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Stance Blog

Laminitis and Founder: Are You Killing Your Pony With Kindness?

Tess Lawrence - Wednesday, June 04, 2014

As a horse owner, the words ‘laminitis’ and ‘founder’ are ones that send shivers up the spine. While not everyone may know exactly what they are, most know at least that these conditions are associated with pain. Severe pain. In fact, if left untreated, euthanasia can often be seen as the only humane option for relief.

And before you say to yourself that you would never neglect your horse or pony like that, keep in mind that all equines, in particular ponies, can be struck down with laminitis not through neglect, but by being too well looked after in the food department. In fact, diet is one of the major causes of laminitis, and often people don’t realize until too late that they may be killing their pony pals with kindness. The good news is that this serious condition, which is the world’s second largest cause of horse death worldwide, is largely preventable through a carefully considered and monitored diet.

Laminitis is brought on when the laminae of a horses hoof becomes inflamed, causing it to lose its structural integrity. This laminae becomes compromised when compounds from the hindgut leak into the bloodstream and down into the hoof. Taking another step back, the hindgut becomes leaky when dangerous acid builds up. This acid my be caused by the horse ingesting feeds that are high in starch and fructan sugars. Laminitic horses can be easily spotted by their odd stance of stretching their front legs out and carrying the bulk of their weight on their hind legs. This is because the front hooves of the horse are those that become compromised by this debilitating disease. 




We all know that sugars are typically hard to process. The same goes for a horses digestive system, particularly sugars that are fructan based. This is why we must be particularly careful of what we let our horses eat. As a general rule, try not to feed meals that have high grain content. These feeds are usually quite high in Non Structural Carbohydrates (NSC), namely sugar and starch. Not only can these feeds lead to your equine buddy becoming a hot head, they can also cause a myriad of disorders such as Equine Metabolic Syndrome, insulin resistance and obesity, all of which are prerequisites for laminitis and obesity.



The key to maintaining a healthy diet for your horse, and to prevent diseases such as laminitis and founder, is balance. If you must feed grain, do so in moderation and balance it out with a low NSC feed such as CoolStance (<11% NSC). Always monitor your horse for changes. Be vigilant about making sure your horse or pony is within a healthy weight range. It might be cute to have a fluffy, chubby pony, but it is certainly not in their best interests and puts them at risk of the painful condition of laminitis and then founder. If you notice that your horse or pony is being particularly sensitive or looks sore in their front end, get it checked out ASAP. If they do have the early signs of laminitis, then you need to catch it as early as you possibly can, for both their wellbeing and your hip pocket.

We know you only want the best for your equine friend, so make sure you do the best by them by following just a few simple rules. Feed a balanced, low NSC and sensible diet, don't overindulge them and be vigilant about any changes you see. These guidelines are easy to follow, but could play a huge part in keeping your beloved horse or pony trim, taut, terrific and most importantly, PAIN FREE!


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Products

CoolStance

CoolStance copra is a unique horse feed because it has low Non Structural Carbohydrate (NSC), and yet has a high digestible energy content.
Learn More

 

PowerStance

PowerStance is a unique powdered coconut oil supplement.  PowerStance delivers the secret ingredient from CoolStance as a powder.
Learn More