Signs Of Copper Deficiency In Horses

Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Allison Price

Did you know that horses with black skin, which also includes grays, require more copper than other horses? Bays and chestnuts may appear washed-out with lighter-colored coats than usual, while blacks will show a distinct reddish tint.

Copper is essential for horses to be able to use iron properly and develop healthy connective tissues. Copper is important for horses suffering from allergies because it can lower the level of histamine in their bodies. Copper is also important for the proper functioning of the central nervous system.

Copper Deficiency

A deficiency in copper can cause deformities in adult horses, including limb deformities, swelling of the joints and blood vessel weakness. Connective tissue weakness, skin sag, and a lower immune system. Copper is the main mineral that the body needs to make T cells. Copper is essential for bone health, heart health, skin pigmentation, and prevention of premature graying. Anemia can also be caused by a copper deficiency.

These are signs your horse might have that indicate a copper deficiency.

  • Fading coat color
  • Frizzy ends
  • Parasite issues
  • Melanomas
  • A bobbed hair that looks like a fish hook

A copper deficiency will occur when there is too much iron in the soil or water. Horses suffering from a copper deficiency are likely to be deficient in other nutrients.

If I see any of these signs in horses, I immediately add SOD from Dynamite Specialistty Products. SOD should not be added to other products, as it could cause an imbalance or oversupply of vitamins and minerals.

Dynamite’s SOD is my preferred choice. They use pure chelated copper as a supplement. It is the same as what would be found in whole foods. You can avoid any potential toxicity caused by the minerals not being flushed out of the body by using chelated copper.

It is important that premium products use chelated minerals, and not inorganic. Horses can’t digest inorganic minerals. The horse can make the mineral more accessible by attaching it to protein (amino acid) or chelating it. On the feed tag, look for copper amino acid chelate or copper proteinate.

You may need to add a little more zinc to your diet if you are consuming a lot of copper. Good nutrition is about maintaining balance.

You don’t need to be concerned if your horse has a shiny, healthy coat or a full body of dapples. As the winter coats begin to shed, horses will appear dreadful as they transition into spring.

Keep in mind, however, that horses who are working hard and sweat a lot can bleach their coats. The coat will be bleached if you wash them with clean water.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!