Finding Nutritional Value!

This past year, McKee-Pownall has started doing nutrition consultations for patients with specific medical or performance issues.  We’ve found it to be very helpful to provide some medical guidance for our clients and patients, and rewarding to work together with their current feed supplier to find good solutions for their horses.  The great thing about nutrition consults is that they are always different and provide an interesting challenge to find a solution to help both the horse and the owner.  I have also really enjoyed working with the people in our practice who share a love of nutrition; Dr. Tovah Caldwell and our RVT, Stacey Thompson.  Together, we’ve worked on some diverse issues and made a meaningful difference in our patients’ lives.  Some of the cases our team have worked on:MWP_020910-47

  • Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM)
  • Laminitis
  • Low energy
  • Stall rest and the high strung horse
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Tying up
  • Weight reduction/weight gain

I like to focus on cases with a medical issue, so that we can combine what we know about the case, as well as the horse and owner’s particular situation and put this together to make a personalized plan.  It is amazing what a difference good nutrition can make in a medical issue.  Food really can be amazing medicine!  It really makes me happy to reduce pain or put weight on a horse without using a bundle of medications, or to be able to cut back on meds he needed several months ago.  We know this to be true in human nutrition (it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll get six pack abs if you’re eating McDonald’s and ice cream, or even a bunch of pre-processed foods) and it is no less true in horses.  The wonderful thing about horse nutrition is that we can see quick results because horses can’t cheat and sneak an extra helping or a chocolate bar on the sly.  They eat what we supply them!  The interesting thing has also been a paradigm shift, as I look at the horse in a holistic sense.  This approach sits well with me, as I have looked at horses in a big picture way since taking the acupuncture course.  Chinese medicine uses food as medicine as well, and it’s kind of neat to see how Chinese food beliefs actually match up nicely with what we know from science about nutrition today!  As Thanksgiving draws near, here’s to happy eating for all of our horses and humans.  I know I’m going to enjoy some of the medicinal effects of pumpkin pie (pumpkin has great fibre content after all.)

Melanie Barham DVM

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