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.
This edition is sponsored by the W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine) of East Longmeadow, Mass.
Below you will find Part 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: My laminitic horse already receives biotin in a supplement; is there any value to trying acupuncture?
By Kathleen Crandell, PhD
In recent years, the Western world appears to be increasingly interested in revisiting Eastern or traditional medicine, embracing such therapies as nutritional and herbal supplementation and acupuncture, among others.
Several studies support acupuncture for various equine ailments, including:
- Musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and circulatory disorders.
- Skin diseases.
- Endocrine or hormonal irregularities.
- Respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Digestive disorders, like colic.
- Maximizing reproductive efficiency.
Acupuncture was studied previously in horses with laminitis and showed promising results. In addition, a recent study further explored the benefits of acupuncture for this leading cause of pain and loss of life in horses. The researchers recruited 12 adult horses diagnosed with chronic laminitis. Each horse underwent two acupuncture treatments that were spaced one week apart. The horses were reassessed for lameness using a commercial lameness evaluation system (Lameness Locator) and routine examinations following the American Association of Equine Practitioners scoring guidelines.
Following acupuncture, a significant reduction in lameness severity was identified with both of the lameness evaluation techniques. As a result, the researchers concluded that the results support using acupuncture, along with other treatment options, in treating chronic laminitis.
The other treatment options alluded to by the researchers include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and nutritional supplements that contain biotin and other nutrients to support hoof growth and strength.
Besides including biotin, supplements are available that also contain methionine, iodine, chelated zinc, lecithin, and essential fatty acids from full-fat soybean, which are necessary for production of resilient hoof horn and shiny coats.
Kathleen Crandell, PhD, is an equine nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research in Versailles, Ky.
Click here to read Part 1 of the November 1, 2017 installment: When poor nutrition seems to be a concern, what is the potential impact on the hoof?