Copper is a very important mineral in the horse and perhaps best known for its ability to give a horses coat and skin a really deep healthy shine.
But it’s not just a beauty treatment, copper is also important for bone collagen, moving iron stores around the body and elastin synthesis. So copper is important for skin, bone, blood and elastic tissues.
Copper can be low in many soils in Ireland and the UK. Horses turned out to pasture for a holiday or those mostly living at pasture may be in need of a little extra copper in the field. The horse uses copper every day drawing reserves from its liver. If the land is low in copper the daily losses will not be replenished through the pasture and so the horse can become deficient. The most common sign is a dull coat that is often bleached at the tips.
Copper is available in many forms including syringes, liquid supplements and as Copper Top-Up Cubes. As with everything in life a good thing, like copper, can become too much of a good thing if not fed appropriately. High doses of copper are only recommended on a short term basis, typically 4-6 weeks to help boost the liver reserves and restore a healthy status in the horse.
Copper can be influenced by other minerals, most notably molybdenum, zinc and iron. If copper deficiency is becoming a long term or repeating problem it is worth looking at the total diet including pasture to determine if there are interactions between minerals that are either effecting copper uptake and/or its ability to function within the body.
- Copper Deficiency
- Copper Levels