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Dietary Therapy for Liver Disease

Horses with liver disease should be fed a ration containing a highly digestible forage to meet their energy, protein and other essential nutrient requirements. Dietary protein intake should not be lower than requirements to prevent protein malnutrition and catabolism of body stores of protein. A forage analysis is extremely useful to help design a ration with an appropriate amount of protein and other essential nutrients; poorly digestible forage should be avoided.

Common Causes of Hepatic Disease in Horses

  • Ingestion of a hepatotoxin
  • Hepatocellular damage from an infectious agent
  • Biliary tract disease
  • Infiltration of the liver with excess lipids

Nutritional Solutions to Support Your Patients

See our recommended Platinum Protocols for common equine conditions and injuries.

Condition Products Protocol
Liver Support
  • Platinum Performance® Equine
  • Platinum Liver Support
  • Bio-Sponge®
  • Platinum BCAA
  • Platinum Longevity®
Adult horses with liver disease (no evidence of abnormalities in clotting profile): Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Liver Support SID and administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine BID. Horses that have ingested a hepatotoxin can be supplemented with 1/2 scoop (2oz) Bio–Sponge® BID. Administer 1 scoop Platinum Longevity® SID. Horses that are clinically stable (no evidence of hepatic encephalopathy), add 1/2 scoop Platinum BCAA TID.*†
Adult horses with liver disease (evidence of abnormalities in clotting profile): Administer 1 scoop of Platinum Liver Support SID and administer 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine BID. Horses that have ingested a hepatotoxin can be supplemented with 1/2 scoop (2oz) Bio–Sponge® BID. Horses that are clinically stable (no evidence of hepatic encephalopathy), add 1/2 scoop Platinum BCAA TID.*†
*Values provided are suitable for horses weighing 900-1200 lbs. For horses requiring protein restriction, all sources of dietary protein should be taken into consideration. †Horses who exhibit hepatic encephalopathy or that require dietary protein restriction to maintain clinical stability, add 1 scoop Platinum BCAA TID.

SID = 1 time daily, BID = 2 times daily, TID = 3 times daily.​

Feeding Protocols for Horses with Liver Disease

  • Horses with liver disease should be fed in multiple small meals throughout the day to help maintain blood glucose concentrations.
  • A slow feeder device is a useful tool to help provide the horse with continuous access to hay.
  • Supplemental calories can be added to the ration using other highly-digestible feeds, including soaked beet pulp and oil (if the patient does not have hepatic lipidosis or hypertriglyceridemia).

Beneficial Supplemental Nutrients

A variety of supplemental nutrients that provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic activities in hepatocytes may be beneficial in the management of liver disease.

  • ilymarin, a flavonoid and natural component of milk thistle has both antioxidant and antifibroticproperties. It may also possess hepatoprotective properties and may help to manage excessive inflammation.
  • Vitamin E, a potent fat-soluble antioxidant, supports the liver against free radical damage, which is common in liver disease.
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is a sulfur containing compound, which may support healthy glutathione levels in the liver. Glutathione plays an important role in cellular detoxification.
  • Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that helps to change oxidized vitamin E back to active, reduced vitamin E. Vitamin C, when alone or combined with vitamin E, has been shown to support liver function.
  • Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that helps to support hepatocytes from oxidative damage and helps maintain protection against fibrotic damage.

Clinical Field Trial Overview

In a clinical trial, feeding a dietary supplement designed to support liver health* for 30 days to horses with clinical signs of hepatic disease and elevated hepatic enzymes resulted in improvements in patient body weight, body condition score, and 73% of horses (8/11) had a decrease in their hepatic enzymes (Chart 1).

*Platinum Liver Support

The Science Behind the Supplements

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Liver Support

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