PREVENTING GRASS FOUNDER - With the weather as wet and cool as it has been this spring, throughout a good portion of the mid-west and east coast, grass founder is about to become an issue. As the weather is about to change from cool to hot (and skip warm), the damp pastures are about to go into production mode. This is when we start to see a high percentage of pasture associated laminitis. The following article may be useful.
Laminitis, or founder, is a painful and potentially devastating foot condition that can affect any member of the horse family (horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules). There are many different conditions or situations that can cause laminitis or increase the potential for it to occur. Probably the single most important in grazing horses is unrestricted access to lush pasture. In a recent nation-wide survey, access to lush pasture was felt to be responsible for almost 50% of all cases of laminitis. In most parts of the country, the risk for pasture-associated laminitis, or "grass founder," is highest in the spring and early summer, when plant growth is greatest.
The reason lush pasture is such a laminitis risk is because it is high in soluble carbohydrates—simple sugars and starches that are readily broken down by the bacteria in the horse's large intestine. One of the consequences of rapid breakdown of these carbohydrates is production of a substance that, when absorbed into the bloodstream, can damage an important structure in the hoof: the basement membrane. This structure essentially forms the "glue" that attaches the hoof wall to the pedal bone, or coffin bone (the bone at the base of the limb that is encased by the hoof). Breakdown of the bond between the hoof wall and the pedal bone is the basic process that triggers the destructive chain of events associated with laminitis.
Of the soluble carbohydrates found in grass, one of the most important is fructan. Studies have shown that fructan levels in the pasture are highest in the spring and summer months. On sunny days, fructan levels gradually rise during the morning, peaking around noon. They then gradually decline and are lowest just before dawn. So, the riskiest time for a laminitis-prone horse to be on pasture is between late morning and late afternoon, in the spring or early summer.
It is worth mentioning that spring/early summer is not the only time when grass founder occurs. Although far less common, it can happen during a mild, wet autumn or after a drought; in other words, any time rainfall, sunlight, and daytime temperatures are sufficient to stimulate rapid plant growth.
The good news is that preventing grass founder is simple: limit the horse's access to lush pasture. In overweight or cresty-necked horses and ponies, and in those that have had grass founder before, it may be best to keep the horse off lush pasture entirely until the grass is more mature. The horse can then be gradually re-introduced onto pasture. In the meantime, keep the horse in a dry lot and feed good quality grass hay.
Other options for limiting pasture intake include restricting the horse's pasture time to only a few hours per day (if possible, avoiding those high-risk hours between late morning and late afternoon), using a grazing muzzle, and fencing off part of the pasture to make a small paddock. (A grazing muzzle is a strap-on webbing or leather muzzle that allows the horse to eat some grass, but not a lot. The horse can drink with the muzzle on without any difficulty.)
In summary, preventing grass founder is a simple matter of keeping an eye on your pasture throughout the year and limiting your horse's access or intake when the grass is lush.
This article was adapted from Preventing Laminitis in Horses—a practical guide to decreasing the risk of laminitis (founder) in your horse by Drs. Richard Mansmann and Christine King.
PHYSITIS, OCD, CONTRACTED TENDONS?
PHYSITIS, OCD, CONTRACTED TENDONS?
Developmental Orthopedic Disease is becoming ever more prevalent in the
horse industry today, and it seems we
hear of quite a few DOD problems with growing horses.
Genetics, management and nutrition are generally considered to be causes of
DOD. For many years TDI has focused on helping solve nutritionally caused DOD
We have a handout describing two recommended feeding programs which have
proven effective in many cases.
For your copy, please contact
us and ask for the "DOD PROGRAM HANDOUT". This Eqine Nutrition information is available via e-mail, mail or FAX.
Additionally, Dr. Paul D. Siciliano, Equine Nutritionist at North Carolina
State University, has authored a paper The Relationship Between Growth Rate,
Digestible Energy, Crude Protein And Developmental Orthopedic Disease in
Horses. Dr. Siciliano references
more than a dozen studies which address various aspects of the subject. Following are brief summaries of his
findings. For a copy of the complete
paper, contact us and we’ll mail it to you. His summaries include:
The results of the
aforementioned studies suggest that horses affected by DOD are not always more
rapidly growing than their clinically normal peers, but are in many cases among
the heavier more rapid gaining horses in the population. The degree of variability in growth may be
another factor contributing to DOD. Horses with erratic growth rates or those experiencing sudden dramatic
increases in body weight may be more susceptible to DOD.
These studies suggest that
feeding diets with increased levels of digestible energy, that contain other
nutrients in balance with digestible energy, may increase bone development and
does not appear to compromise bone quality. However diets containing excess energy, not in balance with other
nutrients, may be detrimental to bone health and predispose horses to DOD.
