Feeding Practices at U.S. Equine Veterinary Hospitals

Researchers found that 58% of responding hospitals said they consult a nutritional adviser about feeding their patients and 21% reportedly feed all patients the same type of feed.
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feeding practices at U.S. equine veterinary hospitals
Colic surgery was the most common reason a horse would require a specific nutritional protocol, researchers found. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Rebecca McConnico

Proper nutrition and a balanced diet are important components in keeping horses healthy. But nutrition is even more critical when a horse’s health has been compromised, such as during serious illness or after surgery. In such cases, many horses stay at equine veterinary facilities to receive around-the-clock care, but recent study results suggest some clinics might not be placing enough emphasis on nutrition during horses’ hospital stays.

“I was surprised at the number of equine veterinary hospitals that did not have specific nutritional protocols in place for conditions such as laminitis, colic, tying-up, etc.,” said equine researcher Jo-Anne Murray, PhD, MSc, PgDip, PgCert, BSc (Hons), BHSII, RNutr, PFHEA, associate dean of digital education at the University of Glasgow College of Medical, Veterinary, and Life Sciences, in Scotland.

Murray and colleagues sent out 115 surveys to U.S. veterinary hospitals, and 24 facilities responded. While 79% of respondents reported taking rehabilitative status and type of surgery/ disorder into consideration when deciding feed types, 21% of respondents reportedly fed all patients the same type of feed, despite their condition

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Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as a certified equine acupressure practitioner. She also hosts a blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse. Once an avid barrel racer, she now enjoys giving back to the horses who have given her so much.

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