Methionine – Too Important to Ignore

Considering all the important tasks L-methionine performs it’s perplexing you don’t hear or read more about it.

L-methionine is one of the essential amino acids, meaning the horse must get his supply from the diet because the body cannot manufacture it.  Methionine is a structural amino acid which means you can find it in all proteins in the body, from skeletal muscle to hemoglobin, antibodies and enzymes.  Methionine is also required for the initiation of building proteins in the body.

CRACK

Insufficient methionine can play a role in crumbling and cracking hooves.

Methionine can be converted to the other two sulfur containing amino acids, cysteine and cystine.  Sulfur bonds between cystine amino acids strengthen the structure of hooves, hair, tendons and ligaments.

Methionine is required for the production of:

  • Taurine – central to health of the heart, nervous system and eyes
  • L-carnitine – a carrier that is necessary to burn fats for energy
  • Metallothionein – a protein which binds excess dietary minerals, and toxics, and carries them back into the bowel for excretion
  • creatine – the carrier of high energy bonds for muscle contraction
  • glutathione – the body’s master antioxidant

Methionine also functions as a methyl group donor by being the precursor for SAM.  Transfer of methyl groups (transmethylation) is involved in a host of body functions including:

  • Detoxification reactions in the liver
  • Production of epinephrine
  • Regulation of the activity of DNA
  • Production of the active form of the vitamin folic acid
  • Recycling of methionine
  • Regulation of the immune response
  • Recycling of glutathione into an active form

More is never better even with a nutrient this important but unfortunately we really don’t even know what the equine methionine requirement is!  A look at the most common things fed to horses quickly shows they are mostly on the low end for methionine:

METHIONINE FEEDS

Hays also vary in methionine content quite a bit, based on both their protein content and the type of hay.  Levels are dropping in many areas since pollution controls have greatly reduced the levels of sulfuric acid in the air, which was serving as a natural sulfur fertilizer.

The current best guess for methionine requirement in adults is that it is 1/2 to 1/3 of the lysine requirement.  If your horse has outward signs consistent with inadequate methionine such as weak hoof structure consider supplementing with 2500 to 5000 mg of methionine/day.  This is commonly paired with 7 to 10 grams of lysine, another amino acid that is often deficient.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

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Diet or Trim – What Makes a Healthy Hoof?

If you ask me which is more difficult for an owner to get right, I’d say the trim. If you ask a talented hoof professional, they would usually say diet. It’s actually a trick question.  Both are critical and one can’t produce a healthy hoof without the other.

 

Both correct supplements and a talented trimmer are needed to produce healthy hooves

There is an acronym I use for reminding owners what needs to be done to effectively treat a laminitic horse – DDT.

  • D – Diagnosis, to identify and remove the cause
  • D – Diet, correct calories, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and mineral balance
  • T – Trim, to make the “shoe” (hoof capsule and solar structures) fit the “foot” (bones)

Cut corners on any of these and you won’t get good results. With hoof issues other than laminitis which do not have a systemic disorder cause, it is still equally important to address both the diet and the trim.

Trim is critical whether the horse is shod or not. As above, the goal of the trim should be to make the external structures conform to the interior. A physiologically correct trim is a work of art which sculpts/molds the hoof to the proper configuration.  Common problems such as flares, cracks, white line stretching, flat soles/distal descent, navicular irritation, underrun heels and coffin joint disease all have a major component of incorrect trimming.

On the other hand, nutrition plays a huge role in hoof quality. Poor nutrition can sabotage trimming efforts to restore hoof form. An example I see often is the long toe, underrun heel foot. This is the equivalent of you trying to walk in shoes two sizes too big in the toe but with the back half of the heel missing.

A long toe always creates tearing forces on the laminae. When the tissue is weak to begin with, toe flaring and laminar damage is worsened. Similarly, poor horn quality means heels will collapse forward more easily.

This is a quick rundown of key nutrients and their effects:

  • Protein: The hoof is over 90% protein. The amino acid methionine is particularly important because sulfur-sulfur bonds impart significant strength and sulfur amino acid levels are dropping in many forages.
  • Zinc: Deficiency has been linked to slow growth, thin walls, weak white line connections, weak horn
  • Copper: Inadequate copper or low copper+zinc has been associated with solar hemorrhage, thrush, cracks, abscesses, soft horn
  • Biotin: Supports normal growth rate and improves connections

These are only some of the more familiar big players. Because of the high metabolic rate of cells forming the hoof wall, virtually every vitamin and mineral has a role to play. However, more is not better and the key to growing healthy feet is identifying and correcting deficiencies and imbalances in the individual diet.

