Category Archives: Feed

Fecal Water Syndrome

My senior Belgian Draft mare has a chronic condition where her stools are relatively solid but after having a stool, she passes fecal liquid separately, Her tail and hind end, and legs are covered. Initially when she came to me she had loose stools and the vet did a fecal and we put her on Biosponge. Her Fecal Sample showed minimal infestation and the Biosponge did not do much. Over time, her stools became more solid but the liquid continued. Now, after being with me for about 6 months we are still having this issue.

So, I did some research and came across an article on something I had never heard of before- Fecal Water Syndrome. According to an article on SmartPak.com, Fecal Water Syndrome is typically caused by the following;

The underlying cause of FWS in horses is not known at this time and there are many theories as to why some horses develop it. A group of researchers in Germany set out to explore some of the proposed theories and discovered that neither dental disease nor a heavy parasite burden seemed to be associated with FWS. However, it was found to be more likely to occur:

  • in horses of low rank or “pecking order” in the social hierarchy of a herd
  • in winter when subordinate horses were confined to a smaller space, leading to anxiety
  • in geldings vs mares, which are usually more dominant than geldings
  • in paint horses

However, the article also noted that due to FWS being a relatively new diagnosis, more studies are needed to look at the role stress, nutrition, and potentially, other factors in the development and management of FWS.

Diagnosis of FWS

Most veterinarians approach the diagnosis of a horse with FWS similar to one with diarrhea or loose stool. That is, they start by taking a thorough history from the owner, then perform a complete physical examination with special emphasis on the digestive system, and finally may recommend specific tests to evaluate the health of the horse in general and the GI tract in particular. It can be helpful to confirm the presence of soiled hind limbs and tail as well as dirty stall walls and bedding. While on the farm, the vet may want to walk through the regular feeding and management programs including turnout and herd status.

Treatment and Management of FWS

Although there is no standard treatment or set of recommendations for the care and feeding of horse suffering from FWS, all potential causes for disruption in the GI system should be addressed, including social stress.

  1. Making adjustments to the horse’s turn-out time and group.
  2. Making adjustments to the diet (with the input of a veterinarian and nutritionist.)
  3. Trying out various medications and supplements one at a time on the passage of fecal water. For example, adding omega 3 fatty acids for a normal inflammatory response in the gut, and to the stabilizing effects of “baker’s yeast” or Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
  4. Make sure to keep the hindquarters clean and dry to prevent any sores for forming.

What a Difference 3 Weeks Can Make

Tilly came to me from a slaughter auction in Texas after 17-ish years as an Amish workhorse.  She was thin (she still is), sick (upper respiratory infection) had cracked hooves, had never had her teeth floated (they made a horrible grinding and clicking sound when she ate), and apparently had never been clipped or bathed or worn a blanket.  I do not think she had ever even had a treat (she still won’t take an apple or carrot).  

SYMPTOMS:

  • Rumbling gut
  • Cow pie stools
  • Grinding/clicking teeth
  • Cracked hooves
  • Dull coat
  • Underweight
  • Running nose

PROFESSIONALS:

  • Farrier for evaluation and trimming
  • Dentist for power float of teeth
  • Vet for physical, blood work, and fecal

TESTING/RESULTS:

  • CBC: all in normal range aside from her creatinine and protein suggesting dehydration. These values normalized after about 1 week)
  • Fecal: Minimal

FEED:

  • Triple Crown Senior Feed (Low sugars, low starch, high fat)
  • Tons of water with Horse Quencher added
  • Salt block

MEDICATIONS:

  • Exceed injections (2 total a week apart) then SMZ for 2 weeks
  • Banamine
  • Brewer’s Yeast (Stomach)
  • BioSponge (Gut health and to tackle her loose stools)
  • Electrolytes (To help with dehydration)
  • Strongid wormer 

 

 

Top to bottom:

Tilly on her way from Texas

Tilly when she first arrived in Virginia

Her feet upon arrival

Getting her teeth and feet done

Tilly after being clipped and bathed!

Feeding a Draft Horse

Due to Draft horses being prone to certain diseases such as, metabolic ailments like PSSM (Polysaccharide storage myopathy), laminitis, Cushings, founder, tying-up, and shivers diet is imperative. Based on these ailments, starch and sugar calories should be replaced by fiber and fat calories.

