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SUPPLEMENT TO

2017

EquineJournal

Health&Nutrition Guide

Know Your Stats HOW TO CHECK FOR VITAL SIGNS

5

Hay Hazards SWEAT IT OUT HOT WEATHER HORSE CARE


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Straight From the Horse’s Mouth When it comes to understanding horses, we all wish they could tell us when something is wrong. As soon as their stomach starts to feel funny, or they are too hot, it would be helpful for them to just say so. In some cases, we can catch symptoms early. There are steps to take to notice little changes before they become a big problem. Many can say they know their horse’s normal temperature, but do you know the proper way to check it? Or how about your horse’s heart and respiratory rate? Check out a step-by-step guide to taking your horse’s vitals on page 17. When the summer months hit, many of us may feel guilty about leaving our horses in the barn when we can escape to air-conditioned houses. Be at ease knowing how to beat the heat and keep your horse healthy during the simmering months on page 24. And don’t forget the other fun part of summer, hay season. Knowing how to properly inspect and store hay to last all year can be tricky. If you find yourself questioning the hay you have, find some tips on page 12 for how to avoid common dangers. Though our horses can’t speak our language, we can try to speak theirs, just a little. Taking small steps can make a big difference when it comes to knowing what your horse needs before they do.

Contents: 7

Points of Interest

12 Hot Hay Knowing and detecting hay hazards. By Kelley Roche

17 Vital Information Learn how to check your horse’s vital signs. By Terisé Cole

24 Sweat it Out

Help your horse stay healthy and work his best in the heat. By Kandace York COVER PHOTO BY SHAWN HAMILTON/CLIXPHOTO.COM

Articles that appear in Equine Journal do not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of Equine Journal or MCC Magazines, LLC. Equine Journal does not endorse and is not responsible for the contents of any advertisement in this publication. No material from Equine Journal may be copied, faxed, electronically transmitted or otherwise used without express written permission.

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2017

THIRD ANNUAL Health & Nutrition Guide EXECUTIVE EDITOR/ GENERAL MANAGER

SENIOR ADVERTISING/ MARKETING CONSULTANT

Elisabeth Prouty-Gilbride

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ADVERTISING/MARKETING CONSULTANT

Kelly Lee Brady

Laurel Foster

MANAGING EDITOR

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SENIOR DIGITAL STATEGIST

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER

Kelley Roche EDITORIAL ASSISTANT/WEB EDITOR

Terisé Cole

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PRODUCTION MANAGERS SR. GRAPHIC DESIGNER

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Health & Nutrition 2017

points of interest Featured Photo

This adorable pair is enjoying an afternoon snack in the summer sun.

PHOTO: JANE CARLTON

2017 Health & Nutrition Guide

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bits & pieces POINTS OF INTEREST

HAY BEFORE GRAIN, OR VICE VERSA? Which should be fed first—hay or grain? If you’re feeding correctly, this issue is truly a moot point because the horse should have access to forage in hay and/or pasture 24/7 with no gaps. Therefore, when fed concentrates, the horse's digestive tract should already have hay flowing through it. But if you were to feed starchy cereal grains (oats, wheat, barley, etc.) on an empty stomach, the horse would produce more acid than normal, which could potentially lead to ulcers. Furthermore, grains leave the stomach quickly, increasing the risk that they will not be fully digested in the small intestine (especially if large amounts are fed), and end up in the hindgut where starch can be fermented by the resident bacterial population. This can lead to endotoxin-related laminitis. A better approach is to have hay present in the stomach first. It creates a physical barrier for the grain, making it leave the stomach less quickly. The fiber in the hay mixes with the starch and the whole mass enters the small intestine to be digested. Fiber is not digested until it reaches the hindgut, but its presence slows down the digestion of starch, and obstructs the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, leading to a less dramatic rise in insulin. -Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

POLL

CHECK UP WE ASKED: DO YOU KNOW HOW TO CHECK YOUR HORSE’S VITAL SIGNS?

