I admittedly know very little about Laminitis and Founder besides from my Equine Science classes. I've never experienced it first hand besides a show pony at a boarding barn I was at.
I have 3 off the track TBs ages 7, 9 and 11 at my farm. I have 5 acres. I have split about 3/4 of an acre off to make a sacrifice paddock which still has grass in it but not much. The remaining 4ish acres are quite lush because there have no been horses on them for years but they have been mowed and maintained.
The horses spent all winter in the sacrifice paddock and I tried to let the remaining pasture grow a lot and then I mowed it before I first turned them out. I started off with an hour, and then progressed daily from there (until they were out from 8am-about 6pm and then in their paddock over night). I switched them to night turn out this week, keeping them in all night and all day and turning them out around 6pm. I brought them in around 8am the next morning and one of the geldings hooves felt a bit hot.
I have NO idea if they were really hot or if I was just nervous about laminitis that I was "feeling things". He was not acting like he was in pain (running around, totally sound, no strong pulse). I gave him a bute just to be safe and they felt less warm after being in all day (if they were ever really "more warm" at all)
How do I best manage these guys to avoid laminits? Should I just let them on the grass 24/7 and hope it gets less lush. The pasture isn't AMAZING but I maintain it pretty well.
Well turn out at night is certainly a good thing as sugars are at their lowest from after midnight to 10 am in the morning.
Sugars also concentrate in the lower 4" of the grass and in the seed heads so ideally you want them eating the top part before it goes to seed...I let my pastures get about a foot tall and then turn out and take off them off when we get down to 4 to 6"......mow, fertilize and water and wait again.
Mine are only out for a couple ours in the am and a couple in the pm........no hay except for a tiny bit at 11pm to keep their gut moving.
Making sure your horses are not overweight is also key.
No heat, no pulse, and no lameness? I think they are fine.
Hoof temps can change from day to day depending on the weather- and I am only speaking from the fact that I check mine every day, too! What helped me determine is I would compare the temp on the fronts to the backs. If they were about the same, I would not worry.
I am having a harder time transitioning this year, so I have been checking them every day, and have even backed off from earlier because of a little tenderness and pulse, heat, etc.
(Yes, testing for Insulin and Glucose levels twice a year, and he is on Thyroid medication)
With OTT Thoroughbreds I am assuming you are not having much trouble with weight, correct? I think you are on the right track! www.safergrass.org is a great guide to all of this.
Hoof temps vary during the day and checking by hand is notoriously uncertain.
But a digital pulse is not supposed to be there, so if you feel one then you can be sure that there is a problem brewing.
Extra Magnesium/chromium in the diet will 'buy' you a little bit of protection from the laminitis due to high blood sugar/high insulin. So if the horse is at risk of grass induced laminitis, increase the Mg/Cr intake. 10-20g day of Mg and 5-15mg of Cr is the usual recommended dose.
Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
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I have also been told that a really short grass is not safe because the sugars are in the lower segment I have a worn down pasture...part dirt, part grass scruff should I worry? The scruff is only 1/2"or so.