It's been a month since the first day of autumn and it's finally starting to feel like fall in sunny southern Arizona. Although the highs for this week are still pushing 90, the lows are a crisp comfortable 60 degrees. I have always enjoyed fall but it's especially welcoming after the searing Tucson summer. Everyone is familiar with the changes that occur to trees and shrubs this time of year; the cool longer nights result in a wonderful display of color. All plants undergo changes this time of year including grass. Every horse owner should be familiar with these changes and the effect they can have on their horses hooves.
Aspens on Mt. Lemmon.
The cool temperatures increase the fructan levels in grass and this is one of the known causes of laminitis. Laminitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the laminae of the hoof, which compromises the connection of the coffin bone and the hoof wall. Horses suffering from laminitis can show symptoms ranging from mild foot soreness to pain so severe the horse refuses to move. An excellent resource for information on prevention and treatment of laminitis is Kathryn Watts' website www.safergrass.org. Although she has dozens of articles, there are three that I think are must reads: Risk factors for laminitis, The signs of laminitis and Factors affecting NSC levels in grass.
Cal on pasture at the University of Arizona.
Everyone knows an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but if your horse is suffering from laminitis, Easyboots and Comfort Pads can offer relief. The Easyboot Rx is an excellent choice for horses on stall rest or confined to a round pen sized area. The Easyboot Epic, Old Mac's G2 and Easyboot Trail are options for horses that are turned out. If you are using boots for therapy, we don’t recommend keeping them on 24/7. You should remove the boots daily, check for rubs and allow the hooves to spend some time outside of the boots in a dry environment. Adding Gold Bond Powder to the boots will help to reduce moisture. If it's your horse's first time wearing boots, you should closely monitor your horse the first few days to ensure that the fit is correct and that there is not any chafing. If you have any questions about which boot is best for your horse, please give us a call at 1.800.447.8836 and we will be happy to assist you.
As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I have plenty of hands on experience since my horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.