senior horses

Increasing your horse’s appetite

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It can be hard to get a picky eater to consume enough calories to maintain optimal condition. Digestive aids, such as probiotics and yeast cultures, keep the digestive system in balance, which helps to stimulate a horse’s appetite. A balanced digestive tract utilizes feedstuffs more efficiently, so the horse benefits more from the feed he or she is eating.   Article written by KPP staff. Copyright (C) 2013 Kentucky Performance Products,... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Tips and Topics

Testing a horse’s hearing

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People, cats and dogs often suffer from hearing loss due to injury, illness or old age, but what about horses? While complete deafness is easy to diagnose, partial hearing loss in horses is harder to pinpoint. Typically, hearing loss occurs in the higher frequencies first and progresses to the lower ones. Horses are notoriously bad at homing in on where sounds come from by using their ears. Normally they turn in the general direction of a sound and use... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Other Topics of Interest | Tips and Topics

Iodine is essential to a healthy hair coat

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Iodine controls the production of thyroid hormones, which are necessary for optimal health. Iodine deficiency can cause a dry, lusterless coat and patchy or diffuse hair loss. The NRC (National Research Council) estimates that the iodine requirement of horses is 0.1-0.6 mg/kg of the total diet. Grass and hay contain very small amounts of iodine. Some plain grains contain more iodine, but most horses get iodine from trace mineralized salt or a coat and... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Tips and Topics | Valuable Nutrients

Vitamin deficiencies – who is at risk?

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Certain types of horses are at higher risk of developing vitamin deficiencies than others. It may be because they are unable to eat adequate amounts of fortified concentrates or consume enough green grass. Sometimes age plays a role too. At-risk horses will benefit from a balanced, low-calorie vitamin and mineral supplement. Who is at risk? Easy keepers eating a handful or two of grain a day and/or those on restricted pasture Horses and ponies in... Read More »

Category : Macro & Micro Minerals | Tips and Topics | Valuable Nutrients

Horse Health Tidbit: Managing PPID

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PPID, once known as Cushing’s disease, is now commonly referred to as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction. In PPID, a portion of your horse’s pituitary gland becomes enlarged and produces higher than normal amounts of hormones. The excess hormones cause imbalances in your horse’s body. Researchers feel most older horses (16+ years) are at risk of developing PPID. If caught early, treatment can help reduce the damage done by the disease before it... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Tips and Topics

Filling the nutritional gaps in your horse’s diet

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Vitamins and minerals are vital to the horse’s physical well-being. Without sufficient vitamin and mineral intake, it is impossible for horses to remain healthy. Even those horses asked to perform no exercise need proper vitamin and mineral fortification when concentrates and pasture are fed at less than optimal levels. Easy keepers, senior horses, and horses on restricted feeding programs are most often at risk for deficiencies. It is up to horse... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Tips and Topics

Managing RER (a form of tying-up) with dietary changes

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"Tying-up” is one of the more common muscle disorders found in horses. In fact, we now know that there are several forms of tying-up and that RER or recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis is just one of them (another one is PSSM, but more on that in another article). Horses suffering from RER are unable to properly regulate the calcium ions that control normal muscle contraction and relaxation. When a horse has an episode of RER, the gluteal muscles... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Tips and Topics

Provide a proper cool-down period for your horse

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No matter what the season, when horses work hard they produce heat and sweat. Properly cooling down your horse will ensure he stays sound and healthy. A daily workout for your horse probably consists of four separate periods: warm-up, active conditioning or schooling, warm-down, and cool-down. During warm weather training, the warm-down and cool-down periods are especially important because horses may be hot from conditioning exercises. The warm-down... Read More »

Category : Electrolytes | Health & Management | Tips and Topics

Cribbing in Horses

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Once known as a stable vice, cribbing is now considered by equine behaviorists as a stereotypical oral behavior. Cribbing behavior (sometimes referred to as crib-biting) is rarely, if ever, seen in free-living feral horses but is frequently found in domesticated horses, leading researchers to believe that such unwanted behavior is caused by the way we manage our horses. When a horse cribs he grabs onto a solid object with his teeth, arches his neck, pulls... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Health & Management | Tips and Topics

Dealing with arthritis in senior horses

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Over the past couple of decades improved management, nutrition, and veterinary care have contributed to increase longevity in today’s horse population. It is not unusual to hear of horses living well into their thirties. As horses age, the wear and tear of a lifetime of activity takes its toll on joints, leading to the development of arthritis. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways we can keep older horses more comfortable. What is... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Tips and Topics

Is there such a thing as “too much of a good thing” when it comes to supplements?

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I was helping with chores at the barn where I board my horse, and I was overwhelmed at the number of supplements some horses receive in their meals. Several of these horses are amazing athletes, and I wondered if all of these powders and pellets were truly necessary. Is there such a thing as “too much of a good thing” when it comes to supplements? Concerns surrounding oversupplementation have been brewing among members of the equine-nutrition... Read More »

Category : Health & Management | Tips and Topics

Nutritional Considerations for Horses in Drought Conditions

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Careful management of your horse year-round will help ensure that he remains healthy during drought conditions. In the short-term future, the first and perhaps most elementary and immediate point to consider is nutrition. As the drought in Kentucky and surrounding states rages on, pastures may be brown and their bounty less than nutritious. If you rely heavily on pastures to provide calories for your horse, he may not be receiving sufficient energy... Read More »

Category : Essential Vitamins | Fat & Fiber | Health & Management | Tips and Topics | Valuable Nutrients

Feeding to Ensure Digestive Tract Health

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We have all heard that certain horses exposed to stressful contiditons are at a higher risk of developing ulcers and hindgut imbalances, but did you know that how and what you feed your horse can also increase the likelihood of damaging his or her sensitive digestive tract? One of the most important facets of equine management is learning what strategies should be used to ensure digestive tract health in the horses you care for. Extensive research has... Read More »

Category : Digestive Health | Health & Management | Tips and Topics

When things heat up!

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What is heat stroke and how do you recognize it? Heat stroke occurs when you horse’s natural cooling mechanisms fail to keep his body temperature at a normal level. If left untreated, heat stroke could kill your horse. The best way to avoid heat stroke is to closely monitor your horse when riding in warm weather. Know your horse’s normal vital signs, know the symptoms of heat stroke, and take immediate action to cool your horse off when he gets too... Read More »

Category : Electrolytes | Health & Management | Tips and Topics

Keeping Your Horse Safe in Hot Weather

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To ride or not to ride, that is the question. Temperature alone is not a good guide when it comes to deciding if you should ride on a hot summer day. It is the combination of heat and humidity that should be your major concern. Your horse’s natural radiator is a combination of skin surface and sweat. As your horse’s body warms up, his sweat glands release sweat: a combination of water and minerals. As the water evaporates off the skin it cools the... Read More »

Category : Electrolytes | Health & Management | Tips and Topics

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