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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2005
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    missoula. mt
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    1,622

    Default equine nutrition- why are recommendations so inconsistent???

    OK. I am getting very confused. In the young horse nutrition area especially. I had a scare last week with my yearling filly / swollen ankles were very much pointing to physitis. (Though never officially diagnosed) My vet told me to take her off her grain. Her ankles have returned to normal. I had been feeding her LESS than 3#/day of TC growth, and now she is getting half of that. I've been pouring over the nutrition threads here and it seems most feed ration balancers, but there are some who feed no grain at all. I don't understand the inconsistency. I don't want to starve my baby but I'm scared to death for her ankles to blow back up. My vet says no ration balancer- just hay and minerals and a handful of TC growth. We do NOT have Progressive out here as far as I know. Is there a book on this subject? Does the protein in hay vary that much? I understand our local hay is high in protein but have not had it tested.
    My minerals (designed for this area) are high in calcium and I have also heard that high levels of calcium can contribute to physitis. Do I take her off the minerals? Feed her a generic trace mineral?
    Help please oh knowledgeable coth breeders



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
    Posts
    3,962

    Default

    Oh, good grief, we can't even agree what people should be eating, is it really suprising that equine nutrition isn't cut & dry? Personally, I am a minimalist and would go with forage & vitamin/mineral supplement as required based on deficiencies in your area.
    Jigga:
    Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2006
    Location
    An American Living In Ireland
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    5,659

    Default

    Because depending on the area you live it's hard to know what is best for individuals. As well as horse's are all individual in what they need and can't or can tolerate. Simple is best. Forage with vit and min supp as above poster said and feed according to needs. I seem to have very easy keepers who are doing fine on that but I add other things to the mix as needed.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Posts
    8,701

    Default

    Do you have an independant equine nutritionist in your area you can consult? Maybe call your closest major University vet center and ask for recommendations?

    We are lucky in this area to have a Phd who is wonderful and does seminars and private consultations, it's worth your while IMO especially if you are breeding. In my experience vets have little knowledge of nutrition past the basics unless they have a special interest and have studied it specifically. Requirements also vary by location so I don't know that I would depend on random internet threads (no matter who knowledgeable the individuals are).



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2005
    Location
    California
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    1,119

    Default

    IMO, A balanced ration should be the goal, not a nutritionally deficient or starvation diet. That's called malnutrition. Blaming protein and reducing nutrition in growing youngsters is old school veterinary advice, and not the current thinking among nutritionists per my experience.
    Youngsters need adequate amounts of high quality protein, and those needs are very high and not typically met in most hay.
    I believe some of the old school advice came about because historically owners typically fed sweet feed mixes in addition to hay, and in large quantities, all that sugar maybe caused problems, plus those rations weren't balanced either.. There are now many commercially prepared and balanced feeds out there for a variety of situations, that a term like "grain" is meaningless and cannot be used generically. Instead, it is more useful to think of what you feed in addition to forage as supplements, the goal being to meet the growing youngsters needs to develop normally. I cannot understand the thinking behind promoting a nutritionally deficient diet in any instance, but I know vets still advise this when youngsters experience developmental problems. Perhaps they just figure owners typically overfeed, and that's their stock answer. As has been pointed out, nutrition is a specialty not often pursued by vet students.
    I can understand your confusion! There is no real answer other than to go about having your hay tested and going from there. Every region is different, even the water sources are different and so on. And vets aren't likely to sit down with a calculator and figure out whether or not what is being fed is balanced, so they are just guessing, but that's what needs to done. Nutritionists do that. Advice is often inconsistent, but the nutritional standards aren't. The National Research Council publishes The Nutrient Requirements of Horses (6th revised edition is current), a complicated text primarily for professionals, but if you're a whiz with math equations....
    Is there any way to confirm the diagnosis of physitis? There may be other causes of physitis besides nutrition, but it's not something (knock on wood) I've experienced.
    In any case, best wishes.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2003
    Location
    Staunton, VA, USA
    Posts
    2,492

    Default A book reecomendation for you

    Try my book
    The Horse Nutrition Handbook;
    http://www.foxdenequine.com/book.htm

    Then if you are still confused contact me.

