Zinc is another important nutrient for proper hoof growth and soundness. In the German study (Coenen and Spitzlei, 1996), zinc content was significantly lower in hooves that had lower hardness scores. It is important to note that the horses with poor quality hooves (and low hoof zinc) received the same amount of zinc in their diets as did the horses with good feet. When these horses (with low hoof zinc) were fed supplemental zinc, the concentration of zinc in their hooves increased. It appears that the ability of horses with poor quality hooves to digest and absorb zinc may be lower than in horses with good hooves. Effective zinc supplementation improves hoof quality in certain horses.
Ott and Johnson (1995) compared inorganic trace mineral supplement to a supplement using proteinate sources of Mn, Zn, and Cu in yearling horses. Hoof growth was greater for the horses fed the proteinates (4.98 cm vs. 4.78 cm, P=.023). Therefore, the source of the trace mineral supplement is important.
FOCUS HF provides supplemental zinc in the form of zinc methionine, where a zinc atom is covalently bound to a methionine molecule. Since methionine is essential for hoof and skin growth, it is preferentially taken up by these tissues. By attaching zinc to methionine, there is greater deposition of zinc into these target tissues as well. Zinc methionine is the mineral source of choice for treating foot problems in the sheep and cattle industry. In addition, a study at an independent research metabolism unit showed through a complete collection Digestibility Trial that addition of the SOURCE micronutrients to the diet greatly enhanced the ability of the horse to utilize the existing dietary zinc. [+127.45%, S.E.1.29, Sig.Level(p<.01]. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.
The hoof is composed of living tissue that 93% protein. The quality and quantity of amino acids that the horse consumes will affect hoof growth and hardness. The primary protein in horse hoof is keratin which contains a large amount of the amino acid cystine. Cystine is in turn made of 2 cysteine (another type of amino acid) molecules that are connected by a disulfide (two sulfur atoms) bond. These disulfide bonds make the protein very tough and hard. You cannot feed cystine directly to the horse because it is indigestible. There is not an available commercial source of cysteine to add to rations. Instead, methionine is added to the diet, since it can be converted in the horse’s body to cysteine which is then used to produce cystine keratin in the hoof. A recent study from Germany (Coenen and Spitzlei, 1996) measured the amount of cystine in the hooves of 63 horses of a variety of breeds. They reported a linear relationship between hoof horn hardness and the percentage of cystine in the horses with good quality, intact hooves.
FOCUS HF provides methionine from both DL Methionine and zinc methionine. Both are high bioavailable and well utilized by the equine. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.
Lecithin is a complex phospholipids that is the precursor of the B vitamin choline. Lecithin is essential to insure that connective tissue is strong and pliable.
FOCUS HF contains significant levels of a high quality lecithin source. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.
Along with zinc, iodine is one of the most important minerals for skin and hoof health. Iodine’s primary function is as a constituent of thyroxine, the hormone that is responsible for regulating metabolic rate in the horse. Horses that are hypothyroid (produce too little thyroxine) often have long or dull hair coats, or brittle and crumbly hooves, and some have trouble efficiently metabolizing feed.
The amount of iodine required by the horse is poorly understood. For additional information, see IODINE in The Horse – Too Much or Too Little?. The dairy industry has adopted much higher levels of iodine supplementation than is commonly used for horses to insure that dairy cows have sound, healthy feet. (A major reason to cull a dairy cow is because she has bad feet and cannot tolerate the concrete floors that are often used.)
FOCUS HF, FOCUS WT and FOCUS SR contain a significant amount of iodine in a highly bioavailable form. This iodine comes from SOURCE, the leading seaweed based micronutrient supplement for horses. Because this iodine is naturally derived from seaweeds, it is in an organic form that is readily digested and assimilated by the horse.
The fatty acids, called Omega 3 (alpha linolenic acid) and Omega 6 (linoleic acid) are thought to play an important role in maintaining cell wall integrity and cardiovascular health. They are also important in the production of certain prostoglandins, a class of hormones which regulates inflammatory reactions and the immune system
FOCUS SR provides the most concentrated natural source of these two essential fatty acids. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.
Many times a horse, especially an older horse, will not digest its feed efficiently because it is not producing adequate quantities of digestive enzymes.
Protease is an enzyme that breaks down protein. If protein is digested and absorbed in the small intestine, then it is less likely to make its way to the large intestine where it will be converted to ammonia. The end-products of protein digestion (amino acids) are also needed by the horse to produce new muscle and blood.
Amylase is the enzyme that breaks down starch. Horses normally produce very little amylase since they did not evolve to eat diets that were high in grain starch. Supplemental amylase will aid the horse in breaking down cereal starch so that it can be absorbed as glucose in the small intestine. If starch escapes digestion in the small intestine and makes its way to the hind gut, it will be digested by lactic fermenting bacteria. The end-product of this fermentation is lactic acid which may lead to colic or laminitis.
Cellulase is the enzyme that breaks down cellulose, the main component of plant fiber. The horse produces no cellulase since this is the job of the bacteria living in the hind gut. Supplemental cellulase will improve fiber digestibility.
FOCUS WT and FOCUS SR contain digestive enzymes, including protease, amylase and cellulase to improve the horse’s ability to digest its feed. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.
Copper is an important mineral for the formation and maintenance of connective tissue. A copper deficiency can lead to improper collagen formation which will affect the joints, skin and hoof.
FOCUS HF provides copper in a highly bioavailable chelated form. In this form, copper is covalently linked to amino acids to make it more digestible and less likely to be ties up by inhibitory substances in the digestive tract. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.
The trace elements copper, zinc and manganese are important for a multitude of metabolic functions in the horse. A deficiency of any of these elements can lead to reduced feed efficiency. Trace minerals are usually added to horse feed as inorganic salts. These salts disassociate in the stomach leaving a free metal ion in the digestive tract. There are a number of substances that can bind these free minerals making them unavailable for digestion.
FOCUS WT and FOCUS SR contain trace minerals which are needed for efficient metabolism in an organic, chelated form. They are already attached to amino acids and are in a form that can be directly absorbed from the intestinal tract. These minerals are much more bioavailable than inorganic forms and they will not be ties up by other substances in the feed. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.
Although large advances have been made in the science of horse nutrition, a great deal is still unknown about what nutrients are required by the horse. Traditionally, horse rations are supplemented with fewer than 10 – 15 added minerals. There are many more minerals than this is nature and it is highly likely that the horse has requirements for additional trace elements that have not yet been identified as essential.
FOCUS HF, FOCUS WT and FOCUS SR provides the horse with a unique broad spectrum of micronutrients from SOURCE. These nutrients include at least 60 minerals and trace elements in an organic, bioavailable form. In addition, seaweeds contain other natural bio-active compounds and co-factors which may be missing from your horse’s diet. These micronutrients are synergistic with all the other ingredients is FOCUS products and will help to increase their effectiveness. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.
Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that is an essential co-enzyme in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. It is involved in conversion of carbohydrate and fat. Because of its role in fatty acid metabolism, biotin is very important for healthy hooves and skin. Mink and fox breeders have long used biotin supplementation to insure that their animals had soft, luxurious hair coats. Considerable research with pigs, dairy cattle and horses has shown that biotin supplementation improves hoof quality.
FOCUS HF has been scientifically formulated to provide key nutrients such as biotin, methionine, zinc, copper and phospholipids at levels that have been shown to be beneficial for hoof growth, the development of strong hoof wall and healthy hair and skin. Please see SOURCE Products: for Horses, for more information.