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 feeding biotin affect the development of both existing and new hoof horn?
By Joe Pagan
A: Biotin only improves the growth of new hoof horn and not existing hoof, so its effectiveness depends on reliable administration at recommended levels. Because of this, several weeks may elapse before a noticeable difference exists in new hoof growth near the coronary band.
More than a year may pass before an entirely new hoof is grown. It should also be noted that some horses respond more positively to biotin supplementation than others.
As the quality of nutrition increases, so will hoof quality. As new growth appears, well-defined ridges, known as growth rings, may appear on the hoof walls. These ripples usually reflect a significant change in the health or well-being of the horse.
It is commonplace for growth rings to develop on hooves of horses that have experienced shifts in their nutritional state. For instance, some horses will develop these rings each year in response to spring grass. The formation of high-quality hoof tissue above the growth rings is an encouraging sign.
Most well-fed horses grow serviceably sound hooves. Like other body tissues, hooves can be compromised by inadequate nutrition. With the regular care of a farrier, the provision of a diet that meets an animal’s nutritional requirements will usually remedy any hoof problems caused by malnutrition.
Joe D. Pagan is the founder and president of Kentucky Equine Research in Versailles, Ky. The company is an international research, consulting and product development firm working in the areas of equine nutrition and sports medicine.
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 2 of the November 1, 2015 installment: How does the impact of an overweight horse affect hoof quality?