Good hoof supplements do exactly that, and so would a general “balancer” or vitamin/mineral supplement that actually matched the profile of vitamins and minerals your horse needs in his diet without providing too much of things he doesn’t need added.

A correct diet will eliminate the need for a hoof supplement – but it won’t substitute for a good physiological trim.  Get both of these right and you’re on your way to healthy feet.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rehab For Tendons and Ligaments

Options for managing new and chronic tendon and ligament problems are more numerous than ever but the basics are still often the best. Heat and cold therapy fall in that category.

The horse’s tendons and ligaments are among the most vulnerable structures and riding puts them under considerable stress

Exercise in horses under the age of 2 or so can have a positive effect on the strength of tendons and ligaments but beyond that point it’s all downhill.  These are strong tissues but must constantly repair the inevitable normal microdamages that occur when the horse exercises. When normal wear and tear repair can’t keep up, injury occurs.

That said, it is now recognized that controlled exercise has an important role to play in rehabilitation of tendon and ligament. Early light exercise maintains muscular tone, encourages good alignment of fibers and helps prevent adhesions.

Heat or cold are time  honored approaches to care and each has their place. Heat is used to relax stiff tissues in advance of exercise or when dealing with cold weather. It can be generated by standard wraps, massage and warming liniments or neoprene wraps. Heat also encourages local blood flow but these tissues do not have much of a blood supply. Heat must be used judiciously if there is any chance the area is inflamed as it can make the situation worse.

Cold is extremely effective in combating pain and swelling. It slows enzymatic processes which contribute to inflammation. Aggressive icing can control and limit the inflammatory stage with acute strains and sprains. Many high performance riders use cooling routinely after rides. It is also very useful for horses that have old injuries when bringing them back into work. Ice the affected limb for at least 30 minutes after work and get the ice in place as soon as possible after stopping.

Tendons and ligaments can benefit from a good supply of the nutritional factors they need to maintain healthy tissue in the face of the inevitable exercise-relatecd challenges they face.

It has been known since the 1950s that the major nonessential amino acid in collagen structure is glycine while the most abundant essential amino acid is lysine and its derivative, hydroxylysine. Lysine and methionine are common deficiencies. While the body can make its own glycine, research has shown that supply is not always adequate.

The trace minerals copper and zinc are also commonly deficient with implications for tendon and ligament health. Copper is essential to formation of collagen, the protein in these tissues. Zinc is needed for health of the insertions onto bone, release of tissue growth factors and antioxidant defenses.

Nitric oxide is a small signalling molecule in the body which has been shown to be critical for the maintenance of tendon and ligament. It is produced by three separate enzyme systems. Research has shown that management of such normal exercise-related wear and tear and tear requires the coordinated activity of all three nitric oxide synthase enzyme isoforms, from iNOS for clean up and nNOS, eNOS to direct formation of normal tendon tissue. Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is an herb with the unique ability to support eNOS activity while assisting in modulation of iNOS.

The combination of hot/cold therapy and exercise with targeted nutritional support can get and keep these critical tissues in their best form possible.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

 

 

 

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Older Horse Digestive Changes

With advances in preventative health care over the last 50 years, the ole grey mare is not only older, she’s more healthy. However, age inevitably takes a toll including on the digestive system. Targeted digestive supplements can help.

Senior horses face digestive challenges.

Senior horses may face several challenges in digesting their food. Natural wear and overaggressive dentistry can lead to loss of the enamel ridges on their chewing surfaces. There is also a change in the angle of the chewing surface (the curve of Spee) which reduces the force of chewing. Although not investigated in horses, ageing can result in decrease in stomach acid production and pancreatic digestive enzyme activity. Older horses also often have reduced numbers and diversity of microorganisms in their intestinal tract.

