Take Care with Autumn Flush

Take Care with Autumn Flush

Autumn Flush – Taking Care with Laminitis

Everyone associates the arrival of springwith the curse of laminitis, but did you know autumn is another time of yearyou need to be careful and monitor your horse carefully for laminitis?

During September, your grazing has a finalattempt to enrich itself before winter sets in and its growth rate drops off.The end result is a flush of growth throughout September. It’s not so extensiveas in April and May, but it is definitely enough to bring on a case of laminitisin susceptible ponies.

Recapon Laminitis

Laminitis is caused by the laminae thathold the pedal bone to the hoof becoming inflamed and damaged, and in severecases breaking down completely. This can lead to the pedal bone dropping, andappearing through the sole. It is treatable but in severe cases, horses willneed to be put down. Once a horse has had one bout, he is susceptible tofurther episodes.

At any point during the year there are numerous causes, including high levelsof concussion, above normal insulin levels, injury to one leg causing weightbearing on the other, overeating of carbohydrates, retained placenta afterbirth, colic or any systemic illness, poisoning through eating toxic plants, orhigh use of steroids. It is thought that these triggers damage or limit bloodsupply to the foot.


The flush of grass leads to many horsesovereating carbohydrates. If the horse is not being exercised enough (which isoften the case with the start of the new school year), laminitis is often theresult.

Signsto Look Out For

It might not be immediately obvious yourhorse is suffering from laminitis, particularly if he has never had an autumnbout before. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Change in behaviour

  2. Change in stance and movement

  3. Digital pulse in arteries in the fetlock anddown the pastern much stronger

  4. Depression of the contours of coronary band

  5. Resentment of pressure on coronary band abovetoe

  6. Resentment of tapping or pressure to sole offoot between point of frog and toe

  7. Walking on heels or flat footed

  8. Frequently lying down

  9. Leaning into heels when standing

  10. Pottery stride (may not be obviously lame in anyparticular foot)

  11. Swivels on turning

  12. Constantly shifts from foot to foot

Heat in the foot is not a reliable indication as it changes with theenvironment.


Whatever reason or time of year your horsehas developed laminitis, the treatment is the same.

  1. Call vet

  2. Immediately take off grass

  3. Put him on a deep bed so his soles are nottouching floor

  4. Discuss with your vet and farrier the need for frogsupport or pads

  5. Your vet/farrier will also advise on whether tokeep shoes on or off as it depends on the shape of the sole and the state ofthe feet

  6. Drug treatment following vet’s advice. Thisoften includes an initial dose of Sedalin, alongside anti-inflammatory

  7. If it is very bad, surgical treatment may besuggested

  8. Box rest – make sure the box you are using isthoroughly disinfected first. He is likely to be there a while so you don’twant him to pick up any other infections!

  9. Assess diet and change accordingly


Of course, prevention is always better thansure, so if your horse has history, take these precautions at autumn time:

  1. Maintain correct weight

  2. Be aware of pre-disposition

  3. Feed accordingly – feed high fibre and keep awayfrom carbohydrates

  4. Correct foot trimming/shoeing and consider heartbars

  5. Supplements are an option such as FarriersFormula

  6. Keep off lush pasture during the autumn flush

  7. Make sure your pony has plenty of exercise

Being forewarned is essential to preventlaminitis. So don’t get too complacent as summer draws to a close – keep an eyeon those ponies!