It is recommended that these guys have high quality forage and some concentrates while working due to their slower metabolism (similar to ponies). Meaning that the less energy they use, the more weight they gain. High carbohydrate feed should be avoided, as a forage with a rational balancer and/or a low NSC feed.

Breakdown of How To Feed A Draft Horse

Calorie Breakdown:

  • 15% daily calories from sugar
  • 20-25% daily calories from, fat
  • No less than 1% of horse’s body weight in forage

Calculating Fat Content:

Pounds of feed per day x % of fat

For example,

3 lbs of feed= 3 x 0.25= 0.75 lb fat

Feed Brands:

Feeds should have no more than 33% sugar and starch (low carb).

Low in starch and sugars: soy, beat pulp, wheat bran, wheat middlings

Feeds with 20%+ of fat should be supplemented with rice bran (20% fat). Feed with anything less than 20% should be supplemented with 100% additional fat source.

  • Nutrena Compete
  • Purina Strategy
  • Blue Seal Hunter, Demand, Vintage Gold
  • Southern States Legend

Supplements:

  • Oil: soy oil, canola, corn oil, rice bran
  • Vitamin E & Selenium supplement (be careful when adding in selenium as high levels can be toxic)

The Plan

  1. Either Purina Strategy or Southern States Legend: No more than 5-6 lbs of feed per 1000 lbs
  2. Rice Bran Oil: begin with 1/4 cup and increase by 1/4 cup every few days until 2 cups are reached. Continue with 3-4 cups per day.
  3. Vitamin E with Selenium: 1-2 oz per day
  4. Forage: Alfalfa pellets mixed or substituted with Purina or Southern States feed

Mix 12 parts alfalfa (or Purina or Southern States Feed or mix of the two) with 1 part water. Soak for 10 minutes. Add in oil. Let it sit for 2+ hours. Right before feeding add in the supplement (Vet E/Selenium).

EQUINE BOTULISM: An unknown threat

Equine Botulism

Written by Dr. Tom Lenz on behalf of AQHA 

Few horse owners are aware of this disease which is a progressive, paralyzing disease that is 80-100% fatal in affected horses.  Botulism is sometimes referred to as “forage poisoning” in adult horses or “shaker foal syndrome” in foals. The disease is caused by a potent toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium lives in the soil as well as the intestinal tract of many normal birds and mammals, including the horse. It produces dormant spores that can be found in 18.5% of soil samples tested in the United States. The disease is most prevalent in Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, and Tennessee although it can occur in any state in the U.S. Clostridium botulinum produces several different toxins. Type A toxins are often implicated in human infant botulism and are most often found west of the Rocky Mountains. Types B, C, and D toxins are usually involved in cases of equine botulism, with Type B responsible for 85% of horse cases in the U.S.

Horses of any age are susceptible to botulism which may be initiated by one of three ways. In the case of “forage poisoning” the horse ingests toxins that are contaminating feedstuffs such as grain or hay. Feed contamination is most often due to putrefied carcasses of birds or rodents. A Type C botulism outbreak that killed a number of horses in California several years ago was traced back to hay that contained the infected carcass of a rabbit. The bacteria can also enter a horse’s body via contamination of a wound, especially a deep puncture wound. A good example is “Shaker foal syndrome” which is most frequently caused by the bacteria entering the newborn foal’s body through the foal’s moist navel. Something that can be minimized by dipping the foal’s navel in mild iodine solution soon after birth. The third method in which the disease can be initiated is by ingestion of the spores in the soil. The ingested spores activate in the horse’s intestinal tract where they produce potent toxins that are then absorbed. Regardless of the route, once the bacteria have entered the horse’s body they produce toxins that block transmission of nerve impulses to the horse’s muscles. This results in a progressive paralysis of all the major muscle groups and is concluded with paralysis of the diaphragm, which results in death. Once symptoms develop, death may ensue in several hours or take up to a week.

The disease is difficult to diagnose because it resembles several other medical conditions and diseases such as choke, colic, rabies, EPM, and sleeping sickness. Blood samples very rarely contain toxin and necropsy following the death of the horse usually does not provide a conclusive diagnosis. Because the bacteria often occur naturally in the horse’s intestinal tract, isolation of the organism from the sick horse’s intestine is not diagnostic.

