Equine Nutritional Deficiencies: Hair Analysis vs. Bloodwork

Here’s a look at what hair analysis and bloodwork each can tell you about your horse’s nutritional health.

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Equine Nutritional Deficiencies: Hair Analysis vs. Bloodwork
Because bloodwork might not accurately reflect deficiencies and hair testing is a look at history rather than current events, the best way to evaluate whether nutritional deficiencies exist is to look at the diet. | Photo: Photos.com/The Horse

Q.​ What’s the best way to discover any nutritional deficiencies your horse might have: a blood test, a hair analysis, or both? And is there one test that does everything?

Kerry, via e-mail

A. Checking your horse for nutritional deficiencies is a good idea, because living long-term with even suboptimal nutrition might have health or performance consequences. As you mention, there are various ways to assess nutrient status, including bloodwork, hair analysis, and looking at the dietary levels of the various

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Written by:

Clair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Clarity Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. She works as a consultant with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses and provides services to select companies. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club.

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