Six tips for feeding horses with metabolic problems
In some horses, levels of ethanol-soluble carbohydrates (sugars) and starch must be carefully controlled to prevent major health problems such as laminitis or certain myopathies.
This is the case for horses suffering from equine metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, insulin dysregulation, “Cushing’s disease”/PPID or Type 1 PSSM/tying-up.
Here are six tips to help you decide what to feed a horse with metabolic problems.
1. Consult a veterinarian
The first thing you should do is consult specialist who can advise you on all aspects of your horse’s health.
2. Have your hay analyzed
Make sure that the combined percentage of ethanol-soluble carbohydrates (sugars) and starch in your hay is less than 11%. If it is above 11%, soak the hay or feed your horse a different forage with a low glycemic index. EconoFoin, for example, can help reduce the total amount of sugar in the ration.
3. Provide at least 1.5% of your horse’s weight in forage per day
Slow feeders are an excellent way of providing your horse with feed throughout the day.
4. Check your horse’s body condition
The goal here is to prevent your horse from gaining excess weight, which can have serious consequences.
5. Check the glycemic index
The glycemic index makes it easy to identify the most appropriate feed for horses with metabolic problems.
Feeds with a very low levels of ethanol-soluble carbohydrates (sugars) and starch (less than or equal to 11%) contain no added grains or sugars and are safe to feed these horses.
6. Balance the ration
Make sure to supplement the ration with a complete vitamin and mineral supplement such as EquiBalance, Tonix, or EquiLibre.
If necessary, provide a protein supplement, such as Topp40, or a complete feed with a very low glycemic index.
EquiBalance and Tonix are the two preferred options for horses suffering from tying-up.