Q:

Should you feed supplements to senior horses?

A:

Quick Answer

Senior horses may need supplements as their bodies become less efficient at digesting food. However, supplementation should only begin after blood tests indicate the horse's kidneys and liver are healthy.

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Should you feed supplements to senior horses?
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Full Answer

Elderly horses start having trouble digesting their food and getting enough nutrients and energy to remain healthy. This can start occurring in horses in their 30s, and many owners counter the problem with supplementation. It is recommended that a veterinarian perform blood tests to ensure the horse's kidneys and liver are able to handle the added supplements.

Supplementation begins with increasing fiber and fats in the horse's meals. Owners like to give horses beet pulp mixed into their feed as this is highly digestible. Others wet down their older horse's grains with vegetable oil to increase their fat intake, as fats are loaded with easy energy. Supplements containing extra vitamins and minerals are added carefully into the horse's diet as some nutrients are stored in the body. Over time, an excess of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K can build up and cause a toxic reaction. Horse owners side step this potential problem by feeding their horses commercially prepared concentrates and supplements designed for use with specific brands of feed.

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