Ask the Vet – What supplements should I start my horse on?

Ask the Vet – What supplements should I start my horse on?


DAN: “How do I know
what supplements to start my horse on?” DR LYDIA GRAY: All me– and you. Because you’re on the
phones, you get this a lot. DAN: Yes. DR LYDIA GRAY: So I’m
expecting you to jump in here. But when I think about– when
I get this question– and I get it a lot. It’s probably the second most
common question I get asked. And I say, well,
the first thing is make sure your horse’s diet
is complete and balanced. And so it’s always forage first. And then it’s making
sure that they have the right
amount of calories, or energy, for the
work that they’re doing and to keep their–
maintain their weight. And then I make sure that
the vitamins and minerals, the protein, meets
the NRC levels. I like to balance my fat. So I make sure that
I have more omega-3s than omega-6– at least a
two or four to one ratio. DAN: Do you want to touch
on that a little bit– why that ratio is important? DR LYDIA GRAY: Well,
because omega-6s– while you need
both, the omega-6s tend to lead to inflammatory
reactions in the body. And so you don’t want that
to be the primary reactions happening. So you need the omega-3s
to balance those out. And so we feed–
many of the feeds we give horses today are
loaded with omega-6s. Grain is very high in omega-6. So if you do feed
your horse grain, then it’s really important
to throw in some omega-3s. And you get those from flax
seed and chia seed and marine sources, fish oil, algae. So like that, you mean? DAN: Yes, exactly. [LAUGHTER] Well, I think that’s
something that a lot of people necessarily consider as far
as omega-6s and omega-3s. Like people feed corn oil
and things of that nature. DR LYDIA GRAY: Right, which is
very high in omega-6s, yeah. DAN: So it could be setting
the horse up for not success. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, yeah. And then always make
sure my horse has salt. And I’m not a fan of
salt blocks, or licks. Because I think that they’re
made for the rough tongues of cattle. So I like to top-dress my
salt, about a tablespoon a day or two tablespoons. And then now I can
think about supplements. So now, I look at my
horse, and I go, “what areas does he need support in? Or, what is he
just not good at?” Now, I happen to have a horse
who’s got a lot of problems. But he has great feet. So I don’t supplement
with biotin. He’s not on a hoof supplement. It’s like the one
thing he’s not on. But he has muscle problems. So he gets extra
vitamin E and magnesium. He’s in heavy work, so
he’s on a joint supplement. He has had colic surgery. So while he’s not
eligible for ColiCare, he does have a
digestive supplement. So I just begin to think
of what areas, because of what I do with my horse
or particular issues he has, just breed or age or size
or whatever history, what he might need additional
support in beyond what he gets from his complete
and balanced diet. And that’s how I approach it. Now, if you can’t do
that, you can always talk to your veterinarian. You can talk to us. You can go online and play
with our wizard, which asks you questions. And when you answer
it, then ba-bing. An answer pops out of
the supplements that might be good for your horse. DAN: Yeah. The wizard can be a lot of
fun to play around with. DR LYDIA GRAY: It’s
very time-consuming. Because you’re like, what
if I change this one thing? And then you go back
and do it all again, and you get a different answer. So there’s some logarithm in it. I don’t know. DAN: Yeah. But it can be a little
overwhelming, especially– DR LYDIA GRAY: It can, yeah. DAN: There’s a lot
of different options. So luckily, Dr. Gray
does a lot of training with our Customer
Care team and keeps us up-to-date on all the latest
supplements, and research, and everything like that. So if you do have any questions,
you can always reach out to us. And we’ll be more than happy
to kind of talk through it and kind of see what works
best for you and your horse. Because– DR LYDIA GRAY: And
I think we set out some of the most common. Like there’s a joint supplement. There’s a hoof supplement. There’s digestion. And for some people,
it would make sense, if you’re going
to go with the basic, to use a multipurpose or
combination supplement. And then you have all
your bases covered in one. DAN: One-stop shopping. DR LYDIA GRAY:
There you go, yeah. DAN: How many wells
are in your SmartPak? DR LYDIA GRAY: I just counted
because there’s six right now. But I need to add something. So I’m going to max
it out with seven. DAN: You got a little
room to play with. DR LYDIA GRAY: I know. One well, but then you can
add more than one strip. DAN: That’s asking for trouble.

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