Dietary reasons for founder and laminitis
 
 

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Dietary reasons for founder and laminitis

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  • Pssm diet causing laminitis symptoms
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  • 2 Post By Cherie

 
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    10-12-2011, 05:34 PM
  #1
Started
Question Dietary reasons for founder and laminitis

I'm just curious if there is something specific in a diet that causes founder and laminitis. I always thought it was caused by lack of hoof care but now I'm learning diet is often a common cause.
     
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    10-12-2011, 08:15 PM
  #2
Foal
Well there are many reasons for laminitis...most dietary causes are because of high levels of sugars. So any feed with high levels of sugar can potentially cause founder if fed too much and horse is suceptible. Also grains (corn, oats, barley) are all VERY high in sugars so not only make horses hot but can cause founder. In pasture, certain times of year and times of day the fructan (sugar linked to founder) level is increased. Photosynthesis causes sugars to be produced so a sunny day around 5PM is about the highest level of sugar in pasture. Also when grass is stressed the sugars are released also elevating levels so during times of drought and frost the sugars are higher. So these are times when horses are more at risk.

Every horse is different so some may never have a problem with laminitis even if they eat all of the above, where some horses can look at pasture and founder.

Hope that helps some!
     
    10-12-2011, 11:00 PM
  #3
Banned
There are a bajillion and one causes for laminitis/founder.

Mechanical stress
System stress
Toxins/poisons/bacterial proliferation
Chronic obesity
Poor hoof care
Cushings, insulin resistance, or metabolic syndromes
Carbohydrate overload
Etc.
     
    10-12-2011, 11:14 PM
  #4
Super Moderator
Laminitis goes hand in hand with obesity and over-feeding. It is very much like Type II Diabetes. There aren't very many 'skinny' people that develop Type II Diabetes. Most diet related laminitis is totally due to obesity and over-feeding.

Most horses can handle feeds high is starch and sugar just fine, particularly if they are not overly fat and/or are working and burning up those grain calories. They must be fed in moderation. Horses that are in good flesh and not working hard just do not need any grain or concentrate at all. A small amount of a ration balancer or vitamin / mineral supplement will keep one fit and healthy.

Good pasture is the same. Healthy, normal horses can be turned out on good pasture with no problems.

The horses that develop laminitis (which can progress into full founder) all have certain things in common. When an owners or barn manager sees any of these things, a big red flag should go up and that particular horse should be fed and managed very carefully.

Watch for:

1) Easy keeping horses. Horses that stay fat easily.

2) Horses with 'cresty necks' and fat deposits on their necks and shoulders and around their tail-head are in great danger.

3) Horses that easily get a 'crease' down their backs and butts.

4) Horses that do not shed very good in the spring. These horses often have 'Cushings Disease' that makes them prone to laminitis.

When horses are allowed to get too obese, some develop a condition called Insulin Resistance. These horses will get laminitis if they eat even a tiny bit of sugar or starch and some can only eat tested or 'washed' grass hay. They are the true Dibetics of the horse world. A tiny bit of green grass or starch and they will become sore-footed withing hours.

There are also many non-food related reasons that horses develop lamanitis.

Infections and septicemia can cause laminitis and founder. If a mare does not drop her placenta within a few hours of foaling, she can founder badly.

Lameness in one leg or foot can cause a horse to over-load the 'good' foot and it can founder.

Some medications can cause laminitis. Cortisone is particularly bad about it.

Bedding a horse on walnut shavings or allowing a horse to ingest anything from a walnut tree (leaves included) can cause laminitis.

Over-work on hard ground can cause laminitis.

I have seen horses develop laminitis and no one, good equine Vets included, ever figured out why they foundered. It was assumed they ate something toxic, but no one knew what.
goodhrs and Annnie31 like this.
     
    10-14-2011, 03:49 AM
  #5
Trained
Others above have pretty well covered it. I would just like to add a few details...

Further to Bubba's mentioning of toxins & carbohydrate overload, it seems the one could lead to the other. As large amounts of starch can wreak havoc on the hind gut, the acidic environment can also cause damage to the gut lining, allowing toxins to get into the bloodstream, causing lami. Incidentally there has been evidence that NSAIDs such as bute can do this too, so worth considering it may not be an appropriate drug of choice for lami.

While fat horses seem to be more at risk of lami due to insulin resistance, it is not true that horses must be obese to get the disease. They can also lose weight - or be 'hard keepers' because of IR & other feeding problems & suffer lami. Horses that get 'pasture laminitis' are usually insulin resistant & have been long-term overweight.

