Originally Posted by WildestDandelion View Post
Farrier recommended that as well. She wants him on California trace. Itís just very expensive, but as others have said - it I donít get this under control now the vet bill will be even worse...
It's not so much about the supplement given (even though California trace is a good option), but more about how the supplements/feed balance environmental (hay analysis, soil, blood etc) nutrient values. Environments differ in the value of nutrients present and this is also present in hay.
Copper is not the only nutrient involved in hoof quality, but is usually the mineral that is deficient in the environment either within feed or due to high zinc and iron values, which sort of "block" copper absorption. Iron and zinc are the most bioavailable (present in environment/hay and soil).
From a biological standpoint, the minerals copper, iron, zinc and manganese are all related in some way, thus alterations in the amount of one or another will influence the absorption rate of others. Minerals such as copper and zinc compete for receptor sites, as do zinc and iron. Thus, competition for receptors and consequently, nutrient absorption, is influenced by the ratios of these nutrients. So, it is really important to balance the ratios of these nutrients to ensure adequate absorbance. As you can see, even feeding X amount of copper, for example, does not necessarily guarantee that enough copper is being absorbed.
The absorption of copper is dependent on other nutrients in the hay, feed and even water. That is why a hay analysis would be the best approach to balancing your horse's diet.
Alternatively, you could get a very rough idea of what nutrients are high and low in the area the hay is grown in by looking at soil analysis reports for the state/province, which are usually online.
You could also test nutrients in the blood, although these can vary throughout the day and can be 'contaminated', thus showing false interpretations of values. For example, true iron deficiency (from decreased intake/absorption or external blood loss) is a less common cause of low blood iron concentrations. Some drugs can cause iron to appear low, time the horse has eaten, copper deficiency (an essential cofactor of hephaestin, which permits release of iron from intestinal cells), and zinc excess (inhibits copper uptake).