How much grass should a laminitis-prone shetland have?

stigofthedump

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Feb 5, 2009
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My 12 year old Shetland has recently been diagnosed with PPID and EMS (high ACTH & insulin levels). He loves grass & whenever I suspect lami is starting I restrict/remove his grazing but he becomes very depressed (of course he is bound to be depressed if his feet hurt). After the last brief bout of lami I have let him graze a tiny piece of grass which had previously been grazed by his 12hh mate. This boosted him psychologically & I am sure helped him fully recover. So far the lami hasn't returned. I would like to extend his paddock so he has a little more grass to nibble but am worried how much more he can handle without the lami returning. The grass he had before the lami started was almost non-existent & looked very wilted but obviously even that was too much for him. He also has 50grms Healthy Hooves molasses-free a day with 1 small carrot. If the weather is really cold i.e. minus temperatures, I give him 1-2kgs hay.I am following a "suck it & see" approach. I am also wondering if the Prascend dose (half a tablet) needs increasing. Please don't advise me to ask the vet. Having had several vets dealing with my pony's lami I didn't find them very helpful (they seem to think that handing out bute/Prascend solves the problem). I began to feel that I knew more about managing a pony with lami than they did!
 

Trewsers

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That's a shame the vets weren't very helpful. They would normally have been my first place for advice. Hmm. I am fairly sure there are a few folk on here who have had dealings with lammi and having to restrict hopefully they can help. You were wondering about increasing the prascend but I think a blood test would be needed? Our Chloe had hers tested again and we were advised to adjust accordingly.
 

CharliesAngel

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it’s a bugger but can you get a paddock sorted so its more suitable for him?Its not easy - you need old grass, not new, rich stuff. And you want it to be pretty sparse... so if you can get some sheep in to graze it down that really helps but you also kind of want it to be a bit poached so the grass is sparse if that makes sense and ground pretty bare. Just grazing down good grass really short is no use as it will be high in sugar. The other thing you can so is scatter lines of straw up and down to keep him busy. I did that with a highland i had to get weight off. You can double net hay, soak it and mix with clean straw as well.
 
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Jessey

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Hiya, I have 1 with ppid and a mini Shetland so lami prone management is a way of life for me.

If you have active laminitis then restricting movement and sugar intake is vital until its under control, when my mare was on confinement in a sand paddock (zero grass) I went out and picked her hawthorn, willow, brambles and anything else I could find, she loved it and it really helped keep her occupied. Obviously she also had lots of low sugar hay available too, if she gets anything less than 2% of body weight in bulk each day and she gets really grumpy so I tend to get low nutrient value hay and then also soak it if needs be so she can have enough to keep her full and happy.

When she's ok and for the little guy I keep them on restricted grazing year round (they are both terribly good doers) with low cal hay available so they can fulfill their natural instinct to graze almost constantly and keep their tummies in good condition and full mostly with hay but pick at a little grass along the way. My grazing is also old native grass species, they simply wouldn't cope if it were Rye grass etc.

Exercise is also vital to managing their risk, I can keep them much slimmer and therefore at lower risk with constant exercise, I use a hybrid paddock paradise track for about 8 months of the year to maximise the ammount my guys move so they can be out 24/7, plus ridden, driven & in hand exercise.

Have you seen the laminitis app? Its quite handy as a guide to when the sugars are likely to be up in grass in your area.

Re drug dosage, what were your ponies starting/diagnosing and most recent ACTH levels? When was his most recent test? Its better to only adjust it based on those. Does he get metaformin as well as Prascend?
 
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stigofthedump

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thanks for all your comments. Now i know that other lami-prone pony owners have similar problems. Both my ponies are field kept so removing one (or both) from grass isn't possible. Their grazing area is quite sparse & I won't let them graze the "newer" grass. There are several horses in other fields near mine so perhaps i could ask another owner if they would graze their horse on the ungrazed part of my field for a few days. As regards soaked hay i had a "heated" discussion with one vet about this & explained that neither of my ponies will eat wet hay - they would rather starve, which the vet said was just as bad as eating high sugar hay. So the vet had to agree that soaking hay was not a practical way to reduce their sugar intakes. I once tried to mix straw & hay in haynets to give to both ponies but the little devils picked out the hay & left the straw. My shettie can't do much exercise while he is recovering from the lami. At the mo i am encouraging him to walk round the field (don't ask!!) & for some different stimulation, I lead him in-hand on the grassy road verge for 15 mins, 2-3 times a week which he seems to cope with.
The first blood test in October revealed an ACTH level of 99.2pg/ml . Should have been less than 55. The vet started him on half a table of Prascend at that time. The 2nd test 3 weeks later had an ACTH level of 34, lower than the average of 47 for end of October. So the half tablet of Prascend seemed to be working. The vet is due to carry out another blood test around end of March/beginning of April so will have to wait for that before the vet will consider changing his dosage. The vet did not mention metaformin (as I said in my first post, vets aren't very helpful). I found out about it through my research of PPID on the Internet. I think it might help my pony so will ask the vet about this at his/her next visit.
So, Jessey, what's this laminitis app? I do have a smart phone so it might help. How do I download it? Could you post a link? Thanks
 
