Equine Nutrition

3164 Words Apr 28th, 2005 13 Pages
Equine Nutrition
The digestive system of the horse consists of a simple stomach, small intestines, cecum, large and small colons, rectum and anus. The horse 's stomach is comparatively small for its size. The stomach of an average horse has a holding capacity of about two gallons. This may be the reason horses eat small but frequent meals. From the stomach food moves to the small intestine, which is the main site of digestion. The small intestine empties into the cecum. The cecum; along with the large colon; make up the large intestine. Digestion in the large intestine occurs by action of bacteria and protozoa. (arg.gov.sk.ca)
The energy content found in feeds and how it is measured in Kilocalories (kcal). (arg.gov.sk.ca) which is also
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Adults need calcium and phosphorous to maintain cell function and bone mineral. (arg.gov.sk.ca)
Micro-minerals or trace-minerals required by horses include Iodine, Copper, Zinc, manganese and selenium. Horses use Iodine for fetal development and to regulate metabolism. "inadequate iodine intake in pregnancy can cause serious fetal abnormalities. Foals may be born weak, may not suckle or stand. Thyroid glands can be enlarged (goiter) or normal. Rarely, foals are born hairless or may have ruptured extensor tendons and swollen joints. Iodine deficient newborns may be more prone to infections. Iodine deficient mares may or may not have goiter, a longer gestation and retained placentas. Iodine deficiency can be prevented by feeding iodized salt. Goiter is also a sign of too much iodine or iodine toxicity." (arg.gov.sk.ca)
Copper has been promoted as a bone disease preventative as horses use copper in bone, cartilage, and pigment formation.
Lack of iron can cause anemia but is maor likely to "arise from blood loss due to internal parasites. Iron dextran used to treat baby pig anemia must not be given to horses since fatal, allergic reactions can occur." (arg.gov.sk.ca)
"Conditions such as muscle pain or skin irritation were associated with low serum levels of selenium or zinc." (Wichert et al.) "Deficiencies may cause hair loss and poor wound healing." "Low intakes of selenium cause white muscle disease. Foals are born weak and may not be able
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