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Potentially Toxic Compounds in Horse Feeds

Potentially Toxic Compounds in Horse Feeds


Approximately half of the analyzed European feed sample researchers said they had alkaloids levels of pyrrolizide, a naturally occurring, potentially toxic organic compound that was higher than the maximum tolerated levels accepted.

If you plan to keep your horse away from pastures, if you protect it from digesting plant-derived toxins, think again. Some commercial feed products may contain toxic levels of toxic plant substances, but according to recent research results.

Almost half of the commercial feed samples analyzed had German pyrolysidine alkaloid levels higher than the maximum tolerated levels accepted by German researchers. Ingrid Vervuert of DrMedVet of the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Leipzig in Germany said that the highest rates occur in alfalfa or plant-based feeds.

Vervuert, some honey and tea species also present in the pyrolysidine alkaloids (naturally occurring organic compounds), including humans and rats, including various types of liver dysfunction, he said. However, their effects on horses have not been studied in detail.

“Further research is needed, but especially in commercial publications involving plants, we expect more feed companies to control themselves because there is a risk of alkaloid contamination of pyrrolizide,” he said. I said.

Vervuert and other researchers analyzed 48 commercial horse feed products sold in Germany and the UK using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to control 28 pyrrolizidine alkaloids. They also conducted a risk assessment to determine the maximum acceptable mass of these alkaloids per kilogram for safe horse consumption.

He said that he found high levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in most of the feeds tested. Considering the feed intake of a horse exercising moderate and consuming 3.5 kilograms (about 8 pounds) per day, 26% of plant-based feeds and 14% of alfalfa-based feeds exceeded the maximum acceptable levels. these horses. If the horse is working hard and consuming 6.6 kilograms (about 14 kilograms) of feed per day, these percentages have increased – up to 30% of grass-based feeds and 43% of alfalfa-based feeds have exceeded acceptable limits. said.



Potentially Toxic Compounds in Horse FeedsPotentially Toxic Compounds in Horse Feeds
Potentially Toxic Compounds in Horse Feeds


The study is limited to European publications, while North American publications may be affected. “It is possible that commercial publications are contaminated with alkaloids of pyrolyside, V Vervuet said. “So, a similar study in the US would be great.”

Further studies continued to give more information on the issue, while the owners said they did not need to panic. However, they may endeavor to avoid overfeeding their horses – and not just because of the risk of contamination.

“There are many reasons for reducing concentrate consumption in equine (eg stomach ulcer, insulin disorder and reduced risk of welfare),” he said.

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