Re: Hay...Girl!


Welcome Pamela,
The primary aim of our group is to help educate owners of horses with PPID and/or IR. There is a lot of misinformation regarding diagnosis, what to feed, how to provide adequate hoof support, how to prevent future episodes of laminitis - the list goes on and on. One thing we insist upon is adequate scientific evidence to support any recommendations.

As I looked over your hay site a few things came to mind. First, I should let you know that we do not allow any kind of advertising. On the other hand, finding a good resource for hay can be challenging for many, so I applaud your efforts to help. That said, let's clear up some misconceptions, especially one we've been beating nearly to death in an effort to stamp out flawed information.

1. NSC is an outdated term and should not be used. NSC = WSC, simple sugars (ESC) and starch. 

2. WSC is the carbohydrate fraction made up of largely fructan and ESC. To know the approximate fructan content, subtract ESC from WSC. 

3. Fructan is not digestible. It cannot induce an insulin response. It is fermented to volatile fatty acids in the hindgut and is completely irrelevant to insulin dynamics. Therefore, if one has a perfectly good hay with 20% WSC, 5% ESC and 0.5% starch and believes that fructan has any bearing in IR, they would reject that hay, when really, the sugar and starch content of 5.5% makes it perfectly safe. I've put some charts up on our ECIR Facebook page to illustrate this.

4. We strongly recommend mineral balancing to the excesses and deficiencies in the hay. Therefore, a trace mineral analysis is also recommended when getting a hay analysis.

Finally, I'm on a personal mission to encourage growers and buyers to stop focusing on only "sugar" (ESC + starch, please!) and keep in mind the whole nutrient package - the fiber fractions that affect digestibility and palatability and nutrient quality (ADF, NDF, lignin). There is way too much emphasis on the internet and lay press to "Feed a lower-qualitylow-energy forage, such as late-maturity hay." Because the average person doesn't understand hay grading or analysis, many go out and buy the worse possible hay and wonder why their horses look so bad, won't eat it or colic on it. I'm glad to see that the sample on your website is within reasonable limits.

Again - welcome. I don't want to scare you away with all of this. I just wanted to let you know that we insist on the facts when it comes to talking about what carbohydrates are relevant to IR.

Kathleen (KFG in KCMO)
Director, ECIR, Inc
Missouri, USA
Dec 2005

ECIR Group - Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance


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