Osteochondrosis dissecans (OC) or ‘lameness’ in horses is a serious illness. But the incidence can be reduced by supplementing foals with minerals in the early months of their life. This is one of the conclusions from a recent paper, to be published in the upcoming Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.
The scientific publication is based on earlier work by the Dutch Animal Health Centre and horse feed producer PAVO which looked at the effect of minerals on the formation of osteochondrosis dissecans (OC) in foals between 0 and 12 months.
Two studies were carried out to measure the effect of additional minerals (especially magnesium) on OC.
In study one (five studs, in total 64 mares and foals aged 0 to 5 months, equally divided into two groups), supplementation with minerals and placebo was used.
In study two (six studs, 54 foals aged 5 to 12 months, equally divided into two groups), the same was repeated.
In study one in the mineral supplemented group, 21.9% were diagnosed with osteochondrosis compared with 41.9% in the placebo group.
In study two, there was no change in OC between 5 and 12 months in the placebo group whereas there was a drop of 14.3% in incidence in the supplement group.
We concluded that magnesium supplementation reduced OC prevalence.
This article has been published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science (in press).
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