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tuis mum
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 Posted: Wed Mar 11th, 2009 07:05 am
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Hi have had vet to my ill mare apparently she is lacking in protein are there any good sources of protein?? they listed allot of options none of which i really like they sound off as they all had soy bean meal in.we have had to take the foal of 5 1/2 months off her so she puts more into herself and her foal she is carrying we have also put a light sheet on her to keep the sun off her. The breathing is a very long sentence apparently up in the larics that is common in old horses so will see how she goes they didnt suggest much besides possible surgery if it gets worse and a small chance steriods and anti-biotics may help. thanks again for all your info and responses.

tuis mum
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 Posted: Wed Mar 11th, 2009 07:05 am
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Hi have had vet to my ill mare apparently she is lacking in protein are there any good sources of protein?? they listed allot of options none of which i really like they sound off as they all had soy bean meal in.we have had to take the foal of 5 1/2 months off her so she puts more into herself and her foal she is carrying we have also put a light sheet on her to keep the sun off her. The breathing is a very long sentence apparently up in the larics that is common in old horses so will see how she goes they didnt suggest much besides possible surgery if it gets worse and a small chance steriods and anti-biotics may help. thanks again for all your info and responses.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Mar 11th, 2009 07:46 am
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Tui, what the vet is telling you is that you have not been providing good hay or other quality feed to your horse.

You need to learn to look at and understand the information that is printed on the bags that bagged feed comes in. Almost everyone who is trying to maintain a lactating or pregnant mare would use some form of bagged feed made for mares in that condition. The bag will tell you what the "guaranteed minimum amount" or "guaranteed analysis" of the recommended serving is. It will contain carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Generally, bagged feed prepared for pregnant and/or lactating mares will have generous amounts of protein (i.e. something above 15%).

And Tui, protein is a nutrient; and therefore, what I told you before still applies -- horses get protein out of good hay and good graze. But a lactating mare particularly will require higher amounts than most peoples' pasture can provide, unless it is very lush and also composed of just the right species of grass. So, that is why most people use bagged feeds for their lactating mare. Normally one also adds lucerne to the diet, and this may be OK for you depending upon the type of lucerne you are able to obtain (i.e. it is possible to feed too rich a lucerne, which will harm the horse. And again, I know you're currently intending to purchase a Poison Plants book, but this is all discussed in that book).

It sounds to me also as if you would benefit from obtaining a good book that talks about basic horse feeding and care. In North America, all three of the biggest and best-edited equine magazines (Equus Magazine, Practical Horseman Magazine, and Western Horseman Magazine) have published such books in times past. There is also the United States Equestrian Team Book of Horse Keeping and Horse Care. And there are many "coffee table books", i.e. big format color books, that at least touch on this topic that you can buy in the larger bookstores. I am certain too, that in both Australia and New Zealand there are government publications that teach this very basic stuff. You could get them by Googling for them on the Internet. The prices charged for those would be nominal.

Now Bonnie, you will have observed from Tui's question here, if you can pick through the threads of the way she tells it, that her vet has told her to put a cover on her mare. This will be because the vet also has noticed that Tui's horse is showing signs of skin photosensitivity ("hives", "scratches", "mud fever"). The first-aid for this is to cover all thin and/or light-skinned areas that face upward or outward toward the sun. You can also apply creams containing good ol' zinc oxide, which is an effective sunblocker, but only if your horse can tolerate them (i.e. some horses have allergic reactions to the sunblock itself). If your horse tolerates zinc oxide, buy it mixed in a sticky, rather thick paste and slather it on very generously.

You see, what is happening as more and more of the horse's liver dies, the organ becomes less and less able to remove phylloerythrin and other fluorescing pigments that are contained in ALL GREENSTUFFS. If it's green, in other words, it's got phylloerythrin in it. That's not a problem so long as the animal has a healthy liver. But as the liver dies, the concentration of phylloerythrin circulating in the blood that has not been broken down as it normally would be in the liver, rises higher and higher. When sunlight passes through thin skin, white skin, skin covered only by white hairs (which are actually clear), or skin covered only by a thin amount of fur, it strikes the phylloerythrin and that makes the pylloerythrin fluoresce. And fluorescence is emitted radiation. So what "scratches" really are, when they come from this cause, is a radiation burn that is coming from INSIDE the horse's body.

