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: What is the role of copper in hoof nutrition?

By Connie K. Larson, equine nutritionist, Zinpro Corp.

A: Copper has a very specific role in hoof growth that is instrumental in building the necessary keratin protein bridges. The sulfur in methionine and cysteine serve as a structural component making up these bridges and a copper-dependent enzyme in the cells is responsible for actually building bridges between various proteins.

If copper is deficient, then the enzyme activity is decreased and the structural bridging is compromised. Ultimately, the new growth of the kertain-based bridges is likely to exhibit cracking and splitting which impacts functionality of the hoof.

Connie Larson is an equine nutritionist and researcher with Zinpro Corp. in Eden Prairie, Minn. She has been a contributor to American Farriers Journal and a speaker at the International Hoof-Care Summit.

Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine). 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 15, 2015 installment: What role does nutrition play in the development of stress rings in the hoof?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.