Life Data Labs, Inc.

12 Tips for Internal (Nutritional) Hoof Care

A Few Words about Salt and Trace-Mineralized Salt Blocks
Salt and trace minerals should not be fed in combined form, as a horse's need for these are quite different. Salt requirements beyond metabolic needs are based almost entirely on the amount a horse sweats, while trace minerals are a metabolic need, and are relatively steady irrespective of exercise and ambient temperature. When salt and trace minerals are fed together in block or loose form, horses are force-fed trace minerals according to their salt needs. This can become dangerous, as trace minerals aren't easily shed, and can rise to toxic levels in the horse's system. What to do? Feed a high-quality hay, a single balanced supplement, and grains as needed as most horses receive more than enough trace minerals. However, it's generally a good idea to provide horses free-choice loose salt to ensure their salt needs are being met. Why not feed block salt? Blocks are intended for rough cattle tongues; horse tongues are too smooth to achieve much gain from licking. Therefore, salt-depleted or -addicted horses may bite off a chunk and swallow it, creating an abundance of hoof-destructive urine (excess salt=excess thirst).

Bran Should Not Be Fed in the Presence of Hoof Problems.
Whether from wheat, rice, oats or other grains, bran contains phytate, which is high in phosphorous. Phosphorous blocks absorption of calcium in the small intestine, creating a systemic calcium deficiency and undermining hoof health. If bran is being fed to regulate stool consistency, use soaked sugar beet pulp instead. If it's being fed to prevent sand colic (many reports suggest that bran isn't effective for this), psyllium is a better-proven solution.

Biotin Alone Is Not Enough to Correct Poor Horn Quality in Most Cases
It's only one of many nutrients needed by the adult horse. In fact, the adult horse is said to have no dietary requirement for biotin unless under stress conditions such as intense work, traveling, being stabled for long periods or being fed a low-quality diet. And even under these conditions, biotin deficiency is relatively rare, and is usually accompanied by many dietary deficiencies.

Biotin Supplementation
Horses which respond to biotin supplementation alone (approximately 5% of those with poor-quality horn) show large holes in the outermost layer of the wall when viewed under a microscope. The inner layers of the wall were usually not affected. However; our recent research indicates that an increased amount of biotin helps the hoof in the presence of laminitis.

Methionine, Proline, Glycine and Glutamine
are some of the major building blocks of healthy connective tissue, or collagen. Copper and vitamin C are also necessary, serving as catalysts in the formation of strong and healthy horn. All these nutrients should be supplied via diet or supplementation for healthy hooves.

Essential Fatty Acids
are necessary for a healthy, shiny coat, as well as the proper moisture maintenance and pliability of the hoof structure. Your horse can obtain these fatty acids from grain, unprocessed grain oils, cooked whole soybeans, or the lecithin found in processed grains and supplements.

Healthy Hooves Require Zinc
for the prevention of defective keratin, the tough material found in the outer layers of hoof and skin. If keratin is not properly formed, the hoof will be soft and brittle. You can provide the proper quantities of zinc through diet or supplementation.

Selenium Is Required in the Diet - But Too Much Is Toxic
Some believe that selenium will help hooves become healthier. In reality, no known definitive studies support this. In fact, when fed in high amounts, selenium causes excessive and very poor-quality hoof growth, and can be very toxic. Because selenium deficiency can cause muscle problems, supplementation should be handled carefully and under the direction of your veterinarian who can monitor levels through blood testing.

Older Horses Often Have Problems Chewing...
combine that with their less-efficient metabolization of nutrients, and you have a horse that needs special care. You might try feeding ground hay and/or steam-rolled oats for your near-toothless senior, and continue to provide regular exercise suitable for his health and condition. Plus, routine veterinary and farrier care becomes even more critical: aged horses often have thyroid problems that can cause poor hoof health and a dull hair coat. If your horse isn't chewing his feed properly, he's not getting enough nutrients. There are many causes of poor mastication, but the most common is uneven wearing of the molars into sharp points. Examine your horse's manure for whole grain or hay stems exceeding 1/4 inch in length, and look for excessive dribbling of feed, or an unusual sensitivity to the bit. These are signs that your horse's teeth aren't doing their job, and require the attention of your veterinarian or equine dentist.

Foundered Horses Require Special Care
—usually good-quality grass hay, little or no grain (to maintain a healthy weight), free-choice water and loose salt, along with a well-balanced supplement for proper nutrition. However, each foundered horse is an individual, and your veterinarian and farrier should be consulted.

"Easy Keepers"
(horses that maintain weight on little more than grass and hay) can actually be less than easy, as feeding too much lush pasture or grain can cause founder, while not feeding enough nutrients can cause poor dermal tissue health or thyroid problems. The solution is much like for a foundered horse: good-quality grass hay, little or no grain, free-choice water and loose salt, and a well-balanced supplement that includes L-tyrosine and iodine.

Feed Only One Supplement
Unless a nutritionist is consulted or under the direction of a veterinarian. Many supplements, when fed in conjunction with others, can cause over-supplementation of some nutrients. On the subject of supplements, it's good to keep in mind how quickly both good and bad nutritional changes should be seen in the hooves.