71%: Yes 29%: No

71%

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FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT ANSWERED NO, CHECK OUT OUR FEATURE ARTICLE ON HOW TO CHECK YOUR HORSE'S VITAL SIGNS ON PAGE 17.

PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/HOLYDUDE

29%


bits & pieces POINTS OF INTEREST

Sounds Good

NOW YOU KNOW

Unlike humans, gut sounds in horses are a good sign that their digestive tract is working properly. Next time you’re at the barn, put your ear to your horse’s belly and listen for some gurgling and rumbling.

18

Hay that contains over 18% in moisture is at risk of developing mold.

10

Hay falls into two categories; grasses and legumes.

2

Grass hay typically is about 10% protein or less.

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BY: KELLEY ROCHE 12

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| 2017 Health & Nutrition Guide


Knowing and Detecting Hay Hazards PHOTO: COURTESY OF STANDLEE PREMIUM WESTERN FORAGE®

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A

s natural grazers, horses spend a majority of their free time eating. Therefore, it is imperative to feed horses safe, clean, and healthy hay. Feeding questionable hay can result in digestive issues, nutrient deficiency issues, and even possible death. By taking the proper steps to ensure that the hay is safe, you also work to ensure that your horse is safe.

Regardless of the type of hay, the quality of it is of the utmost importance. Eastern Hay Corporation specialists put it simply, “If it feels bad in your hands, just think how bad it will feel in your horse’s mouth.” Be sure to look at the hay, smell it, and feel it. Depending on the kind being purchased, know what to expect. Eastern Hay also suggests that, “The best precautions to take are to purchase hay from a trusted, reputable dealer and use your eyes. Be sure to scan every bale of hay you open in order to be certain it looks good enough to feed.” The biggest hazard that is associated with hay quality is colic. Colic is one of the biggest horse killers out there, so keeping a healthy diet is key. Coarse hay tends to be more likely to obstruct the intestinal system, according to veterinarian Grant Myhre. “A chronic collicer gets a finer grass with ample water in it. More water is always good, the more you soak the hay, the more you’re going to get into the horse.” It is important to consult with a veterinarian if you are unsure if your horse is getting all of his nutrients from his hay to avoid issues with nutrient deficiency.

Mold

One of the steps to having healthy hay is to know how to avoid moldy hay. Mold is created when moisture is stored in an enclosed space. According to Myhre, moldy hay’s biggest concern is dust. When a horse breathes in the dust that accumulates around moldy hay, “he’s acquiring a lot of those spores and inhaling those spores so the mold will then cause a reaction in the lungs, which then creates this chronic obstructive lung disease.” Myhre suggests to first, not feed horses moldy hay, but if it is a bit on the dusty side or the horse is sensitive to dust, steam or soak it. He also suggests looking at each flake, because “it only takes one time to cause a problem.” In the case of hay, mold can grow in a few ways. One is improper storage. Ever notice how hay is more often than not stored in a hayloft or somewhere indoors and off the ground? This is to avoid any moisture from the elements finding its 14

EQUINE JOURNAL

way into the hay. Consider this too when looking at hay, if it is stored in a dry place, the risk of mold after baling is reduced. However, if the hay is being left uncovered on grass, moisture and mold may have already seeped in. Brianna Randow, Quality Assurance expert at Standlee Forage stated, “The preferred way to store hay is in an enclosed barn or building with proper ventilation. If an enclosed facility is unavailable, hay should be tarped for protection. If there is a possibility of moisture transferring from the floor to the hay, there should be a barrier for protection.” Keeping hay out of the elements is key for not only preventing mold and pests, but also to be sure the nutrient quality does not drop. Overexposure to sun, rain, and snow can deteriorate the nutrients in the hay. As for inspecting the hay for mold, the more methods used, the better. Once again, it is important to rely on our senses. When the bale is pulled apart, if a white dust cloud appears, this usually means that the bale was once wet, and has now dried out, suggesting mold may be present. The smell is another giveaway. If a bale smells like mildew or has any sort of odd smell to it, it is best to not pick that bale. Hay should just smell like hay, anything additional could be potentially dangerous to horses. “A chemical analysis identifies mold that cannot be seen or smelled and can also specify the type of mold that is present,” says Dr. Stephen Duren, Equine Nutritionist at Standlee Forage. A veterinarian can suggest places to have the hay tested.

