Has your horse been hit with stringhalt?
Team Marketing | 18.10.20
What is stringhalt?
Stringhalt is a distressing but not painful disease that is commonly characterized by exaggerated lifting of each hind leg. This disease has been associated to a degeneration of the nerves in the horse's hind legs, however, horses generally recover depending on the severity of the disease. Whether a nutritional deficiency (energy, minerals or vitamins) or a plant toxicity or a combination of the two is the cause of the nerves to degenerate is still unknown. Stringhalt has been associated to horses grazing on pastures heavily infested with flatweed (H. Radicata) and/or of relatively poor quality pastures. However, it is likely to be a multi-factorial disease.
What are mycotoxins and what can they do to my horse?Certain fungi found on fresh pasture grasses, conserved roughage (hay, chaff, straw) and in grains can produce secondary compounds called mycotoxins. Several types of mycotoxins exist which may interact, especially under favorable environmental conditions, such as in warm and humid climates (as well as in improperly stored feeds). Mycotoxins may contaminate feeds or grains and are hard to detect due to their odorless, tasteless and invisible presence. The horse’s digestive system is sensitive to the effects of mycotoxins, as the gastric juices in the stomach cannot effectively deactivate the mycotoxins and these therefore enter the sensitive small intestine and hindgut. Once mycotoxins reach the hindgut they may affect the intestinal wall or enter the horse’s blood stream, which can result in clinical symptoms including respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological and reproductive issues. Even though symptoms are usually non-specific, associated clinical signs with the existence of mycotoxins in horse’s diet include:
- Poor condition (weight loss)
- Reduced performance
- Suppressed appetite
- Respiratory diseases
- Gastrointestinal diseases (e.g. colic)
- Reproductive failures
- Neurological disorders (e.g. neurotoxicity, Fatal leucoencephalomalacia, ataxia)
- Atypical myopathy (muscle disease)
What is HYGAIN SAFEGUARD EQ and why should I be adding it to my horse's diet?
HYGAIN® SAFEGUARD EQ® is a pelleted broad-spectrum mycotoxin binder formulated for all equines, which may assist in the quick and effective absorption of mycotoxins, minimizing associated negative health and performance problems.
Testing for mycotoxins is expensive and eliminating them from your horse’s diet is challenging, however, it is advised that any roughage or feed is thoroughly inspected for signs of mold to avoid possible contamination. Due to the difficulty to predict the occurrence of mycotoxins in your horse’s diet, it is advised to add a broad-spectrum mycotoxin binder to your horse’s diet, which simply binds the mycotoxins and passes them through the digestive tract, exiting with the manure.