Category Archives: Feed

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

“Let Me Clear My Throat..”

My poor guy was eating the other night and began to choke.  Scary doesn’t even begin to cover it.  I immediately removed his feed and began to rub his neck to feel for any lumps (feed stuck in his esophagus).  I administered 10cc of Banamine into his butt cheek, which helps the horse’s muscles to relax, thus allowing the food to move through.  I called my vet who said to call her back in 20 min (once the Banamine had time to take effect) if I felt that he was still having issues.  Well, me being the overprotective person I am, I called and asked her to come out to check on Chance and make sure he was okay. The vet came out and flushed his mouth twice with water and said that she felt that he was okay and had passed whatever feed had been stuck.  Thank God!

(Below is a picture of Chance drugged up and waiting for the vet).

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Resources on Choke


How To Tell If Your Horse Is Choking and How You Can Help

When Horses Choke

 

“You Are What You Eat…”

Chance has gained almost 1000 lbs in over a year and he could still use a few pounds.  He lost wait quickly when he became sick.

Chance also has some factors that put him at a higher rate of weight loss and an increased difficulty maintaining and gaining weight.

  • he is a senior horse
  • a thoroughbred
  • a cribber
  • had an injury which caused him to not run around as much thus losing muscle mass

I slowly upped over the last year, with advisement from a nutritional specialist (her information is at the end of the post along with the name of her book which I found extremely helpful) and my vet, his feed from 3qt twice a day to 11qt twice a day.

Feed-Scoop-Differences.jpg

Chance’s current regiment includes:

AM:

  • Two 4qt scoops of Nutrina Safe Choice Senior feed
  • One 3qt scoop of Timothy and Alfalfa pelleted mix
  • I add his supplements
    • 2 scoops of Body Sore (All natural supplement)
    • 2 scoops of Cervical Formula (All natural supplement)
  • I mix it all together with warm water so that it is sloppy (this makes it easier for him to eat at his age and lessens the chance of choking.  Plus, it helps keep him hydrated especially in the winter when he is less inclined to drink as much water).

PM:

  • Two 4qt scoops of Nutrina Safe Choice Senior feed
  • One 3qt scoop of Timothy and Alfalfa pelleted mix
  • I add his supplements
    • 1 Smartpak (Senior Formula, Immune Booster, and Vitamin C)
    • 2 scoops of DuraLactin (All natural anti-inflammatory and pain reducer derived from cow’s milk also called MicroLactin)
    • 2 scoops of Body Sore (All natural supplement)
    • 2 scoops of Cervical Formula (All natural supplement)
  • I add about 5 flakes of hay (Alfalfa mix)
  • Two 3qt scoops of hay stretcher in a separate feed bucket for snacking through the night

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(Chance’s feed before adding water)

I also make sure that he eats his feed from a bucket on the ground.  According to my vet it is the best way for a horse to eat.


Here are Some Nutrition Resources



Horse Feeding Blog

Fox Den Equine

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nutrena-safechoice-senior-horse-feed-cherokee-feed-and-seed-ballground-georgia.jpg

 

 

 

How To Read Equine (Horse and donkey) Blood Work?

I had the vet run some blood work on Luck and Chance as a precaution, because of the “Panic Grass” in Virginia has been causing liver failure in horses, and because I like to do a full work up every 6-12 months.



Chance’s Blood Work



C 1

C 3


L 2


INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS



Elevated Potassium (6.6 mEq/L):

“Low levels indicate depletion and are often a predisposing factor, along with
dehydration, in fatigue, muscle cramps, colic, synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (“th
umps”), diarrhea and other symptoms of exhausted horse syndrome. Even seemingly normal or high-normal levels may in reality be lower, but appear higher due to concentration secondary to dehydration as measured by total protein and albumin levels.
Therefore, levels at the lower end of the normal range should be evaluated relative to concurrent dehydration” (https://www.quia.com/files/quia/users/medicinehawk/2407-Vet/labs.pdf).

Low Sodium:

“Low levels commonly indicate loss through excessive sweating, or through kidney or intestinal disease. Low levels may also be found in young foals with bladder damage. Increased sodium levels are usually a sign of dehydration” (http://www.minstervets.co.uk).

Low Platelets: 

This was the most worrisome in regards to the potential immediate issues that could ensue because of the low platelet count. 

“The platelets are the third cellular component of blood (along with red and
white blood cells). These cells contain a number of biologically active molecules that are
critical to the blood clotting process. Low levels may indicate a number of disease
processes not necessarily directly related to a bleeding disorder. Chronic or acute blood
loss, immune disease, toxemia, liver, spleen or bone marrow disease, or even critically
reduced or increased body temperatures can also cause low platelets counts. Any
significantly low platelet counts should be further investigated by a veterinarian. High
levels are generally clinically insignificant unless the condition persists, in which case it may be indicative of bone marrow neoplastic disease” (Susan Garlinghouse).