Foreign Objects

When looking for new hay, it’s important to know where it is coming from. Different areas have the potential for different types of foreign matter and pests. “The most commonly overlooked hazard of hay would likely be presence of foreign material,” says Dr. Duren. Objects such as plastic and paper are usually easy to spot in a bale, but not all foreign matter is easily detected by a quick glance. In his time as a veterinarian, Dr. Myhre has seen a lot when it comes to horses consuming foreign matter through hay, such as wire or string that can obstruct

| 2017 Health & Nutrition Guide

PHOTO: COURTESY OF EASTERN HAY CORP.

Quality


the intestinal tract. Baling twine is another that can easily end up in the hay, considering it is what holds the bales together. When foreign objects get into the intestinal tract, it can lead to blockage and the possible need for surgery. Myhre said it’s simple, “Most horses don’t eat those things, but they can inadvertently, therefore you just need to be careful and check your hay.”

Pests

Organisms that either lived or died in the hay can release toxins that are harmful to horses. The most common concern among our experts in this regard is botulism. “Botulism is a serious concern if small animals happen to be baled up in the hay,” says Dr. Duren. When an animal such as a mouse dies, it excretes toxins that would go directly into the mouth of the horse, if it were in the hay. “Another (toxin) that is common in Kentucky,” according to Myhre, “is the mare reproductive loss syndrome association with tent caterpillars in their hay.” Each of our experts mentioned blister beetles as another organism that can release toxins that can be potentially life threatening to horses. “Blister beetles are common to certain areas of the country, such as Oklahoma,” says Dr. Duren. “If there is a possibility of blister beetle contamination, it can be controlled through spraying or selecting hay from a different part of the country.” Dr. Duren also references a pest that most New Englanders deal with in the summer months: ticks. “Ticks in hay may also potentially spread blood borne diseases.” Though usually found in tall grass, ticks can still be a risk even in hay. Eastern Hay experts mention, “hay mites can appear under certain environmental conditions and can bite you, or your horse. Luckily they don't occur very often and it generally seems to happen with hay that's been stored for a while.”

Eastern Hay experts explain that there is an endless list of harmful plants that can be found mixed in with hay. These include “horse nettles, Canadian thistle, cherry, red maple leaves, black walnut, locoweeds, yew, and milkweed.” Though most hay is properly cured, it is still important to properly examine it at each feeding time. The most important part of preventing hazardous hay is to examine it, especially right before giving it to the horse. Although the initial inspection is, of course, important, keep in mind that pests and mold may cause issues after purchase. Consider this the cost of a questionable bale is preferred over the vet bills and discomfort of a horse suffering from hazardous hay. If it doesn’t look, smell, or feel right, don’t risk feeding it to your horse. If any other factors are still a concern, consider having the hay professionally tested through your feed company. Also, your veterinarian is a tremendous asset to evaluate the hay for abnormalities.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF STANDLEE PREMIUM WESTERN FORAGE®

Poisonous Plants

This one is a bit harder to detect over the rest of the hay hazards. Each flake must carefully be examined. Our experts all concur, if it doesn’t look like hay, take it out. “The best way to avoid a horse consuming hay with toxic weeds is to not feed it weeds at all. Sort through and visually inspect the hay before feeding,” states Dr. Duren. Removing anything that doesn’t look like hay is the best measure to take. A well-ventilated and dry storage place is key to keeping hay in optimal condition.

