Feeding Easy Keepers

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Easy keepers are horses and ponies that maintain or gain weight on a minimum amount of food. While easy keepers are widely considered a joy to own in terms of feed costs, the downside is their potential for obesity, laminitis, and metabolic issues.

Overfeeding a horse is hard on his musculoskeletal system, is contraindicated if he has osteoarthritis, decreases his athletic stamina, interferes with heat dissipation, and can contribute to metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and laminitis. Owners of easy keepers should routinely perform body condition scoring and modify feeding regimens to ensure these horses maintain a healthy body weight. One of the contributing factors to obesity in horses is that owners often fail to recognize what constitutes a healthy body condition score.

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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