Specialized feeds have helped horses cope with health challenges for many years.
On the market now are low-starch products, but experts say not every horse will benefit from them.
Studies have shown that low-starch diets are most beneficial in horses suffering from equine metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, Cushing’s syndrome, PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy) and laminitis.
“Diet is key [with these conditions],” says Lori Warren, Ph.D., PAS, of the Equine Nutrition Institute of Food and Animal Agriculture at the University of Florida. “It’s all about finding alternative sources of calories, getting away from starch as a calorie source and moving toward more highly digestible fibers. PSSM horses fed low-starch diets usually show a relatively quick improvement. Low-starch diets for the others mentioned are really more about maintenance, so the diet won’t aggravate the condition.”