Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Investigations on the effects of different calcium supply exceeding the requirements on mineral serum concentrations and bone metabolism in young warmblood stallions

Abstract

Since mineral supplements for horses commonly contain macro minerals, although the requirement for such is usually covered by roughage-based diets, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different dietary calcium levels on mineral serum concentrations and bone metabolism. The trial was conducted in 30 young warmblood stallions (2–3 years) that were divided into two groups for a five-month feeding trial. The groups were fed a hay- and oat-based diet and were either supplied with high (Ca-High) or moderate (Ca-Moderate) calcium excess. While in Ca-High calcium supply was about 2–2.5-fold of the requirement, in Ca-Moderate calcium requirements were slightly surpassed (1.5–1.6-fold). In order to monitor the effects of the different calcium supply, blood samples were taken during the trial and analysed for levels of macro and trace elements as well as concentrations of two bone markers. In Ca-Moderate a trend towards higher phosphorus serum levels compared to Ca-High was observed which was significant at the end of the trial (p = 0.0002). Furthermore, results showed no influence of the diet on bone markers. Results support the idea that forage-based rations for horses do not necessarily have to be supplemented with macro minerals but with trace elements.

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