Racehorses have more demanding dietary needs than your average equine. Their ability to compete consistently at peak levels requires a great deal of energy. If your horse’s performance isn’t up to par, it might be a problem with diet and food absorption. Here are five common health symptoms that could be the result of a nutrient deficiency.
Shelly Feet or Cracked Hooves
Strong, healthy feet are crucial for horses to compete. When the hooves become dry, thin and cracked, endurance and performance suffer. Proper foot care and addressing the diet with supplements are the best methods of treatment.
While a horse’s coat may be dull due to infrequent grooming or too much sun exposure, poor nutrition is more often the cause. Feeding a healthy diet that includes key vitamins and minerals is the best way to bring back the shine. Many owners use silicone sprays to conceal coat problems, but these sprays only provide a temporary fix.
Dehydration and Lethargy
Although most horse owners recognize the importance of salt in the diet, sometimes the amount consumed is not enough. Salt is necessary to regulate fluids in the body and produce hydrochloric acid for proper digestion. Due to the amount of sweating they do, racehorses are more prone to salt deficiencies and may show signs of dehydration and lethargy.
Potassium is one of the top nutrient deficiencies in performance horses. Like salt, potassium is lost through sweating and when competing in hot, humid climates. To ensure your horse receives enough potassium, equine performance supplements may be necessary.
A diet that is lacking in protein may lead to stifled development. Protein is needed for the proper formation of amino acids. Without this crucial nutrient, a horse can fail to grow properly. During the first few years of their life, colts and fillies are more likely to have a protein deficiency.
Just like people, horses need the proper vitamins and minerals to thrive. If you think your racehorse may be suffering from a deficiency, a performance horse nutritionist can help get your equine friend back on track.