On the Care-Line we often get some unusual and wonderful questions. We also get some more frequent questions and queries so we thought we’d share some with you and see if it helps to answer any questions you may have.
- My pony is prone to laminitis, does he have to be on a molasses free feed?
No. It is important to choose feeds that are high in fibre and low in starch and sugar however they do not necessarily have to be molasses free.
- Should I only use feeds that carry the Laminitis Trust Approval mark?
Whilst choosing feeds that are approved by The Laminitis Trust is often a good place to start, they are not the only option.
- Should I be feeding hay or haylage?
Forage for laminitics should contain less than 10% WSC (Sugar + Fructan) and where possible it may be beneficial feeding low WSC hay rather than low WSC haylage.
- How long should I soak hay for?
Soaking hay for 12 – 16 hours in cold weather and no more than 3 – 6 hours in warm weather can help to reduce WSC content by up to 50% in some cases. But remember soaking hay isn’t a guarantee that WSC will be less than 10%, the only way to be sure is to have your forage analysed.
- Can I soak haylage?
No. Haylage should never be soaked as this may cause it to ferment.
- What is the ideal body condition for a horse or pony that is prone to or suffering from laminitis?
We use the 1 – 9 scale, aiming to maintain a score of 4.5 – 5 for those prone to laminitis. You may find the body condition scoring tool on our website useful.
- How many treats can I give my laminitic horse or pony per day?
We suggest feeding no more than five SPILLERS treats per day for those prone to or suffering from laminitis.
- I need to restrict my laminitic horse’s forage as he is overweight, I’m not sure how much to feed?
Forage should always be fed ad lib where possible. However if some form of restriction is necessary to help your horse or pony get back to a safe and ideal body condition then we recommend restricting forage to no less than 1.5% bodyweight (dry matter) per day.
- Is a feed balancer safe for horses or ponies prone to or suffering from laminitis?
A feed balancer is ideal for horses and ponies that maintain weight easily on forage alone. Feed balancers are nutrient dense pellets that balance a forage based diet and because the feeding rate is so low they contribute a negligible level of calories, starch and sugar to the diet making them suitable for laminitics.
- Is it true that haylage is higher in nutrients than hay?
Haylage is not automatically higher in nutrients than hay. The only way to assess the nutritional value of any forage is to have it analysed.
We hope you have found these useful and if you have any questions about feeding a horse or pony prone to laminitis then get in touch via our website enquiry form or calling our care-line on 01908 22 66 26.