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

Q: How does the impact of an overweight horse affect hoof quality?

By Julie Davis and Richard Mansmann

A: Proper nutrition may be reflected in the hoof wall as nutrients help regulate hoof growth. Sudden changes in the diet can affect the environment within the gastrointestinal tract by encouraging some types of bacteria to grow while inhibiting the growth of others. A change in the horse’s gut environment may cause an episode of systemic change that incites laminar hyperplasia and/or a change in hoof growth rate, resulting in the formation of raised rings in the hoof wall.

If a sudden change in diet also brings about a sudden increase in the horse’s body weight, buckling of the tubules found within the hoof may contribute to the development of these rings.

A ring in just one hoof is likely the result of a change only in that one limb and is likely due to some type of an injury. Finding a ring in all four feet is more likely due to a systemic change or inflammatory response. The duration of the inflammatory response or buckling of the tubules determines the vertical measurement of the ring (how thick it is from top to bottom).

Julie Davis is a graduate of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and equine veterinarian Richard Mansmann is a professor emeritus in podiatry and rehabilitation in the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University.

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 1 of the November 15, 2015 installment: What is the role of copper in hoof nutrition?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.