This month our technical blog focuses on one of our new range of products – ColiHOOF Gastro-Hoof Care, offering a unique Digestive and Hoof Health fusion formulation to provide optimum nutrition for healthy hooves whilst helping to prevent ulcers and maintain optimum digestive health. Lisa Elliott, MSc from Equine Nutrition Solutions – explains why healthy hooves are so important, what they need to be healthy, why hoof health is so dependent on digestive health and how you can provide the best nutrition to help keep your horse’s hooves strong, flexible, and functioning well throughout their life:
Whatever your horse does – from eventing to endurance – healthy hooves are pivotal to their health, balance, and performance and the old saying ‘no hoof, no horse’ is 100% true. Providing hooves with the right nutrition is essential to maintain optimal strength and function and minimise destruction, and a good place to start is knowing what the hoof needs to remain healthy:
What makes a healthy hoof?
Healthy hooves need specific nutrients to support each part of the hoof both internally and externally, supporting a range of structures such as tendons, bone, blood vessels, tissues, and of course, hoof horn. Without the right nutrition for strong, healthy hooves, soundness and quality of life can be negatively affected.
Maintenance of hoof structure, both internally and externally is therefore, essential for healthy hooves, so how can you ensure you are supplying the right nutrition to support them?
Basic Hoof Nutrition
Healthy hooves need an optimal balance of the right nutrients at the right levels to make a difference to hoof health within their diet. The key basic nutrients hooves need are:
- Energy – If a horse isn’t receiving the right levels, hoof growth won’t be supported sufficiently. This is because the energy will go towards vital internal organs and general body metabolism before the more external features like hooves.
- Water – hooves need adequate moisture to function well.
Then more specifically:
- Key vitamins and minerals
- Omega fatty acids
Therefore, the best thing you can do nutritionally for your horse’s hooves is to provide a balanced diet which supplies all these key nutrients at the right levels. A diet including ad-lib forage and appropriate energy levels can provide many of these essential nutrients. However, factors such as forage quality, forage type, soil type, season, age, lifestyle, and that all horses are individuals may mean that certain nutrients like protein and specific minerals can fall short of the levels needed for optimum hoof health:
Targeted Joint Nutrition with ColiHOOF
ColiHOOF provides optimum, targeted nutrition for healthy hooves in 2 ways:
In the Digestive Tract
A healthy digestive system is pivotal to hoof health. Even if a horse is receiving a fully balanced, forage-based diet, a compromised digestive system could mean reduced digestion of key nutrients needed to maintain healthy hooves. Additionally, a healthy digestive tract is essential for your horse to gain full benefit from targeted Hoof nutrition.
ColiHOOF is formulated with 50 per cent Coligone, which works throughout the digestive tract using active, natural ingredients to help maintain normal acid levels, helping to prevent ulcers, combat compromised digestive health and support optimum digestion. This unique formulation helps to ensure maximum nutrition for your horse’s hooves, through improved digestive function.
The Coligone within ColiHOOF also provides key pre and probiotics to support and nurture a healthy hindgut microbiome. This is vital because a healthy, balanced, microbiome promotes a healthy hindgut which has a direct impact on hoof health through the gut-hoof connection. A microbiome that becomes unbalanced, can have severe implications for hooves because this can result in conditions like laminitis, which represent a significant threat to hoof health and integrity. Ensuring that the hindgut microbe population is it fully supported for optimal health and balance is, therefore, fundamental for promoting healthier hooves.
The hindgut microbiome is also responsible for producing Biotin from fibre fermentation, which is one of the most important b vitamins for healthy hooves and is scientifically proven to support improved strength and growth. A compromised microbiome won’t be able to digest fibre efficiently resulting in reduced production of B vitamins and a reduced supply of overall nutrients for the horse as fermentation will be less efficient, which will have a negative impact on their hooves. A nurtured, healthy microbiome will maximise Biotin production through improved fibre fermentation, along with other key B vitamins. These B vitamins help support immunity which is important to help prevent infection and disease and support recovery from conditions like laminitis.