These studies suggest that a
deficiency in crude protein is more likely to create a problem in bone growth
and development as compared to excess. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that crude protein has a
negative effect on bone growth and development. It should also be noted that there does not appear to be any
benefit to feeding excess protein in terms of growth rate or bone growth and
In summary, using balanced
rations targeted at a specific growth rate over a given time period should
lessen the variability in growth rate and potentially decrease the incidence of
D O D in young horses.
IMPORTANCE OF MINERAL SOURCE
IMPORTANCE OF MINERAL SOURCE
Proper mineral balance will effect:
· Bone Development
· Muscle Development
· Skin & Hoof Integrity
· Hair Coat
· Disease Resistance
· Fetal Development
· Milk Production
· Nervous System
Balance of all nutrient intake is the key to optimizing performance and production. Though proper quantities are important the quality / source of the nutrient plays a significant role. Organic mineral sources have been shown to provide a higher level of consistent absorption compared to conventional trace mineral sources such as sulfate and oxide forms. These inorganic forms are highly variable in absorption and interact more easily with antagonists resulting in lower absorption or variable absorption rates.
Organic minerals are considered mineral that is chemically bonded to an organic compound such as a single amino acid or amino acid complex.
Organic mineral sources have been shown to provide our growing horses, performance horses, horses experiencing stress and our broodmares with several improved health benefits.
When looking for organic mineral sources on your feed tag, you may see some of the following wording:
· Amino Acid Complex
· Polysaccharide Complexes
· Zinc Methionine
· Manganese Methionine
· Copper Lysine
· Cobalt Glucophetonate
TDI feeds and supplements utilize a percentage of organic minerals in the form of Amino Acid Complex and also 4Plex EQ by Zinpro (A balanced combination of - Zinc Methionine, Manganese Methionine, Copper Lysine, Cobalt Glucoheptonate). The minerals in Zinpro 4Plex EQ are defined as metal specific amino acid complexes. This means that each trace mineral is bound to a specific (single) amino acid. This complexed structure increases the strength of the bond between the amino acid and the mineral, increasing the bioavailability and protects the mineral from interacting with other antagonists in the diet.
Research data supports that providing minerals in a highly bioavailable form such as Zinpro-4Plex EQ provides increased benefits for the following functions.
· HOOF INTEGRITY:
- Hoof wall formation through cell differentiation
- Connective tissue function
- Blood vessels
- Repair and healing
· SKELETAL DEVELOPMENT (Zinc, Manganese and Copper have key roles):
- Bone matrix construction
- Formation and maintenance of connective tissue; tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules
- Prevention of orthopedic disease in foals
· ENERGY (Growth & Performance):
- Balanced levels of zinc, copper and manganese needed for growth
- Cobalt is utilized by cecal fermenting bacteria to digest forage and synthesize vitamin B12
· IMMUNITY (Zinc, Copper and Manganese are required for immune response):
- Epithelial tissue integrity (skin), first line defense
- Antibody response to vaccines
- Cell-mediated immune response, inflammatory
· STRESS- (Copper, Zinc and Manganese are important factors for horses under stress):
- Antioxidant systems protect cells
- Protein and energy metabolism
- Oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells
- Epithelial tissue;
Wound repair and healing,
Research has shown a consistency of response in the above areas. This research has been shown in 87 peer-reviewed publications in reputable journals.
For several years the best quality hoof supplements on the market have utilized Zinc Methionine mineral source. Now TDI provides Zinc Methionine in our horse feeds and ration balancer supplements. No feed on the market today can provide better mineral balance for hoof quality.
For 35 years, TDI has provided the highest quality equine feeding programs. The balanced fortification levels in TDI feeding programs help to eliminate the need for additional vitamin/mineral supplementation.
SORTING THROUGH SUPPLEMENTS
SORTING THROUGH SUPPLEMENTS
As you flip through the pages of any equine magazine, catalog or even race program, advertisements for supplements of all kinds pop out, claiming they'll make your horse faster, stronger, or more durable. Can you really improve a horse's digestion with a supplement? It may come to some surprise that several of the world's most renowned equine nutrition experts say no.
Per Dr. Joseph Pagan, President of Kentucky Equine Research Inc. "There are probably about 20 nutrients that should be in a performance horse's diet. And that's going to be sources of energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. If you're feeding a well-formulated commercial feed intended for a performance horse, the chances are good that they've met the need for most of those nutrients".
There are always exceptions when dealing with equine health. Asking a few simple questions will help you determine whether or not your horse may need the extra nutrients.
As a consumer, there are a few things that you need to ask yourself: Is the supplement intended to provide a nutrient? Is that supplement providing a nutrient that should normally be in a fortified feed? Or is it a nutrient that requires higher levels than you would get in a normal feed?
