Is your horse getting a balanced range of essential and non-essential amino acids from their feeding program? Your horse needs adequate amino acids in their diet to make proteins.

Proteins are complex molecules that are required for almost every physiological function including muscle contraction, neural communication, metabolism of sugars and fats, immune responses and more.

Suboptimal protein or amino acid levels in the diet can cause a broad range of symptoms in horses including:

  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Poor growth
  • Slow recovery from illness
  • Poor performance
  • Rough coat
  • Weak hooves
  • Early pregnancy loss
  • Impaired immunity
  • Poor wound healing

These signs are not exclusive to protein deficiency and could also occur when energy needs are not met or with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A diet evaluation complete with a hay analysis is the best way to determine whether your horse is getting adequate amino acids from their feeding program.

Does Your Horse Need More Amino Acids?

Young, growing animals are most susceptible to amino acid deficiency because they have a higher demand for protein to support their rapid growth. Protein requirements are also higher in mares during late gestation and early lactation to support optimal fetal growth and milk production.

Horses, like all animals, cannot store excess amino acids to use at a later time. Protein must be continuously supplied by the diet.

Some amino acid supplements might be useful to horses if their diet is lacking in a particular amino acid. Lysine, threonine and methionine are the most commonly deficient amino acids in equine diets.

Ensuring their requirements are met will support optimal protein synthesis for overall health of the horse.