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Jessey

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Metaformin isn't for ppid but is used in worse cases of ems. Thats a really good drop in ACTH in just 3 weeks, they normally reccomend waiting 6-8 weeks to retest as it can take a while to kick in. You may find the problems you are seeing now are more residual from the damage caused during his last episode and its a matter of keeping him on the straight and narrow while new foot grows in to replace the damaged bit.

My girl detested soaked hay, she too would rather starve than eat it initially, I had to lightly spray it to start with so it was mildly damp, gradually I was able to dunk it, then soak for a little longer, it was a royal pain in the ass! My eventual solution was a change of supplier, initially I went to a cocksfoot grass mix which was unfertilised and they didn't exactly love it as cocksfoot is a really low sugar and low nutrient grass species), polar oposite to the lovely green, soft Rye mix they'd had before. Then that supply got dusty and I was lucky enough to find a grass seed producer who made hay simply as a by product, its threshed fescue. Super late cut so they could harvest the seed, and all the sugar and goodness has gone into the seed by then which is removed during threshing :) its more stalky and course but thats a bonus for me as they don't gobble it down just for the hell of it :) they have to work a bit harder at chewing it :) even on adlib dry hay I have slimmer ponies :)

I've no idea how to link to the app, I just go into 'google play store' on my phone then search laminitis and its the first one on the list, it looks like this
Screenshot_20170130-193419.png
I think it was 5 or 6 quid but it seems to be a good guide and I've found it helpful, mine stay on the very short paddock with plenty of hay when its amber/red, but are allowed access to very long dead looking grass when its in the green :) so far so good.
 

stigofthedump

Active Member
Feb 5, 2009
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Metaformin isn't for ppid but is used in worse cases of ems. Thats a really good drop in ACTH in just 3 weeks, they normally reccomend waiting 6-8 weeks to retest as it can take a while to kick in. You may find the problems you are seeing now are more residual from the damage caused during his last episode and its a matter of keeping him on the straight and narrow while new foot grows in to replace the damaged bit.

My girl detested soaked hay, she too would rather starve than eat it initially, I had to lightly spray it to start with so it was mildly damp, gradually I was able to dunk it, then soak for a little longer, it was a royal pain in the ass! My eventual solution was a change of supplier, initially I went to a cocksfoot grass mix which was unfertilised and they didn't exactly love it as cocksfoot is a really low sugar and low nutrient grass species), polar oposite to the lovely green, soft Rye mix they'd had before. Then that supply got dusty and I was lucky enough to find a grass seed producer who made hay simply as a by product, its threshed fescue. Super late cut so they could harvest the seed, and all the sugar and goodness has gone into the seed by then which is removed during threshing :) its more stalky and course but thats a bonus for me as they don't gobble it down just for the hell of it :) they have to work a bit harder at chewing it :) even on adlib dry hay I have slimmer ponies :)

I've no idea how to link to the app, I just go into 'google play store' on my phone then search laminitis and its the first one on the list, it looks like this
View attachment 85104
I think it was 5 or 6 quid but it seems to be a good guide and I've found it helpful, mine stay on the very short paddock with plenty of hay when its amber/red, but are allowed access to very long dead looking grass when its in the green :) so far so good.
Thanks Jessey. Your advice is very helpful. My shettie is almost back to normal today but am still managing him carefully. I suspected he had a touch of thrush in his (worn down) heels because they looked less healthy than his hind heels. i also compared them to the heels on my 12 hh pony & noticed a difference in appearance & consistency.There was a slight smell but it was like he had been standing in poo rather than the "classic" sweet sickly smell of thrush! So i have been treating that for a couple of days - thorough clean & wash then rub in diluted Hibiscrub. Leave this on for a few minutes then dry thoroughly before rubbing in some Fullers Earth. He does seem a lot more comfortable & enjoys all the extra attention. . I'll try to find/buy some different hay as you recommended & have a look at the app. Thanks for all that.
 
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