How To Choose The Right Health Supplements For Your Horses

How To Choose The Right Health Supplements For Your Horses

A solid and well-rounded equine healthcare program will help your horse stay happy and healthy. Providing preventive care is a must with horses, and choosing the right health supplements can be a big part of a good, preventative plan. Creating a proper and sustainable diet with the help of supplements can give the animal sustained energy levels, strong immune functions, and healthy skin and coat. 

Continue reading to find four tips to help you select the right supplements for your horse.

Do Your Research

There are plenty of horse supplements on the market. Deciding whether you need supplements, and selecting the right ones, if you do, requires careful planning to optimize the benefits and minimize adverse effects. 

Your first step should be a conversation with your vet, who can help you to identify your horse’s specific health needs. For example, if your animal regularly starts out stiff, your vet might recommend horse joint supplements for that particular concern. 

Even then, it would not be a wise decision to purchase just any equine joint supplement you can find. Remember, this is an entirely unregulated field of products with little to no oversight. Trustworthy companies demonstrate their products’ efficacy through scientific research. Consider choosing another brand if a particular product uses testimonials instead of concrete scientific evidence.

Read The Ingredients

Different brands of specific horse health supplements may provide varying benefits to the animal’s wellbeing. That’s because these products tend to carry different ingredients in different amounts. 

Hence, read the ingredients before making your purchase. Moreover, follow your veterinarian’s advice when making your decision.

Whether you’re looking for multivitamins, digestive, nervous or reproductive system support, immune or joint health, always read the label and pay attention to both the active and the inactive ingredients. 

Here’s a short list of some ingredients that you might come across while looking at the supplements’ nutrition facts:

  • Glucosamine: Glucosamine for horses helps improve joint comfort and supports cartilage production. 
  • Cobalt: This mineral may help promote red blood cell production in horses. 
  • Vitamin A: An essential vitamin that helps promote healthy vision. 
  • B Vitamins: These vitamins are water-soluble, with important functions involved in the metabolism of the animal’s carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. 

Other vitamins and minerals sometimes added to supplements are copper, selenium, zinc and vitamins D, E and K. If you’re considering a vitamin or mineral supplement, test your horse for nutritional deficiencies first. If they aren’t deficient, you likely won’t see any benefits by feeding them extra. Vitamin and mineral supplements will only help horses who are dealing with deficiencies.

Know The Breed

Different horse breeds often have different nutritional requirements. Each horse is an individual, and should be treated as such, but being aware of breed tendencies can help you spot problems early.

For example, some breeds, such as Arabians, Morgans and Quarter Horses, have a higher tendency of contracting equine metabolic syndrome. This disorder is a collection of symptoms and physiological alterations in equines that puts them at higher risk of developing laminitis. Failure to adequately manage equine metabolic syndrome may lead to this crippling disease. 

Knowing what conditions your horse’s breed is prone to is part of a solid preventative healthcare strategy. 

Consult A Veterinarian

Always consult your veterinarian or equine nutritionist before feeding supplements to your horse. Mismanagement in this area may lead to health complications. 

For example, your supplement might contain additional vitamin C for joint health. This particular vitamin can help glucosamine in providing excellent joint health in horses, but too much of it can be harmful. 

The experts can help you decide which supplement is the right choice for your horse. Also, a veterinarian or equine nutritionist can advise you on possible supplement-drug interactions. If there’s a potential issue with one combination, they can help you find an alternative that will work for your equine companion.

Feeding The Right Supplements

Follow the tips posted in this article to help you choose the right health supplements for your horse. Take the time to look around the market for the correct health products for your equine companion, and always make use of your horse’s healthcare team.

Feature image: Christine Mendoza; Image 1: Alex Blăjan

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