When chewing is an issue, switching the diet to one based on hay cubes/pellets and/or a complete feed, fed thoroughly moistened or even as a “soup”, is highly beneficial.  Adding psyllium to every meal improves ease of swallowing and is also prebiotic.  You can leave hay available to keep the horse busy unless choke is a problem, but don’t count on it to supply significant calories.

Older research suggested horses needed special levels of protein and some minerals as they aged but later studies have disproven this. It is now believed those early findings were due to parasite damage since the work was done before the appearance of effective over the counter dewormers.

Support from digestive enzymes can help with small intestinal absorption of nutrients to assist in weight and muscle maintenance. These may come from enzyme preparations such as Pancrelipase and pepsin.  Bacterial and yeast fermentation products are rich sources of digestive enzymes as well as growth factors for beneficial organisms.

Research has shown older horses can be as effective at fermenting food in their hind gut as their younger counterparts are. However, we also know the number and diversity of organisms is reduced, making the older horse more sensitive to changes, including in hay.

The best probiotics are a blend of bacterial strains and yeast.  The number of live organisms is extremely important.  One  CFU = 1 colony forming unit = 1 live organism.  You need to think in terms of tens of billions to have an effect. Fermentative organisms also benefit from a supply of easily fermented soluble fiber. Psyllium is ideal for this and food choices containing soy hulls and beet pulp. Flaxseed contains good levels of soluble fiber.

Deworming is also an issue. Older horses often lose their immunity to parasites and can even harbor forms not normally seen in adults, like roundworms. They should be dewormed at least twice a year with ivermectin or moxidectin with one of those containing praziquantel for tapeworms. Do fresh fecal checks for parasite eggs at least twice a year on this schedule, 3 months after deworming. If parasites are not well controlled, a more frequent deworming schedule will be needed.

The senior horse may need special attention to diet form and digestive supplements but there’s no reason they can’t remain in good flesh. If you see a dramatic weight loss, especially if sudden, consult your veterinarian.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

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Insulin and Weight

Easy keepers and overweight horses and ponies have been around forever.  Laminitis has also always been with us, and it’s no secret that overweight animals are at high risk. We now know that the vast majority of laminitis cases are caused by high insulin levels – hyperinsulinemia – associated with Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). Does this mean being overweight/obese causes insulin problems?

It might seem that way superficially but the logic is faulty.

High insulin is the cause, not the result, of excess weight

Many horses that develop laminitis are overweight or obese. We know that the vast majority of laminitis cases are caused by high insulin levels. The correlation has always been obvious and it didn’t take long for an assumption to arise that obesity is a laminitis risk factor and causes elevated insulin.  There’s just one thing. It’s not true.

A study (Bamford) published in the Equine Veterinary Journal in 2015 fed horses and ponies a control diet or one designed to cause obesity by feeding either excess fat or excess fat and glucose.  The weight gain did not reduce insulin sensitivity in either group.  Dr. Bamford has also clearly shown that insulin responses to oral or intravenous glucose have marked variation by breed in horses of normal weight.  You can read all of Dr. Bamford’s work in detail in his thesis here: https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/bitstream/handle/11343/148423/Bamford%20PhD%20Thesis.pdf?sequence=1.

Selim et al 2015 followed two groups of Finnhorse mares on either native pasture or intensively managed improved pasture. At the end of 98 days grazing, the mares on improved pasture went from a body condition score of 5.5 to 7 and gained 145 pounds but this was not associated with insulin resistance.

If obesity isn’t a cause, why is more insulin resistance seen in obese horses – 25 to  50% of high insulin horses depending on the study versus 10 to 15% of horses in general?  The answer is simple.  These horses are resistant to the effect of the hormone leptin which  results in increased appetite and weight gain. Yes, there is an association between obesity and high insulin but obesity is the result, not the cause.

This is more than just splitting hairs.  If you think obesity is a cause then weight control becomes a treatment, even possibly a cure. When you realize it is a consequence, not a cause, expectations for results of weight loss become more realistic.  There are many benefits to weight loss and it should be aggressively pursued but it won’t make insulin resistance go away.  Approximately 50% of horses with EMS are normal weight.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

 

 

 

 

 

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Remember Antioxidants?

Do you remember when antioxidants were all the rage as the latest and greatest thing in supplements?  Other topics catch most of the headlines these days but antioxidant activity still underlies some of the effects of currently popular ingredients like curcumin and even cannabinoids.