Low Glucose:

“Glucose is the source of the body’s energy. It is measured in suspected cases of equine metabolic syndrome and sometimes in cases of equine Cushing’s disease. Blood glucose may also be measured as part of a glucose tolerance test, assessing small intestinal function” (http://www.minstervets.co.uk).

Chance was tested for Cushing’s Disease within the last year and the test showed that he did NOT have Cushings. 
Elevated CPK (337 U/L):

Levels 2-3x the highest number in range are considered significant according to vetstream.com.  Levels are easily increased due to poor handling techniques as well as lab error.

According to Dr. Christine Woodford and Carla Baumgartner on vipsvet.com, “Elevations of CPK and SGOT are indictors of muscle inflammation–tying-up or rhabdomyolysis. The term “rhabdo” means muscle and “myolysis” means rupture of muscle cells. The CPK and SGOT are very sensitive indicators of skeletal muscle damage, and they rise in concentration proportionally with the amount of damage. A bit of timing is required in order to obtain the most sensitive results; CPK rises (due to its leakage from muscle cells into the blood system) approximately six to eight hours after the onset of muscle inflammation, and SGOT rises after approximately 12-14 hours. The absolute peak of CPK concentration and the time it takes to return to normal are important indicators of the severity of muscle damage and the response to therapy.”

Elevated MCV: Is the average volume of red blood cells.

  • Macrocytosis.
  • Indicates immature RBC in circulation (suggests regenerative anemia).
  • Very rare in the horse, but may observe increasing MCV within normal range as horses increase erythropoiesis.

According to Vetstream.com, “Macrocytosis (increased MCV) resulting from release of immature RBC from the bone marrow during regeneration is very rare in the horse therefore the MCV is less useful in the horse than in other species.”

Elevated MCH: Is the average amount of hemoglobin in an individual red blood cell.

  • Hemolysis, if intravascular in nature .
  • Errors can occur during processing

Low RBC:

“You may be inclined to think that red blood cell levels need to drop significantly before they cause a problem for your horse. But the truth is that even low-grade anemia – levels hovering around that 30% range on a PCV – can impact your horse physically and may indicate a health problem. This is especially true for high performance athletes. The greater your horse’s physical condition and demand, the higher on the range of normal her red blood cell counts will typically be. Therefore, a red blood cell level low on the normal range or just below may indicate a concern for a racehorse, for example, where it wouldn’t for that pasture pet.”  See more at: http://www.succeed-equine.com/succeed-blog/2014/02/05/anemia-horses-part-1-just-equine-anemia/#sthash.JJuWN5ob.dpuf


Luck’s blood work



L 1

C 2

Elevated Potassium: Potassium can become elevated for a number of reasons.

According to Vetstream.com,

  • 98% of potassium is intracellular.
  • Changes in serum or plasma potassium levels reflect fluid balance, rate of renal excretion and changes in balance between intra- and extracellular fluid.
  • Hypokalemia increases membrane potential, resulting in hyperpolarization with weakness or paralysis.
  • Hyperkalemia decreases membrane potential with resulting hyperexcitability.
Susan Garlinghouse states that, “High serum levels of potassium during an endurance ride are generally not a concern. These increases often reflect nothing more serious than a delay between blood collection (when potassium is actively sequestered inside cells) and sample measurement (after potassium has had time to “leak” from inside the cells out into the plasma or serum).”  This could also be a result of Luck and Chance running around in the heat when the vet arrived.
Increased [potassium] (hyperkalemia) can occur from;
  • Results can be false due to processing time (ie: if the lab waited too long to process blood sample)
  • Immediately after high intensity exercise.
  • In association with clinical signs in horses with hyperkalemic periodic paraysis (HYPP)    .
  • Bladder rupture (neonate)    .
  • Hypoadrenocorticism  [Pituitary: adenoma]  (rare).
  • Metabolic acidosis.
  • Acute renal failure    .
  • Extensive tissue damage (especially muscle).
  • IV potassium salts, eg potassium benzyl penicillin, potassium chloride    .
  • Phacochromocytoma (rare in the horse).
    Hypokalemia
  • Chronic diarrhea.
  • Diuretic therapy, especially potassium-losing diuretics.
  • Excess bicarbonate/lactate therapy.
  • Chronic liver disease    .
  • Acute renal failure (polyuric phase)    .
  • Recovery from severe trauma.
  • Metabolic/respiratory alkalosis.
  • Prolonged anorexia.
  • Recovery period after high intensity exercise (30-60 min after).
  • Parenteral feeding.

