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

Q: How does calcium affect the hoof horn when white line disease is a concern?

From American Farriers Journal

A: Susan Kempson says the lipids as well as the trans-membrane linker glyco-proteins are calcium dependent.

“If there is a lack of calcium, they (the lipids and glyco-proteins) are not very healthy, says the long-time hoof researcher and equine veterinarian at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. “Some horses are poor absorbers of calcium. In fact, some with a very high grain diet, an unbalanced diet or a diet with bran can develop poor quality horn because of a lack of calcium.”

Kempson says an electron microscope of a sample of such a hoof shows cells that “literally look like they’re unzipping and falling apart.” As a result, owners and farriers often begin to see horn crumbling around the nail holes and becoming very soft and pliable.

To tackle the nutrition problem, change the diet to include some alfalfa in a “hard-foot” ration. You also need a hoof disinfectant to reduce the bacteria.

From “Equine Diet and White Line Disease,”  an article that appeared in the April 2006 issue of American Farriers Journal.

Click here to read part 2 of the March. 1, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: How much protein is enough for my three Arabian mares? Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.