The second line of defense is to remove liver toxins, as much as possible, from the animal's diet. This means learning which plants are liver-toxic, learning what those plants look like at all seasons of the year, learning where they grow and how they reproduce, learning how best to kill or eradicate them, and then going out into your actual pasture and actually taking whatever steps are necessary to eradicate them.

The third line of defense is to stop doing silly, ineffective things like feeding dandelion as a "liver cleanser." What did you think you were doing there, Bonnie? Giving the old purple organ the soap-bubble treatment? There is no such thing as a "liver cleanser" -- this is sales talk BS. What helps the liver is a healthy diet, the general or overall good health of the animal. So you provide good hay of the appropriate kind, and clean water, and your animal will have a healthy liver. Dandelion has no particular beneficial effect on the mammalian liver that I know of, but it is a high-sugar plant, and it is also difficult to tell from some other yellow-rayed composites that are, besides being high-sugar, also toxic (i.e. Hairy and Smooth Cat's Ear). So again, you need to go to the Poison Plants book and learn how to tell Dandelion from its near look-alikes that are toxic.

I learned quite a bit by putting the Poison Plants book together, so I truly do appreciate how ignorant I was before I learned more about the subject. The PP book is there to save you the trouble of having to look it all up in the more than 70 reference works or Internet sites that I consulted in compiling it.

I also recommend Dr. Andrew Weil's monthly health newsletter to everyone (subscription information is at http://www.drandrewweil.com). He is not a greedy doctor, certainly much less than some others that have promoted themselves. He is highly qualified, having both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in comparative botany. He has a great interest in, and tells the truth about, herbal remedies, prescribing them when they are both effective and more economical or less toxic than conventional drugs. But he also will tell you to use the drug when that is the best option or the only option. Weil's most valuable books are the latest edition of "Self Healing" and "Healthy Aging". The latter in particular is, I think, a must-read -- it is a definite help in getting one's head set on straight.

As to your other question about probiotics, Bonnie, since you are in the U.S. you can call Equus Magazine at 301-977-3900 (hit "0" when the recording comes on, then tell the receptionist you want to speak to Chrystel about getting back issues). Just ask her for anything they've done on the use of probiotics as part of a general feeding regimen. You should also review Dr. Chris Pollitt's website at http://www.chrispollitt.com and download his papers on the cause-effect relationship of diet and laminitis, and then review his quite brilliant idea to use probiotics to short-circuit this disease process. -- Dr. Deb

Alex
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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2009 07:51 am
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Hi Deb,

I have just received an e mail from a friend showing an example of a report he had done by a graduate of an on line nutrition course from an equine nutritionist (VMD) from the US.

The graduate not only recommends feeding linseed in a ground form as "boiling would destroy the nutrients" but she also talks about feeding copper sulphate. I have always thought this to be a crazy idea as I have seen what it does in a test tube and thought that there was no way I would want to feed it to anybody! It seems to be however one of those things (like garlic) that people do.

The other use of copper sulphate that you see sometimes is its use on wounds. It is regularly recommended by old bushies in Australia to put on wounds, especially those with proud flesh. Again visions of what happened in the test tube back in science class keep me from this one as well.

Why are VMD nutritionists presumably recommending this as a way of supplementing copper? Once it is mixed into a feed does it end up being okay? I am told (by Katy Watts) that a lot of Australian soils are very, very low in copper. What is a good way of supplementation if you are in one of these areas?

All the best,

Alex

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2009 10:02 am
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Alex, obviously this nutritionist is thinking only about the nutritional properties of flax and not about its toxic properties. All the literature I have ever seen on raw flax indicates that it contains cyanogenic glycosides, i.e. molecules that metabolize to cyanide. The amount is small, so that you can use ground flax to sprinkle on your cereal or you can put a little flaxseed in bread. But the amount of cyanide ingested goes up proportionally with the size of the serving. How much is this nutritionist then recommending be fed to the horse? And is this to be fed continuously, so that we see long-term effects? Either way, I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. Especially in light of the fact that (a) there are safer ways to get Omega-3's into the horse, and (b) I would have to see evidence of Omega-3 deficiency in my horse before I would even worry about it.

This is what I was telling Tui: how you figure out what a horse needs is by looking at him, observing his physical condition, his spontaneous level of activity and energy, the gusto of his appetite, and his "behavior". An owner has to have a firm idea of what "normal" means. The good horse owner provides the best hay they can lay their hands on, that is of a type suitable for horses; provides clean water; provides a mineralized salt block; and then keeps an eye on the horse.

