My 12 year old Arabian mare has Metabolic Syndrome and has foundered from it at one time. Is anyone familiar with this syndrome, and is there something that I can do to help keep her hoofs strong?
Silver, it's not just a question of keeping her hoofs strong. That's the end result of the problem, not the cause. Metabolic syndrome is also a problem for humans. In horses, it's basically that they do not utilize their food in a normal manner. (Please, I'm not a vet, so don't expect total accuracy here...you get what you pay for! LOL) Think horsey diabetes. You want to make sure this horse stays at a normal weight. Too much sweet feed, high sugar grazing (spring grass, fall grass) is dangerous. No sweet feed. No sweet treats. No rich grain. You will have to monitor this horse's diet and make sure he gets lots of exercise.
Do a google search on metabolic syndrome in horses. There is a TON of information. Most horses with this problem are FAT. If not controlled, this problem will cause them to founder.
Also known as IR.....or insulin resistance........try googling.
Insulin resistance. Exactly. Think Type 2 diabetes in humans! You start out with metabolic syndrome, you end up diabetic. Horsey air ferns, easy keepers.
The problem shows up as chunky, cresty horses with fat patches...and if their weight isn't brought down, they founder. Don't start worrying about her feet, they are the end result of the problem. Start worrying first about her weight.
There is a slight and very confusing difference between "Insulin Resistance" and "Equine Metabolic Syndrome" :shock::shock:
I am oh-so-fortunate to have one of each:-(
As with Type II diabetes in humans, neither of these issues ever go away. They forever-after have to be handled by monitoring the diet --- a very strict diet that is low in starch.
There are many credible websites to read up on these diseases. Dr. Eleanor Kellon's site is probably the most popular.
Equine Cushing's and Insulin Resistance Information
Keeping healthy hooves starts with what goes into the feed pan. Since your mare has already foundered, ditch the sweet feed and it really would be best to ditch all grains.
My 25 yo TWH, with EMS, actually has better hooves since he became EMS than he had his entire life, and he always did have strong hooves.
No alfalfa or any sort of legume hays.
Feed high quality, weed-free mixed grass hay.
Lastly, for the sad record, Arabs are on "The List" as being a breed predisposed to metabolic issues.
So are Tennessee Walkers. Two of my three TWH's are dealing with it but my 26+ Arab is sailing along without issue:?
Please don't take a ho-hum attitude. This stuff isn't going anywhere except to be a big burr under your saddle blanket for the rest of your mare's life:-(
Ask a lot of questions. There are a lot of folks on this forum dealing with metabolic issues. We all have varying turnout and feed routines. That is because of that word "metabolic"; no two horses are the same.
What they all have in common is keeping their starch intake as low as possible, and either keeping a grazing muzzle on them for turnout or dry lotting them during the seasons the sugars spike in grass.
I have done some research on Summers health issue and I do understand it a little. Her previous owner informed me of her health issues and how to control it, so I knew up front what I was getting into. She gets Metaboleez supplement daily, and I only let her graze for 10-15 minutes a day. If she is out grazing for longer than that, I put her grazing muzzle on. I also make sure that she always has plenty of fresh water, mineral salt, and grassy hay. As long as she has her supplement she is just as normal as any other horse. The vet said that she looked really good, and the only signs of the syndrome were the blood rings in her hooves, that were growing out from when she had foundered. I was just wondering if there is a supplement to help her hooves heal and stay strong. She gets regular trimming every six weeks, and try to exercise her as much as possible.
Another suggestion for metabolic problems in horses is to get them some sort of slow feeder for hay. Eating small amounts all day helps to keep the insulin levels steady. We have an IR gelding and changing to a slow feeder has really made a difference. He eats less and is happier.
Unfortunately very familiar with it & it's results. The website Walkin gave is a good one, as is Katy Watts | Safergrass.org and Pete Ramey hoof care laminitis founder horse navicular disease thrush equine foot development farrier is a good one about hoof care & soundness.
Do be aware that feeding hay instead of grass may be no better for her, as while grass loses a lot of nutrients when cut & dried, unfortunately it only uses/loses sugars when it's growing. So it depends on the grass type, how it's grown, weather, etc as to whether it's low sugar or not. If you can't get tested low NSC hay, then soaking & draining it before feeding, to leach out some sugars may be necessary. Particularly as most hay they bother baling is going to be 'good' cattle fattening 'improved' pasture, which is high sugar.
Your horse will almost definitely need nutritional supplementation, particularly if she doesn't get much fresh pick. FeedXL Horse Nutrition: The D.I.Y. equine diet planner is one great resource for working out the specifics of that. In addition to well balanced nutrition, extra biotin and omega 3 oils(flax/linseed) can help her feet.
Good, regular(possibly more than 6-weekly) hoofcare which balances her feet well & doesn't invade sole & frog unnecessarily is vital. If you would like any more specific advice, some hoof pics & info on diet & management would be good. See link below for photo tips.
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