Knowing the nutritional value of each type of hay and what each horse needs can reduce chances of colic and nutrient deficiency. 2017 Health & Nutrition Guide

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PHOTO: AK DRAGOO PHOTOGRAPHY

2017 Horse Health

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You know if your horse didn’t eat all of his grain, if one leg’s tendon is a few degrees warmer than the other, and can find the tiniest scrape in the most inconspicuous place, but can you rattle off your horse’s vital signs? Knowing these basic ranges for your horse can tell you the difference between not having to worry and needing to call the vet. WHAT TO CHECK Vital signs are the measurements of a horse’s essential body functions and are one of the first things that can alter if a horse is experiencing physical or emotional stressors. Horse owners know to watch for any changes with their horse whether it be a new lump that wasn’t there the day before or a difference in behavior, but the changes that we can’t see are often more important in recognizing if something is wrong. “The three classic things to monitor, in order of importance, are temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate,” says Dr. Kris Koss, DVM of Millbury, MA. “For a mature adult horse I would like to see a temperature of 100 degrees [Fahrenheit] plus or minus one degree, a heart rate between 36

and 44 beats per minute, and a respiratory rate between 12 and 20 breaths per minute.” Each horse is different, so it is important to note that some may naturally fall outside of these ranges. This is why it is suggested to check a horse’s vital signs on occasion and become familiar with his normal ratings.

HOW TO CHECK Checking all three vital signs requires two tools that can be found at the local drugstore for a few dollars—a thermometer and a watch. A veterinary or equine thermometer from a tack shop will work, but any digital thermometer can do the job just as well and is an important addition to a horse owner’s emergency medical kit.

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WHILE TEMPERATURE, HEART RATE, AND RESPIRATORY RATE ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT VITAL SIGNS TO CHECK, A HORSE’S MUCOUS MEMBRANES AND GUT SOUNDS ARE ALSO SIGNIFICANT. MUCOUS MEMBRANES THERE ISN’T A STANDARD NORMAL FOR A HORSE’S MUCOUS MEMBRANES, BUT A QUICK CHECK EVERY SO OFTEN WILL GIVE A HORSE OWNER AN IDEA OF WHAT THAT HORSE’S HEALTHY GUMS ARE LIKE. “LEARN WHAT THE NORMAL COLOR OF YOUR HORSE’S GUMS ARE ON A NORMAL DAY AND TAKE NOTE OF HOW MOIST THEY ARE,” ADVISES DR. KOSS. “A LOT OF TIMES WHEN THE HORSE IS IN TROUBLE, OWNERS WILL LOOK AT THE HORSE’S MOUTH AND NOT HAVE A GOOD BASELINE OF HOW PINK THEIR HORSE’S GUMS USUALLY ARE, THEN START TO PANIC BECAUSE IT IS A DIFFERENT COLOR THAN THEY ARE EXPECTING.” ALSO LEARN HOW DRY THAT HORSE’S GUMS ARE FOR AN EASY, ACCURATE TEST FOR HYDRATION AND TEST THEIR CAPILLARY REFILL TIME BY PRESSING A FINGER TO THE GUMS AND WAITING FOR THE PINK COLOR TO RETURN WITHIN A SECOND OR TWO. GUT SOUNDS A HORSE’S DIGESTIVE TRACT IS ALWAYS MOVING AND MAKING NOISE. TO LISTEN FOR SOUNDS, PLACE AN EAR OR THE END OF A STETHOSCOPE ON THE HORSE’S ABDOMEN, NEAR THE FLANK, FOR A FEW MINUTES ON EACH SIDE. GURGLES, GRUMBLES, AND BUBBLING NOISES ARE NORMAL. IF THERE IS NO SOUND, THAT IS A BAD SIGN AND IT IS TIME TO CALL THE VET.

