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Senior Care


Senior Care- Fortunately, owners can help compensate for their horse’s aging body through diet, preventive care, exercise and other management changes. Research by Dr. Ralston and others has shown that the senior horse’s digestive capacity is similar to that of younger horses that have had their entire left colons removed. This means that the older horse cannot digest fiber as well, which provides energy and promotes a healthy gut. Help make up for this physiologic change by providing fiber that is easier to digest (higher quality hay, soaked hay cubes, beet pulp, complete feed) as well as pre- and probiotics, yeast and enzymes. Senior horses may also benefit from being supplemented with Vitamin C and B-vitamins, since their aging bodies need more of these nutrients but produce them less efficiently. Ralston has also shown that senior horses do not digest protein as well. Offset this by providing higher-quality protein and more of it: 14 – 16% instead of the 10 – 12% younger adult horses require. Supplementing with the amino acids lysine and threonine has been shown to improve muscle mass in aging horses, and is another option. If your senior horse is on the thin side, consider adding a fat supplement for additional calories, choosing one with omega-3 fatty acids for their anti-inflammatory properties. When adding fat to any horse’s diet, but especially senior horses, it is always a good idea to also add Vitamin E as an antioxidant.