Clinical signs of the disease in adult horses suffering from “forage poisoning” initially include loss of facial expression, a sleepy appearance, saliva drooling from the corner of the mouth, loss of tongue control and loss of tail tone. The horse’s appetite is good, but it has a great deal of difficulty in chewing food and appears to be “playing” in their feed and water buckets. As muscular weakness becomes more profound, the horse will experience muscle trembling, generalized sweating and labored breathing. A weakened, shuffling gait may develop and the horse may take stiff, short steps as if walking on eggs. Eventually, the horse goes down and death results due to paralysis of the respiratory muscles. “Shaker foal syndrome” is usually seen in foals one to two months of age but can develop as early as two weeks or as late as 8 months of age. Early signs in foals are similar to those seen in adults in that the foal shows generalized weakness, poor tail tone, and loss of tongue control. The foal will often dribble milk from the mouth and nostrils because of an inability to swallow. Because of muscle weakness, the foal will lie down frequently. When it does rise, it soon develops muscle tremors and collapses. Affected foals may die within 12 hours of exhibiting symptoms or may linger for as long as a week.

Botulism is usually fatal if left untreated. Prior to the advent of antitoxin, the death rate among affected foals was greater than 90%. With the use of antitoxins in conjunction with antibiotics and supportive therapy, the mortality rate can be reduced to less than 25%. Animals unable to swallow should be fed through a nasogastric tube and placed on IV fluids. Once the toxin produced by the bacteria is attached to the nerve ending it cannot be neutralized by the antitoxin. Therefore, early treatment is critical. Even with aggressive therapy, recovery is slow and may require up to two weeks before the affected horse recovers.

Because of the high death rate and the difficulty in diagnosing this disease, prevention through vaccination is critical. A Type-B Toxoid vaccine is available and is quite effective in preventing the disease. In areas where the disease is prevalent, pregnant mares should be initially vaccinated at the 8th, 9th and 10th month of gestation and thereafter at the 10th month of each pregnancy. Yearly vaccination of adults in areas where the disease frequently occurs is also recommended. If unable to vaccinate the mare prior to foaling, limited information suggests that foals vaccinated with the toxoid at 2 weeks, 4 weeks and at 8 weeks of age developed adequate protection, even in the presence of passive maternal antibodies. Currently, no licensed vaccines are available for preventing botulism due to Cl. botulinum types A or C or other subtypes of toxins. Cross-protection between subtypes does not occur.

As in all horse health issues, your local veterinarian is your best source of information.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas R. Lenz, DVM, M.S., Diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, is a trustee of the American Horse Council, past chairman of AQHA’s research committee and past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. This article is provided courtesy of AAEP Alliance Partner, AQHA.

 
Reviewed and updated by original author in 2016.

Fat Little Donkey

I have been desperately trying to get my miniature donkey, Lucky, to drop some lbs.  The thing with Lucky- he literally gained weight overnight.  One day he was a skinny mini and the next he had a potbelly.  I was really concerned that the weight suddenly appeared and had the vet run a heptic panel to ensure he wasn’t experiencing some sort of liver dysfunction.  Sort of like how humans can develop Ascites when they have liver related disease.  Anyways, his blood work came back and all was okay….he was just fat!  

Unlike horses, donkeys develop “fat deposits” around their neck, abdomen, and butt and even once the weight has been lost the deposits stay for life!  


The Dangers of Obesity in Donkeys


 

According to the Scarsdale Vets;

“Obesity increases the risk of developing hyperlipaemia and laminitis, both of which can be fatal. Prevention of obesity is better than cure, because rapid loss of condition in overweight donkeys can trigger hyperlipaemia.

Hyperlipaemia is a condition in which triglycerides (fats) are released into the circulation which can result in organ failure and death unless treated rapidly. The early signs of dullness and reduced appetite can be difficult to detect. Hyperlipaemia can be triggered by anything that causes a reduction in food intake e.g. stress, transport, dental disease.

 

Laminitis is a condition in which there is inflammation in the laminae of the foot that connect the pedal bone to the hoof wall. This can progress to rotation or sinking of the pedal bone within the foot. The cause is not fully understood and many factors are involved but obese animals are more prone to develop the disease.”