In the Hooves
Breed, lifestyle, exercise intensity and environmental conditions can all result in decreased hoof health, which can eventually lead to common hoof pathologies and compromised hoof integrity. ColiHOOF provides a beneficial combination of key nutrients to help mitigate these effects, and provide the building blocks to support hoof health, strength, and integrity in a readily available form:
Essential Amino Acids – Lysine
Hooves are made of protein, in particular a type of protein called Keratin. Amino acids provide the building blocks for proteins and the hooves need key amino acids to build keratin. Lysine is known as the first limiting amino acid which means that without it, protein cannot be synthesised correctly, proteins made are limited and the horse may not be able to make enough keratin. Lysine is an integral part of correct protein synthesis, which is vital to help repair and rebuild, weak, crumbling, or brittle hooves. Lysine can often be deficient in equine diets, so this vital amino acid is included within ColiHOOF in a readily digestible form for easy absorption.
Vitamin E and Selenium
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant which helps to scavenge free radicals and protect cells from oxidative damage. Horses and ponies in higher levels of work have an increased need for Vitamin E to help protect and maintain healthy cells and tissues, including those within the hoof and cell membranes within the hoof capsule itself. Vitamin E will help strengthen and protect working hooves for optimal health and integrity.
Selenium is required in very small amounts, but still has an important role within hoof health and growth. The primary role of selenium in hoof growth is to protect the cell membranes, as it works with vitamin E. Contained inside the cell, selenium protects against free radicals that can cause damage, whilst vitamin E is situated on the cell membrane, providing additional protection to keep the membrane intact.
The levels of selenium the horse receives from their diet, is however, extremely important, because excess selenium can cause hoof damage. The levels of selenium included within ColiHOOF GastroHoof care are ideally balanced to support hoof health while preventing toxicity issues.
When included together Vitamin E and Selenium work synergistically to prevent and combat damage caused by laminitis and more intense work, and assist recovery, so both are supplied by ColiHOOF in highly bioavailable form.
Reduced insulin sensitivity is a major risk factor for endocrinopathic laminitis the most common cause of laminitis. Magnesium is thought to be involved with the action of insulin to clear glucose from the blood following a meal and is, therefore, a key player within the insulin response. Low levels of magnesium within cells could mean a reduced insulin response and decreased insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance). Bioavailable Magnesium is, therefore, included within ColiHOOF to ensure optimal insulin sensitivity is fully supported.
Zinc and Calcium
Zinc has many important roles in hoof strength and function. This essential mineral is involved in the synthesis of collagen, keratins, and many other types of protein, all of which are integral to optimum hoof structure Zinc is also needed for cell reproduction, maintenance, and repair within the external and internal layers of hoof walls, as well as blood vessels, making it vital for a fully functioning, strong and healthy hoof.
Calcium is important when considering hoof health because a lack of calcium can weaken the hooves. Although the hoof capsule only contains very small amounts of calcium it is important for cell attachment in the hoof wall. Hooves also need calcium to bind cells to each other in the horn. Additionally, calcium is a key constituent of bones and will help support strength and integrity in the bones within the hoof capsule. ColiHOOF contains bioavailable zinc and is packed with calcium to fully support optimum hoof health, function, and flexibility.
ColiHOOF Gastro-Hoof Care is suitable for the promotion and preservation of hoof health in all horses and ponies, and those prone to or recovering from laminitis, who may need extra support to rebuild, and repair compromised hooves.
The unique formulation of ColiHOOF means it can be fed daily to a wide range of horses and ponies to support digestive health and provide an optimum blend of beneficial nutrients to aid the development and maintenance of healthy, strong, well-functioning hooves, whatever your horse turns them too.
If you have any questions about creating the best diet for your horse and keeping your horse healthy through the right nutrition, please contact Coligone – 0333 0503785/07986 183616 or email@example.com.