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KPU what is it?

Kryptopyrrolurie (KPU) is unfortunately a very widespread detoxification disorder in horses. The cause lies in a disturbed intestinal gut flora. These helpful microorganisms not only digest the cellulose from hay and pasture grass, but also produce a lot of nutrients that are important for the horse. These include essential amino acids and activated vitamins. In particular, activated vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate is required by the horse’s liver in order to effectively ‘defuse’ waste products and toxins and make them excretable. If the intestinal gut flora is disrupted, for example by feeding haylage, too long a break in feeding or short portions of structured feed (‘chaff’), this can lead to incorrect fermentation and thus to a shift in the sensitive intestinal environment. Stress also plays a vital part.

Once the intestinal gut flora is out of balance, the horse no longer has enough P5P available to allow detoxification to take place normally in the liver. The metabolism now uses secondary pathways to dispose of at least some of the toxins and waste products: it binds them to trace elements such as selenium or zinc. This is often the first noticeable sign when running bloods: selenium deficiency and a zinc level that are in the lower limit range. A KPU therapy makes sense then.

What needs to be done?

Stabilise the hind gut

The first step is to stabilise the intestines so that the natural intestinal symbionts can grow back and replace the bad gut bacteria. This can be achieved through optimising the feed and daily management.

Depending on how long the disorder has been present, and how severe the shift into the bad gut bacteria was, it can sometimes take years for the intestinal flora to function completely normally again. Especially if symptoms such as sweet itch, laminitis or Cushing’s disease have already developed, it often takes a long time to restore the metabolism to its natural balance.

We recommend OKAPI HeparKPU fortefor the supply of micronutrients for KPU © Okapi GmbH

Feeding micronutrients

Based on our experience horses that are deficient in micronutrients due to KPU disorder should be supported during this time of rebuilding. This primarily includes activated vitamin B6, which is required for the natural detoxification function. But also activated vitamin B12, which the body needs for haemoglobin synthesis as well as for healthy nerve sheaths. It is not without reason that KPU horses often have very poor haemoglobin and erythrocyte levels in their blood count and appear weak in training. The storage of trace element zinc is usually depleted in horses with KPU disorder and must therefore be replenished. In this case, a supplement over and above the normal supply of mineral feed is used. Horses with KPU disorder also suffer from a sulphur deficiency due to the usually chronic inflammation in the intestinal gut mucosa membrane.

This often manifests itself in poor hoof horn, poor quality or slow growth, breaking hoof walls or even skin and coat problems such as poor shedding, poor coat quality, thin long hair, or eczematous changes to the skin.

To support the micronutrient supply, we recommend OKAPI HeparKPU forte, which was specifically developed, after long standing experience to support horses with a KPU therapy. In addition to the essential nutrients for KPU horses, it also contains selected plant extracts, which have a stabilising effect on the intestinal environment and – unlike most herbal mixtures – can also be given long-term..

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