Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
- Monitor your horse's water intake. If you use an automatic waterer, turn it off and provide water in a large container (tub, tank or large, clean trash barrel). Make sure your horse will drink from this source.
- Provide a second bucket of water that has some salt added - a small handful of plain salt in a 3-gallon bucket is about right.
- Provide wet feed such as a beet pulp slurry or add water to his usual concentrate to make a wet mash. A benefit of beet pulp is it will also act as a "pre-biotic".
- Feed hay wet - either spray with water or dunk in a bucket.
- Watch that your horse is actually swallowing his water and mash - not just playing with it. Some illnesses can cause paralysis of the esophagus and prevent swallowing.
- Your horse can't swallow.
- He has a temperature above 102F (or 1 degree above his "normal" temperature).
- Your horse seems dehydrated. Do a skin pinch test on the shoulder or neck - the tented skin should immediately snap back with no "wrinkles". Check his gums - they should be a healthy pink; press on the gum until it's blanched (white) - it should become pink again in less than 3 seconds.
- His resting heart rate is higher than normal (in the 30's or low 40's). You should have a record of his normal heart rate from doing "well horse checks" when your horse is healthy.
- Your horse seems depressed - standing with his head in a corner, not responding like he normally does or ignoring his surroundings.
- The diarrhea has a foul odor - not the normal fragrance of manure - or you can see blood or mucous.
- He acts like his tummy hurts - looking at or biting his sides, pacing, anxious look on his face.
- Evaluate your horse's diet for adequate forage (1.5 to 2% or more of body weight) and concentrates that may provide excess sugar or starch.
- Provide smaller, more frequent concentrate meals to lower the chance of undigested sugars getting past the cecum and small intestine to the hind gut.
- Examine your hay and feed for mold, insects or rodent droppings. If hay is of questionable quality, it can be tested for mycotoxins - see Equi-Analytical's web site.
- Add a pre-biotic or pro-biotic - such as Ration Plus, S. cerevisiae yeast, Forco or other quality product to your horse's ration. Pro-biotics in a feed or supplement may not be included in sufficient quantity to be effective in establishing adequate gut microbes. Beet pulp also acts as a "pre-biotic" - helping set up favorable conditions in the gut to encourage the "good" bugs to grow.
- Many people have reported success using human "over the counter" remedies to sooth and protect the GI tract. These include aloe vera juice, simethicone or antacids containing simethicone and kaolin/pectin (also available as a large animal preparation at some feed stores). As a rule of thumb, an equine dose is about four to six times the human dose - think "weight based" and consult your vet.
- There are also many products now targeted to the equine GI tract. Dr. Eleanor Kellon's Horse Journal Guide to Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals has a complete section on Digestive Tract Aids.
- Ensure your horse is receiving adequate salt in his ration. Inadequate salt may lead to chronic dehydration at the cellular level which can affect all bodily functions. Horses are unable to get enough salt from a salt or mineral block. One to two ounces (approximately one to two heaping Tablespoons) of regular table salt is about right for an "average" size horse at maintenance.
- Evaluate your horse's deworming program, especially if his exposure risk has changed. "Natural" dewormers have not been shown to be effective and horses with lowered immune system defenses (including from age) are more susceptible to problems from parasites.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
- Knowing and understanding what you're giving your horse; what it is and what is it meant to do.
- Being responsible for what gets put in your horse's body.
- Understanding that any herb or homeopathic that is potent enough to effect change is potent enough to possibly produce side effects or toxicity, the same as any other "medicine".
- Understanding that "natural" does not equal "safe".
- When you give "kitchen sink" mixtures, you have no idea what worked and what didn't.
- If it looks like magic, there's probably some sleight of hand involved, especially if it costs a lot (this is my personal opinion).
