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Sweet Horse Feed Recipies with Added Molasses
(i.e. Sugar) May Contribute to Underlying Equine Health Conditions

Molasses has been added to horse feed recipies to decrease the dust that is usually found in substances that contain oats and other grains. To the horse’s palate, the sweetness is quite tasty, and you will find that they will prefer the sweet food over other kinds. Yet horse owners are beginning to wonder if this added sugar may not be related to such illnesses as diabetes, hyperactivity, colic, founder, as well as equine Cushing’s disease.
Consider that horse feed contains about ten percent molasses. This molasses, in turn, contains about 40 percent sugar. While this may appear to be high, keep in mind that one pound of dry feed thusly fortified, your horse would only ingest about one tenth of a pound of sugar containing molasses, or four percent of sugar. When compared to the food that the animal may ingest on the pasture from grass and alfalfa hay, the sugar consumption is higher, quite possibly reaching levels of five to 12 percent. As you can see, when compared to a natural diet, the sugar content is not that much higher.

While it is true that hyperactivity may be caused by sugar, it is also true that most grain feeds are specifically designed for active animals that may be performance or working horses. Feeding this kind of mix to animals that are only moderately active will provide them with calories, or energy, they cannot properly expend. It is the amount of calories the owner feeds the horse and the horse’s lack of exercise which that’s problematic.

Fat has been known to decrease the rate with which the blood glucose levels inside an organism rise, and adding fat to the horse’s diet is a good way of helping the animal’s blood sugar to remain level. Using a feed with 10% fat can often help bring blood sugar levels back to normal. Generally speaking, a feed that contains about ten percent of fat will be beneficial.

Quite possibly the best course of action to take when dealing with a horse that suffers from colic and founder, or may be subject to any of the diseases mentioned at the beginning, lies in feeding a diet low in non-structural carbohydrates. Non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) encompass all of the sugars and starches which are fermented in the horse’s intestines by the microbes. This can help any horse that frequently gets colic or has been diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. In addition, a young horse that is still growing and is likely to experience developmental orthopedic disease (DOD), may also benefit from a diet low in non-structural carbohydrates. Some of the popular feeds that are low in non-structural carbohydrates are Timothy hay, alfalfa hay, and other well-known brands of feed.



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