Evaluating the body condition of pregnant mares may become more difficult during late gestation, as the combined weight of the fetus and amniotic fluid may pull the skin tightly over the vertebral column and ribcage. Therefore, it's best to place emphasis on other key areas: along the withers, behind the shoulder, and around the tailhead.
Proper nutrition is extremely important in managing horses with metabolic disorders. Regulating the amount and type of feed, with special attention to carbohydrates, allows many horses to show minimal disease signs, maintain healthy body condition, stay comfortable, and safely perform exercise.
Some horses are metabolically inclined to be hard keepers while others have medical, psychological or environmental reasons for having difficulty in maintaining weight.
Insufficient caloric intake is the primary cause of failure to maintain sufficient body condition in horses. A variety of reasons may account for caloric deficiency. Some are easy to pinpoint and simple to address, such as parasite loads or teeth problems. Others are impossible to diagnose without euthanizing the horse and performing a necropsy. Physical problems of the digestive tract account for many of these problems, but there may be psychological and environmental reasons as well.
Do we have adequate research and understanding of what the impact of high-fat diets might be to their metabolism or to their overall physical development?
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