Dr. Laurie Lawrence, an equine nutrition expert who is a professor of animal science at the University of KY and the chairman of the National Research Council's horse nutrition subcommittee, believes supplements are generally unnecessary. "These days most people are feeding a mixed grain containing essential nutrients designed for a certain type of horse - yearling, stallion, performance horse, broodmare. Generally, if you are feeding a good mixed feed, all of the essential nutrients will be included," Dr. Lawrence said.
Complex feeding programs with an excessive amount of supplements are often unnecessary. There are, however, times when the additional nutrients become needed, especially in racehorses.
"The best example of that is electrolytes," said Dr. Pagan. "Electrolytes, sodium chloride and potassium would normally be in a commercial feed, but probably not at the levels that would be adequate to meet requirements for a racehorse in training. There is a whole host of supplements that don't really provide any nutrients. They make all sorts of claims about what they're supposed to do. I think it is there that the buyer must beware." There are several categories of supplements that serve little to no purpose in the well-being and performance of your horse. These are the ones that have a tendency to hurt your wallet more than anything.
DON'T LET THE ADS FOOL YOU!- "The supplements that make miraculous claims of greatly improving performance, stamina, and reducing fatique, I would view those with great thought," said Dr. Pagan. "Most of them are probably not going to hurt anything. It's going to be more of a pocket book decision. It's when you start doubling and tripling the same nutrient that you get some problems with supplements."
"Reading the labels is most important," Dr. Lawrence added. "You need to find out how much of a specific ingredient is in the supplement and compare that to what is in your regular feed."
The above are excerpts from the article "Sorting Through Supplements" by Jenny Picciano. Reprinted with the permission of The Horseman and Fair World magazine, December issue. To have a copy of the article in its entirety e-mailed to you, please contact TDI.
FEEDING THE FOAL FOR SOUND DEVELOPMENT
FEED THE FOAL FOR SOUND DEVELOPMENT
Everyday Counts – How quickly they grow! Optimal growth rates will vary between breeds. Based on light horse breeds and a finish height of 16 hands, many foals will reach 84 percent of mature height at 6 months and 94 percent of adult height by 1 year. At 6 months of age foals will be gaining approximately 1.4 pounds/day. By 12 months they will still be gaining 1.1 pounds per/day. Proper nutrition for sound growth is a balance between energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Bone development begins before birth and continues beyond 18 months of age. In order to avoid developmental orthopedic disorders, we must start with a quality broodmare program and continue with well-balanced growth programs.
TDI feeding programs are designed with highly digestible forms of nutrients in the proper balance for sound bone development. Feeding for steady moderate growth along a typical growth curve appears to provide the best method of reducing developmental problems.
Foals begin to nibble grass soon after birth, but it takes them months to develop a functional hindgut that will allow them to extract significant nutrients from grass. In contrast, recent research has shown, their efficiency of grain utilization is high at three weeks of age.
Creep Feeding – Creep feeds can be utilized to introduce quality protein sources to the milk proteins already provided by the mare. Mare’s milk will provide adequate energy and nutrients for the foal in the beginning, but the nutritional density of the milk declines over time and within a few months, milk alone will not meet the energy or nutritional needs. The foal will naturally develop an interest in feed during this time to make up the difference. Providing a quality growth ration throughout this transition will help to avoid nutrient imbalances that can often lead to physitis, contracted tendons or other developmental problems.
Creep feeds should be formulated to provide a high quality source of nutrients and should be introduced to the foal gradually. Free access to creep feed improves the likelihood that foals will consume feed in frequent small meals, similar to nursing. A new foal will nurse approximately 7 times per hour for 60 – 90 seconds per feeding.
Feeding the foal the same concentrate he will receive, as a weanling will eliminate the need to change his feed at weaning time and help to reduce weaning stress.
How Much Creep Feed - The quality of milk produced will vary from mare to mare and this will effect concentrate consumption in the nursing foal. The nursing foal can receive all the feed he will clean up each feeding. With most light horse breeds, this will be about 1 lb. of feed per month of age/day. A three-month-old foal will consume about 3 lbs. of creep feed daily. The foal can be weaned and fed on an individual basis when he is consuming 5 lbs. of feed/day.
Weaning – Weaning practices that minimize post-weaning stress, such as no change in the foal’s ration pre-wean/post-wean help to minimize the uneven growth pattern in some weanlings during the early post wean period.
Many young horses upon weaning will be put into a fitting program of one type of another. These young horses need to be consuming enough nutrients to not only support growth but also increased skeletal remodeling from exercise. TDI programs provide the needed nutrient supply to produce strong, dense bone and help to prevent nutritionally caused Developmental Orthopedic Disease.
Hay and grain intake varies according to the individual and is influenced by exercise. Boby condition should be monitored routinely and feed intake adjusted to meet body condition needs and promote steady moderate growth. Feeding amounts suggested below are guidelines and each horse should be fed as an individual along with quality forage. Free choice forage is preferred.
