Welcome to the inaugural edition of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence, which is a new addition to the American Farriers Journal website. With proper hoof nutrition as the theme, we’re adding to the education of footcare professionals by introducing this twice-a-month web segment that will feature in-depth material on 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. Be sure to look for this new educational approach to improving hoof quality and growth twice each month here on the American Farriers Journal website.
Q: With the hoof deeply involved with laminitis, how should this be taken into consideration when dealing with acute cases of this devastating disease?
A: Various factors can cause laminitis, with overfeeding of nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) being among the most common. In addition, horses with equine metabolic syndrome or Cushing’s disease are at 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 when necessary. These horses should be fed low-NSC hay at the rate of 1.5% to 2% of body weight. Alfalfa hay (lucerne) can be part of the diet during the acute stages of laminitis. Chaff, beet pulp and soybean hulls can provide part of the fiber intake.
If weight loss is required with these laminitic horses, owners need to stabilize the horse medically before embarking on a weight-loss program having major caloric restrictions. In addition, this is not the time to feed only limited amounts of poor-quality grass hay, as the horse needs a balanced diet that supplies all essential nutrients. This can be accomplished by feeding an appropriate ration balancer at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per day to supply needed amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
While there are no specific data on its use, some owners have tried providing increased amounts of biotin (15 to 30 mg 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. As oxidative stress is involved in the laminitis process, higher than normal maintenance intakes of vitamin E are also recommended.
Kentucky Equine Research is an international equine nutrition, research and consultation company serving both the horse producer and the feed industry. The goal of the Versailles, Ky., firm is to advance the industry's knowledge of equine nutrition and exercise physiology and apply this knowledge to produce healthier, more athletic horses.
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 March 1, 2015 installment: Why are supplemental amino acids needed in the equine diet when it comes to quality hoof care?