The easiest to manage, a horse’s temperature is found by moving the horse’s tail to the side, inserting a thermometer into the rectum, and waiting for the telltale beep that it is done reading. Be sure to stand to the side of the horse the first few times this is done in case he has a negative reaction. Petroleum jelly can be applied to the thermometer tip for lubrication and easy insertion. Most importantly, don’t let go of the thermometer, unless it is a veterinary thermometer with a string and tail clip attached! Recording a horse’s heart rate is slightly more difficult and can be done two ways—by feeling and by listening. “Heart rate can be found by either palpating their pulse or listening to their heart beat,” says Dr. Koss. To feel a horse’s pulse, palpate any large blood vessel that is close to the skin such as the mandibular artery under the jaw or the digital artery on the outside of the fetlock and count the pulses for 60 seconds. Become familiar with how weak or strong each horse’s pulse is at different 20

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points. Listening for a heart rate requires a stethoscope being placed behind the horse’s left elbow and counting each “lubdub” sound as one beat. The final vital to check, respiratory rate, is surprisingly the toughest. “The respiratory rate is the hardest one for people to wrap their mind around. They have to be standing back from the horse, looking at him,” explains Dr. Koss. “If you get too close to the horse, then they are going to start sniffing you and that gives you the wrong reading. Then you’re just measuring sniffing.” For best results, put the horse on a set of cross-ties and stand back a bit, looking at the horse’s flank. Watch as it goes in and out—that is one breath. “If you get in the horse's face and looking at his nostrils then his sniffing rate will go way up,” laughs Dr. Koss. When recording vitals, keep in mind the horse’s current environment—weather, strenuous activity, and excitement can cause all three vital signs to be elevated. “If you just got back from a long trail

| 2017 Health & Nutrition Guide

ride and you ran to the barn to check your horse’s heart rate, it is going to be elevated. That is not surprising,” clarifies Dr. Koss. “If you are a horse and a vet about to look in your mouth, your heart rate is probably going to be elevated. That is not because he’s got a problem, that’s just a normal response, so you have to factor that in.”

WHY The simple reason to check a horse’s vital signs is so that horse owners can recognize when something is awry by comparing it to their normal temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate. If you’re concerned that something may be wrong with your horse, a quick check of his vital signs can give you an indication of whether or not the vet is necessary. “It is an easy, straightforward way to gather useful information that can either be used directly by the owner or passed on to the veterinarian in the case of some sort of problem,” explains Dr. Koss.


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More often than not, the first question the vet will ask if someone calls with a worry is if they’ve checked their horse’s vitals. “It is a decision making tool in terms of what possibly could be going wrong as well as what we should do next,” says Dr. Koss, explaining that how far away from normal the vitals are gives a vet a good idea on what the problem could be. “It is kind of a triaging tool. For example, if you think something is wrong and the temperature is normal, that puts a whole set of problems off the list. If the temperature is elevated, then we are looking at something different.”

A digital thermometer from a local drug store can be used to take a horse’s temperature.

WHEN TO WORRY

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PHOTO: AK DRAGOO PHOTOGRAPHY

You’ve checked your horse’s vitals, keeping in mind the environmental factors, and they aren’t normal, now what? How do you know if you need to call the vet? An elevated temperature usually means a horse has a fever and is a cause for concern, but it becomes more serious if the temperature is above 105. “A horse with a fever of 102 degrees? Yeah. A horse with a fever of 106 degrees? Yikes,” states Dr. Koss. Heart rate is the next most important vital and horses that are in pain, particularly colic pain, are going to have an elevated heart rate. “A horse that is moderately uncomfortable will typically have a heart rate in the neighborhood of 60 beats per minute. If you check your horse's heart rate and it is 80 to 100 beats per minute, that’s going to put a vet in a whole other category of being alarmed.” Respiratory rate can vary greatly, so it can be difficult to tell if it is a concern. “Respiratory rates will elevate in a bunch of situations such as discomfort, respiratory distress, and colic, and then there are some other unusual situations,” says Dr. Koss. No matter what, it never hurts to make a phone call to your veterinarian if you think anything is wrong, especially if their vitals aren’t within standard ranges. “If you are in a situation where you think something is amiss, you check those vitals and they’re not normal, then that is a good opportunity to get in touch with your veterinarian.”