Equine Metabolic Syndrome: “Overweight donkeys often develop a fat, crest neck and fat pads around their tail base. When this occurs the donkey can develop a metabolic disease known as ‘Equine Metabolic Syndrome’. This causes insulin resistance and increased levels of blood glucose (blood sugar) in the blood stream. In equids this can lead to recurrent episodes of laminitis or founder. This disease involves inflammation of the white lining or laminar junctions of the feet, extreme foot pain and difficulty walking. In severe cases this can also cause changes in the bone of the foot and hoof wall” (Yarra Ranges Animal Clinic)


How To Help Your Donkey Lose Weight Safely


  1. Use a muzzle
  2. Limit grazing
  3. Ask your vet to do blood work to ensure your donkey is healthy
  4. Have the dentist come out and examine the donkey’s teeth
  5. Engage in an exercise routine

 


Donkey Related Resources and Information


 

donkeyscoring

DonkeyBCS3posterDonkey Body Scoring by Dr_ Judy Marteniuk

Donkey BCScoring

A Guide to Weight Management and Body Score

Care of the Miniature Donkey

Donkey Health and Welfare

Feed_Donkey_Flyer

Immune Booster Leads to Infection?

For the past 6 weeks, my horse has been receiving Ozonetherapy to aid in his chronic back leg related issues- dermatitis (“scratches”), previous DDFT tendon laceration, a history of Lymphingitis, and the residual scar tissue from his DDFT injury.  Due to his age (27), he lacks proper circulation in his hind end which does not help him fight his pastern dermatitis.  


According to the American Academy of Ozonetherapy, Ozonetherapy is described as;

“Ozonotherapy is the use of medical grade ozone, a highly reactive form of pure oxygen, to create a curative response in the body. The body has the potential to renew and regenerate itself. When it becomes sick it is because this potential has been blocked. The reactive properties of ozone stimulate the body to remove many of these impediments thus allowing the body to do what it does best – heal itself.”

“Ozonotherapy has been and continues to be used in European clinics and hospitals for over fifty years. It was even used here in the United States in a limited capacity in the early part of the 20th century. There are professional medical ozonotherapy societies in over ten countries worldwide. Recently, the International Scientific Committee on Ozonotherapy (ISCO3) was formed to help establish standardized scientific principles for ozonotherapy. The president of the AAO, Frank Shallenberger, MD is a founding member of the ISCO3.”

“Ozonotherapy was introduced into the United States in the early 80’s, and has been increasingly used in recent decades. It has been found useful in various diseases;

  • It activates the immune system in infectious diseases.
  • It improves the cellular utilization of oxygen that reduces ischemia in cardiovascular diseases, and in many of the infirmities of aging.
  • It causes the release of growth factors that stimulate damaged joints and degenerative discs to regenerate.
  • It can dramatically reduce or even eliminate many cases of chronic pain through its action on pain receptors.
  • Published papers have demonstrated its healing effects on interstitial cystitis, chronic hepatitis, herpes infections, dental infections, diabetes, and macular degeneration.”

 

After doing research and speaking to one of my good friends, we determined that Chance’s flare up of Lymphingitis, after almost 3 years of not a single issue, could possibly be caused by his immune system’s response to Ozonetherapy.  Let me explain.

Chance suffers from persistent Pastern dermatitis (“scratches”) since I purchased him in 2000.  I have tried everything- antibiotics, every cream and ointment and spray for scratches, diaper rash ointment, iodine and vaseline mix, Swat, laser treatments, scrubs and shampoos, shaving the area, wrapping the area, light therapy…you name it, I have tried it.  So, when we began Ozonetherapy to help break down the left over scar tissue from his old DDFT injury, I noticed that his scratches were drying up and falling off.  We continued administering the Ozonetherapy once a week for about 6 weeks.  The improvement was dramatic!  

However, one day Chance woke up with severe swelling in his left hind leg and obviously, he had difficulty walking.  He received Prevacox and was stall bound for 24 hours.  The vet was called and she arranged to come out the following day.  The next morning, Chance’s left leg was still huge and he was having trouble putting weight on it.  I did the typical leg treatments- icing, wrapping.  The swelling remained.  I tried to get him out of his stall to cold hose his leg and give him a bath but he would not budge.  He was sweaty and breathing heavily and intermittently shivering.  So, I gave him an alcohol and water sponge bath and continued to ice his back legs.   I sat with him for 4 hours waiting for the vet to arrive.  He had a fever and wasn’t interested in eating and his gut sounds were not as audible.  He was drinking, going to the bathroom, and engaging with me.  I debated giving him Banamine but did not want it to mask anything when the vet did arrive.  

