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 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: I have limited turnout for my backyard horses, so how do I know if they are getting enough vitamin D?
By Connie Larson, PhD
Vitamin D regulates a horse’s calcium and phosphorus levels through absorption, bone mineralization and demineralization. A deficiency of vitamin A can result in abnormal bone growth and also lead to a toxicity condition that causes calcium to be removed from bones, leaving them weak and brittle.
Vitamin D precursors in plants undergo transformation once they are absorbed and present in a horse’s skin. This process requires exposure of the skin to sunlight. One function of vitamin D is to control calcium metabolism, which includes absorption from the intestine, calcium movement in and out of the bone and regulation of the amount of calcium retained or excreted through the horse’s urine.
Connie Larson is an equine nutritionist and researcher with Zinpro Corp. in Eden Prairie, Minn. She has been a frequent contributor to American Farriers Journal and a speaker at the International Hoof-Care Summit.
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 2 of the Aug. 15, 2018 installment: How important is protein quality when it comes to having an impact on hoof growth and hoof quality?