Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.
Below you will find Part 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: Do horses suffering from acute laminitis need to be fed differently than other horses?
By Kentucky Equine Research nutritionists
Laminitis is a severe, painful inflammation of the laminae, which are interlayered tissues that connect the soft and solid structures within the horse’s hoof. Various factors can cause laminitis, with overfeeding of nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) being one of the most common. In addition, horses with equine metabolic syndrome or Cushing’s disease are at an increased risk for developing laminitis.
Horses with these conditions that develop laminitis should be removed from pasture. Other nutritional trigger factors such as hay and concentrate intake should be reviewed and diet revisions made if necessary.
The laminitic horse should be fed low-NSC hay at the rate of 1.5%-2% of its bodyweight. Alfalfa hay can be part of the diet during the acute stages. Chaff, beet pulp and soybean hulls can provide part of the fiber intake.
If weight loss is required, it’s best to stabilize the horse medically before embarking on a weight-loss program with major caloric restriction. This is not the time to only feed limited amounts of poor-quality grass hay, as the horse needs a balanced diet containing all essential nutrients. This can be accomplished by feeding an appropriate ration balancer at a rate of 1-2 pounds per day to supply needed amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
While there is no specific data on its use, some horse owners have tried providing increased amounts of biotin (15-30 milligrams per day), zinc and methionine to support optimum hoof growth and quality. Increased hoof growth allows more rapid trimming and reshaping of the hoof in the event of coffin bone rotation. Since oxidative stress is involved in the laminitis process, feeding higher-than-maintenance intakes of vitamin E is recommended.
The Kentucky Equine Research group is located in Versailles, Ky.
Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine).
Like many significant achievements, Absorbine® grew out of humble beginnings—and through the tenacity of someone willing to question the status quo. In this case, it was a young woman in late 19th-century Massachusetts: Mary Ida Young. Her husband, Wilbur Fenelon Young, was an enterprising piano deliveryman who relied on the couple’s team of horses to make deliveries throughout the Northeast. Inspired by Mary Ida and Wilbur’s vision, Absorbine® has continued to add innovative products throughout the years — products used every day by horse owners around the world. Which is why, since 1892, we’ve been The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name®.
Click here to read Part 1 of the July 15, 2018 installment: Do fatty acids play a role in hoof quality and growth?