The vet arrived, gave him a shot of Banamine and an antihistamine and confirmed that Chance had a fever of 102 degrees and had Lymphingitis.  There was no visible abrasion, puncture, or lump… I asked the vet to do x-rays to ensure that he did not have a break in his leg.  The x-rays confirmed that there was no break.  The vet suggested a regiment of antibiotics, steroids (I really am against using steroids due to the short-term and long-term side effects but in this case, I would try anything to make sure he was comfortable) , prevacox, and a antacid to protect Chance from stomach related issues from the medications.  It was also advised to continue to cold hose or ice and keep his legs wrapped and Chance stall bound.  

The following day, Chance’s legs were still swollen but his fever had broken.  The vet called to say that the CBC had come back and that his WBC was about 14,00o. She suggested that we stop the steroids and do the antibiotic 2x a day and add in Banamine. I asked her if she could order Baytril (a strong antibiotic that Chance has responded well to in the past) just in case.  And that is what we did.  

Being as Chance had such a strong reaction to whatever it was, I did some thinking, discussing, and researching…first and foremost, why did Chance have such an extreme flare up of Lymphingitis when he was the healthiest he has ever been?  And especially since he had not had a flare up in 3+ years…plus, his scratches were getting better not worse.  The Ozonetherapy boosted his immune system and should provide him with a stronger defense against bacteria, virus’, etc.  So why exactly was he having a flare up?  And that is when it hit me!

In the past when Chance began his regiment of Transfer Factor (an all natural immune booster), he broke out in hives.  The vet had come out and she felt it was due to the Transfer Factor causing his immune system to become “too strong” and so it began fighting without there being anything to fight, thus the hives.  My theory- Chance started the Ozonetherapy and his body began to fight off the scratches by boosting his immune system.  As the treatments continued, his immune system began to attack the scratches tenfold.  This resulted in his Lymphatic system to respond, his WBC to increase, and his body temperature to spike.  Makes sense…but what can I do to ensure this is not going to happen again?  

My friend suggested attacking the antibiotic resistant bacteria by out smarting them…okay, that seems simple enough…we researched the optimal enviroments for the 3 types of bacteria present where Chance’s scratches are (shown in the results of a past skin scape test).  The bacteria – E. Coli, pseudomonas aeruginosa and providencia Rettgeri. The literature stated that PA was commonly found in individuals with diabetes…diabetes…SUGAR!  How much sugar was in Chance’s feed?  I looked and Nutrina Safe Choice Senior feed is low in sugar…so that is not it.  What else can we find out?  The optimal temperature for all three bacteria is around 37 degrees celsius (or 98.6 degrees fahrenheit), with a pH of 7.0, and a wet environment. Okay, so, a pH of 7.0 is a neutral.  Which means if the external enviroment (the hind legs)pH is thrown off, either to an acidic or alkaline pH, the bacteria will not have the optimal enviroment to continue growing and multiplying.  How can I change the pH?  

Vinegar!  An antimicrobial and a 5% acetic acid! And…vinegar is shown to help kill mycobacteria such as drug-resistant tuberculosis and an effective way to clean produce; it is considered the fastest, safest, and more effective than the use of antibacterial soap.  Legend even says that in France during the Black Plague, four thieves were able to rob the homes of those sick with the plague and not become infected.  They were said to have purchased a potion made of garlic soaked in vinegar which protected them.  Variants of the recipe, now called “Four Thieves Vinegar” has continued to be passed down and used for hundreds of years (Hunter, R., 1894).

I went to the store, purchased distilled vinegar and a spray bottle and headed to the farm.  I cleaned his scratches and sprayed the infected areas with vinegar.  I am excited to see whether our hypothesis is correct or not…I will keep you posted!

 


References & Information


Effect of pH on Drug Resistent Bacteriaijs-43-1-174

NIH: Drug Resistant Bacteria

Vinegar

Lymphatic Conditions

Horses Side Vet Guide

What does my horse’s CBC mean?

th

Nutrena SC Senior feed ingredience
The American Academy of Ozonetherapy

Hunter, Robert (1894). The Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Toronto: T.J. Ford. ISBN 0-665-85186-3.

