorption. Live probiotics and prebiotics are also included to promote optimum digestive health on a daily basis.
Nutrition Related Laminitis In Australia
In a recent study in VIC, Australia – From a survey population of 233 horses and ponies, 15.0% of animals (35 individuals) were reported to have suffered from at least one episode of laminitis. Of the animals that had suffered from laminitis, more than half had experienced multiple episodes. The majority of previously laminitic horses and ponies (71.4%) had not experienced an episode of laminitis within the past 12 months; however, 14.2% had experienced an incident within the past month.
Given the high incidence of animals that had been affected by laminitis (and the associated welfare implications), this study highlights the importance of owner education regarding appropriate feeding and management strategies to reduce the risk of laminitis.
Please contact us if you need guidance to feeding a metabolic horse.
Written by Bryan Meggitt (BMedSc. PGCrtMedSc.)
Senior Scientist and Co-founder of CEN Nutrition
Bryan is passionate about improving equine health through natural nutrition according to science.