Hoof Nutrition Intelligence 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 the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: Can digestion lead to founder or laminitis concerns?

By BioZyme nutrition staffers

A: When pH alterations take place in the horse’s gut, the results can be disastrous, even leading to laminitis or founder. But one question asked frequently is what does the gut have to do with inflammation in a horse’s feet?

Today’s horses are fed larger meals, eat less frequently during the day and receive less fibrous rations than what is consumed by a grazing horse. This may occasionally become a concern since a horse’s small stomach is intended for grazing and slow eating all day long.

The horse’s stomach represents a challenge when feeding large amounts of grain, which are meant to be digested in the foregut. This challenge is made worse by the fact that the bigger the meal, the faster it moves through the stomach, which often leads to incomplete digestion.

When this occurs, undigested starches move into the hindgut where they are fermented by a particular type of gut microbe that produces lactic acid. As a result, the pH of the hindgut is reduced and the good fiber-loving bacteria start to die off and release endotoxins. When the integrity of the gut is compromised, these endotoxins can enter the bloodstream.

Exactly how these changes in the gut cause laminitis remains largely undetermined. However, it is preventable by properly managing a horse’s nutrition. This means providing plenty of forage (at least 1.5% of the horse’s bodyweight) and feeding smaller meals less often than larger ones.

BioZyme is an equine nutrition company located in St. Joseph, Mo.

Click here to read part 1 of the Aug. 15, 2019 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Is my insulin-resistant horse likely to suffer from laminitis?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.

Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine). 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®.