S/O: Foundered horses and grass

Spinning off my own thread

Normie Pooh has foundered per his x rays. Sinking plus mild rotation. Per his x rays he also has scary thin soles and had too much toe. Toes now corrected per x ray.

Vet thinks reintroducing horse to grass is ok. I have typical Deep South grass. Bermuda/bahaia/other warm season volunteer species. No drought or temp stress. Poisonous wild cherry trees that may or may not be related to recent laminitic attack are dead and gone.

He had spring PPID test, negative. He has not had fasting IR test. He is not fat. He is 21. Would you try reintroducing grazing?

Today in dry lot looking like he’s not fat in the least

We had one who had a fairly significant episode of laminitis when he got his muzzle off. After we got him through that, we started turning him out 1/2 hour at a time in a muzzle w a neck strap to keep it on. We increased his TO time very gradually. He is now up to 5 hours a day and is doing well. If he showed any evidence of sore feet, I would no longer turn him out. I know how hard this is…good luck!

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Thank you. I do have a grazing muzzle that fits him. I could fairly easily monitor him and do very short amounts of time on grass.

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My horse has had two mild laminitis episodes while on grass, no sinking and one foot had very mild rotation. Now, he never touches it without his muzzle and is restricted to no more than 5 hours on pasture. I’d opt for a muzzle and close monitoring with your guy.


Thank you.

I need to pay very close attention to try and detect any changes in comfort quickly.

How soon after laminitis attack did you re introduce grazing?

Once he was no longer footsore, and out if his EasyCloud boots I gave him a gradual return to a max one hour on grass. I built that up during fall and winter to 5 hours. Spring he got 3ish hours on the lush grass, sometimes split into two different sessions.

He lost the fat and I made him move more, too. Both vet and farrier agreed that if they’re comfortable, moving is very good for them. Handwalking, a bit of lunging at the trot helped build muscle, manage weight and made it easier for him to get up, which he was struggling a bit with.

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Does the vet think this happened recently or has he been like this for a while, even before you had him? Maybe the rotation/ and or sinking was always there and the longer toes set off a laminitis attack or exasperated already thin soles. Or maybe if he had thin soles the new shoes set him off. Sometimes small changes can set off painful episodes that wouldn’t affect a “healthy” horse. Still an ounce of caution is worth a whole lot of vet bills

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Ok! My guy seems very comfortable but he’s still getting some Bute. He maybe in boots for a long time though to help his soles thicken.

I think I’ll wait until he’s done with Bute and still comfortable at very least.

I do have a decent sized dry lot so he’s got somewhere to move around in.

My vet is kinda unsure about my guy since he’s not carrying any extra weight.

She’s thinking based on the changes at tip of P3 that he’s had this for some time. 3 months, 3 years, not sure but definitely not just a recent thing.

I’ll note he was VERY skinny when I got him. Possibly he foundered with previous connections and they were keeping him skinny on purpose as part of management.

Vet thinks the thin soles are the major player in his current situation. What brought on the attack is just a guessing game now. The shoes. The wild cherry trees. Toes too long. Something else entirely.

We didn’t take any chances, made a larger pen connected to a set of pens for him, with just a bit of grass so he felt he was grazing, in the corner of their pasture, 80’ x 307’.
We fed him hay only and a handful of senior complete fed to put his Thyroid-L in there, along with his Prascend in a treat.
He was contented there, didn’t care if other horse came and went by him out in the pasture.

We didn’t want to take any chances.

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I can definitely understand not wanting to take any chances!

Maybe I should commit to getting the IR test. I dunno it’s just an odd situation since horse isn’t overweight or PPID.

I’ve seriously considered removing all the grass and just having the horses on dry lots 24/7 lol

Will you be soaking his hay as well?

Do you have taller (like more than 6 inches) grass to keep him busy? According to something I’ve recently read, this is safer than short stressed grass.

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Yes, I’m already soaking his hay and will continue to do so unless I can source tested hay that’s low enough NSC!

No, I don’t let my summer grass get that tall if I can help it. My winter grazing I try to keep that tall though. Id be interested in reading about that if you recall a link? I do rotate my paddocks to try and reduce stress.

Thanks for sharing!

I’ve gotta say, my mind boggles at reintroducing grazing before reintroducing dry hay, but I’m in an area where my preferred hay choices are reliably safe for my metabolic friends. And I despise soaking hay.

If the dry lot is a huge management issue for you and soaking hay is NBD, I can see why you would go in the opposite order. Very carefully. Probably with a muzzle. Personally, I would test for IR. It’s good to know (more of) what you’re dealing with and how careful you need to be.

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I’d rather have tested hay too so I could maybe skip soaking. I think you’re right I need to have more testing done. If he’s not metabolic then we have more wiggle room in his diet. I could do the fall test for PPID too in case the spring test missed it or something.

The management is a non issue. I can do whatever. Vet thinks he’s ok to start back grazing on a limited basis but I’m feeling “better safe than sorry” ya know!

When you use tested hay, what level of NSC do you look for to not soak it?

10% or less is what I’m told is safe for metabolic horses.

I’m having hard time finding any reccs/info specific for non metabolic horses that have foundered.

You can send samples off and have your pasture tested. Generally the grasses you have should be lower in NSC, but you can confirm. Maybe I missed it—are you feeding local hay or getting another type brought in? It’s potentially possible your pasture would be lower NSC than your hay. Of all the places in the country I’ve lived / cared for horses, we were less worried about pasture related laminitis in the Deep South than anywhere else.

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I think that’s part of why my vet thinks reintroducing grazing slowly is ok, the pastures are pretty safe normally here. There are some patches centipede out there. Not sure if those are better or worse than the Bermuda/Bahaia

I have a variety of hay. Currently his hay is split approximately 4 ways, roughly equal portions of TC Safe Starch, local Alicia Bermuda, Tim/Orchard mix, and perennial peanut. I could probably replace the T/O with PP. He could use the extra calories, he’s dropping weight :frowning: I’ve given him small amounts of the PP without soaking with no adverse symptoms. It’s a good crop, few fine stems basically all leaf. I read on the safergrass site that stemmier hay maybe associated with higher nsc.

Thank you

ETA: I did find some tested alfalfa at 11.4 NSC. I think I’ll pass on it though. At least until I can test my pp hay

I’ve been following your threads as I have a pony in almost the same boat, I personally would not reintroduce grazing, it would be beyond my comfort zone. When my guy initially foundered 18 months ago the vet said no more grass or a very “semi-dry” lot for him where he’d just get nibbles here and there and for the rest of his life. My guy got out in the pasture from his dry lot about a week ago and 15-20 minutes of grass made him foot sore again so I’m glad to stick with the dry lot. I’m sorry that your horse is going through this too.