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Nutrition Affects Hoof Growth in HorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · December 9, 2011

Hoof quality is dependent on balanced nutrition, and the correct building blocks are needed in the horse’s diet to ensure healthy hoof growth.

When a horse has a problem with hoof quality, consider whether the animal is receiving enough energy in its diet. If a horse is expending more energy than it is receiving in feed each day, the energy in the diet will be put toward essential functions such as growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissues rather than hoof growth.

A few specific amino acids, in particular methionine and lysine, are essential in forming strong, healthy hooves. The mineral zinc also aids the integrity of skin, hair, and hoof, and it is essential in a diet designed for hoof health. Chelated zinc, which is better absorbed and utilized within the body than alternative inorganic zinc sources, is a useful ingredient in a hoof supplement.

The vitamin biotin is well-known as a key player in hoof health. Studies have shown that biotin levels of 15-20 mg per day have positive effects on the hoof wall. These effects take approximately 6-9 months to fully manifest. However, without the correct balance of the other trace minerals, you are unlikely to see the desired results when using a hoof supplement as a quick fix.

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