Advanced Equine Studies

Rusty Coat? Is a Copper Deficiency the Culprit? Dr. Getty’s Advice continued......

The ideal copper to zinc ratio is 1:3. To bring your horse’s diet within this level, you must evaluate everything you are feeding, including hay, pasture, feeds, and supplements. The most common mineral imbalance found in hay is too much iron combined with low zinc and copper levels. A high iron concentration can interfere with both zinc and copper absorption, making already low levels of these minerals even less available to your horse. Strive for no more than 8 times more iron than zinc. The “rusting” of your horse’s hair and mane may be the tip of the iceberg. Zinc and copper are involved in many important bodily functions including red blood cell health, metabolic enzymes, immune function, and the overall health of tendons, ligaments, hooves, and bones. Go deeper than the surface – protect your horse’s overall health by assessing the mineral content of the entire diet.
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an internationally respected equine nutritionist available for private consultations and speaking engagements. Trained and educated in animal nutrition, she is independent of pharmaceutical company influence. She considers nutrition first for the prevention and treatment of disease and disorders, before turning to medical intervention and the use of medications.