Minerals are an essential part of the diet, despite the fact they provide the body with no energy. Without them the equine body would not be able to metabolise fats, proteins or carbohydrates; muscle and nerves would not function correctly and their bones could not support their own weight. Mineral’s help to transport oxygen via the blood. The main mineral involved in this process is the trace mineral known as iron; even though it is only a trace mineral it plays a necessary role in the equine diet.
We are all familiar with the role iron plays in forming haemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells used to transport oxygen around the body. Iron is also present in myoglobin, which helps get oxygen into the horse’s muscles. Up to 80%of the iron taken in by the body is used for the formation of haemoglobin and myoglobin. Horse’s need 40-50ppm per day, most forages contain between 50-250ppm of iron, so it is safe to say under most conditions that horses receive plenty of iron in their daily diets. However iron-deficiency anaemia, is something that can often occur after illness or general exhaustion and a horse vitamin and mineral supplement can be considered to help this condition.
If deficiency does occur, horses may exhibit poor performance, followed by low red blood cell count. A diagnosis for iron deficiency anaemia, a deficiency symptom, can be confirmed by a blood test. Treatment should consist of determining the cause and then correcting it.
Iron levels are linked closely with fitness and equine iron supplements have a reputation for enhancing athletic performance. Equine supplements with iron should never be administered unless blood test results have shown the horse to have a deficiency. Horses under heavy stress of athletic performance may develop deficiency symptoms, as well as, horses with chronic blood loss due to parasite damage or inflammation.
Iron toxicities is more common today in horses than iron deficiency. Symptoms of toxicity can include diarrhoea or increased susceptibility to bacterial infections. All living organisms require iron and bacteria and they will multiply more effectively when it is readily available.
Coming to the end of a mares pregnancy and also while she is lactating, it can be a good idea to check if she has iron deficiency as both the pregnancy and producing milk can be exhausting for the mare. Iron can help her to give her a well-deserved boost of energy and in that way also do the foal good.
PEAK STAMINA contains iron and B-vitamin complex, a well thought out energy booster, which also gives a brilliant shine to the coat as an extra bonus. It is very tasty and breeders often give a small bit to foals as well as their mares, while training them to be handled, as they come to you to get some of that tasty stuff.
Other equine performance supplements recommended by the PEAK team are EQUIP-PEAK and DMG.