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: With horses that have a history of laminitis, is it okay to feed whole oats?

By Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS and Scott Gravlee, DVM

Laminitis and colic are often the result of undigested starch entering the caecum where it is broken down and fermented by microbes. This fermentation process, along with alterations in the gut flora, produces the toxins that enter the bloodstream and damage the sensitive blood vessels within the hoof.

There is increasing awareness that owners can safely feed whole oats to their horses due to the fact that the starch in oats is highly digestible. This starch is quickly broken down into sugars in the small intestines and is usually absorbed long before reaching the caecum.

When changing a horse’s diet, it is important that no sudden adjustments are made. Gradually replace the current feedstuffs with whole oats so the transition is completed in about 10 days. Add a supplement that will balance the hay or pasture diet and feed whole oats as a calorie source to maintain body condition.

Frank Gravlee is an equine veterinarian and the founder of Life Data Labs, Inc., in Cherokee, Al. Scott Gravlee, DVM, is an equine nutrition consultant with Life Data Labs.

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 March 1, 2017 installment:  With horses that are prone to laminitis, is it important to do an analysis of the hay you feed?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.