Monday, May 21, 2018

The Fury and the Founder

In Virginia it's grass season which also means it's founder season.  Founder is one mean actor and you'll definitely know it if you ever meet it.  Secretariat was put down due to founder.  It's a mysterious disease that effects horses who typically consumer too much lush grass, although there are several types of founder.  Fat ponies, older horses, insulin-resistant or "IR" horses are all prone to founder.  I have two that fall into this category and I am always relieved with late June arrives and the lush grass is burned by the hot sun.

Founder or Laminitis is extremely painful for afflicted horses.  You will know something is terribly wrong. Some early signs might include heat in the hooves, a horse "parking out" meaning they may spread their front and back legs much like a Saddlebred will, to help ease the discomfort.  Walking will be very painful or shifting from one foot to other frequently.  If you suspect that your horse is foundering, call the vet immediately, pack their feet in ice and give Banamine if you have it.  Time is a huge factor in helping to stop the destruction in your horse's feet.

You have to monitor your horse's grass intake in the spring and fall when the grass is lush.  Grass is not necessarily your horse's friend.  Grazing muzzles, limiting grass turnout, frequent exercise, and a proper diet can help to prevent this terrible disease. 

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