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 Part 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: How does proper nutrition impact hoof growth?

By Kentucky Equine Research staff

A: Hoof quality is dependent on balanced nutrition, and the correct building blocks are needed in the horse’s diet to ensure healthy hoof growth.

When a horse has a problem with hoof quality, consider whether the animal is receiving enough energy in its diet. If a horse is expending more energy than it is receiving in its feed each day, the amount of energy in the diet will be put toward essential functions such as growth, maintenance and repair of body tissues rather than hoof growth.

A few specific amino acids, in particular methionine and lysine, are essential in forming strong, healthy hooves. Zinc also aids the integrity of skin, hair and hoof. It is essential in a diet designed for hoof health. Chelated zinc, which is better absorbed and utilized within the body than alternative inorganic zinc sources, is a useful ingredient in a hoof supplement.

The vitamin biotin is well-known as a key player in hoof health. Studies have shown that biotin levels of 15-20 mg per day have positive effects on the hoof wall. These effects take approximately 6-9 months to fully manifest, so without the correct balance of the other trace minerals, you are unlikely to see the desired results when using a hoof supplement as a quick fix.

Kentucky Equine Research is a nutrition consulting company located in Versailles, Ky.

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Click here to read part 1 of the Sept. 15, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Can free choice feeding reduce the chances for laminitis?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.