Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Value Of Equine Inflammation Management Supplements

By Gregory Price

Caring for sport horses is complex. When animals are under heavy work, and their value lies in performance, many things change. Racehorses, show jumpers, and successful eventers are prone to disorders like lameness, back troubles, and life-threatening ulcers. Equine inflammation management supplements, which are beneficial for all these problems and others, can be especially valuable for gastric conditions.

When as many as 80% of animals examined by vets have this problem, it makes prevention vital. It's always easier to keep a condition from developing rather than trying to deal with it once it occurs. Horseowners need to understand how a horse's system works and what causes problems that are becoming routine.

Horses in the wild eat grass around the clock, with short times out for resting. Horses in stalls, however, often have regular feeding times with periods of fasting in between, when they have eaten their hay and have to wait for more. Show or racing horses also need the concentrated energy and calories of grain, which make their systems more acidic than roughage does.

When a horse grazes, it chews the roughage and mixes it with alkaline saliva. In order to digest the constant supply of roughage, the horse secretes stomach acid continually. This is good when roughage is always available but can cause problems when it is limited. When there is no protective mass of roughage in the stomach, the acids can damage the intestinal lining.

What does this have to do with inflammation? Well, ulcers are caused by inflammation in the digestive tract. In fact, most problems originate with inflammatory responses in this core system. This is why arthritis in humans is often addressed with dietary changes. Supplements are preferable to NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory drugs) because the drugs often used to treat body soreness or lameness can aggravate ulcerous conditions.

Horses love the legume alfalfa, and feeding alfalfa hay is recommended for ulcers. The owner should be careful to find very soft hay, free of sharp sticks which can perforate a damaged intestinal wall. It might be wise to shake out the hay, so you're feeding mostly leaves, or to substitute soaked alfalfa cubes. These are good sources of roughage.

Minimize stall confinement if possible, and allow the animals access to mixed pasture. If this is not feasible, horses should at least be able to see other horses, since they are herd animals by nature. This will lower stress, as do familiar surroundings and companions. Research shows that silence and natural darkness are stress-relieving. Using a slow-feeder net can help even over-weight horses have hay in front of them most of the day and night.

Anti-inflammatory herbs that help alleviate muscle, joint, and foot pain are often great digestive aids, too. Tumeric and boswellia, which work on pain and swelling, are often recommended for intestinal disorders. All horsemen should know how the horse's system operates and how to keep it in good working order.

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