Musculoskeletal Health

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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An-Holistic-Approach-to-Joint-Health-Optim-Equine

An Holistic Approach to Horse Joint Health

Lameness is one of the most common complaints in the working horse, with joint damage accounting for around 60% of these cases. Progressive damage and changes to soft tissue, cartilage and underlying bone in the joint results in joint deterioration, leading to the development of osteoarthritis. This process is generally initiated by joint overload, concussion …

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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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Ulcer-Medications-What-Nobody-Tells-You-And-What-You-Need-To-Know-Optim-Equine

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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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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Bisphosphonates-(Tildren-&-Osphos)-Time-to-talk-about-the-Skeleton-in-the-Closet-Optim-Equine

Bisphosphonates (Tildren & Osphos): Time to talk about the Skeleton in the closet

A question regarding the use of one of the above mentioned drugs circulated in my Facebook feed recently. It sparked much interest, confusion and curiosity by different readers…prompting me to write this post. Bisphosphonates are a class of drug which includes both tildronate and clodronate. They were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration …

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Are-we-creating-resilient-racehorses-or-superficial-sales-horses-Optim-Equine

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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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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Selenium-Deficiency-(&-Toxicity)-in-the-Equine

Selenium: Deficiency (& Toxicity) in the Equine

An adequate intake (and absorption and metabolism) of selenium is essential for maintaining the overall health of your horse. This mineral plays many essential roles: it acts as an antioxidant; reduces inflammation; has critical implications in the fertility of both mares and stallions; is needed for proper cartilage and hoof formation; and promotes skin health. …

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Devil's-Claw-and-Ulcers-Optim-Equine

Devil’s Claw and Ulcers

Many people are familiar with the terrific anti-inflammatory herb Devil’s Claw. This herb is predominantly used in cases of osteoarthritis and to reduce the inflammation and pain associated with injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Research has demonstrated that root extract of the herb inhibits inflammatory cytokine production through multiple pathways. One major concern for horse …

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Vitamin-D-and-Rugging-An-Important-Consideration-Optim-Equine

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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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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When-Supplements-actually-make-the-problem-worse

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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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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Osteochondrosis and Osteochondritis Dissecans: Reducing the Risk

Osteochondrosis (OC) and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) are two of the most common juvenile osteochondral conditions (JOCC). OC is a disease that causes lesions in the cartilage and bone of growing horses’ joints. It is a result of cartilage failing to properly turn into bone. OCD occurs as a progression of the OC: resulting in the …

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What-Supplements-are-best-for-building-Topline-Optim-Equine

What Supplements are best for building Topline?

Topline describes the muscle coverage over the top of the horse’s neck, back and hindquarters. The strength of topline muscles can influence soundness and athletic ability of the horse.Now let’s briefly think of human athletes looking to increase muscle mass, strength and definition. To do this effectively they must work and utilise the correct muscle …

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Fillies-Mares-Hormones-and-Performance-Opim-Equine

Fillies, Mares, Hormones and Performance

Do you train, own or ride fillies or mares? Have you previously, or do you use altrenogest/Regumate or other synthetic progestin products to ‘control’ their cycles or regulate their behaviour? Would you still give them such substances if you knew that it significantly decreased muscle mass, strength and performance, and impaired recovery? Animal research has …

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NSAID-Ulcer-Medication-in-Horses-Optim-Equine

NSAIDs and Ulcer Medications Together? Think Again

Most horse people are aware that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs (phenylbutazone, flunixin, firocoxib, etc) compromise gastrointestinal (GI) health in the horse. This comes about through inhibiting several natural defence mechanisms of the GI tract, which help to protect and maintain the integrity of the lining of the GI tract. Whilst many think …

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Turmeric: Use in the Horse

Turmeric: Use in the Horse

FEEDING YOUR HORSE TURMERIC?…BE CAREFUL!! Turmeric, it’s the ‘wonder’ natural supplement many horse people have been self-prescribing for their horses. Most commonly used for its anti-inflammatory properties, very few, if any horse people stop to consider the quality of their turmeric. Given that turmeric is widely available in powdered form makes it susceptible to being …

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