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Managing Horses with PSSMBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 10, 2017

Certain management practices can help horses with polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) find relief. One of these is feeding a concentrated source of energy if a horse requires additional calories to maintain weight while exercising. Neither straight cereal grains such as plain oats nor textured or sweet feeds containing cereal grains should be fed.

“Specialized feeds for horses that are intolerant to large amounts of starch or sugar are the most appropriate,” said Crandell. RE•LEVE® Concentrate, a low-starch, high-fat feed formulated by Kentucky Equine Research (KER), provides adequate energy to horses in the form of alternative energy sources, primarily fermentable beet pulp and vegetable oil. RE•LEVE Concentrate is designed with greater nutrient density to ensure horses with low to moderate energy needs receive proper nutrients. Most horses do well on 3-9 lb (1.5-4 kg) of RE•LEVE Concentrate daily. If more than this is needed to maintain weight, choose RE•LEVE Original, which contains the same low-starch ingredients but allows more to be fed daily (6-20 lb; 2.5-9 kg), which boosts calorie intake.

Due in large part to the simplicity of genetic testing, horse owners no longer have to wait for an episode of tying-up to occur before management strategies are implemented. Regardless of the intended use of a horse, its diet can be designed to keep starch and sugar levels low while supplying all of the necessary energy and nutrients for top performance. In many instances, management strategies reduce the frequency of tying-up episodes, and sometimes clinical signs diminish entirely.

In the past, muscle disorders such as PSSM prevented thousands of horses from fulfilling their athletic potential. New ways to manage horses, including how best to nourish them, have provided those horses and future generations the chance to be productive citizens in the equine world.

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