The horse’s natural diet is rich in antioxidants.

Oxygen free radicals, aka reactive oxygen species (ROS) are oxygen-containing products of metabolism which are missing an electron, making them unstable. Normal cellular metabolism, immune system activities, exercise and cellular clean up after injury all generate ROS. Diets high in fat or carbohydrate, metabolism of drugs and toxins also generate oxidative stress, as do chronic health problems.

These substances will attack proteins, DNA, structural  membranes both inside and around cells to steal an electron. The molecule attacked then becomes a free radical itself and a chain reaction can be started. The process weakens and can even destroy the cells under attack.

Antioxidants protect against ROS by donating an electron to stabilize them and prevent attack on the tissues. Antioxidants can be either fat soluble, located primarily inside the structure of membranes, or water soluble, protecting the watery environment inside and outside the cells.

The body has a variety of antioxidant enzymes such as catalase and  SOD – superoxide dismutase. These are manufactured by the cells, as are the important intracellular antioxidants N-acetyl-cysteine, glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid. Vitamins Niacin, C, E and A have potent antioxidant activity.

Foods can also supply plant based antioxidants.  The horse’s diet is naturally rich in plant antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols. Fresh green plants of all types have high levels, even grass. For example, Bermuda Grass is a sacred plant in India, where it is called Durva.

While excess ROS can be harmful, a healthy horse’s body is one that has a correct homeostatic balance between antioxidants and free radicals. This balance is called the cellular redox state. The goal isn’t to eliminate them entirely because at proper levels they have important activities such as stimulating the production of antioxidants, cell to cell signalling, modulation of gene function and enzyme activity.

The first step in ensuring your horse has adequate antioxidant defenses is correct intake of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A/carotene as well as the amino acid L-glutamine and minerals copper, zinc, magnesium and selenium.

If nutrition has been optimized and the horse needs more antioxidant support, look to rich plant sources such as:

  • Grape seed and skin
  • Berries
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Ginkgo
  • Boswellia
  • Spirulina

as well as isolated plant compounds such as quercetin or mixed bioflavonoids.

Supporting antioxidant activity is one of the best things you can do in a natural approach to health because it enables the horse’s body to use it’s own homeostatic system of checks and balances to protect itself.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

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Immune System Health – Part 1

It’s true that your horse cannot get a “cold”/respiratory infection without a virus but all horses carry around a generous supply of both viruses and bacteria. Some, like the Herpes respiratory virus, can remain dormant in the horse for life and be activated by stress. While winter weather can’t cause a respiratory illness, the stress of severe weather coupled with the effect of cold, dry air on the lining of the respiratory tract sets the stage for any waiting viruses or bacteria to take hold by weakening normal immune defenses. Seniors and young horses have an additional risk factor since their immune systems are often not fully competent.

Cold dry air irritates and weakens defenses in the respiratory tract

There are a variety of natural and man-made substances which can stimulate various aspects of the immune response but I don’t want to talk about those today. Before they can even be effective the immune system needs to have all the key nutrients it needs to function. Like all body systems, it has core  requirements for protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fats.

Keeping a horse fleshed out is usually the easiest part of feeding. All it takes is empty calories. An inadequate supply of protein in general or specific amino acids can greatly reduce the strength of immune system reactions. Everything from the multiplication of immune system cells to antibody, cytokine, even mucus production requires adequate protein and B vitamins. Pregnant, nursing, growing and debilitated animals have highest needs. If there is any question of adequate protein, switch from plain vitamin and mineral supplementation to one that includes 20+% protein from vegetable sources and whey for the best amino acid array.

Bio-active whey protein is also potent support for glutathione, the major antioxidant system in the body. Glutathione provides homeostasis for both immune cells and all body cells against free radicals generated during immune reactions. Colostrum does more than supply antibodies to newborns.  It is a specific source of proteins like lactoferrin, complement and proline-rich polypeptides (PEP) as well as cytokines, all of which have immune activity for any age horse.

Essential fatty acids also have profound effects on the immune system. Omega-3s are essential to function of the sophisticated immune system which targets and remembers specific organisms. Omega-6 fatty acids are utilized in reactions involving the primitive immune system which is the first line of defense against invaders. The barrier tissues of skin and mucus membranes are particularly dependent on omega-6.

