Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Feed Naturally to Prevent Winter Colic - and Don't Forget the Salt!

Prevent Seasonal Colic and Ulcers Holistically by Joyce Harman, DVM from HolisticHorse.com
Not something we want to see in our barn!
“It’s no secret that horses have a finicky digestive system. By design, they should move and graze for up to 20 hours a day. This natural behavior keeps the hindgut full, which leads to a properly functioning digestive tract. Most horse owners aren’t able to provide this optimum environment and alter the horse’s patterns to fit into their lifestyles. At times, that means stalling horses or keeping them in small paddocks, while feeding them large amounts of processed feed. Whether we realize it or not, altering the natural behavior puts stress on the horse’s body.”

Dehydration is often a primary cause of winter impaction colic. As the weather cools down, our horses may need to be encouraged to continue drinking adequate water - this is best done by adding salt daily to their feed. Most horses won’t get the one to two ounces (four to eight teaspoons) of salt they need to provide their sodiumrequirement (it's the sodium which triggers a thirst response) from a block. If your horses aren’t used to having salt added to their feed, you can start by “salting the environment” - literally sprinkling salt around their stall, on their hay, etc. the help them get used to the smell and taste.  Then gradually add up to at least one ounce per day for an average 900-1100 pound horse. If you provide free choice salt, make sure you monitor their intake.

It’s also important to monitor your horses’ water intake during the winter which can be difficult if you use automatic waterers - especially as they can be subject to freezing.

Old Camping Trick:  In my part of Arizona, we generally have only ten nights or less of hard freeze. I’ve found the easiest way to get fresh warm water to my horses on these days is to place a clean trash bag in muck buckets, fill them at the house then tie off the top of the bags.  I can then drive them to the barn in my truck or in a cart without sloshing or losing a drop. 

Warm regards from
Patti in sunny Vail AZ
 - where Fall has finally arrived

Winter Water Needs for Our Horses
Introducing New Feeds (or “salting the environment”)
Prevent Seasonal Colic and Ulcers Holistically

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Updating Vitamin E

This has been a busy and challenging summer for me and it's good to finally be back on line - though it will still be some time before I expect to be back in the saddle.

I'd like to invite you to check out some recent updates to my Vitamin E article, “Comparing the cost of providing Vitamin E for our horses” at my website. Thanks to Rob Stuart, Ph.D., President of Stuart Products, Inc. (supplier of EMCELLE TOCOPHEROL micellized alpha-tocopherol) for pointing out some changes which were needed.

If your horses' primary diet consists of cured hay during the winter, they should receive supplemental vitamin E.  Current NRC daily recommendations for vitamin E in horses are 1 -2 IU/kg body weight (250-500 IU)which is easily supplied by active pasture but is quickly lost when hay is cut and cured. This is a “minimum” level and may not be adequate for horses with neuromuscular disorders, pregnant or lactating mares and metabolically challenged horses. Vitamin E, although a fat-soluble vitamin, is not stored in the body as vitamins A and D are, so should be supplemented daily when not supplied by the diet.

Dr. Eleanor Kellon has suggested a minimum of 2 IU vitamin E per pound of body weight (or 2,000IU/day for an “average” horse)on a cured hay diet to ensure they receive adequate levels.

I hope you find the updated article interesting and helpful in selecting the most cost-effective vitamin E supplementation for your particular circumstance.

Best regards,

in sunny Vail, AZ


Vitamin E: Comparing the cost of providing Vitamin E for our horses

University of Minnesota Equine Center, Neuromuscular Diagnostic Laboratory : Selecting a Vitamin E Supplement

NRC Plus - Eleanor Kellon, VMD’s introductory equine nutrition on-line course

ECIR: Treatment of Insulin Resistance