Dr. Gray’s Featured Presentation from the 2008 AAEP Healthy Horses Workshop- “Nutrition: The key to unlocking your horse’s health”

KEY #4—Nutrient Requirements of Horses

For many years, veterinarians, nutritionists, feed manufacturers, teachers, students and horse owners relied on the fifth edition of the National Research Council (NRC) Nutrient Requirements of Horses, published in 1989. Fortunately an updated version was published last year, making this valuable reference for the horse industry much more current.

The purpose of this NRC publication is to review and summarize the existing scientific literature regarding the nutrition and feeding of horses as it relates to nutrient requirements of the different physiological classes: foals, weanlings and yearlings; adult horses in various levels of work; and breeding animals. The committee that prepared the publication makes clear that their suggested values may not meet the needs of all horses in all situations and that adjustments may be needed for individual horses or to meet specific goals.

Contents of the NRC Nutrient Requirements of Horses:
1. Energy
2. Carbohydrates
3. Fats and Fatty Acids
4. Proteins and Amino Acids
5. Minerals
6. Vitamins
7. Water and Water Quality
8. Feeds and Feed Processing
9. Feed Additives
10. Feed Analysis
11. Feeding Behavior and General Considerations for Feeding management
12. Unique Aspects of Equine Nutrition
13. Donkeys and Other Equids
14. Ration Formulation and Evaluation
15. Computer Model to Estimate Requirements
16. Tables

Chapter 12 covers the role of nutrition in some common equine medical problems, including nursing and orphan foals, “old age,” feeding management of horses in cold or hot weather, and nutritional management of specific disease conditions. Covered in this last section are hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), tying up, PSSM, developmental orthopedic disease (DOD), laminitis, nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, ulcers, colic and recurrent airway obstruction.

Because reviewing and summarizing information about the digestive physiology of the horse was outside the charge of the Council, the next “key” will provide a brief description of the parts and purposes of the digestive tract so the information in the Nutrient Requirements of Horses is more helpful.

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

Posted in Ask the Vet

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