Immune Health

Laminitis-‘Prevention’--But-at-what-cost Optim Equine

Laminitis ‘Prevention’- But at what cost?

We all want to do what’s best for our horses. Marketing experts employed by large brands know this. Clever product marketing targets this. That’s why it is common to find products which offer a seemingly quick and easy solution to help our equine friends with health difficulties. The horse or pony prone to laminitis can …

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Bad Behaviour & Exclusion Diets

When we have a horse who starts to exhibit nervy, spooky or irritable behaviour then one of the first things we commonly do is look at their diet. This is a terrific starting point, as nutrition plays a key role in our horse’s health and behaviour. But sometimes the way we look at their feed …

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Timing Vaccinations in Young Horses

As we move into weaning season in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s an opportune time to give thought to the timing of routine vaccinations we give to our horses. Vaccinations for Tetanus, Strangles, Equine Herpes Virus and Hendra Virus are commonly given to horses younger than 12 months of age. From a practical perspective, many vaccinations …

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Bad Breath in Horses

Bad Breath in Horses The smell of our horse’s breath isn’t something we generally give much thought to. Yet if you’ve ever smelt the breath of a horse or pony with halitosis (bad breath)- then it becomes something hard to ignore. So why do some horses and ponies have bad breath and is it something …

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Selenium- Is your horse actually using the amount on the feed or supplement label?

Selenium- Is your horse actually using the amount on the feed or supplement label?

Selenium is a crucial trace-mineral in the diets of our horses and ponies. It plays many key roles in the body and is particularly important in reproductive health (both mares and stallions), recovery from exercise, healthy immune function, normal growth and development of young horses and healthy thyroid function. Selenium is a nutrient which has …

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The Importance of Protein

Protein- it’s a most crucial component of a horse’s diet, yet is commonly blamed for causing a whole host of problems in horses: Everything from ‘hot behaviour’, to joint problems, swollen legs, liver and kidney issues. Yet are these issues actually caused by protein? And what happens when we don’t feed our horses enough quality …

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Inflammation & Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories in Horses

Inflammation & Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories in Horses

Inflammation. It’s a word commonly associated with poor health outcomes. Yet a certain amount of inflammation is absolutely crucial to health and wellbeing in our horses. Some inflammation is essential to promote normal immune function; repair muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments after exercise; and even facilitate healthy digestive function. Problems start to occur when levels …

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Stress in Horses: Why it isn’t always obvious

When we think of the term ‘stress’, we often think of horses that pace the fence line, shy at non-existent monsters (!), call out incessantly when their paddock mate leaves and seem to poo cow pat like manure as soon as we saddle them. Whilst all these behaviours are clear outward signs of stress, it …

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Soy: The Good, Bad and Confusing!

If there’s any horse feed that can cause heated debate about whether or not it is suitable and even valuable for horses- then soy may well take the cake. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on soy bean meal and feeds containing processed soy- not soy oil or soy bean hulls- as …

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Feeding The Injured Horse

Injuries in our horses can be frustrating and upsetting occurrences- and more often than not, they tend to occur when our horses are coming along really well. Ironically, although we may seem to have more time with missing planned races, events and competitions, rehabilitating a horse properly often takes more time and effort than riding …

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Horses: Rethinking The Use of Corticosteroids

Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Horses: Rethinking The Use of Corticosteroids

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in horses refers to a group of intestinal diseases that are caused by the infiltration of different types of inflammatory cells into the mucosal and submucosal walls of the intestine, resulting in intestinal dysfunction. Each disease in the IBD group involves a different combination of white cells or involves a different …

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Iodine & Horses

Iodine. It’s an essential trace mineral in our horse’s diets which plays many crucial roles. It is vital as a constituent of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism, hence its crucial role in not only metabolic rate and body …

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Ulcers in Horses: The importance of understanding how medications work

Ulcers in Horses: The importance of understanding how medications work

There’s much interest in ulcers in horses and for very good reason. Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) affects 60-90% of adult horses and 25-50% of foals and weanlings. The condition collectively refers to sores or erosions that develop in portions of the horse’s sensitive stomach lining. EGUS is largely a man-made disease: common feeding practices,  …

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Foals & Colostrum

With foaling season now upon us in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the importance of good quality colostrum. Colostrum provides antibodies (immunoglobulins), which are concentrated in a mare’s milk during the 10-14 days prior to foaling. These immunoglobulins are essential in helping to provide immunity against common diseases in a …

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Ulcer Medications: What Nobody Tells You and What You Need To Know

The most commonly used equine ulcer medications on the market generally come under names containing Gastro/Ulcer/Guard and contain the active ingredient omeprazole, which belongs to the class of drugs known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)[i] [ii]. These drugs work by reducing (normal, healthy) gastric acid production by blocking the enzymes located in the parietal cells …

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Placentitis: Think about it

Placentitis. It is the most common cause of late pregnancy loss in mares. It causes many a stud manager and breeder a lot of grief. It costs a lot of money and time. And it goes without saying that it has non-favourable effects on both mare and foal. Yet current routine approaches aren’t necessarily addressing all contributing …

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The Stabled/Stalled Horse: The Impact of Ammonia and Airway Health-Optim-Equine

The Stabled/Stalled Horse: The Impact of Ammonia and Airway Health

Ammonia- the colourless gas associated with the pungent, eye watering smell when you enter some barns and when you muck out stalls- comes with some profound health effects on the horse. These effects are even more significant given many horses which are stabled are performance horses, newborn foals and/or horses who are stabled to help …

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Vitamin D and Rugging: An Important Consideration

Blanketing/rugging horses is a topic which sparks much debate, primarily due to its influence on weight regulation, metabolic function and thermoregulation in the horse. Yet an often forgotten consideration is its effect on vitamin D synthesis and hence levels of this important vitamin/hormone in the horse. Vitamin D is produced by the horse when their …

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Garlic: The Suitability and Use in Horses

Many equine owners/managers/riders add garlic to their horse’s ration. This herb has a wide range of potential therapeutic properties, including its actions as a: hypotensive (ability to lower blood pressure); antioxidant; anti-parasitic; anti-fungal; and antibacterial. Additionally, it is thought to deter biting insects. Garlic is a good dietary source of sulphur and selenium. However, just …

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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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When Supplements actually make the problem worse

Something I see commonly in practice is well meaning owners prescribing supplements to help with a particular health or performance issue in their horse. One of the most commonly misused classes of supplements in the horse are ‘blood builders’. Whilst iron deficiency in humans is an all too common problem, in our horses it is …

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Horse Dental Health and Systemic Inflammation-Optim-Equine

Horse Dental Health and Systemic Inflammation

Periodontal disease (inflammation of the structures that support the tooth -including the gum, periodontal ligaments and the bone within which the tooth sits), is believed to effect at least one third of all horses, with statistics much higher in older horses. Human research has clearly linked periodontal disease with systemic inflammatory conditions and illnesses such …

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Bacterial Endometritis: Bacteria and Biofilms

Bacteria in biofilms can readily become resistant to both pharmaceuticals and the host immune system, developing a tolerance to antimicrobial agents, biocides and antiseptics. In fact, research has demonstrated that bacteria residing in a biofilm can be up to 1,000 times more refractive to treatment with antibiotics as compared to free-living (planktonic) bacteria. Administering more …

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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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