Feeding An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
We had so many comments on our “Two Things To NEVER Feed Your Horse” post and the What Goes In The Bucket? post that we will continue to focus periodically on an overall healthy feed program on the blog. It is exciting to see owners wanting to learn more about what is actually going into their horse. It is even better when they make changes to improve their horse’s diet; and it is THE BEST when they let us know how they have seen a change in their horse!
Feeding an anti-inflammatory diet is a very good idea for performance horses, older horses or those prone to diseases such as Cushings. There are a few simple changes you can make. Some owners even say they see a difference right away.
- Allow your horse to have access to low glycemic grass hay all day. Horses were not designed to go through periods of fasting which can cause ulcers, hindgut acidosis and just general digestive upset. Free choice hay that is low in calories, sugar and starch can even out a horse’s metabolism so don’t worry about your horse getting a “hay belly” or gaining weight.
- Be careful what kind of “grain” you are feeding. Stay away from oats, corn, soy and added sugars like molasses. These are all HIGHLY INFLAMMATORY and can cause a myriad of health issues. A better choice is alfalfa, grass pellets or beet pulp but make sure your beet pulp is not mixed with molasses.
- Choose a high quality Vitamin and Mineral Supplement. The DePaolo Equine Concepts’ Essential was created by a veterinarian to not only insure your horse is getting good quality ingredients but that he is also getting enough supplement daily to fill the nutritional gaps our domesticated horses face.
- Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases. Great sources are flax (linseed) oil, seeds or meal, rice bran or olive oil. These can add needed fat to the diet without causing metabolic issues.
Inflammation is at the root of many diseases and a common cause is a poor feed program. Hormone imbalances, insulin resistance and founder have all been traced to inflammation. The bottom line is to try to cut out inflammatory feeds and focus on a diet of anti-inflammatory items to keep your equine partners happy and healthy.