 

I Loathe Ticks! 

Your horse comes in from being outside and is barely able to move.  His legs are swollen, he has a fever, is sensitive to the touch, and has a loss of appetite.  He has chills- intermittently shaking.  He wont touch his hay, his eyes are dull, and he looks depressed and tired.  You call the vet and they run hundreds of dollars worth of tests- CBC, x-ray his legs to ensure there is no fracture; they diagnose him with Lymphingitis.  You begin a course of antibiotics.  You cold hose.  You give him Banamine.  Your wrap his legs while he is on stall rest. A week later, the swelling has subsided, his fever has dissipated, and his appetite is back.

You get a text saying that your horse “ran away” when he had been let out earlier that day.  But when you get to the barn, you notice when he turns he looks like his hind end is falling out from under him..remember when you were little and someone would kick into the back of your knees and your legs would buckle?  That is what it looks like.  So you watch him.  You are holding your breath, hoping he is just weak from stall rest.  You decide, based on the vet’s recommendation, to let him stay outside for the evening.  You take extra measures- leaving his stall open, with the light on, wrapping his legs, etc- and go home.  Every time your mind goes to “what if..”, you reassure yourself that your horse is going to be okay and that you’re following the vet’s advice and after all, your horse had been running around earlier that day.

The next morning your horse comes inside and it takes him an hour to walk from the paddock to his stall.  All four legs are swollen.  He has a fever (101.5).  He is covered in sweat.  He won’t touch his food.  He has scrapes all over his body and looks like he fell.  You call the vet- again- and they come out to look at him.  They note his back sensitivity, his fever, the swelling at his joints (especially the front).  They note that his Lymphingitis seems to have come back.  The vet draws blood to check for Lyme.  They start him on SMZs and Prevacox.  You once again wrap his legs, ice his joints, give him a sponge bath with alcohol and cool water to bring down his fever.  You brush him, change his water, put extra fans directed at his stall.  You put down extra shavings.  And you watch him.

A few days go by and you get a call saying that your horse has tested positive for Lyme…and while your heart sinks, you are also relieved that there is an explanation for your horse’s recent symptoms. You plan to begin antibiotics and pretty much not breathe for the next 30+ days while your horse is pumped with antibiotics.  You pray that he doesn’t colic.  You pray that you have caught Lymes in time.  You pray that the damage is reversible.  You research everything you can on the disease.  And you sit and wait….

Below are resources on Lyme Disease in horses- treatments, symptoms, the course of the disease, and the prognosis.

epm-diagram

Lyme Disease in Horses | TheHorse.com

Lyme Disease, testing and treatment considerations | Best Horse Practices

Microsoft Word – Lyme Multiplex testing for horses at Cornell_2-12-14 –

Lyme_Disease_Multiplex_Testing_for_Horses.pdf

Fall Fever

Today Chance had swelling of his back right fetlock.  He had a fever around 104 and didn’t eat his feed.  His eyes were dull and he was lethargic.  He wasn’t limping but was walking slower than normal (he usually runs to the paddock or back to the barn).  I decided, due to the Lymphingitis flare up on his back right leg, I would give him a shot of 5 mls (or 5 cc) of Banamine and wrap his leg.  Once the medication set in, I would bring him in to give him a bath (it was 80 degrees today).  So, that is what I did.  By the time he was back at the barn he was covered in sweat.  I cold hosed him and drenched the wrap in cool water and let him roam around the barn.

Thankfully, the vet was able to meet me at her veterinary practice so that I could pick up Baytril and more Banamine.  Since Chance just had Lyme Disease (and had finished his medication less than a week ago), we are not 100% if this is a Lyme reaction or something else.  The plan is to administer 25 cc of Baytril either orally, in his feed, or via IV for 6 days and Banamine 10 mls (or a 1000 lbs) twice a day for 3 days. The vet suggested that I do 5 cc of Banamine if his fever remains between 101-103 degrees and 10 cc if his fever is 103 degrees or above.   During this time I will begin Prevacox- one 1/4 of a tablet once a day.  After 3 days, I will discontinue the Banamine and continue the Prevacox.  If his fevers are not down in two days, I will continue the Baytril but start the doxycycline as it maybe a Lyme disease symptom.

