Nutritional Articles

Meal size and starch content affect gastric emptying in horses.

Published: 2004-08-30

Brief content of the article
Feeding practices have been associated with colic in horses. The researchers hypothized that if meal size and composition have an effect on gastric emptying, this could be one of the mechanisms by which feeding practices are related to the occurrence of colic. To evaluate the effect of meal size and starch content on solid phase gastric emptying solid phase gastric emptying of 3
different radiolabelled meals, small low-starch (SmLS), small high-starch (SmHS) and large high-starch (LgHS) meals, was measured in 5 horses by scintigraphy using 99mTc-disofenin. The results indicated that a larger meal size and higher starch content were associated with slower gastric emptying in terms of percent of total original meal, but the larger meal emptied
faster in terms of grams of feed and Kcal/min. The authors suggested that the effect of meal size and composition on gastric emptying could play a role in the relationship between feeding practices and colic and in the nutritional value of certain feeds.
Keywords: horse; radioscintigraphy; gastric emptying; meal size; starch; stomach; gastric ulcers.

Metayer, N., Lhote, M., Bahr, A., Cohen, N.D., Kim, I., Roussel A.J. and Julliand, V. 2004. Meal size and starch content affect gastric emptying in horses. Equine Vet. J. 36: 436-440.

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