Trends in Equine Nutrition and the Effects of a Hindgut Buffer Product in Overconditioned Horses
Delano, Katlyn Marie
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Nearly 50% of the equine population is overweight due to feeding and management practices. Obesity is related to development of diseases that are detrimental to performance and potentially fatal in horses, including insulin resistance, laminitis, and equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). Objectives of this research included first, characterization of nutrition-related management practices of hunter/jumper show industry via a voluntary survey; second, evaluating the Body Condition Index (BCI) in comparison to the Body Condition Scoring system (BCS) in sporthorses; and lastly, determining the effects of a hindgut buffer in overconditioned horses following an abruptly introduced moderate nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) meal. There were no differences in nutritional management between hunter and jumper disciplines and most representatives (n=89) had no nutritional concerns. Many used trainers (38%) and veterinarians (36%) as sources of nutritional advice rather than professional equine nutritionists (7%). BCI had consistently higher scores than BCS (P<0.01), with the largest differences in horses with BCS < 5. Horses were offered a concentrate meal containing 1.2g NSC/kg BW with and without DigestaWell® Buffer (DB). Horses receiving DB had decreased plasma L-lactate (P=0.05), and a tendency for increased fecal pH (P=0.08) and decreased fecal D-lactate (P=0.07). These studies demonstrate a need to improve horse owner education and the relationship between representatives and trained nutritionists to reduce disease incidence, that different equations may need to be developed for a more consistently accurate BCI across various breed and body types, and that DB may have a positive impact on the equine digestive response to NSC.
- Masters Theses