“Thumps” in Horses

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Rhythmic movement of the flanks is an indicator of Thumps.


Synchronous Diaphramatic Flutter is a condition in which the horse’s flanks move in rhythm to the heart beat.  This is not a dangerous condition, and resting the horse will help it subside.  Thumps occurs after the horse undergoes stress.  Some situations include after an event where the horse is worked hard–such a showjumping–or colic.  Too much calcium in a horse’s diet can predispose it to Thumps.  Prevent Thumps by keeping the horse hydrated and giving electrolytes as needed.

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Keep you horse hydrated!



Developmental Orthopedic Diseases in Equids

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DOD usually occurs in larger, faster-growing breeds of horses.


 

The term “developmental orthopedic disease,” or DOD, encompasses all general growth disorders which result from abnormal bone growth.  So, what causes DOD?  It’s when the cartridge at the ends of bones fails to turn into bone when the horse stops growing, or under other circumstances.  It then becomes thicker and larger, interfering with the movement of the horse.

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DOD can adversely affect horses’ joints–and also their usefulness.


 

This disorder generally occurs in the fast-growing horse breeds, such as Thoroughbreds.  It may result in wobblers syndrome.  Horses that have wobblers generally have a lack of coordination, or ataxia.  It occurs in the cervical vertebrae, and can be treated–at least temporarily–by fusing the affected vertebrae in the neck.  The effects of DOD also encompass Physitis (enlarged growth plates), angular leg deformities, and joint cartilage damage.

Ponies are generally less at-risk.


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Feeding Horses: What Is a Forage?

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Pasture, or grass, is a forage.

Forages contain a high crude-fiber content.  In general, a forage would be grass or hay.  Horses should be fed to horses because they provide nutrients.  But they don’t do just that.  Forage keeps up the muscle tone in the GI tract and provides horses with something to do.  Without forage, horses can develop bad habits such as stall weaving and wood-chewing.

According to Feeding and Care of the Horse, forages have the following characteristics:

They are bulky.

They high in fiber and low in digestible energy.

Forages are high in calcium and potassium and low in phosphorous. 

Sun-cured hays are higher in vitamins E, A, and K.

Vary in protein content.

Horses should have access to pasture in moderation.  But hay can be fed in larger amounts.  It is recommended that horses be fed many small meals throughout the day or else get their hay in a slow feeder to make it last longer.  This simulates natural grazing activity.

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Hay should be fed in little bits to mimic natural grazing.

Everything Equine

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A tall chestnut horse

makes its way across a nearby field.  With flaxen feathers and a mane and tail to match, you can see even from a distance that this is a powerful, if not lazy animal.  His brass and leather halter has pulled to one side but he has a gentle look in his eye; a draft horse no doubt, known as the Jutland.

Bred in the country of  Denmark since the 1100 a.d., this breed is often thought to be one of the breeds crossed to form the Suffolk Punch.  They may stand a powerful 16 hands high on stocky, heavily feathered legs.  Their shining coats may be either chestnut (sometimes flaxen), black or bay.  Strong enough to carry a knight into battle, these horses are best suited to pulling wagons through the countryside.

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Bits and Facts   Secretariat01

A horse carries 65% of his weight on his forehand-that’s over half!

Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner, entered the Kentucky Derby never having won a race- and won.

The most common kind of colic in horses is Spasmodic or Gas Colic.

The oldest currently living horse is 51 years old. 

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Also Known As…        DSC08632

Hyperkalamic Periodic Paralysis- a genetic disorder linked to the sire Impressive and most commonly seen in Quarter Horses- is sometimes called Potassium Induced Periodic Paralysis (PIPP) because it can be triggered by diets high in the mineral Potassium.

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A Wish

 

It was hardly a day ago

when with a pocket of treats

and a head full of hopes

I went to the fence

with hardly a sound

I held out my hand

to see apple turning brown

then over the hill,

the chestnut came

with tall white stockings

-far from plain

a white blazed nose took

a treat from my hand

a forelock that is hardly there-

just a strand

oh, would it be that this horse

would be mine

a long, arched neck and a tail

quite fine

Ride over fields sugar-coated in snow

to win a ribbon- tied with a bow

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Poisonous Plants to keep out of pastures

Day-Blooming Jessamine (Cestrum diurnum) was introduced to the US as an ornamental tree and is most common in California, Texas and Florida.

This dark green, glossy leafed plant grows up to 16 feet tall and has small clusters of trumpet-shaped fragrant white flowers which form into berries, which are black when ripe. Its toxin similar to the active metabolite in vitamin D.  Consumption of Jessamine  results in excess calcium intake, resulting in serious elastic tissue calcification and excessive bone formation.

Symptoms of ingestion include chronic weight loss, stiffness, lameness in all four limbs and lying down for long periods of time (much more than normal).  Lameness results due to calcified ligaments and tendons in the legs.  Recovery from ingestion of this plant is rare so keep horses away from it!  In general, if you see a plant or ornamental tree in your horse’s paddock, a good preventive measure is to check if it is toxic before allowing your horse access to the pasture.

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Did You Know…

Chestnuts (the horny growths on the insides of horses’ legs) are also called night eyes.  Chestnuts are unique to each horse- much like human fingerprints.

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From the miniature to the Percheron,

there are many different breeds in the world- Shires, Morabs, Danish Warmbloods, Walers, Haflingers, Holsteins (not the cow), Andalusians, Cleavland Bays, Gelderlands and many more.  Which is you favorite?  Have you ever  seen one for real?

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“Big Red” the Racehorse

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I was called “Big Red” and I did not race in the Kentucky Derby; in fact, I never raced in Kentucky although it I was born there.  I had a nearly perfect race record, winning 20 out of 21 races, finishing second only once.  I am the Blood Horse‘s top racehorse of the 1900s, racing in the early 20th century.  I was a Thoroughbred stallion.  What was my name? 

Alfalfa and Blister Beetles

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Horse facts as told by a Shetland pony.

 Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, tells about blister beetles and alfalfa hay.

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If you have ever taken a flake of alfalfa and shaken it out, only to find crushed striped or spotted bugs with large, spiny antennae hidden inside, you have probably encountered Blister Beetles.  These toxic pests are large, approximately 1 inch long.  The reason why they are harmful to horses upon ingestion is the presence of the  toxin Cantharidin, which remains inside the beetles for as many as three years.   Belonging to the family Meloidae,  Blister Beetles come in over 200 different species and may be black with yellow or orange stripes or grayish tan paired sometimes with black spots and sometimes without.

If your horse appears to be “off his feed”, Blister Beetles can be a prime suspect. These insects are sometimes eaten by horses, usually concealed in baled  alfalfa (a legume hay that is very high in protein); colic can occur.  The minimum lethal quantity of blister beetles for a 1,100 lb horse is thought to be as few, or even less than, 125 beetles.

Treatment of Blister Beetle poisoning can be difficult.  It has no specific treatment; in severe cases, mineral oil can be administered.  Horses have either recovered or succumbed within 1-3 days.  After treatment, laminitis can result.

Prevention is always the easiest and surest way.  One way to do this is not to feed  alfalfa or to obtain alfalfa from a field that is cut before it blooms for this reduces the possibility of hidden beetles.

Not all places are home to Blister Beetles, as they are usually found in warm, dry locations.  So, if the beetles have not been found in fields nearby or you do not feed alfalfa or other flowering hays, your horses are probably safe.