In combination with clinical signs and results of other tests results could signify the following;

Elevated GGTP:

* Donkeys tend to have 3x higher levels then horses.  This means that in stead of the typical equine range being 1-35 U/L a typically donkey’s range would be up to ~105 U/L.  Lucky’s test showed he had 120 U/L which is still elevated but not much.  It took sometime to get Luck from the field when the vet arrived- he ran around non stop.  The excitement and anxiety could be the cause of the elevated levels.

RBC:

Katherine Wilson, DVM, DACVIM, of the Virginia–Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (See more at: http://equusmagazine.com/article/decode-horses-bloodwork-27122#sthash.sc4J1ISJ.dpuf) explains “RBC count is probably the least helpful information because horses usually don’t have big changes in red blood cell numbers. It is not uncommon for horses to have an RBC count a little lower than normal range, however. The term we use for low RBC is anemia, but unless the count gets very low, a horse doesn’t necessarily need to be treated for that condition. A lot of diseases or any chronic long-term disease can cause mild anemia. Usually if we see mild anemia on the bloodwork and the horse has other issues, the anemia is just an indication that we need to fix/treat another problem.”

Low or Elevated Values

  • Splenic contraction.
  • Polycythemia (rare) .
  • Dehydration.
  • Consider causes of anemia
  • Blood loss    .
  • Hemolysis (i in vivo or artifact).
  • Decreased bone marrow production.
  • Poor technique at sampling.
  • Poor handling and storage of samples.
  • Poor technique in laboratory.

Low Bilirubin:

Heather Smith Thomas of Equus states,  “Another indication of liver health is a pigment called bilirubin, which is formed from the breakdown of red blood cells. Elevated levels can mean unusual loss of red cells or liver dysfunction. However, in horses, unlike other animals, elevated levels of bilirubin often isn’t serious. “This value can increase fairly rapidly when horses go off feed, and this is something that is unique to the horse,” says Wilson. “Often we get phone calls from veterinarians who don’t work on horses much or owners who see the blood work and note that the bilirubin is above normal range and are concerned about liver disease. If the horse is off feed for 24 to 48 hours, that value will increase, but this is just a temporary elevation.”

Elevated Hemoglobin (19 g/dL):

According to vetstream.com, Thoroughbred and other “hot-blooded” horses Hemoglobin range differs from other equine- the thoroughbred range = 11.0-19.0g/l.

Elevated Hematocrit (54 %):

 Elevated levels could be due to;

  • Dehydration.
  • Splenic contraction.
  • Polycythemia .

“A measurement of the relative amount of red blood cells present in a blood
sample. After blood is drawn, a small tube is filled and centrifuged to separate the heavier
blood cells from the lighter white blood cells and the even lighter fluid (plasma or serum)
portion. A higher than normal reading generally indicates dehydration (same number of
cells in less plasma volume) or may be due to splenic contraction secondary to
excitement or the demands of exercise. A low reading may indicate anemia, though not
invariably. Highly fit athletic horses may normally have a slightly lower hematocrit at
rest due to an overall more efficient cardiovascular system. Evaluation of true anemia in
horses requires several blood samples over a 24-hour period” (Susan Garlinghouse, 2000/ http://www.equinedoc.com/PrideProjectInfo.html).

It took sometime to get Luck from the field when the vet arrived- he ran around non stop.  The excitement and anxiety could be the cause of the elevated levels.

Low Sodium:

According to horseprerace.com, “Low levels indicate depletion and are often a predisposing factor, along with dehydration, in fatigue, muscle cramps, colic, synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (“thumps”), diarrhea and other symptoms of exhausted horse syndrome. Even seemingly normal or high-normal levels may in reality be lower, but appear higher due to concentration secondary to dehydration as measured by total protein and albumin levels. Therefore, levels at the lower end of the normal range should be evaluated relative to concurrent dehydration.”



More information on your horse’s blood work

Decoding your horse’s blood work

CBC and Chemistry Profile

A Better Understanding of the Results



The vet suggested that I add water to Luck’s and C’s feed in case their values are due to dehydration. She also explained that some of the values may be a result of running around in the field right before drawing them along with anxiety.  

The anxiety and running around seemed fair but I am hesitant on the dehydration portion.  Yes, I know it is winter and that horses are less likely to drink as much water.  But if it were due to dehydration then the Albumin would be low as well.  But, the blood work revealed that the Albumin was 2.8 (Luck) and 3.2 (Chance).  These values are within the normal range…. that being said, the results could also be due to lab handling especially the Potassium levels.

