You only want the best for your horse, and providing it with high-quality care means separating fact from fiction when it comes to horsekeeping. By weeding out the misconceptions, you can keep your horse safe, comfortable and happy. So, here are the top three myths regarding equine health care:
1. Myth: Gravel is something that enters the hoof through the coronary band.
Some horses develop a condition in their hooves that’s commonly known as “gravel.” The name can tend to cause a few misconceptions, however. It’s not possible for a piece of gravel to travel from the bottom of the hoof through the coronary band. Rather, gravel is an infection that can start anywhere in the hoof, even inside the hoof wall, which can be very painful for a horse. To treat the infection, your veterinarian must trim and drain the area to alleviate pressure and prevent the infection from spreading further.
2. Myth: Generic formulas are the same as name brands.
When you get a cold and head to the pharmacy to pick up some medication, getting the generic medicine typically yields the same results as the name brand, but for a much lower price. In some cases, it might be OK, but according to Dr. Daniel B. Slovis of Three Oaks Equine, an ambulatory veterinary practice in Goochland, Virginia, generic medicines could be missing critical active ingredients. Always check with your veterinarian before making any decisions about what antibiotics are best for your horse and its condition. You should also look for products that have been approved by the National Animal Supplement Council.
3. Myth: A horse requires high levels of protein in its diet to provide ample energy.
While protein is an important part of a horses’ diet, it shouldn’t be the only nutrient its body relies on. Protein offers amino acids building blocks necessary for repairing everything from muscles to bones to ligaments. What has a more direct impact on energy levels, however, are carbohydrates and fat. They are easier for the horse to break down and absorb, and help keep its gastrointestinal tract healthy. These sugar and starches enter the body as glucose, which is necessary for producing energy. While protein does give horses glucose, it takes a long time for its body to receive it.