And this answers the other question: how you get copper into a horse is you either use a mineralized salt block that contains copper, or, if that does not provide enough, you talk to your vet about getting a safe and proven mineral supplement that contains copper. However, you are highly unlikely to need that, even on copper-deficient soils, because the total amount of copper that a horse requires is miniscule and should easily be provided in the salt block.

You're right about old chemistry class. Copper sulphate is mighty rough stuff. So is magnesium sulphate (epsom salts) -- feed that stuff and you will have instant diarrhea. If your horse needs magnesium, you should feed it in glutamate, aspartate, or citrate forms -- much better absorption, much easier on the system. I can't speak to copper with as much knowledge as I have of the magnesium, but I'll bet it's similar.

As to copper sulphate on wounds: yes, we have the same ideas up here. The suggestion to use it comes from the primitive notion that strong-colored and strong-smelling substances "must" have healing properties. This is the stock-in-trade of the snake oil salesman, and is antithetical to science.

People use copper sulphate especially on thrush and to try to cure "scratches" -- totally inappropriate in both cases. Scratches is a sequel of liver disease, or else of direct toxicity/internal chemistry, or (rarely) it is "idiopathic"; in any case, you can give first aid from the outside but you're never going to cure it by any topical application. If you want to use topicals on scratches, your first choice is zinc oxide and then you combine that with an antiseptic drying powder, antiseptic soaps, and/or antiseptic creams to promote local wound closure and to soothe chapped or raw skin.

Thrush is a fungal infection at least initially, for which the effective response is the use of a fungicide. Copper sulphate has almost zero efficacy against fungus; what you need instead is dilute bleach or else a commercially prepared fungicide. You can use the fungicide sold for use on roses (just be sure to get the sort that has no insecticide mixed in with it); this is safer than bleach to use above the feet, when there's a chance that it could splash into the horse's eye. Rose fungicide is quite effective against fungus or rainrot in the mane or on their back. Test on a small area of the shoulder or the side of the neck before giving a big bath with it, however; no matter what you put on your horse, you have to be sure he's not going to react negatively to it.

So I go back here to the exhortation to get good hay. Whenever we feed hay, to the extent that hay is what we feed, then our horse is not living in our pasture or upon our farm; he is living, for all intents and purposes, on the farm where the hay was grown. It is therefore always best if one can know or discover where the hay was actually grown. This is where having the neighbor who is a hay-man is the ideal thing.

It has always surprised me that more horsepeople do not see the advantages of community action in this area. Why do groups of horsemen not band together to contract with a farmer that he shall grow the type of hay that they desire, and they pay him down at the beginning of the season and the rest at harvest? In other words, a horsemens' hay cooperative -- good for the horsemen, good for the horses, and good for the farmer too I should think.

If horse clubs could get their mind off of just sponsoring shows, and realize they COULD have so many other useful functions, we might see more of this. -- Dr. Deb

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 Posted: Fri Mar 13th, 2009 01:16 pm
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Thank you so much for all this information! This is a really interesting thread and has now got me really thinking about what I give my horses. At the moment they are on exactly what you suggest – really good hay and water! And they have salt/mineral licks in their fields. My mare however, suffers from sweetitch really badly and has just started rubbing. The last anti-itch rug I used did a fabulous job on the itching but gave her a nasty rub so I’m not keen to use that again. I have been recommended a herbal mixture but having read this thread I don’t think I want to use it! Has anyone found anything that works or is it a case of just keeping her out of the flies as much as possible?

 

The herbs in the mix I’ve been recommended are as follows:

Berberis aristata The alkaloids in the bark and root are berberine, berbamine aromoline, karachine, palmatine, oxyacanthine and oxyberberine. Anti-inflammatory – studies in mice & humans only!

Curcuma longa, (Turmeric) a polyphenol and another anti-inflammatory

Cedrus deodara, (Himalayan Cedar) an anti-inflammatory but have read about high levels of zinc, copper and manganese although this is in the pollen due to pollution

Pinus griffithi, Blue Pine – couldn’t find any information on this one

Piper longum, (Indian Long Pepper) piperine & piplartine

Piper nigrum, (Black pepper) piperine, chavicine, piperidine, piperettine

Zingiber officinalis,(ginger) often used but suitable for horses??

