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Feeding Horses with Allergy and Intolerance

Lumps and bumps, or an unexplained change in behaviour? Although feeding is definitely not always to blame when it comes to allergy and intolerance, it makes sense to evaluate the horse’s current ration as a starting point. Here we provide our advice for feeding horses with allergy or intolerance.

A simple ration with fewer feed ingredients

Getting to the bottom of the cause of an allergy or intolerance can be really tricky. It therefore stands to reason that putting your horse on a ‘simple’ ration with fewer feed ingredients, as often suggested by vets recommending an elimination diet, can make things a little easier.

The simplest feed from the Dengie range is Dengie Alfalfa Pellets. These are just pure pelleted alfalfa with nothing else added – no molasses, preservatives or binders. Providing 10MJ/kg of Digestible Energy, Alfalfa Pellets have a similar energy level to a pony nut, but are based on only one ingredient. Dengie Alfalfa Pellets can be fed dry or soaked to form a mash.

Looking for a cereal free diet?

All Dengie Fibre Feeds are free from whole cereal grains. The Alfa-A range is based on pure alfalfa with different coatings for different situations and is suitable for working horses or those that struggle to maintain condition. The Hi-Fi range combines alfalfa with other fibre sources such as cereal straw or high temperature dried grass and is suitable for horses at rest or in light work that maintain their condition with ease. Simply choose a fibre feed most suited to your horse’s needs and feed alongside a Dengie Vits & Mins supplement or Dengie Balancer to provide a balanced ration.

Looking for a molasses free diet?

Dengie has the answer with nine fibre based products that are all molasses free – Alfa-A Oil, Alfa-A Molasses Free, Healthy Tummy, Hi-Fi Molasses Free, Healthy Hooves Molasses FreeMeadow Grass with Herbs, Grass Pellets, Alfalfa Pellets and Alfa-Beet. Other molasses free products in the Dengie range include Dengie Vits & Mins and Dengie Balancers.

Healthy from the inside

A large part of any animal’s immunity is within the gut. Horses have evolved to eat a fibre based ration and would naturally spend 16-18 hours per day eating. The stresses of domestic life such as competition and travel can disrupt the population of micro-organisms within the horse’s digestive tract. This can lead to loose droppings and poor coat condition.

Digestive Health Plus combines a prebiotic with live yeast and brewer’s yeast, which help to create favourable conditions in the horse’s gut for beneficial fibre digesting bacteria to thrive. Digestive Health Plus can be fed at a concentrated level at times of stress or may be fed daily at a maintenance level.

Ensuring your horse receives a balanced ration with respect to vitamins and minerals is another way to support your horse from the inside, especially as vitamins and minerals have an important role as antioxidants and therefore within immune function. If feeding a fibre only ration, or less than recommended amounts of a feed with added vitamins and minerals, a Dengie Balancer or Dengie Vits & Mins should ideally be added to the ration.

Respiratory Health

Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO), also known as COPD or heaves, is a common respiratory problem in stabled horses and results due to a hypersensitivity to inhaled allergens causing respiratory distress similar to asthma in humans. There is no quick fix to managing RAO, but long-term success relies on creating as dust-free environment as possible. From a feeding perspective this would include selecting the best possible hay and steaming it, or using haylage.

When it comes to fibre in the bucket feed, all Dengie’s alfalfa is high temperature dried producing a consistently clean forage source. When good quality hay or haylage is in short supply, Dengie Hi-Fi Senior is an ideal alternative. Hi-Fi Senior combines both high temperature dried grasses and alfalfa, providing a very clean fibre source. Despite its name Hi-Fi Senior is suitable for a range of horses and ponies including performance horses where respiratory health is a must.

For friendly feeding advice tailored to your horse’s individual needs please contact the Dengie Feedline on 01621 841188.