What is Fall Foundering and How Can It Be Prevented?
What is Fall Foundering?
Fall foundering, also known as autumn laminitis, is a serious condition that affects horses during the fall season. It is a form of laminitis, which is the inflammation of the laminae in a horse's hooves. Laminitis can cause severe pain and lameness, and if left untreated, it can lead to permanent damage or even death.
Why Does Fall Foundering Happen?
There are several factors that contribute to the development of fall foundering in horses. One of the main causes is the consumption of lush, high-sugar grass that is often found in pastures during the fall. The high sugar content in the grass can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in the horse's gut, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Signs and Symptoms
It is important for horse owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of fall foundering. Some common signs include:
- Lameness or reluctance to move
- Heat in the hooves
- Increased digital pulse
- Shifting weight
- Loss of appetite
Prevention and Treatment
Preventing fall foundering in horses involves careful management of their diet and environment. Horse owners should limit their horse's access to lush pastures, especially during the fall season. It is also important to provide a balanced diet and avoid feeding excessive amounts of high-sugar feeds.
If a horse does develop fall foundering, prompt treatment is crucial. This may involve restricting their diet, providing pain relief medication, and working closely with a veterinarian to manage the condition.
Fall foundering is a serious condition that can have devastating effects on horses. Horse owners should be vigilant in monitoring their horse's diet and environment, especially during the fall season. By taking preventive measures and seeking prompt treatment, the risks associated with fall foundering can be minimized, ensuring the health and well-being of our equine companions.