Nutritional Minutes

Prebiotics vs Probiotics: Understanding the difference

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Does it really matter?  The terms probiotic and prebiotic are showing up more and more often on feed bags and supplement labels. But what do these terms really mean? Is one better than the other? For many, it is a real mystery. The logical place to start is by clearly defining each term. Most scientists agree that the term prebiotic refers to selective ingredients that support the growth of the microbes that reside in the horse’s gut. In very... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Feeding starch/sugar sensitive horses

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A better understanding of how the horse’s digestion system works has revealed that balancing forage intake with concentrate intake is necessary when feeding horses, and even more critical when feeding starch/sugar sensitive horses. Concentrates are the portions of the diet we typically think of as “grain.” A concentrate can consist of a plain grain, such as oats, or it can be a mixture of ingredients referred to as textured feeds (sweet feed) or... Read More »

Category : Fat & Fiber | Health & Management | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Feeding strategies to prevent laminitis in easy keepers

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What is laminitis? Laminitis occurs when the tissues that connect the coffin bone to the hoof wall, called the laminae, become inflamed and the blood supply is compromised. The sensitive and insensitive laminae separate, damaging the structural integrity of the hoof. There are multiple causative factors that result in laminitis. They range from mechanical stress to digestive dysfunction. Laminitis varies in severity depending on the amount of damage... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Colonic ulcers in horses

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Most of us know that horses can suffer from equine gastric ulcers syndrome (EGUS), a condition where horses develop ulcers in their stomachs. Horses can also develop ulcers in their large intestines. This condition is referred to as colonic ulcers or right dorsal colitis (RDC). In a recent study of 545 horses tested for RDC, 44% of nonperformance horses and 65% of performance horses had colonic ulcers. Although they are not as prevalent as gastric ulcers,... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Supplement tips that help keep horses healthy while traveling

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Your truck is gassed up and ready to go. You have gone over your trailer’s safety check list and it passed with flying colors. Your horse’s vaccinations are up to date; you have a negative Coggins and health cert tucked in the glove box. Your equine first-aid kit is fully stocked. Your tack is clean and in good repair. Your horse is fitted out with head bumper, tail wrap and shipping boots. You are ready to go. Or are you? What about your horse’s... Read More »

Category : Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Fiber: the key to healthier horses

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In every aspect of our lives we strive for balance. As owners and caretakers of horses we should also make every attempt to achieve balance in their lives too. We try to balance exercise with stall rest and stall rest with turnout. We try to provide balance in their nutrition as well. Understanding how to balance forage intake with concentrate intake is critical to ensuring optimal nutrition and energy balance. Concentrates are the portion of the diet we... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Fat & Fiber | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Managing Your Horse’s Bugs

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Bugs? What bugs? Horses are hindgut fermenters. In other words, the hindgut portion of your horse’s digestive tract contains millions of beneficial bacteria and yeast, often referred to as microbes or “bugs.” These bugs have the ability to break down otherwise indigestible fiber into digestible compounds through a process called symbiotic microbial fermentation. Both the horse and the bugs benefit from this process. By joining forces, the bugs and... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

The Skinny on Fat

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Packed with energy Fat is an effective energy source for horses. Pound for pound, fats provide 2.25 times more energy than carbohydrates. In a natural state, horses consume only small amounts of fats, but they digest and absorb them well. Fats are broken down into fatty acids in the small intestine and stored as triglycerides in the adipose tissue of the body. Fat is utilized to fuel long-term, slow work. Some fat is necessary Fat is necessary for the... Read More »

Category : Fat & Fiber | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Does Your Horse Need Extra Vitamins? Maybe…

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Vitamins are organic compounds, which, when provided in the proper amounts, play a major role in the well-being of your horse. They are vital to the promotion and regulation of virtually all of the body's normal functions. Vitamins are available to your horse through a variety of sources, ranging from forages, such as grass and hay, to concentrates and supplements. Some vitamins, such as vitamin K and the B vitamins, are actually manufactured by the... Read More »

Category : Essential Vitamins | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Feeding Directions: Mere Suggestions or Strict Guidelines?

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Feeding directions are an important place to start. As human beings, we have the ability to manage our own daily food intake, but our horses don’t have that choice. They depend on us to provide the feed they need to survive. In the old days, the components of a horse’s diet were limited to plain grains and basic forages (hay and grass). Modern technology has changed that and now feed manufacturers have a wide range of ingredients at their disposal.... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Omega Fatty Acid Balance Is Essential to Good Health

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Omega fatty acids are known as essential fatty acids because they cannot be synthesized in the body and must be provided in the diet. Omega fatty acids are split into two categories: omega-6 and omega-3. It is the amount of both of these acids relative to each other that is important for overall health. When properly balanced, the two types of fatty acids work in concert to keep your horse healthy. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are metabolized by... Read More »

Category : Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics | Valuable Nutrients

Laminitis: What’s Grain Overload Got to Do with It?

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What is laminitis? Laminitis occurs when the tissues that connect the coffin bone to the hoof wall, called the laminae, become inflamed and the blood supply is compromised. Laminitis varies in severity depending on the amount of damage inflicted on the laminae. Mild cases usually result in very little permanent damage to the laminae, while the more severe cases can result in founder, or the sinking of the coffin bone. There are several factors that can... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Clarifying Carbohydrates Part III

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Is Fiber a Carbohydrate? In Clarifying Carbohydrates Part I, we reviewed simple carbohydrates and in Clarifying Carbohydtrates Part II we looked at rapidly fermentable carbohydrates. This Nutritional Minute describes slowly fermentable carbohydrates (fiber) and discusses the concerns associated with all carbohydrates in the equine diet. Slowly Fermentable Carbohydrates Slowly fermentable carbohydrates, or fiber as they are commonly called, are... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Clarifying Carbohydrates Part II

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Clarifying Carbohydrates Part II There are many types of carbohydrates in equine diets, including simple carbohydrates, rapidly fermentable carbohydrates, and complex, slowly fermentable carbohydrates. Your horse digests each type of carbohydrate differently. Some types of carbs are better for your horse than others. Click here for Clarifying Carbohydrates Part I for information on simple carbs. This time we will reviewing rapidly fermentable... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

Clarifying Carbohydrates Part I

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Clarifying Carbohydrates Part I There are three different types of carbohydrates utilized by horses: simple sugars and starches, rapidly fermentable carbohydrates, and structural carbohydrates. This part of our series will deal with simple sugars and starches. What are carbohydrates and why are they important? Carbohydrates are substances made up of the elements carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). Various forms of carbohydrates are made through... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Nutritional Minutes | Tips and Topics

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