Equine nutrition


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Equine nutrition

  1. 1. Equine Nutrition
  2. 2. Horse and Donkeys Mouth- lips, tongue and teeth - Full set of teeth, flat for grinding - Lips- very sensitive - Use both teeth and lips to get food Saliva - Produce a lot - Lube and buffer in proximal region of stomach
  3. 3. Digestive tract Non-ruminant herbivore - Designed to eat plants, ( primarily grasses) and graze over large distances, ingesting a wide variety of forages in small amounts - Confined horses with limited access to pasture, who are fed two to three times a day must be carefully maintained to avoid digestive problems
  4. 4. Physiology of the Equine GI tract Monogastric with a functioning cecum The cecum with its large amount of microbial digestion is very similar to the rumen Proper dental care is essential for digestion in the horse The muscles of the esophagus ( cardiac sphincter) are so strong where they meet the stomach that vomiting or belching is almost impossible for a horse Horses will also overeat due to a poorly functioning satiety center ( they do not feel full and stop eating)
  5. 5. Stomach Small as they are grazers, should eat small amounts throughout the day Cardiac sphincter- is so strong that it does not allow vomiting Pyloric sphincter - Rupture of the stomach is possible - Stress >>> no eating>>>> then overeat - Usually eat the wrong type of feed - Fermenting in the stomach>> lactic acid which impairs the relaxation of the pyloric sphincter and emptying of the stomach ( can happen when weaning foals)
  6. 6. Small Intestine Responsible for the digestion of macromolecules Glycemic index: determined by composition of the diet ( grain, forage and fat) affects glucose levels in the body Pre-cecal digestion - Depends on the type of grains and how they are processed - If pre-cecal digestion does not occur >>> rapid fermentation of the contents of the cecum can lead to colic
  7. 7. Cecum Large because these are hind gut fermenters Anatomical design leads to problems in digestion - A blind sac which has a very high entrance and exit - If there is not enough water in the diet, the cecum will become impacted The cecum requires a very slow transition is the diet is being changed
  8. 8. Colon Finishes fermentation Absorbs water
  9. 9. Feeding Consumption and Slowing Consumption Donkey - Do not graze as often as horses - Very easy keepers - Don’t need to supplement Horses - Very selective grazers - Very picky eaters - Palatability and availability important
  10. 10. Grazers Spend approximately 50% of the day grazing, mostly during the daylight hours Time spent grazing depends on pasture quality and amount of forage available Slow down the consumption of concentrates to prevent GI disturbances: - Spread grain thinly over a large surface - Utilize compartments in the feed box to slow consumption - Feed small amounts often
  11. 11. Concentrates Better utilized when fed about 2 hours after roughage is fed, due to slowing of passage through GI tract The conventional procedure of feeding the concentrate with or before the hay is likely to depress the net value of the dietary protein
  12. 12. Water Aids in digestion and elimination of wastes Must have fresh, clean drinking water available at all times Drink 10-12 gallons a day which increases with exercise and temperature Pregnant mares will also need more water
  13. 13. Energy Allows the horse to maintain optimum body condition for performance, reproduction and growth Body condition scores are assessed to estimate if energy levels are adequate 1. Poor 7. Fleshy 2.Very thin 8. fat 3. Thin 9. extremely fat 4.Moderately thin 5.Moderate 6.Moderately fleshy
  14. 14. Feeding Different Classes of Horses Daily rations depend on a horses lifestyle NRC’s 2007 Nutrient Requirement of Horses is used by veterinarians and technicians to make feeding recommendations to owners
  15. 15. Forages Very important to provide pasture and hay Grass forages - Are low in Ca and high in P Legumes - Are high in Ca and low in P • You want to feed a combination of grass and legumes • Lactating or growing foals will need additional additives to meet their specific dietary needs
  16. 16. Forages Continued Tall Fescue can be infected with endophytes - Not for use in pregnant mares Alfalfa - A very good choice if it is affordable - High protein - Feed in small amounts - Inspect for blister beetles which will be very irritable to the horses and can lead to colic Timothy hay is another good choice
