Yes, fall pasture grass can cause laminitis. As the air gets cooler and the leaves begin to change, so does your pasture grass. The sugars in grasses rise as new growth explodes with cooler temperatures and fall rains, increasing the risk of laminitic episodes. If a horse looks foot sore contact your veterinarian and start soaking their feet in ice water as soon as symptoms appear.
Take extra care when fall grazing horses who suffer from metabolic disorders. Their bodies do not metabolize sugar properly and are at a higher risk of pasture-induced laminitis.
We have probably all heard we should not place ice directly on the skin. This is true when treating horses, too. While ice freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit it is often much colder. Ice from a typical kitchen freezer can be as cold as -20 F.
Burn occurs when ice is placed directly on the skin. The skin begins to freeze, and ice crystals form within the cell structure causing damage, or “ice burn”.
To avoid crystal formation and ice burn, soak foot and leg injuries in a bucket of ice water. For injuries that cannot be soaked, place a layer of cloth between the ice pack and the skin.
Steroid induced laminitis can happen in rare cases. When evaluating risk, corticosteroids are comparable to other anti-inflammatories and the benefits out weigh the risks. For healthy adult horses the risk of steroid induced laminits is very, very low.
Horses with certain medical conditions, while the risk is still very low, are more likely to experience a laminitic episode. Those condition include, but are not limited to, horses that are overweight, are insulin resistant, who suffer from Cushing’s disease, or those who have had a recent occurrence of laminitis.
Lameness in equines is defined as any deviation in the horse’s way-of-going. For example, your horse may not be reaching under himself at the canter like he used to, or he may have a very noticeable limp. Lameness while affecting your horse’s way-of-going may also manifest itself in your horse’s poor performance and behavior.
Your horse’s movement, whether at a walk, trot, or canter, is altered because the horse is in pain. While lameness is typically associated with leg and foot injuries it may also be caused by pain in the neck, back or rump. A complete evaluation by your vet is the best way to get your four legged friend pain free and back under saddle.
Acute laminitis, otherwise known as founder, can occur when your horse is subject to severe stress, illness, lameness or foaling. One of the most common causes of laminitis is overfeeding, so that even the lush green grass of spring and fall can be dangerous. Symptoms and treatment vary, but if the condition is detected early, a full recovery is possible.
Pasture induced laminitis generally occurs during the spring months when grasses become high in sugars and starches. Some horses are more susceptible to pasture induced laminitis, such as overweight horses, ponies, horse with metabolic disorders, and horses that have foundered previously.
The two metabolic diseases that can put a horse at high risk for pasture induced laminitis are Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Cushing’s (also called pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction or PPID). Symptoms of these two metabolic diseases include abnormal fatty deposits above the tail, crest of neck, and above the eyelids. If you suspect your horse may have either of these conditions, contact your veterinarian. They can perform a blood test to confirm a diagnosis and develop a treatment protocol.