Grass Founder in Horses: Founder vs. Laminitis

Lush spring pastures can be dangerous temptations for horses. Learn the signs of a foundered horses and how to help a horse live with laminitis.

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“Founder” and “laminitis” are two dreaded words for horse owners.

When spring is upon us, lush, green grass begins to grow. That could be the beginning of serious founder problems – laminitis. 

Grass Founder

Veterinarians and nutritionists have known for some time that plants store energy in their seeds in the form of starch that can cause laminitis if the horse is introduced to grain too quickly or eats too much grain. Only recently have researchers discovered that grasses not only store energy in their seed heads as starch, they also store energy as sugar.

In the spring, as grass is growing rapidly, it stores more sugar than it needs for growth, and horses consume the sugar as they graze. Later in the year, when the daylight and nighttime temperatures are more consistent and grass growth rates decrease, the plant uses up most of the sugar produced during the day each night.

 

Laminitis

Laminitis is inflammation of the laminae of the horse’s foot. Laminae make up the delicate, accordion-like tissue that attaches the inner surface of the hoof wall to the coffin bone (the bone in the foot.) The sensitive laminae cover the bone and interlock with the insensitive laminae lining the inside of the hoof wall to keep the coffin bone in place within the hoof.

A horse suffering from laminitis experiences a decrease in blood flow to the laminae, which in turn begin to die and separate. The final result is hoof wall separation, rotation of the coffin bone and extreme pain. In severe cases, the coffin bone can actually rotate through the sole of the horse’s hoof where it becomes infected and usually results in the death of the horse.

Laminitis is triggered by a variety of causes, including repeated concussion on hard ground (road founder); grain overload; retained placenta; hormonal imbalance (Cushing’s disease or metabolic syndrome); certain drugs (corticosteroids); obesity; and lush grass.

About the Grass Founder and Laminitis E-Book

The Grass Founder and Laminitis e-book answers many common founder questions, such as:

  • What is the difference between founder and laminitis?
  • What does it mean when a horse has foundered?
  • What can cause a horse to founder?
  • What are the signs of a foundered horse?
  • Why do horses founder on spring grass?

Esteemed veterinarians Dr. Thomas R. Lenz and Dr. Scott Morrison lend their expertise in this FREE e-book.

Grass Founder and Laminitis includes:

  • An overview of grass founder and laminitis, including their triggers
  • How to avoid grass founder and laminitis
  • The Henneke body condition scoring system

The vocabulary section breaks down common terms you’ll hear: 

  • Coffin bone
  • Chronic laminitis
  • Cortisol
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Easy keeper
  • Founder
  • Insulin resistance
  • Laminae
  • Laminitis

If you have questions about grass founder or laminitis, don’t delay in downloading this handy resource. You can read it today or save it for later.

Submit the form below to download the Grass Founder and Laminitis e-book.

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