Horse Advice – How Safe is Your Forage and Bedding?
As horse owners we are all acutely aware of the risks to the respiratory health of our horses if fed dusty hay, but do you know what else might be lurking in your forage and bedding that could also be potentially harmful?
Mycotoxins are the secondary metabolites of mould, present in the environment and are known to contaminate feed, forage and bedding and often occur in combination, which at the right level, can result in negative effects on horse health and performance.
There are over 500 known mycotoxins, with considerable research showing that it is the Fusarium and Aspergillis toxins, including Aflatoxin to which horses are most sensitive to.
Aflatoxins are closely related groups of heterocyclic metabolites. They are readily absorbed into the blood from the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and accumulate in most soft tissues including the liver, kidney and fat depots.
Symptoms of Alfatoxin contamination can include weight loss, raised temperature, jaundice and poor body condition. It has also been linked to raised liver enzymes and subsequent liver disease.
Fusarium mycotoxins include the Tricothecene group, known to affect metabolism and subsequently compromise feed conversion and performance.
DON (Deoxynivalenol) is a major contributor to reduced feed intake in many species, including horses. The Tricothecene group has also been linked to immunosuppression in horses.
Alltech are at the forefront of research into the effects of mycotoxins and its 37+ testing kit is a convenient submission service for identifying harmful mycotoxins in forage and bedding.
Standard analytical testing is limited to just a few strains, this is where Alltech’s 37+ Program is unique, and is the most advanced analysis available, testing over 37 mycotoxins.
A number of tests have been carried out recently on the request of a large well respected equine veterinary practice, which demonstrates the efforts of equine vets to take the problem of mycotoxinicosis more seriously.
Alltech offer a holistic approach to mycotoxin management. We recognise that often the symptoms of mycotoxicosis can be similar to many physiological complaints and the development of the 37+ test allows us to provide a definitive answer as to the presence and level of mycotoxins within a sample, and therefore the potential risk rating should that forage be fed as a main dietary component, or bedding used.
If you feel mycotoxins might be a contributing factor to poor performance on your yard, call Alltech to learn more about testing, prevention and treatment.
For further information please visit www.alltech.com or telephone 01780 764512