    MW
    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
    Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
    New edition of book is out:
    Horse Nutrition Handbook.

    www.knabstruppers4usa.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2009
    Location
    Alberta's bread basket
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    1,681

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Melyni View Post
    Try my book
    The Horse Nutrition Handbook;
    http://www.foxdenequine.com/book.htm

    Then if you are still confused contact me.

    MW
    This.
    https://www.facebook.com/MariposaSportHorses

    Practice! Patience! Persistence!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2003
    Location
    MO
    Posts
    4,589

    Default

    Because often we are getting our nutrition info. from vets, and they aren't trained in nutrition. Many vets still reccomend pulling youngsters w/physitis or other DOD off all concentrates and putting them on only grass hay. This is old, old, old info. that is no longer true. It has been proven that the "starvation" model isn't good for these types of problems. Horses with growth issues need the proper balance of vitamins/minerals and proteins to grow correctly. Youngsters with these issues need a ration balancer and minerals that are specific to the forage they are receiving. Remember, growth issues are only partly diet/management. Genetics still play a role.

    Thats my 0.02 cents worth
    Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
    --Winston Churchill
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hills...h/112931293227
    www.HillsideHRanch.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2002
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    8,366

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hillside H Ranch View Post
    Because often we are getting our nutrition info. from vets, and they aren't trained in nutrition. Many vets still reccomend pulling youngsters w/physitis or other DOD off all concentrates and putting them on only grass hay. This is old, old, old info. that is no longer true. It has been proven that the "starvation" model isn't good for these types of problems. Horses with growth issues need the proper balance of vitamins/minerals and proteins to grow correctly. Youngsters with these issues need a ration balancer and minerals that are specific to the forage they are receiving. Remember, growth issues are only partly diet/management. Genetics still play a role.

    Thats my 0.02 cents worth
    This. Most vets only know the old starvation methods when dealing with DOD in horses. They are not up on the latest research. My biggest disaster in breeding was long ago when I first started out and resulted from the starvation school of equine nutrition. That case prompted me to consult an equine nutritionist who got me started on ration balancers.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2002
    Location
    Waterford, VA USA
    Posts
    4,966

    Default

    Indy-Lou, Hillside, and Home Again - you guys are so on target!!! There's nothing else to be said except read those posts and act accordingly.....

    That's my opinion!
    Siegi Belz
    www.stalleuropa.com
    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2002
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    16,684

    Default

    You really need to analyze your hay and ration and figure out what you are missing or have too much of. There are on line courses you can take, books you can, nutritionists you can hire, and even an online program you can subscribe to. A ration balancer is not guaranteed to balance anything. Against my hay, it wasn't adequate.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2005
    Location
    California
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    1,119

    Default

    I can't tell you the number of times I've experienced that competent, licensed DVMs have failed to note the difference between percentage of protein in feeds and actual grams of protein calculated by weight of feed stuffs in a ration. It seems the only thing they heard in class was percentage, which is absolutely meaningless unless calculated out by weight to grams. I've had otherwise competent vets tell me the following things: "5% protein is ideal", and, "I would think that the hay would give them everything they need" (this without any data as to hay analysis as a basis for making this statement) and, (in relation to a ration balancer) "Oh 30% protein is way too much!" I'm sorry to add that at least one or more of these comments came from a University teaching hospital with students present. I offer this as further evidence that vet schools do not always highlight nutrition to their students, and that they can graduate and become licensed as competent DVMs in many realms, but not necessarily be competent in nutrition.
    Last edited by Indy-lou; Feb. 25, 2012 at 10:30 PM.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2002
    Location
    FL
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy-lou View Post
    I can't tell you the number of times I've experienced that competent, licensed DVMs have failed to note the difference between percentage of protein in feeds and actual grams of protein calculated by weight of feed stuffs in a ration. It seems the only thing they heard in class was percentage, which is absolutely meaningless unless calculated out by weight to grams. I've had otherwise competent vets tell me the following things: "5% protein is ideal", and, "I would think that the hay would give them everything they need" (this without any data as to hay analysis as a basis for making this statement) and, (in relation to a ration balancer) "Oh 30% protein is way too much!" I'm sorry to add that at least one or more of these comments came from a University teaching hospital with students present. I offer this as further evidence that vet schools do not always highlight nutrition to their

    students, and that they can graduate and become licensed as competent DVMs in many realms, but not necessarily be competent in nutrition.
    I had the same discussion with my own vet. It took sitting down in my tack room with a calculator to help him understand. Once he understood, he was sold.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Posts
    8,701

