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: I have difficulty interpreting the nutrient analysis listed on feed tags and understanding what the mathematical conversions really mean for my horses. Are their any simple mathematical formulas to follow?

By Juliet M. Getty, PhD

A: Reading a hay analysis or puzzling over the ingredients in feeds or supplements can be a chore, yet when considering particular elements —selenium, for example — some minor math can make a major difference to your horse’s health. 

Feed tags and hay analysis often list ingredients as “ppm” or parts per million. Does this confuse you? You aren’t alone. 

The best way to think of ppm is as milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of feed (since a mg is a one millionth “part” of a kilogram. Therefore, when using mg/kg, you have to make sure you’re dealing with kg of feed instead of pounds (lbs) in order to make your calculations.

Consider this example: Let’s say your hay contains 0.2 ppm (mg/kg) of selenium. How many milligrams of selenium do 10 pounds of hay contain? 

First, you need to convert the pounds to kilograms. Since there are 0.454 kg in 1 pound, make the conversion by multiplying lbs by 0.454. So, 10 lbs multiplied by 0.454 equals 4.54 kg (10 x 0.454 = 4.54).

Now you’re ready to calculate the milligrams (mg) of selenium. Multiply 4.54 kg of hay by 0.2 ppm (or mg/kg) (4.54 x 0.2 = 0.91). That gives you 0.91 milligrams of selenium in your 10 pounds of hay.

Here are two valuable formulas to remember:

  • Convert lbs to kg: lbs x 0.454 = kg
  • To find mg: kg X ppm (or mg/kg) = mg

Juliet M. Getty, PhD is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Located in Lewisville, Texas, her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices. Dr. Getty’s goal is to empower the horse person with the confidence and knowledge to provide the best nutrition for his or her horse’s needs.

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 1, 2016 installment: My farrier says small amounts of zinc fed daily are essential for hoof growth. Do I need to be concerned?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.