Omega 3 Supplementation & Cushings in Horses

by Jenna Tranter on September 30, 2021

Omega 3 Supplementation & Cushings in Horses

Written by: Jenna Tranter

Published on: 07/30/2021

Over the last few months you’ve noticed some changes in your horse- perhaps its their coat not shedding properly or growing excessively long, or a change in their weight and energy. Nothing has changed in their program and you're not totally sure what's going on. You call your trusted vet and they run a blood panel. The results come back like you suspected, your horse has been diagnosed with PPID, commonly known as Cushings in horses and your handed a box of Prascend and given the instructions for their ongoing care; manage their diet, limit their access to grass due to the increased laminitis risk, and have the vet in periodically to check their ACTH levels. If you are like most horse owners once the vet leaves and you're back in the comfort of your own home you turn to the internet looking for more information and other horse owners experience with Cushings. One of the things that seems to come up routinely in your research is the value of an Omega supplement. That’s where Smart Earth Camelina Oil comes in.

Why low NSC's in a horse's diet is a problem

It is very important to build a diet for the Cushings positive horse that is low in NSC’s (non-structural carbohydrates)- these should make up no more than 20% of the diet in a Cushings horse. Hay should make up the majority of their diet with the typical horse eating between 1%-2% of their body weight a day in forage. Hay generally is very low in Omega 3:6- this is why you see that ‘bloom’ in coat and body when your horses move from winter pasture/feeding to summer pasture. Most horses, as a result, are deficient in Omega 3’s to some degree. For Cushings horses with limited pasture access due to laminitis risk this becomes crucially important. Beyond the lack of Omega 3:6 in forage, often a diet low in NSC’s and predominately made up of forage is simply not enough for them to maintain their current weight and a fat supplement is generally advised at that point. Current general research in fat supplementation in horses has shown that using a balanced omega 3 source produces a reduction in glycemic response to grain based meals, can replace the essential omega-3 fatty acids needed due to reduced access to pasture and provides a concentrated source of highly digestible energy.

The Importance of Omega 3's

Omega 3 fatty acids have the potential to stabilize horses blood glucose levels and have been shown to be of therapeutic benefit for horses experiencing cushings and I/R (Insulin Resistance). This has been shown to be of benefit in many species suffering with I/R- from humans to horses to dogs right down to mice and guinea pigs. What can also be critical for cushings positive horses is to have Vitamin E available as many of them are immunosuppressed due to the disease. Smart Earth Camelina oil offers an exceptional balance of omega 3:6 at 1.2:1.8 and each one ounce serving supplies a significant amount of naturally occurring Vitamin E. Over the last two years we have worked with many horse owners with cushings positive horses and seen some tremendous changes and improvements. Some of our customers have even taken it upon themselves to run their horses blood panel prior to beginning supplementation and again after 6-8 weeks of starting their horse on the product. Our customers, staff, and owners veterinarians have consistently seen a reduction in ACTH counts in Cushing's positive horses when supplemented with our product and it's something we are going to continue to delve deeper into and pursue as industry leaders putting science first.

Meet Jenna Tranter

Jenna Tranter is Smart Earth Camelina Corp's equine nutritionist. She is the owner and operator of Four Corners Equestrian and has been involved in the industry for over 20 years.

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About the Author

Jenna is a lifelong equestrian and lover of all animals big and small. She has both studied and worked within the industry for 20+ years in both the feed sector as well as being a coach and hunter/jumper facility owner with time spent in the UK and Canada. She holds a number of equine certifications from universities in both countries. She also has completed numerous courses in equine body work, including equi-bow, but is not a practitioner at this time due to there just not being enough time in the day! Jenna lives on her farm in Ontario, Canada with her husband, 19 horses, 2 goats, a flock of ducks, a flock of chickens, her barn cats and her 3 loyal dogs, Bosco, Evaa & Eeyore.