Purina Equine Veterinary Nutrition Resource Center

The information on this site is intended for veterinary professionals for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions or concerns regarding the medical condition of your horse.

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Welcome to the Purina
Equine Veterinary Nutrition Resource Center

Get clinical nutrition recommendations, free tools and resources from Team Purina's Ph.D. equine nutritionists and equine experts to help you support horses in your care.

Tested. Proven. Science-Based Nutrition.

We know the science of nutrition because we are scientists. Our team of Ph.D. equine nutritionists work rigorously at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center to develop feeds and supplements that perform. We are committed to the scientific process, meeting stringent safety and efficacy criteria for every product before it goes to market.

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NEW Omega Match products

Purina® Omega Match™: Two new products provide unique ways to get your horse meaningful levels of omega-3 fatty acids in a form he will love. They are how the best of nutritional science can deliver the benefits of omegas as nature intended, no matter his lifestyle.

 

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Nutritional Management of Common Equine Conditions

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Professional Resources

Feeding Senior Horses - A Quick Reference

Reference chart containing specific feeding recommendations for senior horses based on special needs.

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Nutrition Consultation Recommendations

General nutrition recommendations for different classes of horses and for horses with special needs.

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Mare and Foal Feeding Guidelines

Reference chart containing specific feeding recommendations for pregnant and lactating mares and their foals.

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Feeding Metabolic Horse Guidelines

Informational article that discusses feeding strategies for obese horses and horses with Equine Metabolic Syndrome.

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Equine Gastric Health Program Guide

Information brochure for clients that contains helpful information on how to recognize risk factors and signs of gastric discomfort, emphasizes the importance of proper medical treatment, and gives feeding and management tips for horses that are at risk for or that are experiencing gastric discomfort.

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Equine Feed Chart

Quick reference that identifies the form (textured, pelleted, etc.) of Purina Horse Feed products and which life stage(s) they are formulated for.

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Purina Horse Feed Major Nutrient Content Chart

Quick reference chart that contains nutrient guarantees and non-structural carbohydrate content for all Purina Horse feed products.

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Wellsolve Feeding Charts

Information on when to use and how to use WellSolve L/S and Wellsolve W/C when feeding horses with obesity, PPID, laminits, and Equine Metaboloc Syndrome.

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Interpreting a Hay Analysis

Reference document that provides expected ranges to support the interpretation of a forage analysis report.

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Relative Feed Value

Reference document that provides expected ranges for % crude protein, acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and relative feed value to support the interpretation of forage analysis reports.

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WellSolve Well-Gel Product Information

Product information sheet for Purina WellSolve Well-Gel, an enteral diet for horses, including feeding directions and guaranteed nutrient analysis.

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Well-Gel Calorie Addition

How to add calories to WellSolve Well-Gel when using for more than 5 days as sole source of nutriiton.

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Yeast Derived Beta Glucans Can Support Immune Modulation of the Equine Immune System During a Challenge

A summary of research conducted at Cornell University by Purina Animal Nutrition evaluating the ability of a yeast derived Beta glucan to modulate the immune system of the horse during Glucocorticoid challenge.

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Use of Global Positioning Satellite to Evaluate Activity in Young Horses Fed Purina Ultium Growth Horse Feed

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, evaluating the use of GPS technology to investigate activity in foals fed Purina® Ultium® Growth horse feed.
 

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Weight Gain and Insulin Sensitivity in Horses: Does Calorie Source Matter?

A summary of nutrition research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the effects of intentional weight gain from Purina® Omolene #200® and Ultium® Competition horse feeds.
 

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Constant Nutrition Yields Consistent Results: Feeding Growing Horses Ultium Growth Horse Feed Produces Consistent and Desirable Growth Curves

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the effects of feeding young, growing horses Ultium® growth horse feed.

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Horses Preferred to Consume Purina Amplify Supplement Compared to Oil Top-Dressed on Feed

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center that examined the palatability of Amplify® nuggets versus traditional liquid oil top-dressed on feed for added calories.

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Evaluation of Milk from Mares fed Ultium Growth Horse Feed

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, evaluating milk composition from mares fed a fat and fiber-added diet, Purina® Ultium® Growth horse feed.

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Is Added Yeast Culture Required in Diets for Horses to Increase Nutrient Digestibility

A summary of research conducted by Purina Animal Nutrition, examining the effects of added yeast culture on nutrient digestibility and manure characteristics in horses.

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Purina WellSolve L/S Horse Feed Elicits a Very Low Glucose and Insulin Response to Feeding

A summary of nutrition research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the effects of meal size and feeding two low starch and sugar feed s with differing nutrient profiles on glucose and insulin response to feeding.