While speaking with my uncle Jerry (the horse whisperer), he suggested adding a salt block to the horse’s feed.  This will increase the horse’s thirst which will get them  drinking more.  I also added heated water buckets so that the water won’t freeze and in case they are less inclined to drink when the water is cold.

In order to feel comfortable about my horse and donkey being healthy, I will have more blood work done this week to make sure everything is in fact okay.

 

 

Horses in Virginia are at risk of Liver failure due to Panicgrass or Panicum.

Horses in Virginia are at risk of Liver failure due to Panicgrass or Panicum.

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According to Haymarket Vet (http://haymarketvet.com/fall-panicum-grass-and-liver-disease/) Panicgrass is causing Fall Panicum Toxicosis in horses.

“In 2004, our practice was involved in documenting an important toxin for horses—fall Panicum (Panicum dichotomiflorum) grass.  This common native grass has been fed to horses in hay and in pasture probably since the Europeans first brought horses to our area.  But, while we know that it doesn’t cause illness all the time, certain growing conditions can cause it to become toxic, as it did in Nokesville, VA in 2004.  We don’t know what triggers the grass to become toxic, but we do know that it sometimes does become toxic, and the conditions are right this year. This study proved the hepatotoxicity: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/17186859/

Currently, there are several cases of liver disease in Fauquier, Clark and Loudon counties that appear to be from grazing Panicum grass in the pasture. Some signs of toxicity from eating the grasses includes: decreased appetite, lethargy, somnolence (unusual periods of sleepiness), mild colic, or neurological signs. Some horses have no symptoms at all.

If you have this plant in your pasture or if you find it in your hay cut this year, you may want to have your horses tested for liver disease; this involves a simple blood draw.”

Below is a link on more information about Liver Disease, symptoms, and treatment options.

http://www.tsln.com/agliving/equine/7614069-111/liver-horse-says-disease

How To Prepare For An Equine Emergency

Be Prepared for an Equine Emergency

You don’t want to waste time in an equine emergency! The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) offers these tips to keep you organized and calm in your horse’s time of need.


If you own horses long enough, sooner or later you are likely to confront a medical emergency. From lacerations to colic to foaling difficulties, there are many emergencies that a horse owner may encounter. You must know how to recognize serious problems and respond promptly, taking appropriate action while awaiting the arrival of your veterinarian.

Preparation is vital when confronted with a medical emergency. No matter the situation you may face, mentally rehearse the steps you will take to avoid letting panic take control. Follow these guidelines from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) to help you prepare for an equine emergency:

    1. Keep your veterinarian’s number by each phone, including how the practitioner can be reached after hours.
    1. Consult with your regular veterinarian regarding a back-up or referring veterinarian’s number in case you cannot reach your regular veterinarian quickly enough.
    1. Know in advance the most direct route to an equine surgery center in case you need to transport the horse.
    1. Post the names and phone numbers of nearby friends and neighbors who can assist you in an emergency while you wait for the veterinarian.
    1. Prepare a first aid kit and store it in a clean, dry, readily accessible place. Make sure that family members and other barn users know where the kit is. Also keep a first aid kit in your horse trailer or towing vehicle, and a pared-down version to carry on the trail.First aid kits can be simple or elaborate. Here is a short list of essential items:
        • Cotton roll
        • Cling wrap
        • Gauze pads, in assorted sizes
        • Sharp scissors
        • Cup or container
        • Rectal thermometer with string and clip attached
        • Surgical scrub and antiseptic solution
        • Latex gloves
        • Saline solution
        • Stethoscope
        • Clippers

Many accidents can be prevented by taking the time to evaluate your horse’s environment and removing potential hazards. Mentally rehearse your emergency action plan. In an emergency, time is critical. Don’t be concerned with overreacting or annoying your veterinarian. By acting quickly and promptly, you can minimize the consequences of an injury or illness.

For more information about emergency care, ask your equine veterinarian for the “Emergency Care” brochure, provided by the AAEP in partnership with Bayer Corporation, Animal Health. More information can also be obtained by visiting the AAEP’s horse health web site, www.myHorseMatters.com.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse.

– See more at: http://practicalhorsemanmag.com/article/eqemergenc2576#sthash.YFzhhSOX.dpuf

Our Regiment


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Chance receives the following:



AM:

1. Protazil 50mls

2. Vitamin E 4 scoops (Watch for loose stools.  This would indicate that his VitE should be cut down)

PM:

1. SmartPak: Immune Boost

2. SmartPak: Senior Flex

3. Equinyl 2 scoops first two weeks, 1 scoop after

OTHER:

If Chance’s symptoms are worse, he can receive Equinox and UlcerGuard.