Category Archives: Smartpak

Recommended Equine Professionals and Services

 True North Equine Vets  www.truenorthequinevets.com   540-364-9111

Genesis Farriers: Dave Giza www.genesisfarriers.com   571-921-5822

Ken Pankow  www.horsedentistvirginia.com  540-675-3815

Full Circle Equine www.fullcircleequine.com  540-937-1754

Farriers Depot:  (Farrier related supplies) www.farriersdepot.com 352-840-0106

StemVet (Stem cell acquisition and storage) www.vet-stem.com

SmartPak Equine Supplements  www.smartpakequine.com

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

“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.

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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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Santa Is Coming To Town!

ChristmasHorse(In order from top left to right) SmartPak monthly supplements- A New Waterproof Blanket- Professional Horseman Boots- A bright orange halter to keep him safe during hunting season- DuraLactin an all natural anti-inflammatory and pain medication- Equine Edibles Candy Can Bran Mash- Epson Salt Poultice for sore muscles- Transfer Factor to boost your horse’s immune system during the winter months- Acupuncture- A massage- Kinesio Tape for sore muscles or stiffness-  a complete first aid kit because you can never be overly prepared!

Packing On The Pounds!

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Chance is now on 6 quarts of Nutria Senior Feed with 2 quarts of Hay Stretcher and 2 cups of Rice Bran TWICE A DAY! That is 12 quarts of feed a day and 4 quarts of Hay Stretcher plus his alfalfa mixed hay!

At night he also receives his SmartPak (Senior Flex, Immune Boost, and Vitamin C) & DuraLactin (for inflammation and swelling).  He is no longer skin and bones or on daily pain medication!

It Just Keeps Getting Better & Better

Two days ago Chance’s vet came out to do a follow up and to give him and Luck their Spring shots.

Chance got some chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture as well. The vet stated that Chance was showing improvements in his Cervical (neck) flexibility and still had some tightness on his hind-end. She did one new stretch with him which entailed her lifting his front leg while her assistant had him bend his neck to the opposite side. He was able to do it on both sides while remaining balanced!!!! Where as before he could barely do cervical stretch with all four legs on the ground!

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The vet said that Chance has gained weight and could use another 50-75lbs. She asked if he is finishing his dinner (4q twice a day) to which I answered yes. She suggested upping his feed to another quart twice a day totaling 5 quarts twice a day.

Chance’s feed schedule now includes the following:

AM: 5 q of Safe Choice Senior Feed by Nutrina, Transfer Factor (immune system booster), MicroLactin (for pain and inflammation). Hay Alfalfa mix, and 2q of Hay Stretcher

PM: 5 q of SCSF, SmartPak (Senior Flex supplement, immune system enhancer),  Hay/alfalfa mix, and 2 q of Hay Stretcher.

Lucky got his first round of shots today and he was so well behaved! He stood there calmly and put his head under my arm while he got his shots.

The vet also took a look at Luck’s teeth.

There are four ways to age an equine by his teeth:

  • Occurrence of permanent teeth
  • Disappearance of cups
  • Angle of incidence
  • Shape of the surface of the teeth

Well, Luck still has two baby teeth which do not seem to have adult teeth behind them that would ordinarily push out the baby teeth. So there goes option 1. 

His teeth no longer have cups on them and are completely smooth which indicates he is around age 10/11. 

I, along with Luck’s most recent owner, thought he was about 5 years old. However, his teeth seem to tell a different story. I’m wondering if the fact that Luck still has two of his baby teeth could be the reason for the cups prematurely disappearing? Or if he really is 10/11 years old….guess it’s time for a dental appointment. 

Hannibal. 

Today Chance got his teeth floated by his very first dentist from 2000!  Due to his cribbing history his front teeth were significantly worn down.  His molars were not in bad shape but were a bit jagged.  The dentist noticed that Chance’s left side was more sensitive to the filing and put a jaw opening device in C’s mouth to keep it open (see below right photo). The molars all looked like they were holding strong and there was no smell that would be indicative of an infection or decay. The dentist indicated that Chance was missing three back molars and that he felt that he was about 24 years old.

The dentist asked me about the nutritional care Chance was receiving due to his age, and I gave him the run down- 2 quarts twice a day of hay stretcher, hay/alfalfa mix throughout the day, 4 quarts of Nutrina Smart Feed Senior twice a day, 2 cups of Rice Bran twice a day in feed, SmartPak Senior Flex and Immune Boost, DuraLactin once a day for arthritic pain and inflammation, Vitamin E once a day, and Transfer Factor for an immune system booster. He continued to explain that when he asks the owners of most of the older horses he goes to sees, they do not have them on the proper diet. I explained that we are still trying to get more weight on Chance but that he has put on a good amount of weight since last summer. He suggested that our next appointment be this December before Chance has the opportunity to go into the winter and lose any weight, which is common in older horses, especially cribbers and thoroughbreds, in the winter months.

Later that day, Chance seemed to have some difficulty eating his hay; wads of hay were scattered around his stall. This is something that I have seen intermittently, maybe once or twice, but not to this extreme.  I decided to give him alfalfa cubes to substitute the hay until the next day when, hopefully, he would be able to eat more easily.  Sure enough the next morning there were no wads of hay!

A Month Later

Luckily, after about one week of stall rest and hand walking, along with a stronger anti-inflammatory, Chance has begun to show improvements over the last couple weeks of treatment.

Chance has almost completed his first 30 days of EPM treatment and has about a day or so left of the Protazil. He is going to continue his other medications and supplements:

1. SmartPak: senior flex and immune boost
2. Vitamin E
3. MicroLactin (amazing) to help with regrowth of his cells, inflammation, and pain.

As I’m doing research, and trying to come up with a plan of action, once again I am inundated with opinions…medication, exercise, holistic, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, organic, shoeing, etc.

I know I need to continue therapy, or start a new therapy. But which one do I choose?

Do I go the holistic approach and work with an acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, and vitamins such as Vita Royals? Do I go organic? Or do I try Marquis? Another month of Protazil? Oraquin-10? Rebalance has been linked to a number of recent deaths in the past handful of months. If I go the organic or holistic approach do I run the risk of the disease progressing? If I go with the medication do I run the risk of yet another “treatment crisis”?

I contacted Vet4 and he suggested doing another round of the Protazil or Marquis.  I decided on trying Marquis and waited for it to arrive.

Chance after a month on Protazil 

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.