Tuesday, March 6, 2012
NSC's: It's a bad word ...
I recently had Maggie into the vet for some dental work. She had a few indicators of irritation on the inside of her cheeks and needed her wolf teeth extracted, but overall, her teeth were looking pretty normal. I did however have a lengthy conversation with my vet on Maggie's weight. It's a bit of an issue for her. Morgan's , especially the Lippitt Morgan , as opposed to Brunc junk ( no offense to anyone, it's just a term used for the Morgans that are today's show bred horses and have some other breed influences) are prone to being easy keepers. Maggie weighed in at almost 1200lbs. Ideally, she should be around 900-1000 for her height and bone, muscle structure. Morgan breed + overweight can be a pre cursor to Cushings, founder, and insulin resistance. I am all too well aware of this. As a result, I don't grain Maggie. Even two summers ago when I rode the snot out of her, she got good quality grass hay with about 20" alfalfa. Her energy levels never suffered and we trained and completed a 35 mile LD relatively successfully (i/o/w we finished and she got all A's and B's ) ride story here .
My feeding program that summer was just hay, up until one month prior to race day, I incorporated a small amount of soaked beet pulp and alfalfa pellets. It was more about getting her system accustom to it prior to the ride, knowing that getting someting in her belly with good water content would be important. She did well and in the days after the ride she recovered with out any issues. One week after the ride, we ceased that intake and she was back to just hay.
As spring has been approaching, I have paired Maggie back on her hay consumption already. The temps are not as cold.She doesn't need the added energy. All the horses will be getting penned up in corrals by this weekend to allow the small amount of pasture we do have to come in. We are realtively wet in the spring here in NW Montana and our grass has realtively high sugar content in the valley. When we do begin to let horses out onto grass, (usually by early July) it's abbreviated.1/2 hour at first and then build from there. Maggie however, will most likely be kept at only a half hour or just some hand grazing. She'll spend her spring and summer dry lotted until August when the grass starts to dry up and lose it's sugar content. My vet wants me to use a grazing muzzle on her this summer. We'll see how she does with dry lotting first. If she starts escaping , we might have to go to the grazing muzzle.
I have copied an exerpt from an interesting article recently published in Horse.com. A horse like Maggie is one that most informed horse people look at and know that watching NSC's is going to be crucial with her. The article takes a different approach on NSC's. A study was done for those Non Obese horses and what their risk with NSC's might be. I have inserted the oepning paragraph's below but if your interested in reading the entire article, I have added the link down further in this post. It's an interesting read.
By Nancy S Loving, DVM
The words "nonstructural carbohydrates" have become almost synonymous with "bad news" in the horse industry, mainly because many owners' goals have been to reduce these sugars and starches (while increasing fat levels) to provide "safer" calories for certain horses. Such strategies are desirable for horses with conditions such as recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis, polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), equine metabolic syndrome, or Cushing's disease, but until recently it was unclear what an NSC diet means for a "normal," nonobese horse.
At the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas, Joe Pagan, PhD, president of Kentucky Equine Research (KER), described his and colleagues' research on the effects of carbohydrate and fat intake on glucose tolerance in the healthy horse.
For more on the above article- Click HERE on Nonsturctural Carb Tolerance.