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The Important Influence of Feed Form and Formulation on Glucose and Insulin Response to Meal Feeding: the Development of Purina WellSolve L/S Horse Feed

A summary of nutrition research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the effects of different physical feed forms on consumption time and glucose and insulin response to feeding.

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Purina WellSolve W/C Horse Feed can Support Weight Loss Both With and Without Added Exercise

A summary of nutrition research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the effects of feeding WellSolve W/C® horse feed as part of a diet and exercise program for horses.

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The Effects of Feeding Purina Ultium Growth and Omolene #300 Horse Feeds to Young Growing Horses on Insulin and Glucose Dynamics

A summary of nutrition research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the effects of feeding young, growing horses Ultium® Growth and Omolene #300® horse feeds, for a prolonged 2-year period on insulin sensitivity and glucose dynamics.

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Feeding Equine Senior Horse Feed With ActivAge Prebiotic Supports Immune Function and Provides Nutrition to Support Senior Horses Through the Aging Process

A summary of research conducted by Purina Animal Nutrition over a 3-year period, in collaboration with the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky, examined the effects of feeding the ActivAge™ prebiotic on immune function in senior horses.

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Horses Preferentially Consumed Purina Amplify High Fat Extruded Nugget Over Rice Bran

A summary of research conducted by Purina Animal Nutrition, examining the palatability of Amplify® Extruded High Fat Nugget as compared to rice bran top-dressed on feed for added calories.

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Purina Ultium Growth and Omolene #300 Horse Feeds Support Optimal Bone Growth and Development

A summary of research conducted by Purina Animal Nutrition, examining effects of feeding young, growing horses Ultium® Growth and Omolene #300® horse feeds on bone development.

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Alterations in Equine Gastric pH by Purina Outlast Gastric Supplement

A summary of research conducted by Purina Animal Nutrition in conjunction with Louisiana State University, evaluating the effects of feeding a proprietary mineral complex on gastric pH in thoroughbred horses.

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A Comparison of Purina Outlast Gastric Supplement and Calcium Carbonate on TCO2 Levels in Horses

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center evaluating multiple levels of a proprietary mineral complex and calcium carbonate on TCO2 concentrations in horses.

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Purina Enrich Plus Ration Balancing Feed Elicits a Low Glycemic Response to Feeding

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the effects of feeding a one-pound meal of Enrich Plus® on glucose and insulin response.
 

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The Effects of Purina Outlast Gastric Supplement on Equine Gastric Health Parameters

A summary of research conducted by Purina Animal Nutrition evaluating the effects of a proprietary mineral complex on gastric health in traveling draft horses.
 

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Purina Outlast Gastric Supplement Buffers a Simulated Gastric Environment More Effectively Than Similar Products When Challenged by an Acid Addition Test

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center evaluating the efficacy of Purina Outlast® Gastric Supplement.
 

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Purina Outlast Gastric Supplement Optimized pH in a Simulated Gastric Environment More Effectively than Other Similar Products

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center evaluating the efficacy of Purina Outlast® Gastric Supplement.

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Purina SuperSport Amino Acid Supplement Improved Performance, Increased Speed of Recovery, and Supported Muscle Development in Exercising Horses

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center that examined the effects of daily administration of the Purina® SuperSport™ Supplement on aspects of muscle development and fitness in exercising horses.
 

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Purina Strategy GX Horse Feed is Preferred by Horses Compared to a Majority of the Competitive Brands of Horse Feed Tested

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the palatability of Strategy GX® horse feed compared to competitors’ products.
 

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Evaluation of Purina Strategy Healthy Edge Horse Feed as a Low Starch and Sugar Concentrate Diet

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, examining the starch and sugar content along with the glucose and insulin response to feeding of Purina® Strategy Healthy Edge®.
 

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Are Chelated and Organic Trace Minerals Required in Equine Diets to Increase Nutrient Digestibility?

A summary of research conducted by Purina Animal Nutrition, examining the effects of chela ted and organic copper, zinc, manganese and cobalt, along with organic selenium yeast on nutrient digestibility in horses

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Research Backed Horse Treats: Feeding Treats to Metabolic Horses

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center evaluating the glucose and insulin response to feeding Purina® low starch and sugar treats to horses.
 

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Feeding Outlast Gastric Support Supplement to Young Horses and Broodmares as a Novel Calcium Source

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center evaluating the physiological effects of feeding Purina® Outlast® Gastric Support Supplement to broodmares and young horses.
 