  17. 17. Feeds for Horses Electrolytes and Minerals - Especially important in endurance animals - Necessary for bursts of energy, utilizing muscle glycogen - Needs vary by the animal and its use Vitamins Biotin - Improves hoof condition - Is very expensive to supplement in horses
  18. 18. Feeds for Horses ( cont) Carbohydrates - High grain diets can predispose them to laminitis Protein - Quality is most important for young animals - Lysine is the most limiting amino acid in horse diets ( endurance horses are not fed high-protein diets or alfalfa hay) Minerals ( Ca, P, Se, Cu, Zn, Na, K and Cl) - Adjusted when changes in hay or training/exercise
  19. 19. Feeds for Horses ( cont) Vitamins- not required if on good quality hay or pasture - Supplementation of A, E and D when green forage is lacking in the diet - Supplementation of animals kept in stalls and during training - Vitamin E reduces immunosuppression - Horses have very low levels of calcidiol
  20. 20. Early pasture season problems Intake is too high when horses are first put out to pasture in the spring or if pastures are lush and growing rapidly Overeating at this time can cause diarrhea, colic and laminitis
  21. 21. Managing pasture time in horses Remove horses from pasture as soon as they have eaten the available forage Horses prefer younger growth because they digest forage less efficiently than cattle The horses small stomach means they need short grazing sessions at frequent intervals Horses spend more time walking around and eating then cows, especially if alone
  22. 22. Pre-cecal digestion and fat use Processing of corn - Whole corn undergoes little pre-cecal digestion so when it reaches the cecum, unprocessed, it leads to rapid fermentation which can lead to colic and other digestive upsets - Ground corn is best for digestion in the horse - Corn is referred to as a “hot feed” because it contains so much starch
  23. 23. Oats Whole grain Good pre-cecal digestion in horses Additional processing is usually not an advantage Crimping or micronized can decrease pre-cecal digestibility
  24. 24. Fats Horses do not have a gall bladder, bile is released directly into the digestive tract Fats in the diet delay gastric emptying of carbohydrates Supplement fats only if exercise increases and intake is maximal
  25. 25. Carbohydrates Pre-cecal digestibility determines the proportion of cereal carbohydrates absorbed as glucose and that absorbed as Volatile Fatty Acids and the potential for adverse hindgut fermentation Pre-cecal digestibility of oat starch exceed that of corn, barley, and sorghum Grinding enhances pre-cecal digestibility but reduces shelf life of cereals Small intestine carbohydrate digestibility is influenced by the type of cereal, grain processing and amount fed
  26. 26. Carbohydrates ( cont) High pre-cecal digestibility decreases the amount of lactic acid and other organic acids in the large intestine and the problems of grain overload When undigested starch reaches the ileum and cecum, organic acid production is increased and the Ph is decreased Feed modification is important in nutrient utilization but more important in preventing hindgut problems This is why most horse owners prefer to feed oats instead of corn
  27. 27. Feeding Programs for Horses Maintenance Reproduction Growth Performance Aging foals
  28. 28. Maintenance Horses Mature, non working horses that are not pregnant or nursing May need supplements depending on pasture and forages in the diet Good quality pasture in summer and hay in winter Adequate forages will deter many abnormal behaviors
  29. 29. Reproduction Increased Calcium and Phosphorus Make sure they have an acceptable body condition score Gradual increase in intake around 6 months and by 8- 10 months, 20% increase Maintain BCS 5-7, moderate, fleshy condition but not obese Ca and P needs increase in last trimester and during lactation Prenatal nutrition- Cu to foal in utero reduces DOD
  30. 30. Development Orthopedic Disease The term "DOD" describes a variety of orthopedic disorders in growing horses. Contracted tendons, wobbles, phystis, osteochondritis, osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) and angular limb deformities are all considered Development Orthopedic Disease.
