(aka Canola Oil)
I have been looking into different feeds a lot lately since a feed that is well used by some of my clients is no longer being manufactured. Interestingly, one of my clients just sent me a link for a whole feed asking if I could check it out to see what I thought about it.
Side note:- one of her horses has just been diagnosed with two variants of PSSM2!
I had no preconceived ideas about the feed, other than my knowledge that this client is well informed and careful - hence her question to me. However, my immediate "gut" feeling when I first looked at the web page was... NO! I went ahead and read the description, and it sounded ok. This is what it said...
"A palatable forage based, whole cereal free mix with an advanced formulation. Particularly suitable for working horses and ponies with metabolic and digestive health conditions who need a low sugar and starch diet, those that are ulcer prone, veterans and horses that become excitable on high cereal or starch diets.
A high fibre blend with super fibres to support optimum digestive health
XP yeast metabolites to support and promote beneficial bacteria and enhanced fibre fermentation
Higher levels of oils and fats to support weight gain and condition
Good levels of protein to support muscle development and integrity
Elevated levels of biotin to support hoof health and integrity
Fully balanced vitamins and minerals to support optimum health and well-being
Added fenugreek, to provide an attractive and tasty flavour"
Sounds ok right?! The thing that I wanted to know, however, was what are the key ingredients and, in particular, what oil is being used?!
Here are the ingredients...
"Oat Feed Pellets, Grass Pellets, Grass Chaff, Micronized Peas, Rapeseed Oil, Micronized Linseed, Linseed Expeller, Unmolassed Beet Pulp, Vitamins, Minerals, XPC Yeast, Fenugreek, Oregano, Sage, Garlic, Mint, Parsley, Marjoram, Peppermint."
The two things that stood out to me the most that made me understand why my initial hit was "NO", were Rapeseed Oil and Beet Pulp (although it is worth noting that some horses can be sensitive to linseed products too). The Beet Pulp would not have bothered me if it had stated it was non-GMO... but it doesn't. But it's the Rapeseed Oil that really bothers me - for both horses AND humans. This is why...
Rapeseed Oil contains a toxic substance called Eruric acid. This is known to irritate mucous membranes and damages the myelin sheath around nerves and also interferes with the use of Vitamin E by the body - not great therefore for PSSM horses since they need increased vitamin E in their diets! This led to Rapeseed Oil being banned by the FDA in 1956, and the development of new strains of rape in the mid 1970’s with lower levels of eruric acid.
While it was thought that the new forms of rape with their lower levels of eruric acid would not have the same health problems, unfortunately this has not been the case. In addition to the concerns already mentioned above, the new strains have been linked to the weakening of blood vessels and cardiovascular disease; as well as to the development of amyloid plaques in the brain and Alzheimers Disease. More generally they have also been linked to Cancer, Diabetes and Obesity.
Added to this, much of the rape now grown worldwide is GMO – genetically modified! ANYTHING that is GMO will have an inflammatory effect on the body due to the glyphosate content.
The oils that I tend to avoid in a big way are Rapeseed Oil and Soya Oil (I have a recent story about the effects of soya on a client's horse, which I will share in due course).
So... Always check the ingredients label before you buy!
If you are unsure about an ingredient then I am on hand to help you discover the truth and its suitability for feeding to your horse.