Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Planning a Diet for a Laminitic Horse

Feeding a laminitic horse can be a challenge. Here are some tips for planning a diet suitable for such horses.

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Planning a Diet for a Laminitic Horse
Grazing muzzles can be useful for some horses that are allowed pasture access. | Photo: Erica Larson/The Horse
A laminitis diagnosis can be a life-changing event for both a horse and an owner. And when it comes to dietary changes for laminitic horses, owners might not know where to start.

To that end, Jennifer A. Wrigley, CVT, the director of nursing for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center Equi-Assist Home Care program, offered horse owners some tips for transitioning to a diet suitable for a laminitic horse.

Ultimately, Wrigley said, properly feeding a horse with laminitis boils down to the answers to four important questions:

  1. Are you feeding the correct food?
  2. Are you feeding the correct amounts of feed and hay?
  3. Do you have the tools to use if you are restricting feed, hay, and grass?
  4. How will you monitor weight loss and gain?

Are you feeding the correct food?

Always ensure you’ve got the correct hay and, if needed, concentrates for a laminitic horse. This is especially important if the laminitis is related to a metabolic condition, such as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), Wrigley

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Written by:

Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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