Nursing Foals to 4 months –
Mature Finish Weight 800-1000 lbs - Creep feed daily up to 3 lbs. TDI-16
Mature Finish Weight 1000-1200 lbs – Creep feed daily up to 4 lbs. TDI-16
Mature Finish Weight 1200-1400 lbs – Creep feed daily up to 5 lbs. TDI-16
Weanling 4 – 6 months – (Fed in multiple feedings/daily)
Mature Finish Weight 800-1000 lbs. – Feed 4 – 6 lbs TDI-16
Mature Finish Weight 1000 – 1200 lbs – Feed 5 – 7 lbs TDI-16
Mature Finish Weight 1200 – 1400 lbs. – Feed 6 – 8 lbs TDI-16
MINIATURE HORSE PROGRAM
MINIATURE HORSE PROGRAM
Though the digestive tract of the miniature horse functions quite the same as the saddle horse or the draft horse, due to the small nature of the overall horse, our biggest problem seems to be overfeeding.
The nutrients needed for maintenance, performance, growth & development, lactation and gestation do not differ percentage wise from other horses but need to be met in smaller quantities with the understanding that overfeeding and obesity are the cause of many metabolic related disorders.
When choosing a feeding program we need to keep in mind the small quantities that will be fed, and feed only well fortified, fixed formula programs. Quality hay/forage at no less than 1% of body weight should be fed daily. Choose a clean, quality hay with calorie levels that meet the needs of the horses we are feeding. Careful to stay away from stemmy hay that could lead to impaction or hay with any signs of mold.
TDI customers have utilized the following feeding program for many years with excellent results.
PREGNANT MARE: 1 – 10 mo. Gestation
½ cup of TDI-10 Supplement per 100 lbs. of body weight (if the mare is thin, eating lesser quality hay, or still being worked, additional TDI-12 or TDI-16 should be fed to meet the mare’s higher caloric needs. However, still keep TDI-10 at ½ cup per 100 lbs. of body weight….it’s nourishing the unborn foal!)
PREGNANT MARE: Last Month of Gestation
Switch to TDI-16, slowly increase the amount being fed to 1% of body weight (example a 200 lb. mare would be fed 2 lbs. of TDI-16)
1% - 1 ½% of body weight of TDI-16
Creep feed TDI-16, UP TO 1 ½% of body weight. NOTE: Supply fresh feed daily
4 – 6 MONTHS OF AGE (Weanling):
1% of body weight of TDI-16
6 – 9 MONTHS OF AGE:
1% of body weight of TDI-16
9 – 11 MONTHS OF AGE:
1% of body weight of TDI-16
YEARLING TO 2 YEARS OLD:
1% of body weight of TDI-16
PERFORMANCE HORSE (ADULT)
1% of body weight of TDI-12 or TDI-16
1% of body weight of TDI-12 or TDI-16 (If horse is able to maintain its weight on hay or pasture – with little or no grain being fed – then only feed TDI-10 Supplement at ½ cup per 100 lbs. of body weight)
IDLE HORSE / EASY KEEPER:
½% of body weight of TDI-12 or TDI-16 (if horse is able to maintain its weight on hay or pasture – with little or no grain being fed – then only feed TDI-10 Supplement at ½ cup per 100 lbs. of body weight)
The feeding amounts suggested above are merely guidelines and each horse should be fed as an individual while applying common sense. (example: if a horse becomes overweight – simply decrease the amount of TDI-12 or TDI-16; if a horse needs to gain weight – gradually increase the amount of TDI-12 or TDI-16. Never feed more than .5% of body weight in feed per feeding.
DO YOU KNOW WHATS IN YOUR BAG OF FEED?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE FEEDING?
If your feed tag doesn’t list specific ingredients (oats, corn, wheat midds,
etc.), but instead lists general collective terms, The American Association of
Feed Control Officials publishes a list of what is permitted to be used under
such terms. For example, if the tag reads "Plant Protein Products",
more than 30 ingredients are allowed, including such ingredients as algae meal,
cottonseed meal, peas and yeast. If the tag states "Processed Grain
By-Products", nearly 40 ingredients are permitted, for example aspirated
grain fractions, condensed fermented corn, peanut skins and wheat red dog.
The reason for using collective terms on bag tags is so that substitutions
can be made from batch to batch, depending usually on what is cheapest or most
TDI’s position is that horses don’t like change, may go off feed if changes
are made, and we want our customers to receive the same product batch after
batch. We think you have a right to know exactly what you are buying. And, even
though ingredients can be listed under the same collective term, their
nutritional benefits (protein quality, energy levels, vitamins and minerals)
are not the same.
For a copy of the AAFCO lists of permitted ingredients, please contact TDI.