Question about oils in feed
So we all know about adding corn oil to a horse's feed.
I was wondering if this could aid with COPD/heaves, and whether sesame oil would be a good idea instead.
Oils aren't necessarily going to "aid COPD" however they can help to serve as a source of digestible energy to help keep weight on these horses which may not eat with as much gusto at times due to their difficulty breathing. However, you should be aware of the types of fatty acids in the oil that you use because Omega-3's can actually play into the inflammatory reponse whereas Omega 6's don't. So for a horse with an inflammatory condition you would want to stay away from corn oil because it is high in Omega 3's and instead choose canola oil or flax seed oil which are higher in Omega 6's.
I'd go with canola oil instead (that's what I do). I did lots of research and looks like this one has the best omega3 to omega6 ratio.
How much do you put in? Once or twice a day?
You can add 1-2 cups of oil per day. Generally it is best to start slow as some horses are a bit finicky about the feel/taste of the oil.
Corn oil is all omega-6 fatty acids which are pro-inflammatory you would want to avoid this for a horse with COPD. Conversely flax is higher in omega-3's than 6's and omega-3's have anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore you want O3's. There is research showing that supplementing DHA can help horses with respiratory problems.
Clair Thunes, PhD
Independent Equine Nutritionist
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