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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lysine: the Missing Link

Your horse's body has an abundance of protein requirements needed to build and maintain healthy hooves, hair, muscles, ligaments, skin, organs, hormones, immune system and enzyme processes. Proteins are formed by linking together amino acids, like the links of a chain, if one is broken the chain is weak or cannot be assembled properly.

There are essential and non essential amino acids.  The essential ones are those that your horse's body cannot manufacture and must be present in the diet in the right amounts in order to complete the chain.  The non essential amino acids are manufactured as needed.

Lysine is an essential amino acid that must be present in sufficient quantities in your horse's diet.  Recent research has shown that Lysine may be deficient in adult horses on a grass alone diet and cereal grains.

This essential amino acid is critical to a young horse as a building block for proper growth and development.  Lysine assists with calcium absorption and plays an important role in the formation of collagen, which is important for the bones and connective tissues including skin tendons, ligaments and cartilage.

In the adult horse deficiencies can be seen by a weak topline, weak hind end, poor muscling, poor hoof quality, poor skin and coat quality, and frequent infections.   Despite proper exercise a horse with a lysine deficiency never seems to build muscle especially in the topline.

Your horse is an athlete, like a body builder, therefore his requirements for lysine is even more important in order to perform at its best.  If you suspect that your horse has a lysine deficiency and is in regular work, try supplementing with about 10 grams twice a day for horses over 16H, once a day for those under 16H.  For better performance try supplementing with 10 grams once a day.

Lysine is inexpensive to supplement.  VitaFlex sells it under the name of Pure Lysine and can be purchased through amazon and many other sites.

Uckele has it at this link: 

Lysine has a strong taste and not all horses like it.

If you think your horse may refuse it, you can try:

Depaolo Equine which is in a base of brewers yeast, rice concentrate and fenugreek to mask the taste.