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 nutrition help in preventing or treating thrush?
By Melyni Worth
A: While there is no specific nutrient that will help with combating thrush, overall nutrition is a great asset in the battle. Good overall nutrition benefits the immune system, since the immune system is the horse’s primary defense against infections. The higher the quality and the better balanced the diet, the better chance the horse has to defend itself against an infection.
Providing adequate levels of protein of suitably high quality and balanced minerals, along with sufficient fiber to keep the hind gut healthy, all contribute a significant benefit to the immune system and enable it to fight infections.
Another way to minimize the development of thrush is turnout of your horses, preferably in a good pasture. Horses who do not have to stand in wet, urine soaked bedding or in feces are less likely to develop thrush. Plus, walking around in a pasture enhances hoof circulation.
Hoof cleanliness and dryness is the paramount defense against a thrush infection. Remember that thrush is very much a condition that reflects the overall management of the horse.
Melyni Worth is the founder, president and director of research and development for Foxden Equine in Stuarts Draft, Va. A native of Great Britain, she has a PhD in equine nutrition and exercise physiology from Virginia Tech.
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 July 1, 2016 installment: What role do fructans play in laminitis situations?