Providing Nutritional Support for the Equine Skeletal System

Throughout a horse’s life, bone adapts and changes continually in relationship to its environment. Osteochondrosis (OCD) is the failure of the bone to develop strong cross-linkage of collagen fibers (which affects the cartilage) and is most commonly caused by poor nutrition, mechanical trauma, and rapid growth, with nutrition being the most important. Lesions caused by OCD can result in serious
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Throughout a horse's life, bone adapts and changes continually in relationship to its environment. Osteochondrosis (OCD) is the failure of the bone to develop strong cross-linkage of collagen fibers (which affects the cartilage) and is most commonly caused by poor nutrition, mechanical trauma, and rapid growth, with nutrition being the most important. Lesions caused by OCD can result in serious lameness and might show only when the horse is stressed. According to research done by Colorado State University, 55.9% of the horses presented to them with OCD were less than a year old.

Although genetics play a strong role in the growth and development of a foal, how can you influence your horse's health pre- and post-conception to ensure he or she develops and maintains healthy bones and joints? Jack Grogan, CN, chief science officer for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has formulated nutritional supplements to support healthy joint, bone, and connective tissue function.

Grogan explains, "Although factors such as (being) overweight, prolonged or intense activity, and improper shoeing can contribute toward the likelihood of developing OCD, addressing the daily nutritional requirements in the development of cartilage and bone, regardless of age, is of primary importance.

"It is particularly beneficial to begin with the necessary nutritional requirements during early periods of growth and development for the formation of a strong skeletal system," Grogan continues. "Meeting the nutritional demands of the fetal skeletal system while mares are pregnant can support stronger bone development for foals. Increasing specific trace mineral complexes during the accelerated growth period of weanlings is especially helpful in building a firm foundation, and continuing nutritional support as bone development and density increases for yearlings is very effective

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