Will it hurt my horse to temporarily be without his supplement?

Does one of these scenarios sound familiar?

• The barn manager sends you a text: your horse is out of his supplement. You know it will be a few days before you can get more.

• You got busy with life and forgot to place your supplement order, and now you will run out before your new order comes.

• You are a little short on cash this month and can’t get your supplement reordered right away.

How concerned should you be that your horse won’t get the needed supplement?

This is a question we get often from conscientious horse owners. The answer depends on the supplement you are using and why you are using it. In some cases, daily administration is more critical than in others.

Keep in mind, supplements were designed to be fed daily and missing more than a week of any supplement will decrease the benefit to your horse.

Daily vitamin and mineral supplements:

Micro-Phase™ and NutrientWise™
Vitamin and mineral supplements are designed to fill the nutritional gaps found in the diet. While it is best to feed them daily, missing up to five days once in a while should not cause a problem. After a week with no supplement, the levels of some nutrients will begin to drop and the digestive benefits of the yeast cultures will be lost.

Daily antioxidants:

Elevate® Maintenance Powder, Elevate® Se, Elevate® Concentrate, Myo-Guard™
Antioxidant requirements vary from horse to horse. Hardworking, stressed and thin horses require more antioxidants and therefore they will deplete stores faster than a healthy horse in light work. If your horse’s requirements are on the high side, then a slow drop in antioxidant levels may begin immediately. It is best not to miss more than three or four days of supplementation. Stores show significant drops after two weeks or so, even in horses in light work.

Elevate® W.S. liquid
Horses being supplemented with Elevate W.S. typically are dealing with challenges from severe deficiencies, poor immune status, neuromuscular or neurological disease. Elevate starts working quickly and crosses the blood-brain barrier. Under these circumstances it is best to maintain daily supplementation so that vitamin E remains at optimal levels. Missing days is not recommended.

Hoof and coat supplements:

Ker-A-Form™ and FootWise™
Missing three to five days will not have a major impact on a horse’s feet, although you may see changes in coat condition after as little as a week.

Omega-3 and fat supplements:

Contribute™ omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are quickly taken up in the blood: how quickly they act depends on the individual horse’s situation. To maintain optimal benefits, it is best to supplement daily. Depending on the circumstances you could see a decrease in benefits after just a few days without the supplement.

Equi-Jewel®, EndurExtra®, WeightGainWise™
The main purpose for feeding a fat supplement is to provide additional calories. When not fed, the calories are missing from the diet. Weight loss can occur quickly in hardworking horses as they move into negative energy balance. Missing more than a couple of days could result in loss of energy available for performance and the maintenance of a healthy weight.

Joint supplements:

Joint Armor™ and JointWise™
Customers have reported seeing a difference in their horses as soon as a week after supplementation has been discontinued. If you miss two weeks or more of supplementation, it might be a good idea to give a double dose for a couple weeks once you start back on the supplement.

Digestive aids:

Neigh-Lox®, Neigh-Lox® Advanced, ProbioticWise™
By design, digestive supplements need to be fed daily as they provide nutrients to the microbiome, support healthy pH levels, and provide probiotics that transit through the system. In the case of Neigh-Lox, it should be fed at least twice daily to reduce the incidence of ulcers. Ulcers can form in as little as three days. Missing more than a day or two of a digestive supplement is not recommended.

Electrolytes:

Summer Games® Electrolyte, Endura-Max™, ElectrolyteWise™
Electrolytes can be fed daily and as needed during competitions or shipping to replenish the electrolytes and trace minerals lost during sweating. They also stimulate the thirst response so horses drink enough water and remain properly hydrated. If your horse is training hard and competing frequently, even one day without replacing electrolytes can leave him at risk for dehydration, muscle myopathies, and colic, particularly in the hot summer months. If you run out of electrolytes, replace them as soon as possible. If your horse is working in the hot weather without them, it might be wise to reduce his workload until you can begin supplementing again.

Recreational horses and retirees have a little more leeway, depending on the weather, because they don’t typically sweat as much as a horse in work. In cooler weather, horses can go several days without electrolytes as long as they are offered adequate amounts of water, hay, and a plain salt block. However, these will not replace a well-balanced electrolyte over the long haul.

In the winter months, many horse owners feed electrolytes to keep their horses drinking in the cold weather. Dehydration can happen quickly and cause colic and other issues. If you run out of electrolytes keep a close eye on your horse’s water intake and return to supplementation as soon as you can. In a pinch you can add some salt to the diet to encourage drinking; however, salt does not provide a balanced ratio of electrolytes on its own.

Targeted supplements:

InsulinWise™, BoneWise™, Metaboleeze™
When feeding a very targeted supplement to support specific results, such as reducing insulin resistance, building new bone, or easing metabolic pathways in the muscle, it is best to miss as few days of supplementation as possible. However, infrequently missing a day or two won’t dramatically impact the efficacy of the supplement.

Trouble Free™
Trouble Free was formulated to support a calm attitude. In order to work properly it has to be administered according to the directions on the label. If you are feeding the powder daily and miss a day, you could see changes in your horse’s demeanor within 24 hours.

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