I'm not sure that "Most horses can handle feeds high is starch and sugar just fine" & while I think it's a given that horses in hard work can cope with the extra energy, it's the effect on the hindgut that starch is most problematic, which has nothing to do with weight or workload. It does have to do with how it's fed though I think - ie. Little & often with lots of roughage is much safer than a large meal only once or twice daily. Look at racehorses & the likes - they don't need to be fat & underworked to suffer hind gut probs.

Cherie's list of symptoms is also good I reckon, but I don't believe any or all of those symptoms are necessary in a lami horse. Rings on the hooves seem to me to be the general symptom that all of them suffer, however this doesn't show up immediately when the horse 'suffers an attack' either.
     
    10-14-2011, 07:52 AM
  #6
Super Moderator
Rings on the hooves only appear after a horse has actually foundered. A horse can have laminitic episodes without foundering. Laminitis only means that the laminae has been inflamed -- hence the 'itis' on the end of the word. It means the feet have been sore from the inflammation. Without founder, there is usually no permanent hoof damage.

Founder means that the horse's feet have been damaged. The rings seen on a foundered horse's feet indicate that the hoof wall attachment to the inner hoof structures is damaged. It usually means that there has been some rotation of the Third Phalanx because of this damage. It also indicates that the blood supply has been compromised to the front portion of the hoof -- the portion most adversely affected by laminitis and founder. [Think Diabetes, again and all of the people you have known or seen with amputated feet and legs from a compromised blood flow to the feet.]

This compromised blood flow causes the heels of the horse to grow faster than the toes. The faster growing heels actually push the separated toe up into the 'curled up' toes you see on foundered horses that have had inadequate hoof care.

Further, if you look at those rings, you will see that they are closer at the toe and wider apart at the heel. This proves to the unbelievers that the heels are growing much faster than the toes. The heels of the horse are the only 'healthy part of the horse's hoof after foundering. This is also why special shoes like a 'heart bar' work that put the majority of the horse's weight over his heels and frog.

As for 'most' horses being able to handle high-starch grain -- most can. This refers to grain being fed in proper amounts -- not 'over-feeding' or having a horse get into the gain bin. 'Normal' healthy horses only have problems with starches. At my house, I have 60 horses and 59 can eat corn or oats. Some people have breeds or bloodlines that are notorious for being unable to handle grain. Some draft breeds come to mind that have a very high incidence of PSSM.

I managed a big 80 horse show barn some years ago and had 2 horses on special diets that could not be fed ordinary grain. [They also had cresty necks.] They had been foundered and were IR before I got there. I put the rest of the barn on a corn based pellet and never had a single problem.
     
    10-15-2011, 10:05 PM
  #7
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
Rings on the hooves only appear after a horse has actually foundered. A horse can have laminitic episodes without foundering.
OK, sounds like you have a different definition to me. I think of them interchangeably these days, laminitis being the more 'correct' term & 'founder' being the 'lay' term. There are various degrees of laminitis & laminitic damage. It appears you may be thinking of laminitis as the initial inflammation and founder as the mechanical damage that can result from it? - That happens to be the way I used to classify the terms.

Quote:
Founder means that the horse's feet have been damaged. The rings seen on a foundered horse's feet indicate that the hoof wall attachment to the inner hoof structures is damaged. It usually means that there has been some rotation of the Third Phalanx because of this damage. ...
Further, if you look at those rings, you will see that they are closer at the toe and wider apart at the heel. This proves to the unbelievers that the heels are growing much faster than the toes.
OK, I think our differences are partly another difference in definition perhaps. Laminitic 'episodes', even 'low grade', unnoticed ones generally cause enough damage as to cause rings/ridges. Depending on the severity, length of the 'episode', mechanics at play, etc, this may be all the damage there is to show. Laminitis/founder doesn't necessarily mean P3 has 'rotated' or 'dropped' within the capsule. Generally it seems that it takes chronic, long term or untreated lami to lead to rotation & sinking. Not sure how much compromised blood supply comes into it, but it appears the lamellar damage is largely to do with toxins &/or insulin in the blood.

It does appear that chronic laminitic hooves can grow 'fast forward', but I'm not sure that this is due to slower growth at the toe, but when mechanical forces allow it(ie. Toe walls are loaded when damaged), the growth that does occur becomes more sort of buckled at the toes. I disagree that the heels are healthy while the toes aren't, just that the laminae under frog horn isn't the same or under the same sort of mechanical forces.

Also disagree with the use of heart bars generally or that they 'put' majority of the horse's weight on the heels... but that's another subject really.

I think you misunderstood my comments about starchy feeds. What I said was "nothing to do with weight or workload. It does have to do with how it's fed though I think" While I think *appropriate & good feeding amounts/practices* are far safer, so very few horses fed as such suffer any great issues from this sort of diet, it *can* be very problematic and so many people don't understand enough about horse's digestion & proper feeding to feed it safely.
     

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