Fat soluble vitamins A and E require attention. Vitamin A is needed for good immune function in the skin and mucus membranes. E is a well known antioxidant that is particularly critical for the survival of both B and T-cell lymphocytes. These cells have high levels of polyunsaturated fats in their membranes so are especially vulnerable to oxidative damage. All hay based diets are vitamin E deficient. Vitamin A is present in hay as carotene and also loses activity with time.  The horse can manufacture vitamin C but production may not be adequate when the immune system is under stress.

The immune system can be its own worst enemy because many of the reactions used to defend against invaders involve the generation of high levels of oxidative stress. When this happens, horses can benefit from the addition of plant based antioxidants such as berry powders, Turmeric, bioflavanoids/quercetin, malic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, glutamine, pancrelipase and vitamin C.  Also supportive are arabinogalactans, mannanoligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides which are naturally occurring  complex polysaccharides from plants which provide gentle stimulation to the rich supply of immune tissue in the intestinal tract – the GALT (Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue).

The immune system is complex because it has to be but understanding all the nutritional elements it needs to function well is the cornerstone of immune support.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

 

 

 

 

 

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Can Horses Know What Minerals They Need?

We’ve all heard it.  People talking about putting out mineral/vitamin supplements of various sorts and allowing the horse to choose what they need.  They will often have stories about how the horses vary their consumption over time, again presumably depending on what they know they need.

BARK STRIPPING

A Stan Schapp photo – horses stripping bark.

Whether it’s choosing from a selection of supplements or feral behavior like bark stripping, the presumption is that the horse instinctively knows what he needs on an individual nutrient basis.  Is there any support for this idea?

On one level, it is safe to assume that the species evolved to have an appetite for foods that will support their dietary needs; in the case of the horse, a diet of primarily grasses.  These grasses actively take up minerals from the soil in high amounts for those that they need to grow, and passively depending on soil levels for minerals that are not critical.  The feral horses range over a wide swath of land taking in varying amounts of minerals depending on where the grasses grow and meet at least their survival needs because of this variety.

The only mineral horses have a documented drive to ingest is salt – sodium chloride.  Sodium is very low in the basic grass diet but is absolutely critical to life.  In all areas where horses evolved there are natural salt/sodium chloride deposits which they will seek out and use to fulfill their sodium needs.  Otherwise, there is no evidence that horses with mineral deficiencies will “know” to seek out sources of those minerals to supplement themselves – let alone that they could know which soils or foods contain high amounts.

Companies that sell free choice minerals for horses invariably have those minerals and/or vitamins in a palatable base of some type, or linked to salt intake. One company famous for pushing free choice minerals has a zinc supplement that is actually 92 to 98% salt with multiple other flavorings.  There is no evidence, either formal study or even anecdotal reports, showing that a horse with a copper, zinc or other deficiency would be able to select the mineral they need from a smorgasbord that included options of pure minerals with no other ingredients to tempt them to eat it.

Feral horses eating odd things like tree bark have been suggested to be after minerals but studies have shown the only consistent finding in the barks they eat versus those they don’t is a higher sugar content.

Does this mean that horses don’t really know what they need in terms of minerals?  On one level, yes. There is no way a horse, or any other animal, with one or more deficiencies could know what those specifically are and what to eat to correct it.  However, sick horses do often change their eating habits, including eating dirt and digging around tree roots where acids secreted by the roots make minerals more available.

A horse that is ill or injured may instinctively know they need more minerals to support their immune system and healing but won’t know which specific minerals.  They will seek general mineral sources, like dirt, to try to fill this need. This may work for animals ranging over a large area of land but for domestic horses with limited diets and limited foraging ranges, not likely.

To meet the nutritional needs of our horses we need to know what is present in their base diet, preferably by analysis, compared to what their documented requirements are. In this way we can provide them with precisely what they need to get and stay healthy.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

 

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Tempting Picky Eaters

We humans have a huge diversity of individual dietary preferences. Some have a raging sweet tooth, others prefer salty or spicy, love or hate specific vegetables, etc..

It’s not as complicated for horses.  Their instinctive taste preferences are geared toward survival.  Try as you might, you won’t be able to create an acquired taste for sushi in a horse.

