The Process of Bone Deterioration and Demineralization (This applies specifically to fractures, navicular, OCD and other deteriorative bone conditions)
Bone deterioration is a result of bone resorption, a process in which bone cells called osteoclasts break down bone and release the minerals, resulting in a transfer of nutrients from the bone matrix to the blood. These cells break up the organic and inorganic portions of bone, removing the minerals which comprise the bone density, and transporting the material away from the area, leaving the bone in a weakened state. This process, known as bone resorption is stimulated, or inhibited by, signals from other parts of the body, depending on the demand for specific nutrients. An acid diet will induce such effects, so diets containing foods that promote acidic conditions will lower pH values and promote bone loss. Diets consisting of alkaline forming foods raise pH values and promote bone preservation. In humans, this can be seen in the Western diet as it consists mostly of acidic forming foods such as meat, dairy, soda and alcohol and we have the highest incidence of osteoporosis of any other country or individual nationality. In the horse, influencing factors like stress, illness or mineral availability will greatly influence pH levels and for this reason, minerals must be properly balanced to create the most favorable conditions for bone retention and integrity.
do we correct this imbalance?
Most people simply think they need to increase calcium, since we’ve been told time and again how calcium helps develop strong bones. Calcium is certainly an important component when it comes to supporting bone integrity, and most of the calcium in the body is stored in the bone. However, there are other elements that make up the bone matrix and there are other factors that influence calcium solubility; and calcium solubility determines how well calcium is utilized in the bone. Not only do these other elements effect the ability of the body to use calcium in the bone structure but also influences the pH levels in the blood so helps to determines how much calcium is retained in the bone. With the proper conditions and delivery of bone building nutrients in specific proportion that optimizes absorption, we can greatly minimize or even eliminate degenerative effects of horses in a nutrient deficient state.
Calcium Deposits/Bone Spurs (This will include ringbone and side bone)
Diets providing a vitamin/mineral imbalance where calcium is out of balance with the nutrients needed for proper utilization is likely the main cause for most calcium deposits. Diets too high in Vitamin D and/or calcium relative to some of the other nutrients in the bloodstream will create difficulty for the body to convert calcium into its liquid state and will likely gradually accumulate on a specific area, getting larger over time. Trauma to the area may also increase the need for calcium (this is why we see calcium deposits in/around joints more than anywhere else - the energy from walking/running is transferred to a specific area and the body attempts to build the area up by asking the body for more calcium - and the body is responding, it just can't use the calcium correctly).
Give TLC's Equi-Bone to improve calcium solubility. Assuring conversion of calcium to its proper liquid state means that the mineral is available to be absorbed by the bone, rather than collecting on top of it. Over several months there may be an effect of dissolving excess calcium and reducing the size of the existing calcium accumulation, which can reduce or even eliminate the pain associated with it.
Dietary Changes (Applies only to calcium deposits and related issues)
For most injuries we will leave the diet alone, however we typically make some dietary adjustments for horses with calcium deposit problems. Since hypercalcemia is responsible for producing the problem, we typically try to eliminate Vitamin D3 and supplemental calcium from the diet. These nutrients are the catalyst to allowing the calcium deposit to develop, so failure to comply with this may reduce the supplements ability to be effective. To start with we ask that you reduce or eliminating alfalfa hay, which delivers almost entirely calcium and not enough other nutrients to balance out the high calcium content, switching to grass hay can really help us get the calcium:phosphorus ratio back in check. Secondarily commercial grains (anything sold with a vitamin/mineral pack added in where Calcium & Vitamin D have been added to the grain). Any grain without a vitamin/mineral fortified additive is ideal. We have a feeding recipe available HERE for how you can mix your own grain using oats or beet pulp without molasses. Please call or e-mail with specific questions or concerns with making these specific changes.