Low NSC is common in alfalfa since legumes store carbohydrates as starch. • Alfalfa Hay can mix with Timothy up to a 50:50 ratio. The crude protein content is 8%. Insulin Resistance/Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) in Equines. The National Research Council (NRC) has established lysine requirements for all horses. The NSC range of straw may be generally low, but it can be as high as 17.1%, which is unacceptable for the insulin resistant horse. But I always included some, albeit a small amount. Avoid alfalfa that has been treated with propionic acid. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses' diets, even for those who are insulin resistant (IR). https://www.succeed-equine.com › succeed-blog › 2015/12/02 › hay-is-for- Best hay for insulin resistant horses Oat and rye grass hays have more sugar than do timothy hay or orchard grass hays. They include: • Reduce sugars in the horse’s diet. Elevated insulin can create inflammation with the feet and the IR horse is particularly vulnerable because his insulin level is already elevated. Do not soak for longer periods of time as it causes essential minerals to leach out. Insulin Resistance can arise in response to other disorders, diseases or challenges, but in non-PPID horses the vast majority of IR horses … Oct 25, 2017 - Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those who are insulin resistant (IR). Just so you also fully understand – molasses IS SUGAR. There is some evidence (Loos et al, 2019) that high protein intakes may … Extreme care is needed with the grain hays in horses that are known to be easy keepers and those who may be insulin resistant, because the soluble carbohydrate level in grain hays is much higher than in grass hays. Beware of External Parasite Health Threats to Horses during Cold Weather, Newly Published Study Confirms Benefits of Hay Steaming over …, What to Expect During Equine Dental Exams, Winter Priorities for Best Practices Horse Health Care, Alfalfa and the Insulin Resistant Horse — The True Story. Alfalfa is nutritionally dense. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. If your horse is overweight, diagnosed with insulin resistance, or suffers from equine Cushing’s disease, here’s a word to the wise: You may want to reconsider giving that supplement. Protein is needed to help repair and maintain tissues. It’s this third path that potentially causes problems for the IR horse. Alfalfa’s protein, sugars and starches will vary based on harvesting techniques, seasonal timing, weather, soil fertility and the maturity of plant bloom when cut. The organic acid has several pathways it can take: (1) It can be burned for energy (especially if the diet is not high enough in calories to meet energy needs); (2) It can be converted to body fat (if the diet is too high in calories); or (3) It can be converted to glucose. For a protein to be of high quality, it must contain all of the essential amino acids in proper proportion. I worry that a horse with insulin resistance from excess iron may not improve if it is given free-choice hay and it continues to shovel in the hay. The horse may get worse. So when you feed alfalfa that has been treated with propionic acid, you are essentially increasing your horse’s blood glucose level, just as you would if you had fed a hay with a large amount of sugar and starch. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses' diets, even for those who are insulin resistant (IR). Waste. If you’d like to do it yourself, table 1 offers suggestions on alternative whole foods that can be incorporated into a grass-based diet. Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is a specialist in equine nutrition whose philosophy is founded on feeding a horse in sync with his natural needs and instincts. It is important to realize that excess protein from any source can lead to excess insulin secretion. ; Alfalfa, often touted as high in sugar, has an NSC range that is reasonable and predictable. Veterinarians should advise clients to: Avoid high-potassium feeds such as alfalfa hay, brome hay, canola oil, soybean meal or oil, and molasses. Now, here are seven downsides of alfalfa. Not considered to be harmful, propionate is one of three volatile fatty acids (VFA) naturally produced by the hindgut bacteria during hay fermentation. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those that are insulin resistant (IR). The amino group quickly becomes ammonia and is converted to urea, which is then excreted from the body in the urine. A grain, alfalfa and molasses free pelleted feed. Dr. Getty is the author of the comprehensive resource, Feed Your Horse Like A Horse, and her articles and interviews often appear in national and international publications. The NSC range of grass hays (both cool and warm … As part of equine metabolic syndrome or Cushings, IR can lead to equine obesity or laminitis. Ref: Doerge, D.R., 2002. Pasture is usually OK. Alfalfa hay should be analyzed by a lab to understand its composition; the protein, starches and sugars will vary based on weather, when and how it was harvested; soil fertility; and how mature the plan was when it was cut. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those that are insulin resistant (IR). Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those who are insulin resistant (IR). The ideal diet for an insulin-resistant horse is a low-Sugar/Starch grass hay with plain beet pulp to carry minerals, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids to complement that hay. There are 22 amino acids, of which ten are considered essential -- they cannot be produced within the horse’s body or they cannot be produced in adequate quantity to meet the horse’s need. Insulin Resistance Metabolic Syndrome. EquiMed® and Horse Health Matters® are registered trademarks of EquiMed, LLC. 110. Although alfalfa hay is often higher in total energy content than grass hays, most of the energy in alfalfa hay is from digestible protein and fiber, rather than from sugars, starches and fructans. The type of plant Cool-season mixed grass: Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. I worry that a horse with insulin resistance from excess iron may not improve if it is given free-choice hay and it continues to shovel in the hay. It is difficult to give you a definite answer on what type of hay is best because the amount of sugar in the hay can vary even within types. The cause isn’t entirely clear, but it may be related to alfalfa having more sugar in the form of glucose, and higher starch. When feeding alfalfa, there is a difference between alfalfa cubes, bales and pellets. For horses (and their owners) seemingly struggling with the small feeding rates of restricted hay and a ration balancer, a low-calorie, extruded feed such as WellSolve W/C ® (Weight Control) can be helpful. And the rest is… well, you get the picture. The ideal diet for an insulin-resistant horse is a low-Sugar/Starch grass hay with plain beet pulp to carry minerals, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids to complement that hay. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse's muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. Bales harvested incorrectly can have dust and mold, as well. But it is always worth checking. And that’s a problem for the IR horse. Once glucose is produced, the pancreas secretes insulin to allow glucose to enter the cells and store body fat. People not familiar If you horse is insulin-resistant, avoid alfalfa hay. Additionally, offering alfalfa cubes rather than pellets will keep horses chewing longer. The horse is not healthy, and adding a little more hay will make that horse balloon up. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. Read more at American Farriers Journal. I found this to be very puzzling since alfalfa is low in sugar and starch, even lower than most grass hays. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse's muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. The seven separate volumes in Dr. Getty’s topic-centered Spotlight on Equine Nutrition series are available with special package pricing at her website, and also at Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Lastly, it has been thought that diets high in simple starches or with a high glycemic index could increase the chance of developing insulin resistance, but this claim has not been proven. Also ideal for HYPP horses. Commercially fortified feeds often include a variety of ingredients to create quality protein. Horses on high sugar and starch diets can develop laminitis, colic, and insulin resistance. Alfalfa hay can also be useful in the diets of horses with insulin resistance. The high calcium content of alfalfa causes an imbalanced calcium/phosphorus ratio if not corrected by other feeds or supplements. If you can find some, it is often easier to feed hay that contains an appropriate sugar level. EquiMed does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Mobile Veterinary Services The Hay Wars: The Truth About Grass Hay Vs. Alfalfa Hay. Hay should be free of Mold. Here is how it happens: Inside the liver, an amino acid is broken apart into two pieces – an amino group and an organic acid. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system and overall health. This can make it a useful dietary addition to the feed for metabolic horses if they can tolerate it. Alfalfa hay is not considered grass hay. Oat hay can be a good option for some horses, but a bad option for others. Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. - 01/25/2016 Alfalfa pellets and cubes are easier to measure precisely than flakes of hay. Since protein quality is important, consider adding smaller amounts of alfalfa hay or add different protein sources to better stay within limits. These VFAs are a significant energy source for your horse. [READ: Buy the Right Hay] 7 Alfalfa Cons. Ten percent is a sensible amount to add, bringing the protein requirement up to 847 grams per day. Severely affected Insulin Resistant (IR) horses need to be kept below 10% ESC + starch in the total diet, while all Laminitic horses should to be kept below 10% WSC + starch. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. Other factors that Getty mentions are addressing inflammation and lowering iron intake. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system and overall health. Feed timothy or Bermuda grass hay, beet pulp, or grains such as oats, corn, wheat and barley. Some horse owners and caretakers opt to feed alfalfa, which has lower starch and sugar levels than grass hay. Evaluating NSC levels: The NSC range of straw may be generally low, but it can be as high as 17.1%, which is unacceptable for the insulin resistant horse. However, unless it is a true allergic reaction, where even tiny amounts could trigger a response, this is also a matter of dose. “If we have horses who have a higher insulin concentration, we know that keeping them on a low-sugar diet does not stimulate insulin release as much,” says Frank. Other factors that Getty mentions are addressing inflammation and lowering iron intake. Propionate is a major precursor toward glucose production through a process known as gluconeogenesis. Horse Insulin has many jobs and many targets. Instead, alfalfa should make up no more than 20% of your horse’s hay ration. I often recommend feeding it because it boosts the overall protein quality of a grass-hay diet and, in general, enhances the horse’s muscle tone, immune system, and overall health. When feeding alfalfa, there is a difference between alfalfa cubes, bales and pellets. User Agreement and Privacy Policy. Alfalfa itself is not the issue, but rather, its contribution to the protein content of the entire diet. Multiple cuttings from the same field of grass can yield hay with different levels of NSC. He’s been diagnosed with insulin resistance and has already suffered once from laminitis. Ideal for horses with insulin resistance, Cushing’s, EPSM and PSSM requiring additional calories or tend to have allergies. If someone tells you Alfalfa is a problem in Insulin Resistant horses, they do not have the facts. A small serving of a supplement with alfalfa in the base isn’t likely to be a problem. All proteins consist of long, branched chains of amino acids. 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