ABSTRACT: High carbohydrate diets can affect the health and behaviour of foals, but the mechanisms are not always fully understood. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of feeding a starch and sugar (SS), or a fat (oil) and fibre (FF) rich diet to two groups of eight foals. Diets were fed from 4 to 42 weeks of age, alongside ad libitum forage. Faecal pH levels did not differ significantly between groups and endoscopic examination showed that the gastric mucosa was healthy in both groups at 25 and 42 weeks of age. At 40 weeks of age, SS foals had significantly higher total blood glucose and lower total blood gastrin than FF foals during the 6h period following ingestion of their respective diets, but insulin levels did not differ significantly. The ratio between serum tryptophan and other large neutral amino acids showed a trend towards an interaction between diet and sampling time. The results provide preliminary information about the effects of diet on the physiology of young horses.
The Veterinary Journal 08/2007; 174(1):139-46. · 2.24 Impact Factor