An Apple A Day

By: TLC Animal Nutrition, Inc

The way that a horse is used, or the job that he does, is one way to identify the type of wear and tear that a horse may experience on a particular area of his body. So it goes without saying that a horse that needs to use his hocks a lot would have a different injury profile than one that would experience more stress on the front end. Now add to that the individual conformation, like having small feet, contracted heels or a bit cow hocked, and it’s easy to see how prone a horse may be to the associated injury.

Not to be overlooked as a significant factor in avoiding unnecessary injury is the ability of an individual to repair microscopic damage as it occurs. Repair of these injuries is all happening behind the scenes, as there are the millions upon millions of cells interacting with a multitude of functions.

Vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes all work together to fuel this intricate working of the body, and proper nourishment to the tendons, ligaments, the bones or the organs, is essential to support a stable body structure. Conformation and use is the easy part, but this is the part that we can not see.

Many nutrients are dependent on each other and there are millions of cells that rely on those nutrients as fuel. It’s a complex series of actions and interactions. So when there is a weakness in one specific area, it can trigger an action somewhere else, and the overall integrity suffers. Imagine a chain link fence, when all of the links are in place, there is strength. But if you remove just one you have weakened the entire network.

Let’s take one example and say the blood levels are low in calcium, the body may take the nutrients (in this case calcium) from the bone to compensate for the deficiency. However, without the proper mineral balance in the bone, it now becomes weak and more susceptible to fractures and other types of lameness related problems. Another example of this might be the thyroid gland. This ductless gland produces key hormones that are required for growth, reproduction, nerve formation, bone formation and energy metabolism. Without the proper “food” the thyroid will cease to manufacture these hormones at the same level. The body may begin to rob nutrients from other areas and now you increase the chance of fatigue, illness or lameness-related injury.

What causes these deficiencies? There are many contributing factors: stress, injury, illness and even genetics can all burn up nutrients at an alarming rate. Simply put, feed alone may not be enough to support optimum cell development for today’s performance horse.

In closing, if we are not replacing the nutrients the body is burning, we create a nutritional deficit and unknowingly open the door to create a whole host of issues. Follow the simple rule of using nutrient specific profiles to support the necessary body functions. Now adjust the program to fit the needs for your Equine partner and just maybe ward off a host of lameness related issues.

Our products are designed to meet the needs of horses in many difficult situations and we’ll make sure that your horses thrive on the top quality products that we have to offer!

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TLC Animal Nutrition, Inc