Rosetrail Stables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Frank

A Few Words about Salt and Trace-Mineralized Salt Blocks

Salt and trace minerals should not be fed in combined form, as a horse's need for these are quite different. Salt requirements beyond metabolic needs are based almost entirely on the amount a horse sweats, while trace minerals are a metabolic need, and are relatively steady irrespective of exercise and ambient temperature. When salt and trace minerals are fed together in block or loose form, horses are force-fed trace minerals according to their salt needs. This can become dangerous, as trace minerals aren't easily shed, and can rise to toxic levels in the horse's system. What to do? Feed a high-quality hay, a single balanced supplement, and grains as needed as most horses receive more than enough trace minerals. However, it's generally a good idea to provide horses free-choice loose salt to ensure their salt needs are being met. Why not feed block salt? Blocks are intended for rough cattle tongues; horse tongues are too smooth to achieve much gain from licking. Therefore, salt-depleted or -addicted horses may bite off a chunk and swallow it, creating an abundance of hoof-destructive urine (excess salt=excess thirst).

 

Bran Should Not Be Fed in the Presence of Hoof Problems.

Whether from wheat, rice, oats or other grains, bran contains phytate, which is high in phosphorous. Phosphorous blocks absorption of calcium in the small intestine, creating a systemic calcium deficiency and undermining hoof health. If bran is being fed to regulate stool consistency, use soaked sugar beet pulp instead. If it's being fed to prevent sand colic (many reports suggest that bran isn't effective for this), psyllium is a better-proven solution.

 

Biotin Alone Is Not Enough to Correct Poor Horn Quality in Most Cases

It's only one of many nutrients needed by the adult horse. In fact, the adult horse is said to have no dietary requirement for biotin unless under stress conditions such as intense work, traveling, being stabled for long periods or being fed a low-quality diet. And even under these conditions, biotin deficiency is relatively rare, and is usually accompanied by many dietary deficiencies.

 

Biotin Supplementation

Horses which respond to biotin supplementation alone (approximately 5% of those with poor-quality horn) show large holes in the outermost layer of the wall when viewed under a microscope. The inner layers of the wall were usually not affected. However; our recent research indicates that an increased amount of biotin helps the hoof in the presence of laminitis.

 

Methionine, Proline, Glycine and Glutamine

are some of the major building blocks of healthy connective tissue, or collagen. Copper and vitamin C are also necessary, serving as catalysts in the formation of strong and healthy horn. All these nutrients should be supplied via diet or supplementation for healthy hooves.


Essential Fatty Acids

are necessary for a healthy, shiny coat, as well as the proper moisture maintenance and pliability of the hoof structure. Your horse can obtain these fatty acids from grain, unprocessed grain oils, cooked whole soybeans, or the lecithin found in processed grains and supplements.

 

Healthy Hooves Require Zinc

for the prevention of defective keratin, the tough material found in the outer layers of hoof and skin. If keratin is not properly formed, the hoof will be soft and brittle. You can provide the proper quantities of zinc through diet or supplementation.

 

Selenium Is Required in the Diet - But Too Much Is Toxic

Some believe that selenium will help hooves become healthier. In reality, no known definitive studies support this. In fact, when fed in high amounts, selenium causes excessive and very poor-quality hoof growth, and can be very toxic. Because selenium deficiency can cause muscle problems, supplementation should be handled carefully and under the direction of your veterinarian who can monitor levels through blood testing.

 

Older Horses Often Have Problems Chewing...

combine that with their less-efficient metabolization of nutrients, and you have a horse that needs special care. You might try feeding ground hay and/or steam-rolled oats for your near-toothless senior, and continue to provide regular exercise suitable for his health and condition. Plus, routine veterinary and farrier care becomes even more critical: aged horses often have thyroid problems that can cause poor hoof health and a dull hair coat. If your horse isn't chewing his feed properly, he's not getting enough nutrients. There are many causes of poor mastication, but the most common is uneven wearing of the molars into sharp points. Examine your horse's manure for whole grain or hay stems exceeding 1/4 inch in length, and look for excessive dribbling of feed, or an unusual sensitivity to the bit. These are signs that your horse's teeth aren't doing their job, and require the attention of your veterinarian or equine dentist.

 

Foundered Horses Require Special Care

—usually good-quality grass hay, little or no grain (to maintain a healthy weight), free-choice water and loose salt, along with a well-balanced supplement for proper nutrition. However, each foundered horse is an individual, and your veterinarian and farrier should be consulted.

 

"Easy Keepers"

(horses that maintain weight on little more than grass and hay) can actually be less than easy, as feeding too much lush pasture or grain can cause founder, while not feeding enough nutrients can cause poor dermal tissue health or thyroid problems. The solution is much like for a foundered horse: good-quality grass hay, little or no grain, free-choice water and loose salt, and a well-balanced supplement that includes L-tyrosine and iodine.

 

Feed Only One Supplement

Unless a nutritionist is consulted or under the direction of a veterinarian. Many supplements, when fed in conjunction with others, can cause over-supplementation of some nutrients. On the subject of supplements, it's good to keep in mind how quickly both good and bad nutritional changes should be seen in the hooves.

 

If your horse does have a noticeable hoof problem, and you begin a nutritional program to solve it, you should see a positive difference emerging from the coronary band within eight to ten weeks. If not, you should re-examine your nutrition and management program immediately with the help of an equine nutritionist.

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12290 Hwy 72
Cherokee, Alabama
35616
Product of the USA


Phone: +1 256 370 7555
Fax: +1 256 370 7509
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.