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: Can feeding too much sugar from grains or forage cause hoof problems?
By Shannon E. Pratt-Phillips
A: Sugar in a horse’s feed, including that found in both cereal grains and pasture plants, can have both direct and indirect consequences on hoof health.
When horses are fed diets that contain too much starch and sugar that is normally digested in the small intestine, the starch and sugar may overload the system and continue into the large intestine. When this happens, the microbes that are used to ferment fiber will also rapidly ferment the starch and sugar, which results in a disruption of the delicate ecosystem.
While sugar is an important energy compound, it should be fed to horses with great care. Too much starch and sugar in a horse’s diet may directly (via digestive tract overload) or indirectly (insulin resistance) negatively affect a horse’s health and place the animal at risk for laminitis.
Shannon E. Pratt-Phillips is an associate professor with a specialization in equine nutrition in the department of animal science at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C
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 March 15, 2016 installment: What are some of the key ingredients that are necessary for hoof growth?