Foundering HELP!!! i've never dealt with it before :S - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-05-2009, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Foundering HELP!!! i've never dealt with it before :S

about 4 months ago, i took in a miniature horse called Gemma, who was severly overweight, and had never been cared for properly at all. she is 4 years old, 5 on 21st november. when we got her she weighed 300kgs easy.
She has since lost almost 60kgs.

the poor girl started foundering last week :( thank god we caught it at the first sign of a teensy limp, so we got it under control within two days.

but what could i do to make sure she doesnt get it again, she is in a paddock with hardly any grass and she is living on hay and water at the moment, and all the signs have completely gone, im going to start giving her an hour of grass every second day or so and see what happens.

What feeds could i give her without risking her getting it again? i've never had to deal with a foundering animal of any sort so i don't know much about it. she is slowly loosing weight, but im not going to excercise her for around 6 weeks as recomended by the vet.

But in a few months, would i be able to put my 5 year old sister on her? Casey(sister) weighs around 20kgs, but i dont know if i should, because i'm absolutely terrified of hurting her, and if she is never able to be ridden again, so be it. i would much rather have her for a pet as opposed to putting her in pain.

and when i start excercising her again, how should i start? would just easy walking for 5-10 minutes a day be ok for her? considering at the moment she is actually excercising herself by running around and bucking so she can't be in any pain, THANK GOODNESS!!!

But i could REALLY REALLY do with some help on this, i love gemma soo much and i really want to do the best for her, even though she's not mine, i am the one who cares for her, feeds her, gets up early in the morning to take off her cover, muck out her paddock, and everything. My mum, and my bf and his mum pitch in quite alot, but i have the strongest bond with her.

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-06-2009, 10:01 AM
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You need to concentrate on giving her a diet that is low in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC's). You need to shoot for 10-12% NSC in the whole diet. This is because mini's are prone to insulin resistance and that increases the risk of laminitis.

It is best to keep her off all grass and feed a diet of warm weather grass hay that has either been tested for NSC content or that is soaked for 30 minutes in cold water prior to feeding. For balancing the diet, use a "ration balancer" type product that is designed to be fed with grass hay. These products are concentrated sources of protein, vitamins and minerals that are designed to balance the nutrient content of a diet of grass hays and are typically fed at a rate of 1-3 lbs per day though the amount for a mini would be lower. You can contact the feed producers who's products are carried by your local feed stores and find out which of their products fit this category and how much you would need to give a mini daily. Ration balancers are low in NSC's.

Daily exercise is also important for these guys.
You can find plenty of information on There is a laminitis webinar that is very good and articles and a fact sheet on insulin resistance.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-06-2009, 10:07 AM
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You've already contacted the vet and done all that, right? They might be able to give you some more information that will be beneficial.

Most people are like Slinkies; they serve no real purpose, but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on for dear life.
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-06-2009, 10:59 AM
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My pony is prone to foundering. He has done it twice in the five years we have had him. The is a supplement that I give him called Remission it helps horses that are showing signs or that are prone to foundering. It works wonders! Also be sure to wet down an area by her water so her feet can take in the mositure.
Oh and ALWAYS be sure its founder before treating it. I know Remission is an everyday supplement so still feed that but two days ago I thought my pony was foundering but it ends up he pulled a tendon. Pulled tendons are horrible for horses, just to let you know. It ends up if I hadn't been so worried and called our farrier(since its a foot problem) to come check, my pony might have died. Not because of the tendon but because he wasn't moving and that would cause colic. He shouldn't get colic now, the farrier said just watch him the first few days and then he will be fine. You really have to be careful. Oh and.... do you feed her alfalfa? If so that is exactly why she is foundering.

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post #5 of 5 Old 08-09-2009, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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No i don't feed her alfalfa. theres none of that on our whole property.
at the moment, she's being fed hay and her paddock has literally no grass in there, as we put my horse in thre to clean it out, while gemmja was in the calf shed. unfortunately though we have started calving and the shed is full, so lucky we put my horse in there when we did. Its only a little paddock, about 10m x 15m and it doesn't grow grass very quickly, although when it is full it is the greenest paddock on our property.

We contacted the vet, who diagnosed her, but other than that he was useless to say the least. he never gave us advice on anything to feed her, on how to excersize, except in saying no excersize whatsoever in the next 6 weeks, which is fine with me because i was thrown off my horse and broke my ribs as she stood on me, so i cant do much either.

But for the past week gemma has been really good, i took her a small carrot today because she hasnt had a treat of any sort for ages and shes been really good.
She is showing no signs whatsoever of foundering anymore, she only had the signs for about two days. she is now completely back to herself, cantering, bucking, rearing, biting unfortunately, and she plays tag haha.

We have the farrier coming out tomorrow so i will ask him what he thinks, because he usually has tips and info for us when we need it.

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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founder , miniature horse , obese

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