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 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: How do I know if the improvement in my horse's hooves is due to supplements or a change in temperature?
By Rebecca Stinson, DVM
Hoof condition is influenced by a complex set of factors.
Both the external and internal environment influences hoof quality. The internal factors include nutritional status, health status and hydration status.
Hoof supplements generally target a few nutritional components, which can help with hoof quality. These include biotin, zinc and amino acids, which are the building blocks for proteins. These can be especially helpful with horses fed a low volume diet that may not be meeting all their trace mineral needs.
Weather can also play a key role in hoof quality, as you mentioned. We commonly see degraded hoof quality in wet conditions as well as extremely dry conditions. Keeping your horse’s feet clean and dry is a key in preventing any hoof breakdown.
It is quite possible your horse may not need a high level of nutrients in the summer months due to better access to good nutrition through fresh pasture as opposed to hay and the changes in weather conditions.
I’d encourage you to talk with both your veterinarian and farrier to discuss the internal and external conditions of your horse’s hooves. They can help guide you and be certain any underlying health conditions are not causing poor hoof quality.
Rebecca Stinson is an equine veterinarian and an American Association of Equine Practitioners member practicing at Reidsville, N. Car.
Click here to read Part 2 of the January 15, 2018 installment: What is the role of selenium with both hoof quality and overall horse health?