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Discussion on Trefoil- Founder related????

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Victoria Jackson
Member
Username: vickija

Post Number: 25
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Thursday, Aug 20, 2009 - 1:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O and forum members:
One of the horses at our barn has started to founder this time of year (almost to the day) for the past two years. We have no clover or alfalfa in our pasture grass but alot of trefoil which bloomed about 3 weeks ago and is still in bloom. In reading the article regarding legumes in a horses diet I came across a reference to Trefoil. This particular horse seems to be exhibiting signs of Cushings but all of the horses seem to be more lathargic and while they haven't touched the trefoil all summer they now seem to be eating it. I am wondering if there is a toxic side effect that I don't know about.
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DianE
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 4758
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Thursday, Aug 20, 2009 - 2:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Victoria, I was always under the impression that trefoil was a type of clover?

I guess if the horse founders the same time of year that this stuff starts being consumed I'd be very suspicious.

Around this part of the world we have always been told not to let horses eat bird foot trefoil, the reason escapes me tho.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23618
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Aug 21, 2009 - 3:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Trefoil is a legume, that has been planted in horses pasture and with no direct toxic effects that I am aware of. In general legumes are low in the non-digestible, non-structural carbohydrates that predispose to founder and found in many cool season pasture grasses. But because of the energy density it can result in obesity which does predisposes to founder by several different mechanisms described in the Founder Overview article.
DrO
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Victoria Jackson
Member
Username: vickija

Post Number: 26
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Friday, Aug 21, 2009 - 4:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dr. O. I am glad to have confirmed what I have read and what people are telling me regarding Trefoil. I have only been at this barn for 1 year and have no experience with Trefoil. It still is confounding me why this particular horse has shown signs of founder at the same time for the past year? as I mentioned, she has shown signs of Cushings so it could be related but she has not been diagnosed with the disease. Anyway thank you. I will stop worrying about Trefoil since there are so many other things to worry about!
Thanks Again
Vicki J
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Erika L
Member
Username: erika

Post Number: 1873
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, Aug 21, 2009 - 7:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Victoria, before my mare, Sugar, was diagnosed with Cushings, she tended to founder in September. I had to watch her like a hawk on the grass.
If your nights are starting to cool off, or if the grass is stressed by drought this time of year, she may be reacting to the stored sugars in the grass. There's also the possibility of more growth of cool season grasses now that tend to be higher in NSC's.
My mare is on Pergolide now with no problems since, but I still keep an eye on her grass intake as well as watching for tender feet.
Good luck, and be vigilant. So much easier to prevent than to deal with!
Erika
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Victoria Jackson
Member
Username: vickija

Post Number: 28
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Saturday, Aug 22, 2009 - 9:39 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Erika. You are confirming what I have suspected. I will talk to the owner about getting her mare on Pergolide. She really needs to have a vet look at her to confirm Cushings but she exhibits all the classic signs!
Thanks for the feedback
Vicki J
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