- Any medications - western, non-traditional, herbal, energy modalities, etc. need to be administered after a sound nutritional base is established; often the appropriate balanced nutrition provides a sound base and some conditions that previously required medication are eliminated.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
- Kilogram (Kg or kg) - 1,000 grams
- Gram (g, gm) - a basic unit of weight
- Milligram (mg) - 1/1,000 of a gram; there are 1,000 mg in one gram
- Microgram (mcg or µ) - 1/1000 of a milligram; there are 1,000 mcg in a mg
- PPM or ppm - parts per million which = mg/kg
- % or percent - 100ths of a gram per gram; how much (by weight) of an elemental mineral is in a gram of compound or product. The elemental mineral will show as a fraction [99% = 99/100 = 0.99 g]
- One pound = 453.6 grams; there are 2.2 lbs in a kilogram (1,000 g / 453.6 = 2.20]
- One ounce = 28.4 grams
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Boarding your horse always makes controlling your horse’s diet harder but many have found ways to work beet pulp into the routine. See the Beet Pulp articles for more information about beet pulp. Follow the same general guidelines if using hay pellets instead of beet pulp.
- If you can get to the barn daily, soak the beet pulp at home or at work or during your drive (a small cooler can work well for soaking and transporting).
- You can soak your beet pulp once a week or so and keep it in baggies in your freezer, ready for a quick grab on your way out the door.
- If the barn has a refrigerator, you can soak/drain/rinse the beet pulp at home and pack in individual baggies to keep in the barn’s fridge. (For more than 3-4 days, it should be kept in the freezer.)
- While “soak/drain/rinse” is ideal to remove surface iron, dust and residual sugar, the draining/rinsing could be skipped if your beet pulp is unmolassed and relatively dust free and no refrigerator is available. In this case, make sure you have figured out how much water needs to be added and supply a cup that holds that much (or mark your bucket with a water line).
- If the barn owner is willing to help, make it easy for them. Pre-measure the beet pulp and your supplements into baggies, provide a large closed bucket or other container to keep your stuff neat and together. If needed, provide the bucket for soaking/feeding, a colander for draining (this can be skipped), a large cup for measuring water (like a plastic soda cup) and a metal sweat scraper for stirring. And be willing to offer paying a bit extra for this service - especially if the BO will drain and rinse your beet pulp.
Beet pulp is not “necessary” but is a low sugar/low starch alternative to bagged feeds and grain or can be used as a substitute for some of the hay ration (especially if you need to replace some high sugar/starch hay) and is well accepted by most horses. It doesn’t take long to get into a routine and the benefits usually outweigh any inconvenience. If beet pulp is not available, you can use plain hay pellets (I like the Mountain Sunrise Timothy or Bermuda pellets, or Timothy/Alfalfa pellets for hard keepers) as a carrier for your supplements.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Ad on Craig's list -
Well bred Peruvian mare FREE
Donitilla is a beautiful well bred mare she has been used for a broodmare only.She is a daughter of RDS Me LLamo Peru++ Double HNS Domingo She is bred as good as it gets. She is due to foal next month . I am giving her away provided i get the foal back and get one more foal back next spring. She must go to a good home only.
Let's see - I want you to pay the foaling costs, support this mare during lactation, put up with her being rebred, have all the care, cost and worry of taking her through another pregnancy and give me that baby too. For all this, I will give you a lovely pasture ornament. Who has only been used as a broodmare - and that's because...? maybe no one had time to train her but they'll have time for two babies? And she's being given away because...? Is broodmare a euphemism for something else?
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
My horse started Steadfast on May 25. I was told, if there is no improvement within 25 days, I could notify the company for a full refund. I thought it was worth a try since I don't think my horse is a responder to the AAKG/J protocol (although I am using it on him) since it can't hurt.
I am so tempted at times to create and sell a silver bullet supplement - I'll mix a little poly copper and poly zinc with some selenium yeast, dry and grind up some eggshells, add a little flax and yeast as a base. Maybe I'll include some "natural" herbs.
When I reviewed the website for the mentioned product, it seemed to me like an expensive form of chelated minerals and known (even if they do come from a novel source) joint supporting nutrients in a pretty "this will save your horse" package.
You can take a look at the Arenus site and decide for yourself.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
- Monitor your big horse's weight and condition frequently. http://www.draftresource.com/Draft_Wt_Tape.html has an interesting discussion on measuring for weight; useful as most weight tapes don't go around.
- Avoid grain unless your horse is working hard. Use NRC guidelines to avoid over feeding your draft horse.
