Feed & Nutrition

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Should you worry about iron overload? Horse owners who are interested in equine nutrition, and actively involved in planning the composition of their horse’s diet, will know that iron intake has become a subject of much discussion. Terms such as “iron overload” are easy to find using a Google search, and the risks associated with “free radicals” and “oxidative stress” are often coupled to the amount of iron in the equine diet. Iron levels in typical equine diets have been targeted as the reason for many equine health issues, including metabolic conditions, reduced immune function, poor hair coat and hoof wall, and developmental disease in growing horses. The internet has several popular websites available for the average horse owner to “educate” themselves about iron in the equine diet. Frequently, these sites also have products offered for sale or have links to sites that sell products that are supposed to help the horse with “iron overload.” So just what is iron overload in the equine diet, and do horse owners really need to worry about it?

 Feeding Horse’s Body Condition Dr. Wendy Pearson my horse is too fat my horse is too thin equine obesity equine malnutrition

There are few things we humans are more sensitive about than our body weight. Where the rest of the world sees our gentle curves and happy smiles, we see lumps and wobbles and wrinkles. We generally have a far worse opinion of our own body condition than do any of the people around us. I would hazard that this is because our friends and family care about us and see the best in us, and recognize that while we may have a few extra curves we are healthy and happy, and that’s what counts. And if anyone ever said things about our friends that resemble what we have said about ourselves, most of us would likely get pretty vocal about defending our friends.

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One of our core beliefs is that good nutrition starts in utero for a long, healthy life for our equine friends. Starting with balanced nutrition in the womb, through development and maturity, our horses are living longer, healthier lives. But even with enhanced management, age begins to take a toll on digestive health. Read on to learn about the signs to watch for in your aging horse and when it may be time to switch to a senior diet.

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An Evolutionary Success Story - Horses have evolved very successfully as consumers of forage and other plant material. Many of their physical characteristics such as body size and capacity have evolved around accommodating their large hindgut where populations of beneficial microbes are maintained, allowing the utilization of complex carbohydrates like cellulose as a source of energy. The teeth of horses have also evolved to allow horses to consume a steady diet of plant material.

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Dr. Scott Weese, Professor in Pathobiology at Ontario Veterinary College, discusses the latest in Gut Function research.

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Fall is here! The leaves are changing and the temperatures are cooling off. It’s hard to imagine that such a pretty time of year could possibly be harmful to our horses. However, fall leaves can pose a potentially deadly threat. The following are trees that are highly toxic to horses.

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Sooner or later, most horse owners have the unfortunate experience of dealing with an injured horse. It’s common sense to have a veterinarian assess what’s wrong as soon as your horse becomes injured, but a vet will also help create a rehabilitation plan, advise how long the recovery period will be, and provide post-recovery expectations.

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