While researching Lyme Disease, I found that many people do two+ months of doxycycline instead of 30 days to ensure the disease has been erraticated completely.  However, since Chance had shown such improvement after 30 days, I decided to not do another month.  Maybe I should have…

However, Chance had similar symptoms when we found a small laceration in the DDFT tendon of his back left hind- swelling, Lymphingitis, fever, lethargy, no appetite, etc.  If he does have an issue with his tendon I will most likely do another round of Stem Cell treatments which proved to be helpful last time.  Thankfully I stored his stem cells in a Stem Cell Bank (via Vet-Stem) and can easily have them shipped.

 

The Weather Outside is Frightful…

I walked outside to sit on my porch and enjoy the evening, when I realized that the time is fast approaching where I can not longer do so without bundling up first.  I decided it was time to get ready for the winter months ahead especially for my equine friends.

I have included articles, lists, resources, etc to help you make sure you and your horse are ready for the dropping temperatures! 



Preparing Your Horse for Winter

Cushings Horse

By: Dr. Lydia Gray

Hot chocolate, mittens and roaring fires keep us warm on cold winter nights. But what about horses? What can you do to help them through the bitter cold, driving wind and icy snow? Below are tips to help you and your horse not only survive but thrive during yet another frosty season.

Nutrition

Your number one responsibility to your horse during winter is to make sure he receives enough quality feedstuffs to maintain his weight and enough drinkable water to maintain his hydration. Forage, or hay, should make up the largest portion of his diet, 1 – 2 % of his body weight per day. Because horses burn calories to stay warm, fortified grain can be added to the diet to keep him at a body condition score of 5 on a scale of 1 (emaciated) to 9 (obese). If your horse is an easy keeper, will not be worked hard, or should not have grain for medical reasons, then a ration balancer or complete multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is a better choice than grain. Increasing the amount of hay fed is the best way to keep weight on horses during the winter, as the fermentation process generates internal heat.

Research performed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine showed that if during cold weather horses have only warm water available, they will drink a greater volume per day than if they have only icy cold water available. But if they have a choice between warm and icy water simultaneously, they drink almost exclusively from the icy and drink less volume than if they have only warm water available. The take home message is this: you can increase your horse’s water consumption by only providing warm water. This can be accomplished either by using any number of bucket or tank heaters or by adding hot water twice daily with feeding. Another method to encourage your horse to drink more in winter (or any time of the year) is to topdress his feed with electrolytes.

Exercise

It may be tempting to give your horse some “down-time” during winter, but studies have found that muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness and overall flexibility significantly decrease even if daily turnout is provided. And as horses grow older, it takes longer and becomes more difficult each spring to return them to their previous level of work. Unfortunately, exercising your horse when it’s cold and slippery or frozen can be challenging.

First, work with your farrier to determine if your horse has the best traction with no shoes, regular shoes, shoes with borium added, shoes with “snowball” pads, or some other arrangement. Do your best to lunge, ride or drive in outside areas that are not slippery. Indoor arenas can become quite dusty in winter so ask if a binding agent can be added to hold water and try to water (and drag) as frequently as the temperature will permit. Warm up and cool down with care. A good rule of thumb is to spend twice as much time at these aspects of the workout than you do when the weather is warm. And make sure your horse is cool and dry before turning him back outside or blanketing.

Blanketing

A frequently asked question is: does my horse need a blanket? In general, horses with an adequate hair coat, in good flesh and with access to shelter probably do not need blanketed. However, horses that have been clipped, recently transported to a cold climate, or are thin or sick may need the additional warmth and protection of outerwear.

Horses begin to grow their longer, thicker winter coats in July, shedding the shorter, thinner summer coats in October. The summer coat begins growing in January with March being prime shedding season. This cycle is based on day length—the winter coat is stimulated by decreasing daylight, the summer coat is stimulated by increasing daylight. Owners can inhibit a horse’s coat primarily through providing artificial daylight in the fall but also by clothing their horse as the temperature begins to fall. If the horse’s exercise routine in the winter causes him to sweat and the long hair hampers the drying and cooling down process, body clipping may be necessary. Blanketing is then a must.

