Supplements

(Chris) Hello, I’m Dr. Chris Blevins with Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center with Horsing Around. Today, let’s talk about supplements. There’s a lot of things out there that you can feed and put in front of your horse, whether they’re treats, whether they’re nutritional aspects to add either body condition to your horse or to help the hooves or different labels based on health of your horse, or calmness, electrolytes. There’s different ways that they can issue it based on paste, powders, pellets, already in feeds. And so when trying not to get lost with all those, what are things that you need to be looking for when it comes to supplements for your horse? You have to remember that all supplements usually aren’t necessarily completely regulated, specifically based on what they’re doing for the animal. So, they’re a nutraceutical. The FDA does regulate to make sure that the supplement is safe for your horse or your animal, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the supplement is effective or it fixes whatever it says on the label. So, the regulation is based on safety but not necessarily that of effectiveness of that product. So, always keep those things in mind when you look at different products to buy for your horse. It sure could be safe, but how effective it is, is always in question. Now, when you think about paste, and powders and pellets and what should be or things to think about for your animal always remember that the horse, based on whatever is in their diet as long as it’s fairly balanced, doesn’t need a lot of extra supplementation. I think that if you ever have questions, especially with very young and very old horses, that then more supplements are possibly or potentially could be added. Lysine is an amino acid that sometimes is low and that is needed for foals. So different products could be higher in Lysine that you could supplement for foals and just something to think about as far as a supplement. Older horses, we always try to think about balancing their diet and if they’re getting a complete feed, or if they’re just getting some processed feed that you have to kind of add together and mix and match so everything is correctly balanced for the animal. And that could be pretty complicated and sometimes having an equine nutritionist help with those things are always helpful. And like always, talk to your veterinarian. Sometimes they can give you some very beneficial information when it comes to nutrition. In addition they can guide you to somebody else, as far as an expert in equine nutrition that they can work with you and the veterinarian to come up with the best thing for each individual animal. Most middle aged horses are fine without most supplementation but always think about things as far as your animal and body condition. That’s the biggest thing when it comes to animals. You know, the other thing is hoof supplements that will be in foods. And a lot of ‘em are gonna have biotin. And how that biotin is helpful, bioavailability of the biotin and what that kind of does. You know, we’re looking for sulfur bonds and hoof health. And they’re finding some of those are variable as far as how effective really they are. And a lot of things too is to remember that a lot of hoof health has to do with blood supply and working with your farrier on keeping a good foundation of the hoof together. And the environment the horse is on, whether it’s dry or if it’s moist environment and different things that can affect the hoof. So, those would be the first things to think about. Potentially could add some different supplements for hoof health, but really how effective some of those are again, are in question and wondering whether, how effective they are is something that you should talk to your veterinarian, your farrier and equine nutritionist about when it comes to those things, even about hoof. There’s electrolytes that they can add if you’re going on a lot of endurance riding, sweating, horses do sweat, so salts and electrolytes sometimes are helpful in rebalancing that. Make sure they have plenty of access to water. Again if you have any questions about supplements, nutrition of your horse, and body condition scoring of your horse, talk to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may even help with finding a good equine nutritionist to consult with you. And having those realms to ask and figure out what’s the best for your animal is always beneficial to equine health. I’m Dr. Chris Blevins, at Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center with Horsing Around and we’ll see you around.

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