EquiShield™ may be incorporated into the diet as part of the nutritional programme set up to support horses and ponies that are prone to equine metabolic conditions or immune system dysfunctions. Animals consuming EquiShield™ may also benefit from a course of ImmuBoost® or EquiYeast™ to help improve digestive function.
What is EquiShield™?
EquiShield™ is a natural product comprising mannan oligosaccharides, modied glucomannans from yeast cell walls, magnesium, chromium, antioxidant, prebiotic and toxin binder. EquiShield™ may be incorporated into the diet as part of an ongoing management strategy dealing with obesity issues in horses.
What provokes laminitis and founder?
Laminitis and founder are common conditions found in ponies and horses in New Zealand. They are extremely painful conditions usually aecting the front feet with aected animals adopting the classical ‘rocking-back’ stance as they try to transfer weight through to the hind-limbs. The sensitive laminae of the feet become inamed and swell causing separation of the tissues (laminitis). The laminae ‘glue’ the pedal bone to the front wall of the hoof and are the main support mechanism of the foot, this separation can cause a lot of mechanical problems for the horse including ‘sinking’ or rotation of the pedal bone down through the sole(founder). The condition is very painful and can come on very suddenly.
Contributing causes to laminitis may be:
- Obesity/overeating – the most common form in NZ and occurs after excessive intake of pasture or gorging on grain.
- Undernutrition resulting in poorer quality horn tissue produced by the corium.
- Reproductive difficulties in the mare, e.g. retained placenta.
- Overdose of corticosteroids either self-produced (e.g. Cushings disease or stressed horses) or by exogenous administration (e.g. overdosing of steroids).
- Concussion from working on hard surfaces.
- Any stressful condition including colic, high fever, illness, over-working unt horses, prolonged travel in hot (or cold) conditions.
- Excessive weight bearing by one leg due to severe injury or lameness in the opposite limb.
- Insulin resistance.
What can be done to alleviate the horse with laminitis, founder or insulin resistance?
If it is suspected that a horse or pony is developing laminitis it is important to act immediately. Even a few hours can make an enormous difference in the outcome of laminitis and founder treatment. Affected horses should be removed from the pasture and stabled on soft bedding (preferably of a material they can’t eat) to allow them to find the most comfortable stance to support their weight and then it is important to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible and follow their advice.
The best treatment for founder and laminitis is prevention. If you have a horse that may be susceptible to founder or has a history of laminitis, prevention is best achieved by constant vigilance over the quality of feed and the body condition of the horse.
- Overweight horses are more prone, so maintain at a sensible bodyweight and feed according to the work done.
- Don’t overfeed carbohydrates (grain).
- Restrict access to grazing during periods of grass growth, grass at this time is high in water soluble carbohydrates (simple sugars).
- Check the placenta on all foaling mares to make sure that it has passed intact, if there is a bit missing call the vet, this is an emergency!
- Keep the feed room securely fastened to prevent accidental gorging.
- Maintain regular, steady exercise programmes to ensure good health and fitness and make changes to routines slowly and progressively to avoid stress.
- Feed highly digestible fibre feeds that are low in sugar or starch such as those used in low glycemic diets of insulin resistant horses. Try to feed little and often to mimic natural grazing behaviour.
- Maintain good levels of minerals and vitamins as these are often at low levels in restricted diets oered to metabolically challenged horses.
- Use a live probiotic such as ImmuBoost® to help maintain healthy populations of beneficial gut bacteria.
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