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What Makes a Good Gastric Support Supplement, and are all Marine-Derived Calcium Sources the Same?

Why “seaweed-derived calcium” in equine feeds and supplements is different from other “marine-derived sources”?
 

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What Makes Purina Outlast Better?

Purina® Outlast® Gastric Support products contain an exclusive form of seaweed-derived calcium that is functionally different from other marine-derived sources in five significant ways: source, composition, structure, maintenance of optimal pH and research.
 

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Purina EquiTub with ClariFly Supplement: Can ClariFly be Found in the Blood Following Consumption?

A summary of research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, in conjunction with Central Life Sciences examining whether the active ingredient in ClariFly® is present in equine blood following consumption of Purina® EquiTub™ with ClariFly®.
 

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Body Condition Scoring Chart

Reference guide to the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System.

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Nutritional Management of Horses with Acute and Chronic Renal Failure

Renal disease is relatively uncommon in horses but when it does occur, nutrition plays an important role in both the recovery from acute, and management of chronic, kidney failure. In the short-term it is most important to ensure intake of nutrients, whether voluntary or not, and maintain electrolyte balance. During chronic disease, maintenance of hydration status, body condition and creatinine levels are emphasized.

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Feeding Horses to Reduce the Risk of Choke and to Support Horses that Have Choked

Choke (esophageal obstruction) is an ever-present risk for all horses. Certain management strategies and nutritional interventions can reduce the risk of choke in horses, and for horses with a history of choke, nutritional management can be critical in reducing the risk of future episodes.

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Feeding Overweight Horses

Addressing weight gain in horses is multi-factorial. Controlling pasture and/or forage intake, feeding a ration balancer or low-calorie feed, and encouraging exercise are all required. Weight can be monitored via body condition scoring and utilization of a weight tape. For horses that are obese (body condition score 7+ and/or show signs and symptoms of insulin resistance or endocrinopathic laminitis) refer to Feeding Metabolic Horses for more specific recommendations for that condition.

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Feeding Program for Orphan Foals

Newborn foals are precocious, active and grow at an incredible rate. They are capable of standing and galloping within a few hours of birth and grow at a rate of 1 – 2 kg/day over the first month. The death of a mare is a tragedy that will be compounded if her orphaned foal is not quickly placed on an effective feeding and care program that closely mimics that of the suckling foal. With proper nutrition and veterinary support, orphan foals can be managed and successfully developed into healthy adults. 

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Feeding Horses with Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID)

Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) is a disease characterized by the slow, progressive degeneration of hypothalamic dopaminergic neurons, which in turn leads to adenoma formation in the pars intermedia and resultant hormonal imbalances. PPID can result in insulin dysregulation, muscle wasting, and underweight and overweight phenotypes which is why close attention to nutritional factors is important to management of the disease.

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Feeding Horses with Suspected Allergies

It can be difficult to pinpoint the true case of a horse’s allergic symptoms. Environmental allergies are significantly more common than food allergies, which can only truly be diagnosed through an elimination diet. If the offending ingredient can be identified, enlist the help of a nutritionist to recommend an appropriate commercial product or to formulate a custom diet.

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Nutritional Management of Horses with Respiratory Disease

Nutritional management of horses with respiratory disease should be focused on reducing the airborne particulate that causes airway inflammation and mucous buildup. Certain strategies can be applied to dietary selection and feeding practices to help support horses with these aggravating conditions.

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Feeding Management Strategies for Horses with Gastric Ulcers

Gastric ulceration in the horse is a highly prevalent, yet often difficult to manage condition. The development of gastric ulcers is a function of multiple factors including breed, exercise level, diet, and management. Because of the multi-factorial nature of this disease state, a multi-faceted approach including medical treatment, management changes, and nutritional intervention is necessary to best support horses with gastric ulcers. Dietary management is critical in reducing the risk of developing gastric ulcers and supporting optimal gastric health. 

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Feeding Young Growing Horses to Reduce the Risk of Developmental Orthopedic Disease

Developmental Orthopedic Disease (DOD) is a common concern in young horses. This collective term for a cluster of conditions is typically applied to situations in which skeletal growth occurs abnormally and sub optimally. While nutrition is critical in the proper growth and development of young horses, DOD development is a multi-factorial condition in which genetics and management must be considered. Nutritional mismanagement is a clear contributor to DOD development in horses. However, nutritional optimization is a highly efficacious tool in the prevention of DOD’s or support for those horses already displaying abnormal growth.