Horses instinctively seek readily digestible calories

Calories are the first priority in survival.  Every study on horses or other herbivores has shown preference is linked to simple carbohydrate content. High carbohydrate also usually means low fiber (thus high digestibility) and often high protein as well.

Simple carbohydrate, sugars and starches, are the most easily utilized calorie source.  Beyond this, there are factors of aroma and possibly texture.  Put a pile of freshly cut young grass next to one of straw and you know what the horse will select.  Alfalfa vs grass hay is also a predictable selection.

These preferences are virtually universal.  Find me a healthy horse that will turn down the offer of a freshly picked mature ear of corn, or a peach.  It won’t happen.

Since starch has virtually no taste or aroma, horses basing their choices on simple carbohydrate content are selecting for sugar.  The simple sugar content (e.g. like table sugar or fruit sugar) in grasses is relatively low but more complicated plant sugars with less intense flavors may also appeal to horses even though we don’t appreciate them.

Horses habituated to sweet feed may be difficult to switch to plain grains, brans or beet pulp.  Things that other horses find very appealing they will turn down because they have come to expect and look for the more intense sweet flavor.  The best way to deal with this is to very gradually replace the sweet feed with the new food item.

When a horse is just picky in general, suspicious of anything new, if a medical cause has been ruled out you can probably experiment to find a taste and aroma that the horse finds irresistible. Apple, banana, peppermint, cherry, anise and fenugreek are all favorites. Red beet root (not sugar beet) powder works for many.  Coconut oil has wide appeal but is solid at room temperature and difficult to work with unless you use the combination of soy and coconut in CocoSoya oil.  Even barn cats are drawn to this!

Liquid forms like CocoSoya are especially useful because they can also be sprayed in a light layer on hay or other foods. Another helpful one is “alfalfa tea”. Take alfalfa hay or a high quality, green alfalfa cubed hay  and put it in a gallon glass jar. Fill the bottom 1/4 then top off with water and put into a sunny window until an aromatic green tea forms.  Store in the refrigerator.

B complex vitamins can also stimulate appetite, especially in horses that have increased dietary needs because they are under stress, heavily exercising, are ill or recovering from illness or have not been eating well.

Horses have good instincts for identifying food items that are at least highly likely to provide them with easily utilized calories.  When you know the common preferences, you can utilize that to convince them to clean up foods they might otherwise think are not appealing.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

 

 

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“Balancers” Don’t Balance

Balancers have been popular for a number of years.  They are bagged feeds with a higher concentration of vitamins, minerals and sometimes protein than found in regular feeds.  They are typically fed at a rate of 1 to 2 lbs/day versus 4 to 6 pounds of other feeds.  This is great news for limiting calories but really doesn’t do any balancing.

As hard as he tries, the domesticated horse cannot get the same variety in his diet as a feral horse with a large range to roam

“Balanced” can have different meanings. For people it means a diet with a wide variety of foods in the correct amount for each food group.  This really does not apply to domesticated horses where achieving the variety as present in a feral horse’s diet is virtually impossible. The feral horse travels over a wide expanse of land, with varying plants and soil types, to find enough food.

Balanced in animal diets means adequate levels of amino acids, vitamins and minerals present in the correct ratios.  “Balanced” here refers to correct ratios.  It’s not enough to guarantee the minimum requirement for individual nutrients because many also compete with each other for absorption.  For example, calcium may be present in the correct amount but if phosphorus is excessive it will not be correctly absorbed.  Many minerals interact in this way.  So do amino acids.

The most accurate way to truly balance your horse’s diet is to make sure your grain is correctly balanced and get a hay or pasture analysis to identify issues there.  You can then add only individual items you need or have a custom mix made for you.  If you’re lucky, you may even find a commercial supplement that has specifically what you need.

The odds of a one size fits all balancer being able to do this are pretty slim.  All have high levels of iron which is already present in high levels in hays.  All add manganese at levels too high for most hays.  The balancer therefore makes these problems worse.  You can’t really be sure you are getting the correct level of other nutrients for your situation either because mineral levels in hays, even the same type of hay, vary tremendously.

When hay analysis just isn’t possible because the hay changes too often, a reasonable second choice is to work from regional hay analysis figures.  Either way, you will get a truly balanced picture and see superior results.

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

 

 

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