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Reducing the Risk for Nutritionally-Induced Laminitis

Laminitis refers to a painful acute or chronic condition that causes inflammation of the laminar tissues in the hoof.  The specific causes of laminitis have eluded nutritionists, veterinarians and scientists for years, but we are closer to identifying the risk factors associated with this disease:

  • Sepsis such as gastrointestinal disease;
  • Nutrition, specifically carbohydrate overload or pasture-induced laminitis;
  • Metabolic or endocrine disorders including changes in glucose metabolism resulting in insulin resistance, obesity and/or PPID;
  • Other such as supporting limb laminitis with injuries.

How can you reduce your horse’s risk for developing laminitis?

Identify high-risk horses and ponies

  • PPID (Cushing’s disease) and/or EMS
  • Obesity
  • Access to high-quality pasture
  • Breeds such as Shetlands and Welsh Ponies

Manage pasture non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) intake

  • Restrict grazing on lush pastures during spring and fall by limiting turnout time or using a grazing muzzle
  • Remove horses from pasture by mid-morning through early evening
  • Avoid grazing pasture after a frost or poorly managed, stressed pasture

Feed a low calorie grass-type hay

  • Feed a low calorie, low NSC grass hay (<10-12% NSC)
  • Alternatively, soak grass hay for 30-60 minutes to reduce NSC content

Feed smaller, more frequent meals

  • Laminitis can be caused by an over consumption of high starch and sugar grains, either in one sitting or by feeding large grain meals

Provide a low-calorie ration balancer

  • For obese horses and ponies not needing additional calories
  • Balances the protein, vitamins and minerals that may not be adequately supplied by forage

Recommended Products

GRO ‘N WIN provides essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in a safe, low starch and sugar, low calorie formula to compliment your forage.


Restrict NSC feed intake

  • Avoid grain or sweet feed high in starch and/or sugar
  • If additional calories are needed, either add a fat supplement or a fiber-based feed with <20-25% NSC

Recommended Products

ULTIMATE FINISH 25, 40 or 100

SAFE N EASY Pelleted: only 12.5% NSC and 20% fiber

SAFE N EASY Texturized: only 16.5% NSC and 20% fiber

SAFE N EASY Performance: only 13% NSC and high in fiber and fat

EQ8 Gut Health: 23% NSC and 8% fat

Cadence Ultra: 23% NSC and 14% fat and fiber