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Feeding Horses with Certain Muscle Disorders

Muscle disorders cause loss of performance and value in affected horses and may present with a variety of clinical signs ranging from muscle stiffness and pain to muscle atrophy, weakness, exercise intolerance, and muscle fasciculations. Although originally thought to be a single clinical syndrome, it is now clear that these clinical manifestations are common to several different muscle disorders with different etiologies.1 Recently metabolic, inflammatory, dystrophic and other inherited muscle diseases have been described in horses.  Proper diagnosis of the specific myopathy involved is critical for determining the appropriate targeted management regimen. This article will focus on muscle disorders with known nutritional management recommendations to help support affected horses. Specially discussed here are Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy, Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis and Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis.

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The Equine Microbiome: What Is It? How Does It Work? What Do We Know?

The next frontier in equine nutrition is the equine microbiome, and we still have much to learn. This lecture presented as part of the 2020 AAEP Virtual Showcase by Purina Ph.D. Nutritionist Dr. Robert Jacobs gives a comprehensive overview of the equine microbiome and how it looks in health and disease, reviews current research on pre and probiotics, and provides a glimpse into the future of what lies ahead in microbiome research.
 

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The Anorexic Horse: Feeding Strategies for Horses that Can’t or Won’t Eat

The anorexic horse can be a challenge for horse owners and veterinarians, especially when proper nutrition is needed to facilitate recovery from illness. This lecture presented as part of the 2020 AAEP Virtual Showcase by Purina Ph.D. Nutritionist Dr. Kelly Vineyard reviews common reasons why horses go off feed, presents practical feeding and management strategies effective for horses with a reduced appetite, and provides an in-depth review of enteral feeding protocols and the research data supporting them.
 

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Choosing Additives and Supplements – Take the Test RIDE

Equine Veterinarians are cited by horse owners as their #1 source for equine nutrition advice. This lecture presented as part of the 2020 AAEP Virtual Showcase by Purina Ph.D. Nutritionist Dr. Mary Beth Gordon describes an easy-to-remember acronym that informs practitioners how to effectively evaluate and recommend equine dietary supplements for their clients.
 

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Chronic Weight Loss in Horses - Feeding for Weight Gain

There are many potential causes that can result in a horse having poor body condition. After determining the reason(s) why the horse is losing weight or failing to thrive, implementing a successful weight gain program is a fundamental aspect of returning the horse back to good health. Selecting feed components that maximize digestibility and caloric density of the ration will help to achieve weight gain in a safe an effective manner.

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WellSolve® Well-Gel®

Available exclusively to veterinarians, WellSolve® Well-Gel® is a nutritionally complete, low-bulk enteral supplement formulated specifically for horses. When fed as directed, it supplies 100% of daily protein, vitamin, and mineral requirements. Well-Gel® can be easily administered through a nasogastric tube but is also palatable enough to offer for voluntary consumption.

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Answers from our Experts

What signs should I look for in my clients’ horses related to ionophore toxicity? What do feed manufacturers do to protect against feed contamination?

Robert Jacobs

Feed contamination is a critical risk of feed manufacturing that all reputable feed manufacturers should account for. Proper “feed hygiene” is crucial to minimize the health risks to horses due to physical, chemical or biological contamination. Read More

Where can I find good, science-based information to refer to when I have questions related to equine nutrition?

Kelly Vineyard, M.S., Ph.D.

Many helpful equine nutrition resources are available for equine veterinarians, including textbooks, scientific publications, reputable websites and personal consultation with an experienced and credentialled equine nutritionist. Read More

What do you recommend feeding a horse with low blood levels of vitamin E?

Karen Davison, Ph.D.

Vitamin E is one of the body’s most potent antioxidants affecting immune function, the neuromuscular system and reproduction. The best dietary source of vitamin E is growing green grass, but since many horses do not have consistent pasture access, vitamin E supplementation is needed. Read More

What’s the ideal body condition for a mare preparing to be bred? Are there any specific nutrient requirements or suggestions to optimize fertility?

Anna Pesta, Ph.D.

Body condition score (BCS) is the variable most likely to impact reproductive efficiency. Success depends on what shape mares enter the breeding season in. Evaluation of BCS should occur at least 90 days ahead of breeding to allow time to make progress, either in weight gain or loss, towards an ideal BCS of 5-7. Read More

What should the refeeding plan be when rehabilitating a severely malnourished horse?

Kelly Vineyard, M.S., Ph.D.

A complete veterinary exam is the first step to rehabilitation, including an assessment of liver, kidney and gastrointestinal function to check for underlying conditions. Following the exam, a refeeding plan that facilitates weight gain but avoids potential complications can be implemented. Remember to record initial body weight and take photographs of the horse to document current condition and future progress. Read More

What is the difference between nutritionally managing horses with PSSM1 (Type 1 Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy) vs. PSSM2 (Type 2 Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy)?