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy-lou View Post
    I offer this as further evidence that vet schools do not always highlight nutrition to their students, and that they can graduate and become licensed as competent DVMs in many realms, but not necessarily be competent in nutrition.
    A vet is simply a general practitioner, just like your family doctor, or maybe like a ER doctor in some cases. Unless they become board certified in something, or obtain a secondary Phd, their knowledge on many things is limited. I learned many lessons dealing with a couple of my horses over the past decade - both were misdiagnosed and mis-treated by multiple vets. I used to get frustrated about it as well as angry, but what I realized is that other than every day issues and emergencies, one really should consult a specialist. I wish more vets realized their own limitations and did more referrals, just like a human doctor would and should.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2006
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    An American Living In Ireland
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    Default

    I don't think starvation is the key at all. Plus there are different protein choices out there to be chosen from. It's just not black and White. A protein number doesn't scare me in percentage but it does in source.

    I keep finding over and over protein balancers too much for the horses I'm raising. Does not mean I hate them and please don't take my advice because I'm not a nutritionist. Balancers are small amounts you can mix with straights or other feeds. Bagged feed needs to be fed in too high amounts to get the vit and min content. I'm sure some horse's out there can handle that feeding.

    And then I've watched over the years here in Ireland how people feed and the results as those horses grow. Let's just say you show an Irishman the price of a balancer and he'll look at you as if you have 3 heads! Most are raised on pasture, haylage when needed, "meal", when needed but the vits and mins they need. They are not being starved by any means. Most are like mine, keeping the weight off is a bigger battle.

    Let's just say if I had a dime for every thread or experience of people who have horse's on a dry lot, soaked hay, on Peroglide, and fighting lami while being fed a balancer, I'd be a rich girl. When I left the track 10 years ago horse's were still being fed oats, barley, corn and a vit and min supp plus a few other little things(no not drugs) that were not balancers. They were raised well and performed at the highest levels. Most of the protein was coming from alfalfa.

    Anyway, its a minefield for sure and agree vets are not a good source of info. Anyway good luck and there has been good advice here.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2009
    Location
    Alberta's bread basket
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    Default

    Definitely starvation is not the route and usually results in more problems. Nutritional balance is key. The book suggested above teaches you what elements are needed and how to balance the diet.
    https://www.facebook.com/MariposaSportHorses

    Practice! Patience! Persistence!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2010
    Location
    Amsterdam, NY
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    309

    Default

    Short answer...because there are many different feeding methods that work.
    IF YOU THINK YOUR BRAIN IS NOT WORTH PROTECTING WITH A HELMET, YOU'RE PROBABLY RIGHT!

    Damrock Farm



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2006
    Location
    North Central Florida
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    1,382

    Default

    Another thing to consider...what is your filly's turn out situation? The more turn out the better for growing horses. If (considering your location) she is in a stall the majority of the time, she is more likely to be "stocked up". Just food for thought...



  19. #19
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Default

    Equilibrium, do you happen to know the average protein and lysine % of typical hays/grasses in your area?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  20. #20
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    Apr. 4, 2006
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    An American Living In Ireland
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    Default

    Yes JB my haylage is between 9-12% protein. They hay is running around 7%. I believe that's what it was, can't remember now. Most people here keep their youngsters on haylage and do not fuss so much with large amounts of hard feed. It cuts down on hard feed needs. But the vits and mins are what I have to balance. I just have decided to spend money on the best forage I can buy and add the rest as needed. I'm not saying my way is best but I had to do something when the balancers were causing more damage.

    And while not starving horses, if I don't have mine slightly on the lean side when the grass starts to come I fight the bulge all year and with 10 acres and 5 horses I have to have a sacrifice paddock. We have a big 40 acre cattle field next to us and a girl here says wouldn't it be great if the horses lived on that. Well mine would be dead with grazing on purpose grown cattle fields! She doesn't get it. Anyway, I'm rambling sorry.

    Terri
    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.



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