- Feed low sugar/low starch hay - try to buy tested hay or learn to test it yourself. See http://desertequinebalance.blogspot.com/2006/08/analyzing-hay-and-feeds.html
- Exercise your draft horse every day. Owners on the ESPM group report seeing more symptoms when they skip exercise. "Turnout" does not have the same effect as structured exercise.
- Learn all you can about diet, EPSM and caring for draft horses.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I want to know what everyone is using for probiotics - and didnt you tell me once you could just add some yogurt to their feed? Wouldnt this be a different kind of bacteria than a horse would normally get?
The following quote is from Dr. Kellon's Nutrition as Therapy course. There's an entire chapter on probiotics/prebiotics which I can't reproduce here.
"The bacteria you see in equine probiotic products are all “borrowed” from human data with no studies whatsoever to support their use in horses. Then there's the issue of dose. Dr. Scott Weese in Canada is the closest thing to an expert on veterinary probiotics there is. He has estimated it would take a minimum dose of 10 to 20 billion live organisms to have any effect in a horse. Humans taking probiotics to ward off antibiotic associated diarrhea often take a higher dose than that 4 times a day! If you read the label on probiotic products, forgetting for the moment that the bacteria they contain may well be useless, very few measure up to this potency. For a horse that might benefit from pre/probiotic support, I usually recommend:
- High potency prebiotic like Forco or Ration Plus for support of upper intestinal Lactobacilli (contains growth factors for these organisms)
- Easily fermentable prebiotic foods for the hindgut organisms, like beet pulp or psyllium.
- If populations may be low (older horses, horses with diarrhea,horses with a chronic history of bloating/hay belly) and use a high potency probiotic like Equine Generator from www.bio-vet.com, or start with a human high potency acidophilus only product (acidophilus is one species of Lactobacillus.)"
Scott Weese, DVM, is an expert in diseases of the equine GI tract. His paper on probiotics can be accessed on IVIS at http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/AAEP/2001/91010100027.pdf.
(If you're not already a member at IVIS, go ahead and join - it is free and a valuable source of international veterinary information).
Because of the paucity of actual research about probiotics, when I first read Dr. Weese's paper I checked out yogurt (yoghurt) as a possible source of microbes for our horses. The "requirement" for a manufacturer to use the "live and active cultures" logo is 100 million per gram at time of manufacture; Mountain High yoghurt, for example, promotes "An 8-ounce serving of Mountain High Yoghurt contains more than 22 billion cultures at the time of manufacture." The recommended minimum dose for horses is 10 billion CFU (cultures or "colony forming units")/day.
So, IMO, it would probably be sufficient to use yogurt (a quality brand like Mountain High, Dannon or a good organic or home made) for the occasional need to boost gut microbes, such as after worming or a normal course of antibiotics.
Probiotics usually shouldn't be needed on a daily basis. Once an ill horse is recovered, or a stressed horse is back to their regular routine, a few days or a week's dosing should get their gut flora going. The main exceptions would be a horse with high carbs in their diet – usually from grain or pre-mixed feeds - which spill over into their hind gut, or a horse with chronic diarrhea (and cultures should be done here to help determine the cause). Some older horses with chronic digestive problems may also benefit. Then it makes sense to use a quality probiotic for simplicity, along with a pre-biotic, which provides "food" for the gut flora. But for most healthy horses, daily probiotics are probably an unnecessary expense (which could be better spent on testing hay).
Pre-biotics: Ration Plus, Forco, beet pulp, flax, psyllium fed daily (will lose some of it's purported sand clearing ability if fed daily), yeast (Yea-Sac)
Check labels to make sure the product is supplying at least 10 billion CFU per SERVING. Ex: the DFM EQ provides 200 billion CFU per ounce, but the serving size is 1 scoop, which is 5 grams or 1/5th ounce; this still provides 35 billion CFU per serving which is fine.
The DFM ProLactic from HorseTech is on the low side (2 billion CFU), as are most levels added to feeds or supplements. There’s a complete listing of probiotic products in Dr. Kellon’s Horse Journal Guide to Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals.