Equine Nutrition and Health Services Blog

Showing category "Nutrition Tips & Advice" (Show all posts)

OmegaTri and the Equine - Reducing Inflammation, Restoring Balance

Posted by amy gill on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
The topic of oil supplementation for the horse is a common discussion among horse owners. Often when you walk into someone’s feed room you may see bottles of corn oil, sunflower oil, or fish oil. What are these oils trying to accomplish? For some, it might be to improve coat quality or to help add weight, but the type of oil product that will be looked at today has another purpose – reducing inflammation and restoring balance to the equine diet. 

OmegaTri oil is different from the oil prod...
Continue reading ...
 

Muzzle, Stall or Dry Lot?

Posted by amy gill on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 

Determining the Best Way to Manage Metabolically Challenged Horses on Pasture.

Amy M Gill, PhD

We all have had at least one or two horses that cannot be left to free range on pasture due to risk of laminitis or colic, seem to gain weight while barely eating anything and are clearly metabolically challenged and may have Cushing’s disease, impaired glucose metabolism and/or insulin resistance.  Trying to manage these horses on turn out can be a nightmare, especially if you live in an area where...


Continue reading ...
 

Is Botulism a Serious Threat to my Horse?

Posted by amy gill on Monday, August 12, 2013, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 

A review of what causes botulism and how to prevent it.

What Causes Botulism?

Botulism is caused by toxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.  Horses can consume the bacterial spores from soil and feedstuffs.  Most often it is found in forage where an animal carcass has been baled with the forage. Botulism can also gain entry through wounds.

What are the signs of a horse that is affected?

Botulism causes a paralysis of the motor nerves that are responsible for muscle movement....


Continue reading ...
 

Slow feeding….What it Means for the Health of Your Horse.

Posted by amy gill on Friday, July 12, 2013, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 

Though it’s not really anyone’s fault per se, today’s modern horse keeping practices have unfortunately forced horses  into sedentary lifestyles where free ranging and getting plenty of exercise foraging for foodstuffs has essentially become a thing of the past.  To compound the problem of too little exercise, many horses are often fed excessive amounts of concentrated rations and high calorie, nutrient dense forages. Horses have evolved by nature to store energy (fat) and nutrients in ...
Continue reading ...
 

Equine Immunity: How Nutrition Can Improve Immune Response

Posted by amy gill on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Keeping horses healthy and free of disease and disorders is a hot topic of conversation in many popular press journals, magazines and on the internet.  Horse husbandry advice ranges from nutrition to shoeing and veterinary care. Commonly offered suggestions on good horse health management generally start with the following list of recognized techniques: 

    • Employ qualified veterinary and farrier care and routine management such as de-worming and vaccinating

    • Feed good quality forag...
Continue reading ...
 

Fighting Fly Allergies & Mosquito Borne Diseases Starts With A Proactive Understanding Of these Problems

Posted by amy gill on Friday, May 24, 2013, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
It Takes More Than Insect Repellent To Manage Fly Allergies & Mosquito Control Issues. Learn How To Prepare Yourself For This Season's Pest Control Problems.
Amy M Gill, PhD

With trees and shrubs blooming and fly season approaching, you need to prepare your barn and horses for the upcoming warm weather and all the pollen, insects and mud that can wreak havoc on coats and hooves. Many horses develop allergies to environmental irritants and various flies. Here are a few things that can keep your ...
Continue reading ...
 

Horse Safe Gardens and Landscaping

Posted by Dr. AmY M Gill on Friday, April 12, 2013, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 

Spring is here and it’s time to get our gardens and landscaping started up again. Now is a good time to think about what should and should not be planted in gardens where horses also reside. Many plants and shrubs are toxic to horses.  Even some fruits and veggies should be kept away from hungry horses.  Here is a list of some of the vegetation to avoid in and around horse pastures and in gardens:

• Red Maples
• Cabbage, broccoli, onions, chives, kale, elderberry, pokeweed, and rhubarb
•...


Continue reading ...
 

Protein & Amino Acids in the Equine Diet

Posted by amy gill on Thursday, August 23, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Proteins are sometimes called the building blocks of life, and when new tissues are made, large amounts of dietary protein are required. The stages in an animal’s life when new tissues are extensively manufactured are:
  • Growth
  • Lactation
  • Pregnancy
Proteins are composed of units called amino acids. Proteins are synthesized from available amino acids that are ingested or synthesized by the horse and are used to build muscle and bone, blood components, enzymes that catalyze biochemical reactions, ho...
Continue reading ...
 

Alfalfa & the Equine Diet – Its Uses and Benefits

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
For horses, the sweet smell and green, leafy look of alfalfa is hard to resist. While horses love the taste of this forage, it often comes with a variety of myths and misconceptions that lead horse owners to under utilize this valuable forage in their horse’s diet. While alfalfa is usually fed as forage, it is also available in cubes and chopped form and is commonly included in pelleted concentrate rations and supplements. Adding alfalfa to your horse’s ration provides excellent-quality p...
Continue reading ...
 

Why Do Horses Eat Dirt?

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
One of the most frequently asked question from my clients is “Why does my horse want to eat dirt? Is he missing something in his diet?” Well, the question can be answered several ways, as there is not one particular reason why horses engage in this perfectly natural activity. Horses are supposed to eat a certain amount of dirt on a daily basis. Therefore, I will give several explanations as to why horses eat dirt from time to time and hopefully put to rest any fear an owner may have when ...
Continue reading ...
 

Exercising and Training Horses in Hot Weather

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
As the summer temperatures rise, heat and humidity become an issue for those trying to exercise and train horses without putting both horse and rider in danger of becoming dehydrated, fatigued or suffer from heat stress. Madalyn Ward, DVM in Holistic Horsekeeping provides this advice when trying to decide to ride or not in high heat and humidity:  “Luckily, there are simple ways that you can help your horse stay cool during hot humid weather. During these weather conditions, the first thing...
Continue reading ...
 

Feeding and Managing Horses in Hot, Dry Weather

Posted by amy gill on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Hot, dry weather is on the rise across the country and will continue throughout the summer months.   This type of environment poses challenges for horse owners in keeping their horses healthy and comfortable.  Keeping horses hydrated and cool are of paramount importance during hot, dry weather.

Water is needed by the horse for body fluid balance, digestive function and thermoregulation.  Lack of water is more rapidly fatal than lack of feed.  Therefore, utmost attention should be paid to water...
Continue reading ...
 

Interpreting the Feed Tag Part 2 – Understanding Minimum & Maximum Percentages

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
As discussed in our blog post “Interpreting the Feed Tag Part 1 – Understanding Crude Protein, Fat, and Fiber”, the guaranteed analysis on a feed tag provides concentrations of specific nutrients, which should be used to correctly pair concentrates with forages so the horse’s nutrient requirements are met. Feed manufacturers are required to list:
  • Minimum levels of crude protein, crude fiber and crude fat (expressed as percentages) (discussed in Part 1)
  • Minimum and maximum percentages of...

Continue reading ...
 

How to Feed Your Horse on the Road

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Spring is here and with the warmer weather comes thoughts and plans of hitting the road with our horses for trail rides and horse shows. Getting to and from events is fairly straightforward when the distance to travel is short but traveling long distance with your horse involves a bit more planning.  Horses are creatures of habit and thrive on routine on a daily basis, so the disruption of normal feeding, sleeping and working schedules associated with travel can be a cause of undue stress for...
Continue reading ...
 

Interpreting the Feed Tag Part 1 – Understanding Crude Protein, Fat, and Fiber

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
The guaranteed analysis on a feed tag provides concentrations of specific nutrients. This is the information that should be used to correctly pair a concentrate with the type of forages being fed, to fully meet the horse's nutrient requirements. Feed manufacturers are required to list:

  • Minimum levels of crude protein, crude fiber and crude fat (expressed as percentages)
  • Minimum and maximum percentages of calcium (percent)
  • Minimum values for phosphorus (percent), copper (parts per million or ppm)...

Continue reading ...
 

A,B,C,D,E,K – Vitamins and the Horse

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Thursday, May 3, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Vitamins in the horse’s body serve as antioxidants and are necessary for several metabolic processes, often acting as catalysts in biochemical reactions. Unlike minerals, which are inorganic, vitamins are organic compounds that can be classified as either water- or fat-soluble, depending on how they are absorbed and stored within the body.

Water-soluble vs. Fat-soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are dissolved easily in water and, therefore, are quickly excreted from the body on a daily b...
Continue reading ...
 

Classifying Equine Feeds

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Monday, April 23, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Looking through and examining the many types of equine feed available in today’s market can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience. Textured, processed, complete, what does it all mean? In order to pick out the best and correct feed for your horse’s nutritional needs, a basic understanding of the terms used to define commercial equine feed is crucial.

Commercial Feed Classification:
  • Equine feeds are broken down into four general classes:
  • Textured concentrates (traditionally referred t...

Continue reading ...
 

Micro, Macro, and Chelated – The Differences among Minerals

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, March 28, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Minerals are inorganic molecules, also called elements, which are derived from the earth. Minerals can be incorporated into living tissue (organic) but eventually return to earth in the inorganic form when excreted by the horse, or as ash once the animal is buried or cremated. Minerals are essential to the physical and mental well-being of horses and are components of all cells, including blood cells, as well as nerve, muscle, bone, teeth, hormones, and soft tissue. Many minerals are also an ...
Continue reading ...
 

Feeding Myths Debunked – Pellets & Beet Pulp

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Thursday, March 15, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
There are a number of myths and misconceptions when it comes to feeding the horse. Many traditional feeding methods have been passed from generation to generation of horsemen, and while some of these methods are still useful, many are outdated and even detrimental to the horse’s nutritional health. The topic of feeding myths has been brought up before in our blog posts “The Scoop on Protein” and “The Truth Behind Bran Mash – Its Uses & Disadvantages” and now here are two more myth...
Continue reading ...
 

Food Allergies in Horses – A Tricky Conundrum

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Over the past several years, testing horses for horse feed allergies has become very popular in veterinary practice. When a horse develops a skin and/or respiratory problem, the feed the horse is eating immediately becomes suspect as a causative agent. What is problematic about this situation is that the horse is limited to all vegetarian dietary ingredients and with the list of possibilities that can be used to make horse feed limited to twenty, it has not been uncommon for the allergy test ...
Continue reading ...
 

Vitamin & Mineral Supplements – Beware of the “Kitchen Sink”

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Monday, February 6, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
With hundreds of vitamin and mineral supplements on the market today it can be difficult in knowing what kind of vitamin/mineral supplement to feed and what type of situation warrants extra supplementation, as well as what products you should avoid.

Cases for Supplementation

Vitamin and mineral supplements are designed to provide additional fortification to the rations of horses enduring higher levels of stress. Situations that may warrant supplementation include:

  • When poor quality forage is fed...

Continue reading ...
 

Supporting Equine Digestion – Intestinal Micro-organisms for Healthy Gut Function

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Monday, January 23, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 

The equine digestive tract is a fragile system and the rigors of training often cause disruption of normal function to occur. Gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastric ulcer syndrome, are common among the equine population and are often treated with a variety of pharmacological agents. While we can treat some gastrointestinal disorders with certain drugs, we must also instill good preventive care of the digestive tract so we can lower the incidence of such disorders and help the horse maint...


Continue reading ...
 

Essential Fatty Acids – The Functions and Benefits

Posted by amy gill on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are compounds that are called essential because they are not synthesized by the body and, therefore, must be obtained from dietary sources. EFA’s, Omega 3 Fatty Acids in particular, serve as components of nerve cells, cellular membranes, and the very important regulatory substances known as prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are responsible for functions such as:
  • Regulating response to pain, inflammation
  • Synthesizing hormones
  • Dilating or constricting blood vessels
  • Ma...

Continue reading ...
 

Picky Eaters – Feeding Strategies for the Finicky Horse

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Feeding horses with a selective palate can become a frustrating matter, but horses that become particular about what they want in their feed tub are not an uncommon. Horses that compete and train at levels that expend great amounts of energy can have trouble consuming enough feed to meet energy (calorie) demands. Older and recuperating horses also tend to back off their feed as well. In order to maintain your horse’s nutritional demands and overall body condition, well organized feeding str...
Continue reading ...
 

Fueling the Motor – Energy Sources for Horses

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
The energy level of the horse is one of the most commonly analyzed factors of performance. Horses that compete in energy-oriented competitions need the proper amount of fuel to perform at their best. While the main source of energy in feeds for performance horses is carbohydrates, other sources should not be dismissed.

Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories: nonstructural (“sugars”), such as those found in grains, and structural, like those found in forages. Her...
Continue reading ...
 

The Scoop on Protein

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
The myths and misconceptions about protein are abundant. Have you ever known someone who attributed their horse’s bad behavior with protein intake or heard someone say high protein levels can cause developmental problems in foals? These claims against protein are incorrect and have unfortunately carried on in horse owner’s feeding methods. Here is the scoop on the two most common myths associated with protein and the truth behind them.

Myth – Protein Makes Horses Behave Badly    

This co...
Continue reading ...
 

What Makes Good Hay?

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Thursday, September 29, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 


When discussing the quality of hay, we often hear the terms “first cutting”, “second cutting”, and “third cutting”. The type of cutting that hay is derived from has often been used as an indicator of quality, but this method of evaluation is not the most accurate. The thought that first cutting hay is not as good as second or third cutting hay may or may not be true; it depends on the factors that make up quality hay, which include:

  • Level of fertilization of the field
  • Amount of wate...

Continue reading ...
 

Ingredients in Feed that Affect Behavior

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Thursday, September 22, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 


Do you ever wonder if your horse’s feed is affecting his behavior? The way we feed our horses and the ingredients in feeds can contribute to behavioral changes, but with knowledge of how feed can affect behavior and diligence in the way we feed our horses, we can prevent behavioral upsets.

Grain Load in the Diet

Large amounts of grain feeding are associated with increased gut acidity and higher frequency of stereotypic behavior is observed when horses are fed high grain diets (typicall...


Continue reading ...
 

The Truth Behind Bran Mash - Its Uses & Disadvantages

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Thursday, September 15, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 


Using bran mash as a weekly ‘cleanser’ is a popular tradition among horse owners and stables. The thought behind the weekly bran mash is that it adds bulk to the stool, helps with hydration, is a good source of fiber, and assists digestion. Despite being fed with good intentions, giving a weekly bran mash actually causes a dramatic alteration to the daily ration and can cause a disturbance in the normal population of microorganisms that reside in the hindgut. Here are some myths and facts...


Continue reading ...
 

Feeding and Management of Horses During the Transition from Warm to Cool Weather

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Tuesday, September 6, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
As the days shorten, good planning in conjunction with quality feeds and facilities can make the transition from warm autumn days into wintry nights a little less difficult for all involved.

One of the most productive ways of keeping horses warm and supply nutrients is to provide free choice, good quality hay.  The heat of fermentation when the hay is digested by microbes in the horse’s hindgut is the main source of warmth for the horse. The heat is produced during the biochemical conversion...
Continue reading ...
 

Calcium - More than Just Bone

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Often when we hear the word calcium we think of it as a bone building nutrient, but calcium also serves many vital functional roles in addition to structural roles. As discussed in our previous blog post, Keeping the Horse Replenished – Equine Electrolytes, calcium is one of the most important electrolytes, which are mineral salts that create electrical current in the horse. When evaluating the distribution of calcium in the horse we see that:
  • Approximately 99% of the calcium in the body ...

Continue reading ...
 

Feeding and Managing the Overweight Equine - Being Proactive

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Wednesday, August 17, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Feeding and Managing the Overweight Equine is a two-part blog post. Today’s post discusses how to properly feed and manage the overweight equine. For the first part of this series, please click here.

Equine obesity comes with its fair share of complications, just as it does in humans. As discussed last time, organ failure, intolerance to exercise, laminitis, and predisposition to certain conditions are all unfortunate consequences of being an overweight horse. Insulin resistance, the body’...
Continue reading ...
 

Feeding and Managing the Overweight Equine - Complications of Obesity

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Monday, August 15, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 
Feeding and Managing the Overweight Equine is a two-part blog post. Today’s post introduces the topic of obesity in horses and the complications.


The obesity crisis no longer applies to humans. More and more nutritionists and veterinarians are seeing an increase in obesity within other species, including equines. Obesity in the equine population can partly be contributed to better quality nutritional products and pasture management, which over the years has made it easier for horses t...

Continue reading ...
 

Keeping the Horse Replenished – Equine Electrolytes

Posted by Dr. Amy Gill on Thursday, August 11, 2011, In : Nutrition Tips & Advice 

With summer in full swing, the topic of equine electrolytes becomes very relevant. Electrolytes are mineral salts that create the electrical current in the horse and are necessary for a variety of biological processes, including:

  • Muscular contraction
  • Water balance
  • Regular heartbeat

As the summer gets hotter you find yourself with a sweaty horse, but a quick hose down is not all he needs after a good workout. Horse sweat is hypertonic, meaning it contains more mineral salts or electr...


Continue reading ...
 
 

Equine Nutrition and Health Services Blog:

Equine Nutrition and Health Services blog provides equine nutritional tips and advice, equine nutrition news, and product discussion.

Make sure to check out our other interactive features, including our "Ask a Nutritionist" your question below, videos, and photos by using the navigational buttons above.

Ask a Nutritionist!

Equine Nutrition - Find me on Bloggers.com

Blog Directory

Network Bloggers Blog Directory

 
Make a Free Website with Yola.