Horse nutrition: EEHNC 2017
European Equine Health & Nutrition Congress: From Nutrition to Disease and Back
The EEHNC takes place every 2 years, and like every time since Marike has been working with us, she went there to see what to current scientific concensus is on the intented themes. This year, nutrition as a cause, cure and prevention of disease was discussed with a very practical approach, with a lot of specific guidelines and tips directed to practical feeding management.
1. Nutrition as a cause of disease
Consequences of too much or too little energy intake were discussed, as well as nutrition-related heart conditions and the effect of nutrition on the development of orthopedic disease. An important take home message was that prevention of overnutrition and obesity appears to be even more important than already thought. Even when a healthy body condition is achieved by losing weight, the risk of development of e.g. laminitis will remain for many years after. These effect may even be completey irreversible.
2. Nutrition as a cure of disease
The second theme focussed on curing health issues with the aid of proper nutrition. Furthermore, guidelines were provided for feeding several special types of horses, such as geriatric horses. An important note to this subject was, that horses are not considered geriatric until clinical signs become present, and that they do not need adjusted diets until that time. Lastly, several equine dieting regimes were discussed, in which it was stressed that losing weight slowly rather than a crash diet is very important for recovery of ‘normal’ hormone balance.
3. Nutrition as a prevention of disease
Preventing disease with help of proper nutrition was discussed as a third theme. Joint diease and developmental orthopedic disorders (DOD), such as osteoarthritis and osteochondrosis (OCD) were the main focus in this theme. In some cases, nutrition can help lower incidence.