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Evaluating Grazing Strategies to Minimize Pasture-associated Laminitis

Laminitis is a systemic disease that manifests in horses’ feet and results in significant pain and lameness. Surveys suggest that a large proportion of laminitis cases occur in horses that graze in a pasture. Consuming large quantities of rapidly fermentable nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs) present in cool-season pasture grasses has been implicated in the development of pasture-associated laminitis. Therefore, controlling grazing horses’ intake of NSCs may be a useful strategy for preventing pasture-associated laminitis. This research will evaluate two strategies to reduce NSC concentrations by restricting the amount of time horses in the study spend grazing in a pasture and restricting the time of day in which they graze. The outcome of this study will contribute to strategies aimed at the prevention of pasture-associated laminitis.

Dr. Paul Siciliano, North Carolina State University