The Horse

APR 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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Page 38 of 51 | The Horse April 2019 39 reduce concentrate in the spring if there is abundant pasture," Lawrence says. "The goal is to balance the feeds and use nutrition as a management tool for mod- erate, even growth." Putting it All Together Designing a feeding program for a young horse starts by evaluating his forage. A horse receiving a timothy hay that is low in calories, protein, and minerals might need more concentrate than one receiving good-quality alfalfa- orchardgrass mix or grazing high-quality pasture. Even young horses on good forage with adequate protein and calories likely still need a feed or supplement for- tified with additional vitamins and miner- als for growth, says Brown-Douglas. A common misperception Brown- Douglas encounters is the role of protein in a young horse's diet. In the past, researchers believed feeding too much protein led to joint diseases, such as OCD, in young horses. "This has been disproven, and pro- tein (especially its building blocks, the limiting amino acids lysine, methionine, and threonine) are very important for correct growth," she says. "It is, in fact, excess energy intake and rapid weight gain which can negatively affect joint health, so in rapidly growing youngsters, a high- protein but low-calorie balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is recommended." A commercially manufactured concen- trate intended for growing horses and fed at appropriate rates with good-quality forage should meet nutrient needs, Law- rence says. But it's always good to have a salt block available, especially in hot weather. As for other supplements, Brown- Douglas and Lawrence agree that while some foals receive probiotics to manage gastrointestinal health, the results of stud- ies on these products (in horses of any age) have been inconsistent. "The efficacy of probiotics in horses is questionable due to the acidic nature of the stomach and small intestine, which the probiotics must pass through before entering the hindgut," Brown-Douglas says. "In cases where horses are scouring (have diarrhea) or have serious hindgut issues, a probiotic may be suggested, but it is one of those supplements in the 'might not help, can't hurt' category." She says the most common question she gets from owners of youngsters is what to feed to make a horse grow taller. "Horses can be fed to achieve their optimal genetic height, but as yet we have not discovered the magic nutrient to make them grow taller than what they were genetically predisposed to be," she says. Above all else, both sources agree that owners should design well-balanced feed- ing programs for developing horses based on the individual. It can be tempting to use a one-size-fits-all approach, especially for young horses living in a herd, but that might not provide adequate nutrients to meet each one's long-term needs. h "My 24-year-old Thoroughbred, Dylan, broke his leg (Olecranon fracture) in May. My vets were amazed at the quick progress after we started Dylan on OCD Pellets. They said the improvement was remarkable and were impressed that he was still alive! Thank you, Doc's and OCD Pellets YOU SAVED MY HORSE DYLAN'S LIFE. " – Carolyn Hauck LMT, CMLDT 5/7/18 8/24/18 Patient ID: 572018 Patient Name: DYLAN Patient ID: 572018 Patient Name: DYLAN Doc's Products, Inc. TM Made in America *Testimonial and x-rays provided by client and printed with permission. www. Docs Products Inc .com 866- 392- 2363

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