PHOTO: AK DRAGOO PHOTOGRAPHY

Summer is here; how is your horse handling the heat? Two veterinarians explain how you can help your horse stay healthy and work his best.


First, evaluate your horse’s situation. Doctors Eleanor Kellon and Jonathan Foreman start with questions like these: • How fit is your horse? Extra fat acts like a blanket under the horse’s skin. • What is your horse’s body type? A heavily muscled horse has a tougher time staying cool than a leaner-muscled horse. • What color is your horse? A darker coat absorbs light and converts it to heat. • How old is your horse? A very young or very old horse may adjust more slowly to temperature swings. • What is your horse’s overall health? Anhidrosis, recurrent equine rhabdomyolysis (RER), metabolic disorders, and other veterinary issues affect a horse’s ability to stay cool. • Where does your horse live? Dry heat speeds up dehydration, while humid heat slows sweat evaporation.

Nutrition’s role Affecting all these factors is your horse’s nutrition: water, forage, and grain. The most important (and most overlooked) nutrient is water. It isn’t just hydrogen and oxygen; Dr. Kellon says sodium levels, in particular, vary widely depending on geography, origin—well or “city water”—and even the filtration system your stable may use. These variations determine what additional supplementation your horse may need. Forage (hay/grass) is the base of any equine diet, and lowerprotein forage generates less heat in a horse’s system than higher protein. Alfalfa hay, for example, can be almost double the protein of timothy hay. The nutritional value of pasture has a wider range of nutrients, with nutrients “diluted” by a naturally higher water content. Grain’s nutrients, as a government-regulated product, are strictly measured, but grain also makes up a much smaller portion of your horse’s diet. Look at your grain’s feed tag for four important numbers: crude protein, crude fiber, fat, and carbohydrates (starches 26

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and sugars). You want higher levels of fat and fiber, with lower levels of protein and carbohydrates. After determining what to feed, the amount to feed in hot weather is next, with some people swearing that you should feed less in the summer. While the process of digesting feed does create heat within a horse’s body, Dr. Kellon says it’s not that simple. Horses evolved to eat almost continuously; it helps prevent digestive problems. “The fiber in hay or grass also helps hold water in the horse’s intestines.” Dr. Kellon cautions against putting much stock in guidelines, other than using them as a starting point. The best way to approach your horse’s nutrition, she says, is by working with your veterinarian, who can recommend resources to analyze your feed and water, and develop a diet that is right for your horse based on that information.

Sweaty solution There’s one part of summer health that you might think of only as an indicator of a good workout: sweat. A horse produces more sweat than most people realize. Dr. Kellon estimates that in one hour of moderate exercise at temperatures of 50 to 70 degrees, a horse loses four to five liters (just over a gallon) of sweat.

| 2017 Health & Nutrition Guide

As the temperature and intensity of work rise, this increases to as much as four times that amount. In addition to water, sweat contains salt—which most horsepeople know—but it also includes potassium and chloride. “Sweat is two parts salt to one part potassium to just under four parts chloride.” Salt is critical because many equine diets are chronically low in sodium. “Horses need at least one ounce of salt per day, and up to two ounces or more when they’re sweating.” Dr. Kellon recommends plain salt over trace-mineralized salt, which may have more iron than horses need. Potassium and chloride, the other two ingredients in sweat, are almost fully supplied by mature hay or good pasture.

