Excessive Nutrients Spell Trouble

Can hoof problems be caused by the over use of supplements?

H. Scott Gravlee, DVM (left) is an equine nutrition consultant with Life Data Labs in Cherokee, Ala. J. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS (right) is the founder of Life Data Labs, Inc., and the developer of Farrier’s Formula.

Q. Can hoof problems be caused by the over use of supplements?

While proper supplementation can provide numerous benefits, the excessive supplementation of certain nutrients can be toxic.

In addition, the over supplementation of any nutrient requires metabolic and organ functions in order to eliminate the nutrient from the body. This is a waste of valuable resources whether it’s in the form of enzyme activity, energy or organ usage such as the kidneys.

The skin, hair coat and hooves (or nails) are major contributors to the largest glandular organ of mammals — the dermal tissue. The health of the dermal tissue, including the hooves of horses, is often the first and best indication of nutritional deficiencies, excesses or imbalances.

Nutrient Deficiencies And The Hooves

Nutrient deficiencies that affect the hooves and hair coat (dermal tissue) can be corrected with a well-balanced supplement designed to provide the “missing links.”

As an alternative, a nutrient source designed to balance grass hay and pasture along with feeding a grain such as whole oats provides all of the nutrients necessary for healthy hooves. This simple method of feeding is economical and also eliminates the problem of unknown, duplicated nutrients.

However, a few horses may require an additional hoof supplement if balancing the hay and pasture diet…

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