Karen Davison, Ph.D.

PSSM1 and PSSM2 are different disorders with slightly different recommendations for nutritional management. Read More

What nutritional strategies support proper joint development in young horses?

Robert Jacobs, Ph.D.

Joint and bone abnormalities, collectively known as developmental orthopedic disorders (DODs), are a common growth complication in young horses. There are several nutritional strategies to support proper joint development, but it’s critical to remember that DODs are a function of many factors, including genetics, management and nutrition. A multifaceted approach may limit the incidence and severity of DODs. Read More

What are some guidelines for feeding a horse after colic?

Kelly Vineyard, M.S., Ph.D.

Developing a post-colic feeding plan depends on the nature of the colic episode, and whether surgery was performed or not. Read More

Are there any special nutritional considerations for a horse recovering from a soft-tissue injury while on stall rest or turnout?

Mary Beth Gordon, M.S., Ph.D.

Nutrition is important during the recovery period because it helps support a horse’s inherent healing powers. Energy management is key for horses on stall rest. Injured horses should be kept quiet during the recovery period to prevent further aggravation of the injury. Read More

My clients often ask about joint supplements for their horses. How do I determine which ones to recommend? Help!

Mary Beth Gordon, M.S., Ph.D.

Joint supplement questions abound! A veterinarian survey conducted in 2017 by Purina Animal Nutrition determined joint supplements were the No. 1 supplement question veterinarians received from their clients. With upward of 500 joint supplements on the market, it’s no wonder horse owners have questions and want recommendations. Read More

We occasionally see horses in our clinic that are sick and have gone off feed. What are some feeding options to ensure they are receiving the nutrition they need for recovery?

Kelly Vineyard, M.S., Ph.D.

When a horse has little to no appetite, it’s a sign of serious illness. If the gastrointestinal tract is functional and the underlying cause of inappetence has been addressed, it’s critical to get the horse eating again to help maintain proper gut function, deliver calories and nutrients essential for healing, and prevent weight loss. Read More

When should I recommend my client obtain a hay analysis, and what forage analysis labs do you recommend? How do I help my client interpret the results?

Kelly Vineyard, M.S., Ph.D.

You might recommend a forage analysis when managing the diet of a horse with sugar and starch sensitivities, when treating a horse experiencing chronic colic or digestive upset, or if you suspect a potential nutrient deficiency or toxicity (i.e., selenium). Obtaining a forage analysis is also a good practice to help owners better understand how forage contributes to their overall nutrition and feeding program, especially when hay is purchased in bulk. Read More

How do we provide a balanced diet to a performance horse with a suspected food allergy?

Anna Pesta, Ph.D.

With increasing frequency, equine nutritionists are being asked to review the results of serum allergy tests. It’s not uncommon for results to show dozens of positively reacting allergens. Frustrated clinicians or owners understandably ask, “What on earth can we feed this horse?” Read More

Do my clients really need to creep feed their foals?

Mary Beth Gordon, M.S., Ph.D.

It’s that time of year when foals arrive or are already on the ground, and we’re quickly approaching weaning. The best foal feeding advice to give your clients is to creep feed their foals. Creep feeding requires a specialized feeding environment that allows the foal to access feed but does not allow the mare access. Creep feeding enables foals to become accustomed to the diet they will consume post-weaning and enables their GI tract to gradually adapt to the change from milk to concentrate feed. Read More

What feeding recommendations can I make to help support weight gain in these horses?

Kelly Vineyard, M.S., Ph.D.

When feeding the non-obese, insulin-resistant horse, the foundation of the diet should be free-choice, good quality forage that is low in soluble carbohydrates (≤10-12% starch + water soluble carbohydrates or WSC). Read More

What are some nutritional considerations for stallions during breeding season?

Robert Jacobs, Ph.D.

A stallion’s nutritional needs are similar to other adult active horses, with consideration given to the increased requirements specifically related to breeding. A stallion actively competing, performing or training has elevated nutritional needs, which should be met while also accounting for incremental nutrition needed for breeding. Read More

What nutritional strategies can be used to support horses experiencing chronic colic symptoms?

Robert Jacobs, Ph.D.

Dealing with horses experiencing chronic colic or repetitive colic episodes can be highly frustrating for both owners and veterinarians. Many conditions—including gastric ulcers, enteroliths, uroliths and others—may result in frequent bouts of colic. Horses should be screened for these conditions and treated appropriately. However, many cases of chronic colic require changes to the horse’s diet. Read More

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