Effects of alfalfa chaff on the gastric mucosa in adult horses

Effects of alfalfa chaff on the gastric mucosa in adult horses

Effekte der Fütterung von Luzernehäckseln auf die Magenschleimhaut von adulten Pferden

Vondran S, Venner M, Coenen M, Vervuert I

DOI: 10.21836/PEM20170109
Year: 2017
Volume: 33
Issue: 1
Pages: 66-71

Feeding alfalfa hay is often recommended because of its buffering properties associated with substances, like protein and calcium, to prevent lesions. However, the particle size of the alfalfa preparations seems to have an influence on gastric mucosa in weanlings. We hypothesized that feeding alfalfa chaff with harsh particles would negatively impact glandular gastric mucosa in adult horses under maintenance conditions. The study was performed as a cross-over 2×2 Latin square design with 16-days washout intervals over 8 weeks. Six geldings (19 to 21 years of age) were kept in individual boxes (10.85m2). The horses were fed 1.5kg per 100kg BW of alfalfa chaff or grass hay, offered twice a day. Horses were subjected to a gastroscopy immediately before the feeding period (T=0), after the first feeding period of 12 days (T=12), after the first washout period (T=28), after the second feeding period of 12 days (T=40) and after the second washout period (T=56). When horses were fed alfalfa chaff the median score of the antrum raised from 0 to 2 (p=0.07). And after the washout period the median score of the antrum decreased to 0.5 (p=0.04). In conclusion feeding alfalfa chaff induced glandular mucosal lesions at the antrum. Lesions of the antrum induced by feeding alfalfa chaff seem to be reversible and to heal within 16 days.