General Nutrition

An-Holistic-Approach-to-Mare-Behaviour--Optim-Equine

An Holistic Approach to Mare Behaviour

For those of you who ride mares and/or fillies you may have noticed somewhat erratic changes in her mood and behaviour during spring. The mare who was steadfast and easy going over the winter months may have at times started to become irritable, anxious, ‘girthy’, aggressive and painful or sensitive around her flanks. Gait abnormalities …

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Tying-up-Optim-Equine

Tying Up

Tying up is a broad term used to classify a wide variety of muscle disorders which result in the dissolution of muscle cells during exercise. Technically known as ‘exertional rhabdomylosis’ (ER), this syndrome is the most common muscle disorder which affects exercising horses. Clinical signs of ER vary, depending on the severity of the condition. …

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Laminitis How Naturopathy Can Help-Optim-Equine

Laminitis: How Naturopathy Can Help

What is laminitis? Laminitis is a painful, often devastating inflammatory condition affecting the lamellar tissue of the foot.  Each hoof contains 550-600 primary laminae, and each of those consists of 150-200 secondary laminae. The laminae connect the hoof wall to the coffin bone and function to provide shock absorption during locomotion, holding the coffin bone …

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Are we creating resilient racehorses or superficial sales horses?

It’s now that time of year in the Southern Hemisphere where the yearling sales season is gearing up. Understandably, much emphasis is placed on the vendor’s side in realising maximal monetary value for their yearlings. From a purchaser’s point of view, finding a top class racehorse is prime priority. This poses the question…are we creating …

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Fibre,-Chewing-and-Gastrointestinal-Health-Optim-Equine

Fibre, Chewing and Gastrointestinal Health

Forages and fibre rich foods which require much chewing, comprise the base starting point for a diet which promotes health in the horse. Chewing results in the production of saliva. Forages and fibrous feeds require more chewing than grains and processed feeds. On a dry matter basis, twice as much saliva is produced when horses …

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Mare-Body-Condition-Osteochondrosis-Risk-in-Offspring-Optim-Equine

Mare Body Condition: Osteochondrosis Risk in Offspring

Recent research has clearly demonstrated that foals born from obese mares are at much greater risk of developing osteochondrotic lesions. This is a very important consideration, given that many people like their mares in ‘very good’ condition leading into breeding season, and that horses can often be more overweight than we perceive them to be. …

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Skeletal-Injuries-Considering-the-Role-of-Bone-Density-in-the-Horse-Optim-Equine

Skeletal Injuries: Considering the Role of Bone Density in the Horse

One of the most significant injury concerns for all athletic horses is that involving the bones and joints. Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common cause of poor performance and wastage (wastage refers to a loss of training days, either temporary or permanent) in the equine industry. A vital consideration in bone and joint health is …

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Clenbuterol-More-Than-a-Bronchodilator-Optim-Equine

Clenbuterol: More Than a Bronchodilator

Clenbuterol is a beta-2-adrenoceptor agonist, therapeutically prescribed to horses with inflammatory airway disease (IAD) and recurrent airway obstruction (RAO, commonly known as heaves). It is widely known that the use of this drug has been exploited due to its ability to burn fat whilst preserving lean muscle tissue. Sadly, this practice can severely compromise the …

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Equine Hospital Nutritional Practices

Nutrition plays a paramount role in keeping horses healthy, with the ability to help prevent or manage specific health conditions. The need for appropriate feeding and nutrition practices becomes even more critical in cases of compromised health, such as during serious illness or post surgery. The equine patient has increased requirements of specific nutrients to …

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Nutrient Requirements for Horses: Fortified Feeds and the need for Supplementation-Optim-Equine

Nutrient Requirements for Horses: Fortified Feeds and the need for Supplementation

The vast majority of racehorses, performance horses and breeding stock are fed fortified feeds or balancer rations, which are designed to meet the daily nutrient requirements of horses. These nutrient requirements were established by the National Research Council (NRC) and last updated in 2007. The NRC provides the known nutrient requirements for horses by weight, …

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Lignophagia-Why-Do-Some-Horses-Chew-Wood-Optim-Equine

Lignophagia: Why Do Some Horses Chew Wood?

Lignophagia (or chewing wood) is an all-too common behaviour observed in horses. Whilst it can be both practical and tempting to lather stable boards and fence posts with products to discourage this, it is wise to also consider and address the possible reason(s) for this undesirable chewing in the first place… From a dietary perspective, …

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Vitamin-K-The-role-of-Gut-Health-and-the-Effect-on-Bone-Health-and-Insulin-Resistance

Vitamin K: The role of Gut Health and the Effect on Bone Health and Insulin Resistance

Vitamin K is a most important nutrient, which is derived from bacterial synthesis in the horse’s large intestine. For optimal levels of vitamin K to be produced, the horse must have sufficient fibre/roughage in the diet and a healthy microbial population and composition in their GIT. Keep in mind that many of the most frequently …

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Salt-An-Essential-Component-of-the-Horse's-Diet-Optim-Equine

Salt: An Essential Component of the Horse’s Diet

Salt is made up of the minerals sodium and chloride and is an essential yet often overlooked/forgotten component of the horse’s diet. If you aren’t providing supplemental salt to your horse or pony’s diet, they are most likely falling short of their needs. Although many processed feeds and balancers contain sodium and chloride, they are …

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Hoof-care-Hoof-Rings-and-Ridges-Optim-Equine

Hoof Rings and Ridges

When observing a horse’s hoof it is common to see minor lines or ridges on the hoof wall. Hoof rings, also called growth rings, occur in healthy hooves and are typically the result of variations in diet and environmental factors from season to season and sometimes changes in work/exercise levels. More obvious ridges, grooves, or …

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