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Sugar content and Starch in Horse forage

August 22, 2018

Sugar content and Starch in Horse forage

Horse’s digestion system works best when eats a good quality forage / hay in frequent feedings. Some horses are sensitive to “high sugar feeds”, which can lead to; colic, laminitis and insulin resistance.

All feeds and forages have Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be in a form of simple sugars, starches and a complex of carbohydrates. Simple sugars are a one sugar unit. Starches are a small groups of sugar units. Complex carbohydrates are sugar units connected together, and must be fermented by bacteria.

Feed consultant or a veterinarian can determine the right sugar levels for your horse. Therefore, it is important to test feed for sugar levels. In order to evaluate carbohydrate levels in the diet, please look for:

WSC (Water Soluble Carbohydrates): simple or a complex of sugars that are extracted from the feed with water, and it can cause laminitis.

ESC (Ethanol Soluble Carbohydrates): this is a fraction of WSC to evaluate one set of carbs that causes high glycemic response.

Starch: when large amounts of starches are fed, it can cause problems associated with lactic acid production.

Our 10FF forage package is an Equine Nutrition package designed to provide Protein, Minerals, ESC, Starch, WSC, Proximates and NFC (Non Fiber Carbohydrates), RFV (Relative Feed Value), TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients) and NSC (Non- Structural Carbohydrates) calculations.

One of the best horse feeding practices is testing forage and hay for sugars and starch.