NRC panel updates Nutrient Requirements for Horses - DVM
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NRC panel updates Nutrient Requirements for Horses


Voluntary intake by horses, and feeding behavior of foals and mature horses on pasture, provide a look at why horses eat the way they do and their consumption of forages and grains when available.

Animal, environment and feed/forage effects on feeding behavior provide insight on the factors that relate to the intake behaviors of horses. One section addresses "vice" feeding behaviors, such as cribbing, wood chewing, coprophagia and geophagia.

The chapter on "Unique Aspects of Horse Nutrition" discusses "nutritional management of specific disease conditions, including laminitis, colic, hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, exertional rhabdomyolysis syndrome, polysaccharide storage myopathy, developmental orthopedic disease, nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, gastric ulcer syndrome, enterolithiasis and recurrent airway obstruction. In addition to these disorders, nutrition of the nursing and orphaned foal, the aged horse and horses fed in extreme cold and hot environments are discussed.


Lawrence says that "several mathematical equations have been derived to provide more dynamic estimates of requirements for some physiological states, including growth, gestation and exercise.

"The requirements shown in the tables provide recommendations for broad classifications of horses, whereas the computer program allows some flexibility in calculating the nutrient requirements for a specific animal."

The committee says it used the best estimates and best actual data available, and provides notes to the user to "to recalculate requirements when they possess specific information on nutrient availability for the rations being fed in practice."

Though the committee reviewed the latest literature on equine nutrition, "it is not possible to predict every combination of variables that could influence the nutrient requirements of a specific animal," says Lawrence. "Therefore, it is incumbent upon the user to accurately access the factors that could alter requirements and then apply appropriate adjustments."

Ed Kane is a Seattle author, researcher and consultant in animal nutrition, physiology and veterinary medicine, with a background in horses, pets and livestock.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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