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In spring it doesn't take long for the fresh grass to turn our quiet horses into raving lunatics! With the spring grass comes the increased risk of Laminitis, Obesity and metabolic related disorders. Research has shown that pasture-induced laminitis occurs at times of rapid grass growth. The accumulation of certain carbohydrates including fructans, starches, and sugars known as Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC) in pasture forage during the spring, early summer and autumn, particularly after rainfall precipitate this laminitis.
Carbohydrates found in equine diets can be divided into two types: Structural and Non-structural. Structural carbohydrates are often referred to as fibre and are critical in the equine diet. Non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) are sugars and starches that are broken down by enzymes in the horse’s small intestine into simple sugars. These simple sugars are absorbed from the small intestine and circulate in the blood as glucose. The hormone insulin removes glucose from the blood and stores it in the liver and muscle as glycogen, or when an excess amount of NSC is consumed, it is converted to fat and stored throughout the body. Common examples of non-structural carbohydrates in horse diets include cereal grains (oats, corn, barley, etc) and molasses. Research has shown that metabolic disorders such as Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Laminitis, Cushings, Tying-Up as well as behavioural excitability are associated with excess NSC (sugar and starch) and not with structural (fibre) carbohydrates in the diet. Expert nutritionists and veterinarians researching in this field have determined “low carb” to be less than 10% NSC.
Library | 08.08.23
Library | 01.03.22
Library | 23.02.22