Soaking Hay: How Much Sugar Is Actually Removed?
Grasses and hays high in water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) can spell disaster for horses with laminitis or insulin resistance (IR). Some veterinarians and nutritionists suggest soaking hay to reduce the amount of WSC in the hay (because water-soluble means these simple sugars dissolve in water), but how much WSC content does soaking actually reduce? According to one team of researchers, it varies depending on how long the hay is submerged.

High WSC levels markedly affect blood-insulin responses in horses and often cause an exaggerated response in laminitic or IR horses. Exaggerated insulin responses can lead to potentially life-threatening bouts of laminitis.

Led by Annette Longland, BSc, PhD, DIC, of Equine and Livestock Nutrition Services in Wales, U.K., a group of researchers recently set out to test the effects of soaking on the WSC and crude protein (CP, to see how much protein was leac

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