Laminitis is a common but painful condition for ponies. Find out how to prevent it
Lots of people think laminitis is just a problem in the spring, but it’s important to keep an eye out for it in the autumn, too. Increased rain after the sunny summer months can mean the grass has a growth spurt, which increases the risk of laminitis for your fave pony.
Although any horse or pony can be affected by laminitis, our fave native pony breeds are particularly susceptible to the condition, so read on to find out more and how to prevent it.
What is laminitis?
There’s a bone in your pony’s hoof (called the pedal bone) that’s normally held in place by strong folds of tissue known as the laminae.
When your pony has laminitis, the laminae become inflamed, which can be really painful. In serious cases or when left untreated, the pedal bone can drop and rotate inside the hoof.
How does it happen?
There are lots of different reasons why a pony might get laminitis, but common factors include…
- eating too much lush grass There’s often a growth of rich and leafy grass with the autumn rain, which contains high levels of sugar and starch. Ponies love to munch on this
- obesity Overweight ponies are being fed more calories than their body can use up. This means they carry extra fat on their body, which puts strain on their internal organs, legs and hooves
- concussion Too much strenuous work on hard ground over a long period of time – such as a summer of heavy competing – can cause concussion in the hoof, which affects the laminae
- hormones Ponies with a hormone imbalance – such as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, previously known as Cushing’s), equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and insulin resistance – are much more prone to laminitis.
Find out how to put a laminitis prevention plan into place and what to do if you think your pony has laminitis in October PONY magazine – on sale now!