Horse Facts-Clinical signs due to equine nutritional imbalances

Changes in the horse’s appearance, behaviour, or productivity (performance, growth, milk production, reproductive efficiency etc) often provide the first indication that something is wrong with the diet.  Unfortunately, these changes are usually fairly non-specific.  In some cases, however, particularly as the nutrient imbalance becomes more severe and prolonged, there may be more specific signs that may help identify the problem.

Most nutrients are involved in many functions and organs and these functions and organs are affected by a deficiency and excess of a number of different nutrients as well as numerous non-nutritional factors.  For example, while deficiencies of calcium, phosphorus or Vitamin D may produce bone abnormalities, inadequate intakes of copper, manganese, zinc, and Vitamin A may also result in skeletal defects.  Skeletal problems may also result from excess molybdenum, fluorine, vitamin A or vitamin D.

Clinical signs characteristic of nutrient deficiencies and excesses are shown in the below table.

Clinical signNutrient deficiency causesNutrient excess causes
Decreased feed intakeWater, Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium, Zinc, Vitamins A, D and B1Fluoride and Vitamins A and D
Decreased weight, growth, production and/or performance abilityEnergy, Protein, Calcium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamins A, D, E, and B1Fibre, Zinc, Fluoride, Vitamins A and D
Poor hair coat and/or hair lossProtein, Phosphorus, Iodine, Zinc, Vitamins A and ESelenium, Iodine, Vitamin A
Weakness, lethargy, fatigue, listlessnessPotassium, Selenium, vitamin ASelenium, Vitamins A and K
Ataxia, “wobblers” and/or posterior weaknessMagnesium, Vitamins B1 and ESodium, Selenium & Vitamin A
BlindnessVitamin A (blindness at night)Selenium
LamenessCalcium, PhosphorusSelenium, Fluoride
Stiff MovementSelenium, Vitamins E and B1Selenium, Fluoride, Vitamin D
Hoof defects or slow hoof growthProtein, Biotin & ZincSelenium or grain-induced laminitis
DODProtein, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iodine, Copper, ZincEnergy
DiarrhoeaFibre, SeleniumGrain, Sodium, Selenium
ColicFibre, hypomagnesemiaGrain and Vitamin K
DehydrationWater and Sodium
Excess lickingSodium, Potassium & Chloride
PicaSodium, Potassium, Chloride, Phosphores & Protein
Polyuria (increased urination and volume of urine)Sodium, Vitamins D and K
Hematuria (blood in urine)Vitamin K
HaemorrhagingVitamin K
Muscle TremoursHypomagnesemia & Vitamin B1
Convulsions/seizuresHypermagnesemia & Vitamin AVitamin D
Impaired immunitySelenium & Vitamin AIron
Dyspnea (laboured breathing), increased respiratory and/or heart rateSeleniumVitamin D
AneamiaVitamin AVitamin A, Selenium & Zinc
Nursing difficultySelenium
Subcutaneous swelling and/or oedemaVitamin E
Excess lacrimation (shedding of tears)Vitamin A
Teeth mottled/pittedFluoride

Evaluation and formulation of a diet is the earliest, most diagnostic and the best and in some cases the only way to diagnose and correct many nutrient imbalances. Ranvet offers a wide variety of multivitamins, mineral and protein supplements that can help prevent nutritional imbalances, these include:

Aminovite Plus- Powdered Multivitamin

Ration Balancer- Pelleted Multivitamin

Folactin Blue- Mineral Supplement for Stables Horses and horses on High Grain Diets

Folactin Red-  Mineral Supplement for Paddocked Horses

Folactin Red Plus- Mineral Supplement for Growing & Breeding Horses

Power Formula- Protein and Mineral Supplement for Racehorses

Ranvet 500- Protein and Mineral Supplement for Growing & Breeding Horses

Topline FX- Protein and Mineral Supplement for Performance Horses


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Experts in Equine Nutrition

Every product in the Ranvet range has been developed to meet a horse’s most specific need at any given time, be it in a training environment or on a breeding farm. Having pioneered the formulation of specific medications and dietary supplements for horses, the company is now recognised as a leader in the areas of equine health and nutrition.

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