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Frost and the increased risk of laminitis

Frost and the increased risk of laminitis

29 November 2023

Many of us have seen hard frosts this morning and snow has even been on the cards for some parts of the country. This has the potential to increase the risk of laminitis, especially for our good doers.
When it is frosty and sunny, the grass can still make sugar but then cannot do anything with it as it is too cold for growth. Sugar levels increase and that is why there is an increased risk of laminitis in frosty weather. Also, when temperatures are sub-zero, the grass releases sugars to act as anti-freeze. Clever plants!
Keep a close eye on laminitis prone horses during such weather conditions. Providing ample forage, such as hay, Timothy Chop or buckets of HayCare, means your horse is less likely to gorge on the sugary grass.
You may also be concerned about your horse feeling cold but remember that most horses are not as bothered by weather as we are. If you can, stick to your usual routine but make sure they have some form of natural shelter from the wind and, if turning out in the frost or snow, they will need plenty of forage. Forage keeps horses warmer than starchy feeds (such as cereals) as the process of fermentation in the hind gut generates heat – a bit like in-built central heating! Heat from starchy feed is only utilised if the horse exercises or shivers.
If you require advice, please do not hesitate to contact our Feed Line experts on 01728 604 008 or by completing our online form.

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