Equine Nutrition

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  1. How does the horse's digestive system work?
    esophagus > stomach > small intestine > cecum > large intestine
  2. What makes up the large intestine?
    • small colon
    • large colon
  3. Where does fermentation occur?
    hind gut
  4. How big is the stomach's holding capacity?
    4 gallons
  5. How much can the cecum hold?
    15-20 gallons
  6. How much does the large intestine hold?
    30-35 gallons
  7. How fast is gastric digestion?
    15-20 minutes
  8. How long does food stuff sit in the small intestine?
    45 minutes-3 hours
  9. Is digestion in the hind gut fast or slow?
  10. How long does the cecum take to digest?
    48-72 hours
  11. How does the lower jaw move?
    rotates in a circular motion
  12. How much saliva do horses produce?
    • up to 3 gallons a day (15mL/minute during feeding)
    • only when they chew
    • helps lubricate food
  13. What is the purpose of gastric digestion?
    opens up nutrients for small intestine
  14. What does amylase do?
    breaks down starch and is found in the saliva
  15. What does bicarbonate do?
    helps buffer the system and is found in the saliva
  16. Why aren't horses able to vomit?
    have a sphincter valve that doesn't allow food back up the esophagus
  17. What occurs in the stomach?
    • gastric digestion (particle breakdown)
    • start of protein digestion
    • minor microbial fermentation (small microbes break down cellulose)
  18. What is pepsin?
    responsible for breaking down proteins and is secreted in the stomach
  19. What occurs in the small intestine?
    • enzymatic digestion (pancreas)
    • primary site of nutrient absorption
  20. What is lipase?
    breaks down lipids and fats
  21. Why are lipids important?
    responsible for moving fat-soluble vitamins
  22. How do lipids move?
    • carried on bile salts
    • not water soluble
    • only absorbed in upper part of the small intestine
  23. What makes up the hindgut?
    • cecum
    • large intestine (large and small colon)
  24. What makes up the foregut?
    • stomach
    • small intestine
  25. What do microbes in the cecum do?
    • break down fiber from forages
    • produce volatile fatty acids, methane, and b-vitamins and k-vitamins
  26. What can kill microbes if not broken down?
    • starch and protein
    • they release toxins if microbes are killed
  27. What happens in the large colon?
    • Volatile Fatty Acid synthesis and absorption
    • B-vitamin synthesis (need water to be absorbed)
  28. What happens in the small colon?
    • Water re-absorption
    • development of "horse apples"
  29. Does the large intestine have microbes?
    Some in small amounts
  30. What are the 6 classifications of nutrients?
    • energy-carbohydrates
    • lipids-fats
    • proteins
    • minerals
    • vitamins
    • water
  31. What are carbohydrates?
    • Primary energy source
    • starches/simple sugars and fiber
  32. What are structural CHO?
    • Starch/simple sugars
    • found in the grain of hay
    • easy to break down
  33. What are structural CHOs?
    • Fiber
    • important for microbes in hind gut
  34. What affects the quality of fiber?
    • Cellulose
    • Hemicellulose (harder to break down)
    • lignin (non-degradable)
    • pectin (plant sugar)
  35. Describe lipids (crude fat).
    • 2-3 times as much as glucose
    • needed to make fat-soluble vitamins
    • usually supplemented (more than 4%)
    • 10%-20% can be fed
    • ex: soy bean oil, fish oil, rice bran
  36. What happens if there is a crude fat imbalance?
    • not enough fat for energy=lose weight
    • too much fat=gain weight
  37. What is the importance of protein (crude protein)?
    • essential in growth and performance
    • helps with amino acids (building blocks of tissue)
    • needed in tissues, muscles, metabolism and body functions
  38. What happens if there is a protein imbalance?
    • young horse> affects growth
    • performance horse> muscle atrophy and poor performance
  39. What are the most important macrominerals?
    • calcium
    • sodium
    • phosphorus
  40. What is the ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio? why?
    • 2:1
    • absorbed in two different areas and you don't want one to be wasted
  41. What happens if there is a mineral imbalance?
    issues with deficiencies and toxicities
  42. What are the fat-soluble vitamins and why are they important?
    • Vitamins K,A,D,E
    • needed for body functions
    • produced by plants themselves (most available directly after plant is cut)
    • can be toxic if overfed
  43. What is important about water-soluble vitamins?
    • needed for body metabolism
    • manufactured in the hind gut
    • can be flushed out if overfed
    • similar to an energy drink
  44. How much water does a horse drink per day?
    • 6-8 gallons for 500kg horse at rest
    • 12-18 gallons for 500kg horse exercising
  45. What do you need to know to figure out nutrient requirements?
    • body weight
    • physiological status
  46. What nutrient requirements do idle horses have?
    • need enough energy to maintain healthy body weight
    • 5-6 BCS
  47. What nutrient requirements do broodmares have?
    • be able to provide for fetal development
    • 6 BCS
    • maintenance diet up to 5 months of gestation
    • after 5 months, need more energy, crude protein and calcium
  48. What are the nutrient requirements for broodmares in late gestation?
    • need more trace minerals
    • high quality hay and pasture
    • up to 5lbs of grain per meal 2-3 times a day
    • more concentrates than forage
  49. What are the nutrient requirements of lactating mares?
    • be able¬†to maintain milk production and rebreed
    • need high quality forage
    • need more energy and crude protein
  50. What are the nutrient requirements of growing horses?
    • need to reach genetic potential and have sound skeletal development
    • need high quality forage and feed formulated for growth
    • need energy for growth
    • need protein for skeletal/muscle development
  51. What happens to growing horses if there isn't enough protein, calcium, phosphorus and energy?
    • stunted growth
    • abnormalities
  52. What are the limiting amino acids for growth?
    • lysine
    • threonine
  53. can essential amino acids be made in the body?
  54. What is the peak weight gain for growth?
    16% CP
  55. How is low CP fortified?
    with lysine and threonin
  56. What are the nutrient requirements for working horses?
    • have enough energy to complete exercise and have optimal performance
    • need high quality forages and grains formulated for work
    • need extra starches, carbs, etc., to meet energy needs
  57. What are the major nutrient concerns for working horses?
    • meeting energy requirements for the work
    • replacement of water and electrolytes lost in sweat
  58. What are the protein requirements for working horses?
    • more than idle horses (10-12% CP)
    • need nitrogen back in the system
    • too much CP causes more urea, more excretion, more heat and more acid produced
  59. What does feeding fat do?
    • safe, dense energy source
    • provides essential fatty acids
    • increases absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
    • provides calming effect
    • feed plant based fats (soy bean oil, vegetable oil)
    • 8-10% but not over 20%
  60. What are electrolytes?
    • found in plasma¬† and easily lost through sweat
    • can be lost in metabolism
    • can be provided by food but the body can't store them
    • sodium, chloride, potassium
  61. What are the nutrient requirements for senior horses?
    • needs less energy than younger horses because body is breaking down
    • needs less protein for metabolism because GI tract is breaking down
    • mineral requirements are not known
    • need an easily digestible feed
    • maintain good BCS
Card Set
Equine Nutrition
horse production
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