Vitamin E for muscles: chew on that

By Connie Orcutt • Published: September 1st, 2015
Category: Animal Airwaves

We are what we eat, and the same is true for our horses. Seemingly minor deficiencies can be fatal, so it’s crucial to know what you’re feeding.

Masseter [MASS-uh-ter] myodegeneration [MY-oh-dee-gen-er-A-shun] refers to a breakdown of a horse’s masseter muscles, which control chewing. The condition results from a deficiency of vitamin E in hay. When it comes on suddenly, the horse develops painful jaw swelling and has trouble moving. With time, the masseter muscles atrophy and the horse can’t swallow. At this stage, there’s little hope.

While vitamin E abounds in fresh forage, it deteriorates when hay is produced. And although horses can store vitamin E for a while after summer grazing, hay-only diets in the fall and winter require supplementation.

So don’t be found lacking. Do what it takes to give your horse food for life.