The electrolyte connection Supplementing your horse’s diet with electrolytes will replace what he loses through sweat. On farm store shelves, it’s easy to find electrolyte powders and pastes, but it’s harder to get the right one. “Your electrolytes should match the composition of your horse’s sweat,” Dr. Kellon says. “It’s just amazing that some products don’t come close to balancing the sodium, potassium, and chloride.” Add electrolytes to your horse’s diet as soon as summer starts so he gets used to the taste. If you add them only when it gets hot, you risk turning him away from his feed or water right when he needs them the most.

Timing matters Because the equine body can’t store the nutrients that sweat contains, they need to be available all the time. Dr. Jonathan Foreman, with the University of Illinois, laughs as he shares what he tells his students. “The dumbest kidney is Water is the key ingredient to keeping horses well hydrated. If you’re going to a multi-day show, Dr. Kellon recommends flavoring the water a week or more ahead of time with a product like Uckele’s Equi-Sweet. “It masks taste differences.”

PHOTO: DUSTY PERIN/DUSTYPERIN.COM

Health and environment


a little relief for those

who mean so much. Like it or not, we all need a bit more help as we age—

Bute-Less® also offers a choice of delivery methods

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your horse: pellets, paste, or liquid.

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formulated to relieve the discomfort

A N AM E YO U CAN T R U ST

associated with daily exercise

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and aging. Bute-Less® also

something else that will

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help give you peace

healthy inflammatory

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response. And it’s

of our unmatched

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history of muscle

within one week.*

and joint care—

G ENTLE ON THE

a history that goes

STOMACH

back 125 years.

Knowing the digestive

Bute-Less® is just

systems of horses as

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stomach, with a specialized formula

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A well-shaded area or a stall with a fan will help keep your horse cool on hot days.

smarter than the smartest clinician.” He’s referring to the kidneys’ primary function as a filtration system. “If we just give the horse everything he needs, his kidneys keep what he really needs and filter out what he doesn’t.” Even if you’re already supplementing your horse with electrolytes, as soon as he starts sweating, he needs more. This is true whether he’s sweating from hard work, from nervousness, or from high temperatures.

On the road Traveling and competing in hot weather offers new challenges, Dr. Foreman says. Start by encouraging water consumption. “Bring water from home,” he suggests. “Every one of our horses has two water buckets: one for plain water and one for water that includes electrolytes. Label them so you know which is which, and keep them fresh.” Bring your horse’s salt, too, and give him regular breaks from work, especially if he’s working in the sun. “Let your horse have a drink in between classes, even if you have to take off his bridle.” This extra work pays off. “One of my clients is a hunter/jumper stable, and she keeps her horses and her riders very well hydrated at shows. On that third and fourth day, when other horses are getting tired and knocking down rails, hers are still jumping effortlessly.”

Get off his back

28

EQUINE JOURNAL

| 2017 Health & Nutrition Guide

PHOTO: DUSTY PERIN/DUSTYPERIN.COM

Eleanor Kellon, DVM, is a renowned expert on equine nutrition who has authored eight books and published countless articles on horse care. She owns Equine Nutritional Solutions, a nutritional consulting firm in Robesonia, PA. Additionally, Dr. Kellon is a staff veterinarian for Uckele Health and Nutrition, Inc. in Blissfield, MI. Jonathan Foreman, DVM, is professor and associate dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois. He is also an internationally recognized expert in equine sports medicine, serving as official veterinarian for both the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) and the 1996 Olympic Summer Games.

In addition to the nutritional aspects of managing heat, Dr. Foreman says, you will help your horse compete comfortably by getting off his back—literally—unless you’re schooling or competing. “At some shows, riders are on their horses’ backs all day,” he says. “That means the horse is carrying around that extra weight, plus the heat generated by the rider, plus the heat that builds under the saddle.” Because horses tend to be stoic about their discomfort, “riders don’t realize how much heat stresses their horses. It’s incumbent upon us to watch out for ourselves, our riders, and our horses.”


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Profile for Cowboy Publishing Group

Health & Nutrition Guide  

A Equine Journal publication. 2017

Health & Nutrition Guide  

A Equine Journal publication. 2017