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Discussion on Is fresh sweet corn on the cob safe as a treat

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Lois Berenyi (Lois)
Posted on Monday, Jul 31, 2000 - 11:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Some people at my barn have been treating their horses lately with fresh sweet corn on the cob, complete with the husks. I don't know for sure but think they are only feeding one cob at a time. Is this a safe treat? I have fed field-dried cob corn until mold problems became a concern but am unsure about the fresh corn.
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Linda Antipala (Alika)
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 1, 2000 - 1:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Our friend is the foreman of a sweet corn farm here in the islands. Last week he gave us pounds of sweet corn, in the husk (as a gift). My pasture partner decided to take part of her share and give treats to our horses, in the husk, same as Lois barn mates.(another topic - people who give your horses treats without asking first!?) I was saying "no, no" mainly because I thought it would make them fat (they are big enough with grass bellys!) AND, I am anti-treat in general because getting hand fed goodies makes our horses "naggy" (pardon the pun). Like Lois, I'd be really interested to hear comments on sweet corn. It would be nice to have another reason to tell my pasture partner why I said no!
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Angela Graveline (Whs1)
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 1, 2000 - 1:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have heard of people feeding horses corn stalks but until this year, I have not heard of giving horses the sweet corn ears. My neighbor came over to bring us some and started feeding it raw first to my kids (who loved it) and then to my horses. She has had horses for much longer than I have, and after seeing how much they loved it, who can say she is wrong. I don't think I'll take up eating the corn raw myself, but I guess we eat alot of veggies that way. as for giving it to a horse you have to be careful just like with any treats and know what the animal can handle and what it can't. Some horses have a hard time digesting certain foods and tend to colic, while others can eat anything. I would like to hear other pro's and con's on this. I am very interested in what others have to say about this and if there might be any added benifits.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 1, 2000 - 2:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sounds safe to me as long as they don't choke on the cob.
DrO
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Lois Berenyi (Lois)
Posted on Tuesday, Aug 1, 2000 - 3:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The reason a red flag went up when I found the husks in the feed pans is that we have 3 foundered and post-foundered horses in the barn. With fresh corn being high in sugar I was dismayed to find the remains in the pan of a horse in the acute stage (a boarded horse, corn given to the owner by another boarder). Somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought that dried (mold free) corn was o.k. but sweet corn could be a problem, similar to feeding a horse lush grass clippings. I have another avenue of research to check this out (an equine nutritionist) since there's a few of us wondering about this.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 2, 2000 - 6:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lois,
As long as it is being offered as a treat and not the mainstay diet the sugar content is not a problem. This does not change much over time as the corn is dried: it just changes forms and takes an extra step to digest. It crosslinks with other sugars, aminoacids, and other chemicals. These are not as sweet as the simple sugars of fresh corn.

It could be argued that this may be safer form of carbohydrate for foundered horses: the sugar is digested and absorbed more readily and there fore is gone from the digestive track before it can feed the bacteria that produce the endotoxin that result in founder. I know of no work that supports or denies this however and other factors are at work.

However with this all said: I certainly would not feed this or even significant amounts of any dried grain to horses experiencing founder.
DrO
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Lois Berenyi (Lois)
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 2, 2000 - 1:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dr. O...gives my mind a little relief. One gets slightly paranoid dealing with foundered horses and what to feed them.
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