Feed & Nutrition

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Receiving a diagnosis of the condition behind your horse’s health or performance problem is usually a relief, but the satisfaction of getting the diagnosis can be quickly replaced by fear and uncertainty regarding what to do about it. Questions around both the long-term prospects for your horse and the costs involved to support the horse with such a condition can be daunting. Owners of horses diagnosed with special nutritional needs often feel bewildered and frustrated as they attempt to put together an appropriate management protocol.

How many of us remember the days when the only way to find out the facts on a subject was to go to the library and look it up? Answers to questions we had about the care or feeding of our horses might have been found in one of the many reference books we all owned. Or, maybe we would find the information we were looking for by perusing the many equine magazines we kept “just in case.”

equine metabolic syndrome, ems, cushing's disease, ppid, high insulin horses, overweight horse

Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Equine Cushing’s Disease (also known as Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction, or PPID) are reasonably common conditions we encounter in our horses. This article will deal primarily with EMS, but because PPID can be a cause of increased insulin levels in horses, it needs to be mentioned as well.

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The advice to allow free access to food for an obese horse is doomed to failure. Too much food is how they got that way in the first place. Things like age, metabolic rate, and activity level can influence what calorie requirements are, but it still boils down to too many calories in versus calories burned. The same is true for overweight cats, dogs, and people.

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You chose both the mare and the stallion, and you have waited almost a year during the gestation of your anxiously anticipated foal. Now the foal is here and approaching the age to wean. The mare has done an admirable job of supporting that young life for the past 15 months during pregnancy and nursing, but now you must take over the task of meeting the nutritional requirements of your growing horse.

The Best Time to Feed Your Horse Before Competition

By Joe Pagan, Ph.D. - One of the most common questions asked about feeding the performance horse is when to feed before a competition. Theoretically, feeding should be timed so that all of the nutrients from a meal have been digested, absorbed, and stored before starting exercise, but not so long before exercise that the horse begins to mobilize fuels just to maintain its resting body functions.

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Enteroliths are mineral accumulations of magnesium-ammonium-phosphate (struvite) around a foreign object (a piece of metal, pebble, baling twine, hair, rubber) that form round, triangular, or flat stones inside the bowel, usually over the course of multiple years. They form in the large colon of horses, where they can remain for some time until they move and cause an obstruction in the large or small colon, resulting in colic.

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