Landmark study unveils strong benefits of DeStress for horses

Posted on January 31, 2019 by admin

New equine results add to the already strong foundation of science backing the dramatic advantages of this innovative product line

As feed and nutrition innovation continues to advance at a rapid clip, one of the standout products contantly pushing the leading edge is DeStress - the original pioneering brand and gold standard in the emerging area of nutritonal therapy.

Information on Destress Nutritional Technology is available on the DeStress website and the latest generation species-tailored versions of the product are available via Country Junction Feeds.

"The more we learn from the science, the more value we are seeing from this unique product," says Dave Gibson. "It's a great story. Most important, its a completely fresh approach that offers many advantages for supporting animal care and performance for swine, ruminants and equine."

A top example is a new study just published showing that DeStress is a "game changer" for equine stress reduction. Results of The Pretransport Management of Stress in Performance Horses study is now available in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. DeStress is a one-of-a-kind product developed by Canadian researchers and currently available in DeStress-Swine DeStress-Ruminants and DeStress-Equine versions.

Study highlights

  • DeStress nutritional therapy was administered to rodeo horses before transportation.
  • Orbital eye temperatures determined with infrared were used to monitor the efficacy.
  • After transportation, the eye temperatures were higher for the control group (P < .05).
  • Providing DeStress to horses before transportation reduced the thermal response to stress.

The focus of this study was to determine whether DeStress nutritional therapy administration to performance horses before transportation would reduce stress expression in these animals, says Dr. Al Schaefer, science lead for DeStress Nutritional Technology.

Performance horses used in the study were offered either control (rice hulls) or treated (DeStress crumbles) diets before transportation. A cross-over design was used whereby all animals were tested both under control and treatment conditions. Orbital eye temperatures determined noninvasively before and after transportation using infrared thermography were used to monitor the efficacy of this nutritional therapy.

Baseline eye temperatures before transportation were 34.1 ± 1.1°C for the control group and 34.3 ± 1.2°C for the treatment group (P > .05). After the horses had been transported, the eye temperatures were 35.3 ± 0.32°C for the control group and 34.7 ± 0.8°C for the treatment group (P < .05).

The verdict: Strong benefits with DeStress

"These results suggest that providing a nutritional supplement (DeStress) to horses before transportation can reduce the physiological activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis due to that stress," says Schaefer. "In simple terms, the stress response in these animals is lowered dramatically. The results show that nutritional therapy using DeStress can have a strong impact in benefitting performance horses and guarding against the negative impacts of stress."

Importantly, DeStress is drug free and based solely on natural nutritional ingredients. It is formulated to be highly palatable and easily fed, including via a crumble, ready-to-use form that is mixed with the normal ration.

Raising the bar on animal care and performance

The negative effects of stress on livestock comprise a long list. It includes loss of live weight and carcass yield (shrink); degraded meat quality including dark cutting (cattle), color change (swine) and PSE meat (swine); degraded quality grade due to marbling loss (cattle); reduced tenderness due to dehydration; reduced growth performance (average daily gain); challenges to an animal's immune system; and degraded animal well-being. In horses, stress is known to drain overall well being, conditioning, energy and performance. Particularly in performance horses, the transport and handling of these animals whether for recreational events or competition commonly activate a stress response system which can lead to significant biological impacts including the loss of muscle mass and the loss of energy (glycogen) in the muscle and liver.

However, livestock researchers including Schaefer and colleagues have made great strides in understanding the role and potential of nutrition to counteract and protect against these negative impacts.

"We've come a long way," says Schaefer. "It's a very exciting time to be involved in nutritional therapy for livestock and equine."

Country Junction Feeds' own Chance Butterfield, who is also a professional steer wrester, has direct experience as an early adopter of nutritional therapy for use with his own performance horses.This has produced consistent strong benefits protecting his horses’ performance and keeping them in top shape. “In our sport,” Butterfield says, “the horse is 75 percent of your run. If your horse isn’t at his full potential, no matter how good you are, you won’t be able to make up the difference. Nutritional therapy provides that peace of mind you are giving your horses their best opportunity for success.”

Learn more about DeStress Nutritional Technology and its suite of stress management solutions at www.destress-nutrition.com.

The only full line feed mill producing organic feeds in Alberta