Nutrition and Hoof Growth

At the 15th annual Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium January 21-23, Edgar A. Ott, PhD, of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida, presented a review of the literature and research conducted at the University of Florida with E. L Johnson, PhD (which he completed with Johnson, also of the University of Florida) that focused on nutritional effects on hoof growth. Following are their conclusions, based on 19 research sources:

  • Nutritional factors that are required for growth of the animal may not have a positive effect on hoof growth and development;
  • Rapid hoof growth and quality hoof growth may not be synonymous;
  • Amino acid availability and those factors required for conversion of the amino acid methionine to cysteine are probably very important in hoof growth and development;
  • Minerals such as calcium and zinc are critical for hoof growth and development.
  • Proteinated trace minerals, zinc, manganese, and copper have a positive effect on hoof growth in young animals, but do not seem to influence hoof quality.
  • Fat supplementation does not seem to influence hoof growth or quality.
  • Biotin can improve hoof quality in some horses, but not hoof growth rate.

About the Author

Christy M. West

Christy West has a BS in Equine Science from the University of Kentucky, and an MS in Agricultural Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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