I need to find out what percentage is considered to be low when it comes to hay. I have a cushing/IR horse who is currently recovering from a bad laminitis attack. I am so paranoid about everything right now. Any help or expertise is greatly appreciated.
I consider low to be about 11% or lower to be relatively safe for IR horses, though "low" is relevant. If you've been getting hay that is 23%, then 16% comparitively would be "lower." If that makes any sense.
For your horse with a history of laminitis, I'd try to find the lowest you can.
Oh yes, soaking hay!! Doing that, not so happily. I had been feeding him Timothy and he loved it but my vet said he wanted him off it so I switched back to Bermuda. Within 2 days, he was walking and moving better. Now I am worried that Timothy was the reason for no improvement. It is very strange. I called and checked out the sugar in the Timothy and the company told me 11%. I am really confused now. I have read a lot but now am at a loss on this. He has been in crisis since the middel of July. Recent x-ray show no more rotation and no sinking. There seems to be no reason for the lask of improvement.
Yep, I've always had to send the hay out for analysis to determine if it's low NSC. My hay guy didn't even know what that meant. And hay can suprise you -my VERY pretty, green, 3rd cut alfalfa/orchard grass mix came back as SIX PERCENT NSC! I was so happy! And yet you can get a stemmy looking first-cut timothy that's over 20% so testing is really the only way. For now - soak! Just to be on the safe side.
I have no idea what the standard "sugar" is in the different hays, but wasn't there some notice about hay cut in the evening being higher than hay cut in the day.. or something like that. If that's true, you can't go by the "standard average" for a type. I'm guessing older (in the field old) hay and cut hay that's been rained on is a bit lower sugar. I have friends that make hay and when something gets a little old in the field or gets a little rain, they call a customer with the IR horse.