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Discuss Frosty Grass at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

the grass is hard and frosty in the morning here at the moment so I ...
  1. #1
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    Frosty Grass - can it be cause laminitis?

    the grass is hard and frosty in the morning here at the moment so I have not been putting my pony out in the mornings

    Someone told me today that as long as it startens to soften I can put the pony out even although the grass is still frosted

    I have been waiting until well into the afternoon and all the frost is gone before putting Charlie out as I am worried as I think frosty grass can cause laminitis

    Can anyone tell me which belief is correct - thanks
    Last edited by SammyDoodle; 01-23-2005 at 02:15 PM. Reason: title change

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    Senior Member+ ::Miss Kitty::'s Avatar
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    I've never heard that before...We put our horses out when the ground is frosty Im sure MissB will know!!!

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    we have frosty grass in the mornings also (not too bad though) and we always put the horses out. but i have herd that it can cause problems. but none here....thank god.
    *******MINNIE ******* - mare of the year....two years running!


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    wild horses eat frosty and frozen grass all the time. When I was a kid we turned our horses out at when there was snow on the ground and they dug down and ate the frozen grass every day and we never had a problem out of them

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    Frosty grass is not a laminitis threat. What triggers laminitis, is are fructins (sugars) in the grass. When you hear people talk about the grass 'flushing', that is when the fructins in the grass stalks are very very high. Grass will flush at any time of the year. This happens after there has been a bout of rain followed by brilliant sunshine. Fructins are at the highest at high noon. The safest time to allow grazing is when the fructins are at their lowest, which is over night. Early in the morning and late evening they are low as well. This goes for all year around, not just when the grass flushes.
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  6. #6
    Katy Watts
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    I believe your questions will be answered at www.safergrass.org

    The presence or absence of frost has no bearing on the amount of fructan. High NSC, including fructan, will remain after any frost has melted. Fructan accumulates when the night time temperatures are below 5C or 40F, and will remain until such time as growth or translocation to underground storage organs occurs to remove it from stem tissue. Fructan is lowest during periods of rapid growth when the night temperatures are above 5C.

    What is 'flushing' in grass? This is not a term that forage researchers use.

    Katy Watts

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    What is 'flushing' in grass?
    As I explained in my above post. The grass will flush when a bout of rain is followed by brilliant sunshine. This can happen all year around. Not just in spring as many are lead to believe.
    Quote Originally Posted by MissBandit
    When you hear people talk about the grass 'flushing', that is when the fructins in the grass stalks are very very high
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    Katy, I've heard it in my Crop Science Class. Itis when a BUNCH of growth is in process in a very short time. Like Miss Bandit said, usually after a wonderful rain and a bunch of sunshine. You know those days we all hate, after a rain, when we mowed 3 days earlier and you go outside and it looks to have over a week's worth of growth??? YEAH, that is flushing!!

    May not be a 'research' term but it is an ol' timer's term that has carried over into different areas.
    Nothing like seeing nature from the back of a horse!

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    It depends on the grass. Not that the Grasses will cause laminitis, but other problems like cyanide poisioning. If you Don't have these type of grasses in the pasture then there should not be a big problem.

    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/in.../bc/210900.htm
    but in the case of livestock, the most frequent cause is ingestion of plants that contain cyanogenic glycosides. These include Triglochin maritima (arrow grass), Hoecus lunatus (velvet grass), Sorghum spp (Johnson grass, Sudan grass, common sorghum), Prunus spp (apricot, peach, chokecherry, pincherry, wild black cherry), Sambucus canadensis (elderberry), Pyrus malus (apple), Zea mays (corn), and Linum spp (flax). The seeds (pits) of several plants such as the peach have been the source of cyanogenic glycosides in many cases. Eucalyptus spp , kept as ornamental houseplants, have been implicated in deaths of small animals. The cyanogenic glycosides in plants yield free hydrocyanic acid (HCN), otherwise known as prussic acid, when hydrolyzed by β-glycosidase or when other plant cell structure is disrupted or damaged, eg, by freezing, chopping, or chewing. Microbial action in the rumen can further release free cyanide.

    Frozen plants may release high concentrations of prussic acid for several days. After wilting, release of prussic acid from plant tissues declines. Dead plants have less free prussic acid. When plant tops have been frosted, new shoots may regrow at the base; these can be dangerous because of glycoside content and because livestock selectively graze them.


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    As I have a little Welshie I try to keep up on all theorys about what triggers laminitis so I read lots of articles. I have read a few times that frosty grass is a cause - differing ideas on why tho ---- hang on I'll find two theorys:


    1. High In Fructans
    http://www.equilibrate.co.uk/laminitis.html

    Stressed grass, e.g. starvation paddocks, lush spring and autumn grass and frosty grass on winter mornings tends to have high levels of fructans.

    It is therefor suggested that horses or ponies predisposed to laminitis should not be turned out in these conditions.

    2. Damages the balance of the digestion in the gut
    http://www.laminitis-advice.co.uk/laminitis_causes.htm

    The sort of food that causes laminitis is rich young spring grass with high levels of fructans. However rich grass can cause the problem at any time of year and even frosty grass in the winter can damage the digestion in the gut so much that the wrong sort of bacteria start to multiply and release toxins.

    I am a bit of a worry wart when it comes to my little fellow! It would make life easier if we could just pop him out in the mornings but I am really terrified I do something with him that could trigger laminitis.

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