Coconut at Cushing & Co

Coconut at Cushing & Co

Against civilization diseases in horses

Metabolic diseases, such as Equine Cushing Disease (ECD), Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), Laminitis, or Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM), are among the typical welfare or civilization diseases of modern domestic horses. These animals should therefore be fed with a low content of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) according to their clinical picture. These are easily digestible carbohydrates like simple sugar, fructan and starch. Because the NSC content of a feed influences the blood sugar and insulin level after feeding - according to the current result of an Australian study about which the magazine "Animal Feed Science and Technology" reported.

The scientists examined the effect of different NSC levels in feed on the blood sugar and insulin levels in horses. There was a choice of pasture grass with a calculated NSC content of seven percent, coconut with eleven percent as well as pelleted horse feed and a cereal with the quite high NSC proportions of 25.3 percent and 33.7 percent, respectively. The test horses between the ages of 14 and 20 and a comparable “Body Condition Score” were offered each feed in random order over a period of four days. Horses with pasture were supplemented with a vitamin and mineral preparation. The daily ration of the crib feed for the other horses was fed half in the morning and half in the evening.

At the end of the respective test series, the blood sugar and insulin values ​​of the animals were measured over a period of six hours. The results were more than clear: Both the blood sugar and insulin levels of the horses fed with the coconut-containing feed were comparable to those of the animals kept on pasture. In contrast, the four-legged friends supplied with muesli or pellets show a significant increase in insulin levels after feeding. It was striking that the insulin level increased immediately (in a time window between 15 and 60 minutes) after the administration of the coconut ration, but no relevant differences were ascertainable after this phase.

The scientists' conclusion is particularly relevant for owners of horses with metabolic disorders or horses at risk of metabolism. The changes in insulin levels after a coconut ration are considered to be physiologically insignificant and coconut is therefore an option for the design of a feed ration with a low NSC content.
(Anke Klabunde, aid)

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