  31. 31. Growth Critical in avoiding DOD Use of creep feed Accelerated is bad for bone and joint formation
  32. 32. Performance Anaerobic activity- build up reserves of glycogen for easily accessible energy Aerobic- utilizes fatty acids and stores glycogen Ergogenic aids - Additives - Metabolites - Enhances performance - Sodium bicarb milkshake prevents lactic acid build up, given before the race BANNED
  33. 33. Aging Horses Small amounts at a time of a highly digestible feed Teeth are extremely important, owner must pay attention to them Senior pelleted diets are complete but for optimum GI health, they need forages
  34. 34. Breeding Meet the requirement of the mare and the foal Nutritional needs change during gestation Early gestation, late gestation or lactation Body condition scoring is essential First 8 months of gestation nutritional requirements are similar to maintenance Last 3-4 months of pregnancy must increase protein, energy, vitamins and minerals Foaling/lactation consume between 2-3 % of body weight
  35. 35. Stallion Nutrition Maintenance until breeding season ( protein requirements are higher than mare maintenance) Assess body condition prior to breeding season Thin stallions can have reduced libido and fertility
  36. 36. Aged Horse Nutrition Genetics and lifestyle determine when a horse is classified as aged Many older horses have dental problems which can lead to severe nutritional problems Motility of the digestive tract can also decrease with age Processed feeds may lead to better absorption
  37. 37. Normal Foal Nutrition Must receive colostrum within the first 18 hours of birth May need an enema to pass meconium The mares diet should provide all the required nutrients so her milk will lead to optimal growth in the foal Coprophagy will actually benefit the foal by providing the GI tract with necessary microbes Orphan foals need a nurse mare, nurse goat or milk replacer
  38. 38. Coprophagy Normal foal behavior, possibly due to pheromones, it should not be discouraged Innoculates the GI tract with necessary bacteria, and vitamins Starts as early as the first week of life, especially during the first two months, utilizing the feces of the mare
  39. 39. Nutritional supplements for foals If foals are unable to feed, they must be supported by enteral or parenteral feeding Delayed feeding of the foal can lead to problems - won’t get colostrum which is necessary for the foals immune system - Reduction in intestinal villi height - Decreased weight of stomach, pancreas and small intestine - Increased risk of necrotizing entercolitis
  40. 40. DOD Alters growth rate Copper is involved in the cross linking of matix Growth plate is a very active region Ca:P ratio needs to be correct
  41. 41. Donkey Feeding and Nutrition Higher forage digestibility Very adaptable, easy keeper Energy- low resting metabolism Can utilize straw Water- don’t need to drink as much because they don’t waste as much energy, and don’t sweat as much Major problems: over feeding leading to obesity Like short grass Utilize protein very efficiently
  42. 42. Laminitis Founder or lameness, especially of the forefeet - Genetic differences in susceptibility - Exposure to black walnut • Inflammation of the sensitive laminae of hoof • Nutritional etiology- carbohydrate overload of hindgut - Grain or lush pasture ( overloading) - Grain with low pre-cecal digestibility * Microbial growth increases lactate and microbial toxins
  43. 43. Laminitis ( con’t) Preventative nutritional intervention includes: - Avoid sudden exposure to lush pasture or grain - Maintain susceptible animals on dry feed such as grass hay - If grain mix is used, factor in pre-cecal digestibility and glycemic index - If grain is fed, feed using Virginiamycin as an additive
  44. 44. Azoturia Characterized by dark, sweet-smelling urine, myoglobinuria, severe muscle cramping ( tying up), animal is stiff and sore and in great pain A genetic condition may predispose horses to this condition ( improper use of glycogen) Associated with hard exercise and forced immobility Vit E and Se deficiency and electrolyte imbalance may predispose horses to it
  45. 45. Azoturia nutritional intervention Feed balanced ration in small meals to avoid excess glycogen storage Feed a low – energy diet with added fat and avoid grain Feed high-quality alfalfa hay but make sure to balance for Ca and P
  46. 46. Starvation and Neglect Detrimental effects on the immune system, digestive tract health, healing and body score Feeding a starved, neglected horse ( Stull, 2003) 1. Days 1-3 one pound of leafy alfalfa every 4 hours 2.Days 4-10 increase amount of alfalfa to four pounds every 8 hours by day 6 3. Day 10 to several months feed as much alfalfa as the horse will eat twice a day. Provide a salt block. Do not feed grains or supplements until the horse maintains a normal body score
  47. 47. Colic Generic term for abdominal pain caused by distension of the gastrointestinal tract Many causes of colic are related to the diet Impaction - Due to reduced water intake - Poorly digestible feeds - Ingestion of sand - Sudden diet changes - Poisonous plants
  48. 48. Colic ( cont) Gas- from fermentation - Consumption of lush green forage or grain - Sudden change to a much lower nutritional plane • Irritation of gastrointestinal tract or alteration of motility - Poisonous plants - Blister beetles in hay
  49. 49. Possible Causes of Colic Feeding unwholesome feeds Horses bolt their feed Overfeeding Irregular feeding schedule One large meal per day Diet changes without a transition period Inability to vomit
  50. 50. Vitamin deficiencies Se and Vit E - White muscle disease and steatitis in foals - Reproductive failure and azoturia in adults - Equine motor neuron disease due to low plasma vit E White Muscle Disease - stiff, stilted gait, hopping in rear legs - Necropsy shows mottled white patches of gritty feeling muscle
  51. 51. Vitamin Def ( cont) Selenium deficiency - In presence of adequate vitamin E - Generalized steatitis - Subcutaneaous fat is grossly tan and appears necrotic • Biotin deficiency - Hoof wall problems - Low in grains - corn and soybean meal> oats> wheat, barley and milo - Bacteria in gut generates avidin which binds biotin