Copper for horses is an essential trace mineral. It plays a role in many body processes, including developing and maintaining bones, joints, connective tissue, and blood vessels. It also helps to keep the immune system functioning correctly.
Horses need copper in their diets to stay healthy and vitality. However, too much copper can be toxic. Therefore, ensuring that your horse's diet contains the right balance of this mineral is necessary.
Copper-containing supplements are available for horses that may not get enough of this mineral in their diets. These supplements can help to correct any deficiencies and restore health.
Learn about the functions of copper in horses.
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity.
A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color.
Cooper serves as a conductor of heat and electricity as a building material. As a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples.
It sounds all technical. Stick around to discover the power of administrating copper for horses.
All living organisms can benefit from copper. It serves as a trace dietary mineral.
It is a crucial constituent of the enzyme complex copper-zinc superoxide dismutase.
Here are ten benefits of copper for horses.
1. For their coat color - The enzyme tyrosinase requires copper to make melanin. Horses with dull, faded hair might be low on copper, thus not making enough melanin.
2. Their hoof health - A proper balance of zinc and copper supports the synthesis of keratin - a protein responsible for the structural integrity of hooves. If fed adequate levels of copper and zinc, there is a lower incidence of white line disease (seedy toe) with decreased risk of hoof wall separation.
3. Stimulate the growth of the hoof - Supplements of copper and zinc proteinates increases the mineral content of the hoof horn, providing extra antioxidant protection and support to the hoof structure.
4. Antioxidant protection - Enough antioxidant shields against premature aging and helps cells along with tissues/organs to function correctly. If you heavily exercise your horses, this will help them recover tissue quickly.
5. Help immune function - A low copper consumption causes the likelihood of mud fever or rain scald because the immune cells cannot protect against skin bacteria in humid conditions. Macrophages and neutrophils are immune cells throughout the body. The superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme generates hydrogen peroxide used to kill bacteria and prevent infection.
6. Iron Metabolism - Vital for iron metabolism and the production of red blood cells. Iron is part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. Several copper-containing enzymes move the iron from where its storage to where red blood cells form.
Anemia in horses can be caused by copper deficiency because they fail to make enough red blood cells.
7. Neutralize High Iron Diets - Iron is in almost all plant materials, water, and soil. High iron intake can contribute to insulin resistance, laminitis, and liver damage. While also slowing down copper absorption from the gut. The ratio approximately of proper iron to zinc to copper is 4:3:1.
8. Bone development in foals - All living organisms can benefit from copper. It is a crucial constituent of the enzyme complex copper-zinc superoxide dismutase.
9. Energy production - All cells need copper for energy production. It is a component of cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme within the mitochondria. Mitochondria is part of the cell that makes energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Cells rely on this enzyme to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that serves as the energy currency of the cells.
10. Nervous System Function - Copper is involved in the production and maintenance of myelin. Myelin serves as a protector that covers nerves to help them send signals around the body. The production of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine requires copper to allow nerves to communicate with each other.
A significant and impactful mineral, copper is only required in minuscule amounts in the horse's diet.
Copper salts are inorganic sources of copper that can serve horses.
Copper chloride, copper acetate, copper sulfate, and copper carbonate
The highest bioavailability is copper acetate, and the lowest is copper carbonate.
To treat bacterial overgrowth in issues like white line disease. Copper sulfate is usually applied directly to the hooves.
Research shows that giving orally can improve copper status in horses.
But! Beware that high amounts of copper sulfate can cause stomach and gut disturbances. Plus harm the kidney, liver, and other organs.
Often the first sign of possible copper deficiency is a faded coat color. Other red flags might surface as the following.
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