My husband forgot to lock the gate and both horses were grazing on lush pasture for 10 hours (till my mom noticed it this early morning). We just started them on grass 15-20 mins/day last week, so they are definitely are not "adjusted" yet. I've heard there is a good possibility for the horse to get laminitis because of all the sugar they consumed, but I know very little about the subject (I will do googling after posting this). My questions are:
1) What is the chance of laminitis?
2) How long it may take for condition to develop and what should I look for?
3) Is it curable completely and how long does it take?
I told my parents (they took care of horses in the morning) to hold off the grain, and give them some hay (they are mostly on hay year around) only later today. Anything else I should of do?
I do not see how one binge of fresh grass could cause a problem.......I do not even think a two day binge would be detrimental, some small ponies on 2 straight 24 hour days might cause a slight problem, but kinda doubt that would be a lasting one.
Thanks, Kevin, that sounds re-assuring. :wink: Again, that's what I read in a past: you let them on lush pasture just one time and run into issues after that. May be it's a myth - I don't know really.
Founder absolutely is a possibility but it depends on so much other information. Each horse is different on what their system can handle. Without having your grass/soil tested there is no way of knowing exactly what the sugar content is but fresh spring grass and fall grass is very dangerous.
Basically just watch for founder symptoms and call the vet at the first sign.
Laminitis shouldn't be a problem provided the horses are not grossly overweight or already Insulin resistant.
Much higher possibility for some belly ache and diarrhea. I'd watch for signs of colic.
Withholding the grain for today is a good idea. But hay should be available, for the fiber.
The highest sugar concentration, the kind that causes laminitis, fructane, is in stressed( drought, frost, overgrazed) short grass. It keeps all the sugars in. Once it has grown over 6-8", it has used up quite a lot for growing, so kneedeep in lush grass isn't the founder trap everybody believes:-)
Thank you, All, for the responses!
Does either horse have a history of metabolic problems? Has either horse foundered in the past? Is either horse obese or have a big cresty neck? Any of these problems would put a horse at risk of foundering on one grass binge. All others I would not worry about.
We have one 1 'IR' horse out of 50 and have no horses that have previously been foundered or has a know metabolic problem (other than the one horse). When we put them out on grass, we fill them up on grass hay first and just kick them out. It is usually 5 to 10 head at a time and we do not have the time to mess with 'slow changes' to grass.
I have bought emaciated horses (body score 2 or 3), dewormed them, let them eat grass hay for 10 days while in quarantine; and kicked them out on 8-12 inch tall wheat pasture where they gained 4-5 pounds a day with no ill effects. I have turned out many other thin horses that did not need to be quarantined and only kept them on free-choice grass hay for a couple of days. None had a problem when turned out.
We always keep dry grass hay available which greatly helps keep them from getting too 'loose and runny'. We keep out a loose mineral with 2% Magnesium as spring grass is way too low in Mg. We have never had one founder and never had one colic in all of these years.
If a horse is at HIGH RISK of founder ( like a horse that has grass foundered in the past or a horse that has gotten into grain), I do not wait for symptoms to treat. I put them on 1 gram of Bute 2X a day for three days post 'accident'. Since there is not a 'control group', I have no way of knowing if this action prevented laminitis, but I have never had one have a problem when I used this preventive action.
I have mowed the parts of yard twice (three times in the dogs' back yard) and just mowed the two front horse pastures that also serve as part of our front yard.
Part of the three acre section, up by road and that is fenced off from the horses, is ready to be bushogged:shock:
Suffice it to say, my IR horse has been in a grazing muzzle since March 2nd.
As far as your horses automatically becoming laminitic from ten hours of free-grazing --- it depends, as others have commented.
I can eat a whole bag of Hershey's Kisses and nothing happens until I look at the scale.
That would be disastrous for a diabetic which, essentially is what metabolic horses are - Type II Diabetics.
So it depends whether or not any one of your horses is predisposed to insulin issues. Ten hours of grazing may or may not push them over the edge.
To be safe, I would keep them off grain, if you're not working them hard and monitor the pulse in the lower legs and heat in the hooves:-)
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