ABCs of FECTs

Dealing with horse poop is by far one of the least favorite chores of horse owners, but that horse poop can also be a window into parasite surveillance and detection of dewormer resistance. As more horse owners move away from outdated rotational deworming and into a more recommended strategic deworming program, fecal egg count tests (FECT) become especially important. Continue reading

Generous donors make significant research opportunism possible

Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF) announced that their 10th year anniversary campaign surpassed its goal in 2015. This new campaign fund of $120,900, will be invested in a research project to investigate the therapeutic effects of horses on humans. Up to $100,000 will be given to fund an awarded grant and the remainder will offset assessment, administration and management expenses. The Foundation’s broad research agenda includes basic research that will ultimately impact physical/mental health and quality of life for those engaged in equine-assisted activities/therapies. Continue reading

The World’s Largest International Equine Welfare Charity Begins Work in Mexico

Brooke USA, the American fundraising arm of the Brooke, has announced a pilot project in Mexico to help horses working in a garbage dump and recycling centre in San Martin, Puebla State. The horses are some of the most vulnerable of the 12.8 million working equine animals in Mexico. Continue reading

AVMA approves updated policy on free-roaming abandoned and feral cats

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has updated its policy on free-roaming abandoned and feral cats to encourage collaboration among veterinarians, humane groups and wildlife conservation entities in efforts to reduce these cat populations in a humane and ethical manner. Continue reading

What Every Horse Needs, Period.

The horse world is cluttered with feeds, supplements, and remedies all promising a better, “new and improved” horse. While many such products do in fact improve horses’ health and condition, there are certain basics that every horse needs, regardless of breed, age, condition, or purpose. Even seasonal or regional changes do not alter these foundational principles.

Water is the most important nutrient

It must be plentiful, clean, and of the right temperature to encourage horses to drink. Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D., tells us, “A horse at maintenance, living in a temperate climate will require a minimum of ½ to 1 gallon per hundred pounds of body weight. For the 1100 lb (500 kg) horse, that equates to 5.5 to 11 gallons (21 to 42 liters) per day. However, his demand for water will increase with activity and warmer temperatures.”

Here are some factors to consider:

· Water must be freshened daily. Dead insects, bird droppings and excessive pond scum can poison your horse. Using smaller water troughs can make cleaning easier.
· Never add salt or electrolytes to your horse’s only water supply. Plain water must always be available.
· Pasture is high in moisture, typically containing 60 to 80 percent water, whereas most hays have only 7 to 10% moisture.
· High protein diets increase water requirements since protein can have a diuretic effect.
· During cold weather, horses drink less, especially if the water is ice cold. This potentially leads to dehydration – the main cause of colic in the winter. Heating water between 45 and 60 degrees F (7 to 15 degrees C) will promote more water consumption. Be sure the heater has no exposed wires that could electrify the water source.
· If you rely on creeks or ponds, the water must be moving and deep enough to not freeze.
· Snow consumption will not meet your horse’s water requirement. One gallon of average snow contains only 10 ounces of water. Also, eating snow will force your horse to burn precious calories needed to keep his body temperature steady.

Supplementing the Supplemented Feed

“For an adult horse with moderate activity, feed .75 to 1.0 lbs per 100 lbs of body weight.” These are the feeding instructions for a popular commercially fortified feed. If your horse weighs 1100 lbs (500 kg), you’ll need to feed 8.25 to 11 lbs of feed per day. For enough calories? Enough protein? Enough vitamins and minerals? Yes, to all of the above and more. That’s a lot of feed! That could amount to three to five two-quart scoops (depending on the weight of the feed) per day. And you’ll need to divide it into multiple feedings since meal size should never exceed 4 lbs (your horse’s stomach is small compared to the rest of his digestive tract). Continue reading

What to Wear

With winter making its grand entrance in many states and across Canada, having confidence your four-legged companion is comfortable during travel is essential. While horses are very comfortable in cold conditions, and most travel well in the winter, it is still a big question as to whether you should be throwing on a blanket or leaving it at the barn. There are a few factors that should be taken into consideration before you hit the road. Continue reading