Health

There are a number of health conditions that seem to be made worse by the winter environment. The risk of impaction colic may be decreased by stimulating your horse to drink more water either by providing warm water as the only source or feeding electrolytes. More time spent inside barns and stalls can exacerbate respiratory conditions like “heaves” (now called recurrent airway obstruction), GI conditions like ulcers, and musculoskeletal conditions like degenerative joint disease. Control these problems with appropriate management—such as increasing ventilation in the barn and increasing turnout time—and veterinary intervention in the form of medications and supplements.

Freeze/thaw cycles and muddy or wet conditions can lead to thrush in the hooves and “scratches,” or, pastern dermatitis, on the legs. Your best protection against these diseases is keeping the horse in as clean and dry surroundings as possible, picking his feet frequently, and keeping the lower limbs trimmed of hair. Another common winter skin condition is “rain rot,” caused by the organism Dermatophilus congolensis. Regular grooming and daily observation can usually prevent this problem, but consult your veterinarian if your horse’s back and rump develop painful, crusty lumps that turn into scabs.

About Dr. Lydia Gray



Winter Resources


Preparing your horse and barn for winter

Winter Horse Care Must Haves

Around the Barn Winter Prep

Winter Nutrition Tips for Horses

Penn State: Winter Care for Your Horses

Barn Tips for Winter

Horse Barn Health Checker

Cold Weather Barn Management Check List

15 Winter Tips

Horse Record Keeping? There’s An App For That!

I have been using the app “HorseNotes” on my iPhone for over a year.  It is by far the best software I have ever used and the best part is…you can access it on your computer as well as your iPhone (I believe it is also available for other smartphones).

Horsenotes.co allows me to make a profile for each of my horses and track their health, shoeing, tack, feed, vaccinations, worming, everything….There is a note section where I am able to log what I did that day with my horse.  I can log everything I purchase or every horse-related expense and with a press of a button the app/website even generates an expense report.  I can keep all of my contacts in one place- vets, stables, farriers, tack stores, etc. The app has a calendar that alerts you when you need to book the farrier or when the vet is coming. Plus, I can provide a log in for other people to add information as well.  You can upload records (sales, purchases, competition info, coggins) and pictures as well. Seriously, I don’t know how I was able to keep track of everything before I began using this incredible app!

I Wish Money Grew On Trees

It is a new year.  So, what better way to start off the year then to make a budget for my horse-related expenses.  Yay!!!! (NO!)  Owning a horse is not just like owning any other pet…it is far more expensive.  Especially when you have a senior horse with maintenance vet bills and a rather large diet.

The average horse has the following expenses:

  • Feed
  • Hay
  • Supplements
  • Board
  • Farrier 1x a month
  • Dentist/Float about once every 6mths
  • Vet
  • Vaccinations and worming
  • Coggins

And that is the bare minimum….

I have always known how much my guy costs to keep happy and healthy and living a life of luxury but when I added it all up on one spreadsheet and saw all of the numbers right there in front of me I almost hyperventilated!  How much!???

Below is my personal budget for Chance.  I set up the average cost of each item/service and set up a column for each of the upcoming months.

Budget



 

Below are some useful resources for making your own budget.



 

Horse Expenses

Horse Expense Calculator

The TRUE Cost of Owning A Horse

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR FEED ROOM CLEAN?



  1. Making sure that the feed is not expired!
  2. To ensure that nothing is rotting or moldy: Mold spores cause colic.  Colic, well, is not only expensive but deadly.
  3. To keep wildlife out:  Many little critters carry diseases that can seriously impair your horse’s health. Diseases such as EPM is passed through opossum urinating on feed, hay, grass, etc and your horse ingesting it.
  4. Checking the feed bins: Ensuring that all feed bins are sealed and have no holes or ways for wildlife to crawl inside.  This is also important to ensure that the containers are air tight so that mold and other bacteria doesn’t get in or grow.
  5. Supplements and Medications: Checking the dates on medications and supplements to ensure that they are still safe to administer to your horse.
  6. Cleaning the feed buckets: This is important to make sure that there is no mold, fungus, bacteria etc growing on the inside of your buckets.  It is also important if you have used any of your buckets to give medication or supplements to ensure another horse’s feed isn’t being contaminated.


RESOURCES



Why Clean Feed Rooms?

Feed Room Organization Ideas

Nine Steps To A Better Feed Room

30 Minutes To A Clean Feed Room