The Horse

FEB 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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30 February 2019 The Horse | TheHorse.com COURTESY MATT WOOLEY/KER ALEXANDRA BECKSTETT, STEPHANIE L. CHURCH, & ERICA LARSON A look back at 30 years of advancements in equine nutrition research Developments V eterinarians and nutritionists gathered in Lexington, Kentucky, recently to discuss the latest in feeding horses, while reflect- ing on the past three decades of equine nutrition research. Kentucky Equine Research (KER) hosted its 2018 Conference around this landmark anniversary, Oct. 29-30; nutrition and exercise physiology researcher Joe Pagan, PhD, formed KER in 1988 and, since, he and his staff have witnessed the evolution of equine nutrition and research trends. Here are some take-homes from the presentations at the event. 30 Years of Research Pagan reflected on the range of equine conditions researchers have targeted with nutrition. Developmental Disorders In 1980s Central Kentucky most equine nutrition research cen- tered around Thoroughbred broodmares and growing horses, along with performance hors- es. While subjects like equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and geriatric health weren't yet on scientists' radars, Pagan said, developmental orthopedic disease (DOD, a catchall phrase for disease affecting growing skeletons) was. This was primarily because flaws apparent on the X rays of yearlings and 2-year-olds at Thoroughbred sales devalued those horses greatly. Researchers were trying to find the cause when, in the mid-'80s, a group at The Ohio State University implied that diets deficient in certain trace minerals were to blame, said Pagan. "A correlation was found between the level of copper (which can disrupt bone formation) in a breeding farm's ration and the incidence of metabolic bone disease (e.g., DOD) in the farm's foals," he said. "Suddenly, copper was all anyone cared about." DIETARY

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