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    Re: [RC] Alfalfa hay - Susan Garlinghouse

    >What is "enteroliths"?
    >Lori B.
    Mineralized "rocks" in the hindgut that form out of too much magnesium,
    phosphorus and nitrogen (from protein) in the diet, plus an alkaline hindgut
    pH from high calcium.  The protein and calcium come from any alfalfa, the
    magnesium comes specifically from SW-grown alfalfa, the phosphorus usually
    comes from accompanying high phosphorus feeds such as wheat bran, rice bran
    or a lot of grain.  So a straight alfalfa diet in Ohio is unlikely to form
    enteroliths (because the high magnesium content is missing), whereas a
    straight alfalfa diet in Southern California is a lot more likely.  I've
    personally seen some enteroliths the size of a basketball and better than 40
    lbs, though most aren't nearly that big.  Not every horse on straight
    alfalfa gets them (or, perhaps the correct phrase is 'gets them AND has
    clinical problems resulting from them', which is a different thing), but
    enough do to make it a dietary issue, IMO, totally aside from other issues
    that directly affect endurance horses.  There's an article on my website
    about it http://www.shady-acres.com/susan/  under "Alfalfa and the
    Performance Horse".  :-)
    BTW, what it doesn't say in the article (I need to update it) is that
    according to research out of UC Davis, the line between 'okay' and 'too
    much' seems to be around 50%---that is, 50% of the ration is in the form of
    alfalfa, and the other half grass hay or whatever.  More than that, and the
    incidence of enteroliths and horses requiring surgery to remove them,
    Susan G
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    Re: [RC] Alfalfa hay, Lori Bertolucci