 Psoralea corylifolia. Psoralene and isopsoralene – flavones

 
Any information gratefully received. Thank you again

tuis mum
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 Posted: Sat Mar 14th, 2009 01:24 am
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thanks for all your info my mare eats a half bale a day and is on long grass but am re-grassing this year as i have now become aware that it is the grass doing the damage and  the toxin binders have their work cut out for them living on the grass she has. It has only been five days and she looks so much better already which is hard to believe in such a short time but has a long way to go...thanks again for all your info and also the contacts for finding out about the use of probiotics and laminitis as one of my mares had an attack two years ago. she has never had another and has stayed sound but the threat is always there if not managed so any info in preventions is great. look forward to your clinic at papakura rsa.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Sun Mar 15th, 2009 06:42 am
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Hello Izzy - I sympathize with your quest to find a remedy for sweetitch, I also have one horse who is badly affected and would dearly love to find something that would relieve his obsessive need to scratch.

A number of queries raised in this thread have brought to mind the dangers of giving anything (orally or topically) to our horses without knowing exactly what it is and what it does or does not do.  As Dr Deb has already stated, 'natural' is not necessarily better and neither is 'natural' necessarily harmless.  All of the toxic plants listed in Dr Deb's excellent book are 'natural' but we wouldn't consider feeding them to a horse.  There is so much misinformation,  folklore and plain ignorance about the use of herbs and spices that it is almost impossible to get accurate information for human use, let alone for horses who are often more sensitive than we are in tolerance of toxic substances, and I'm saying this as someone who likes to use medicinal herbs whenever appropriate.

I cannot answer your specific questions but one of the items listed is Himalayan Cedar.  This rang a faint bell in my brain about the toxicity of white cedar so I wondered if all cedars could be poisonous.  A little delving quickly showed that white cedar (melia azedarach) is not a true cedar at all and is unrelated to Himalayan cedar (cedrus deodora).  I also found out that white cedar is commonly known as 'Thuja' and instantly remembered an equine herbalist some years ago trying to sell me an ointment for a skin condition that contained Thuja - thank goodness I did not buy it.  Even applied topically, a toxic substance will penetrate the skin and find it's way throughout the body - think of the popularity and effectiveness of nicotine and hormone dermal patches. 

For all I know, Himalayan cedar is probably perfectly safe, but I think this story serves to show that we have to be very careful about who we believe, we really have to be certain that what we are using is entirely safe.

Another good example is the copy of a report from someone selling nutritional advice that was forwarded to me a couple of days ago.   Amongst many dubious recommendations was the advice to use Lugol's Solution (strong iodine) as a source of oral iodine supplementation.  Iodine is a strong antiseptic used in hospital surgical procedures to kill all micro-organisms - taken internally it will also kill gut flora, good and bad, the last thing any horse needs when laminitis is so prevalent, every horse needs all the friendly bacteria it can get. I expect the author of the report meant well, but it just goes to show that partial understanding of any subject can be dangerous.

Dr Deb, if you see this - I haven't been able to get on to Chris Pollitt's website, not operating at the moment, to check out what he's been doing with probiotics but it would certainly make sense for an acute laminitis episode, I always keep a tub handy for just such an unexpected event.  However, about 4 years ago a small group of associates did try supplementing with probiotics for several months as a preventative measure for horses living on high-sugar pastures, with disappointing results - no-one could see any difference in horses who routinely became sorefooted with the seasonal onset of abundant grass.  This small experiment did not, of course, take into account any possible influence from mycotoxins etc.   A note on the side is that one person who fed a powdered probiotic in a mineral carrier at the high 'stress level' dose for an extended period, found that the extra minerals had likely upset the normal body mineral balance of his horse which showed as all-over skin lesions.

Izzy - if you can verify that your recipe is harmless, I'd be very interested to know the results.

Best wishes - Pauline

tuis mum
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 Posted: Sun Mar 15th, 2009 08:37 am
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the best i have come up with in dealing with herbs is to ask the vet if what has been recomended is myth or fact and the pros and cons of whatever it is you are using. I am aware of the dangers of herbs now with a little research but have also in certain cases had great success and cure and have been reinforced by my vet on a job well done so i think its a case of get to know your herbs if it is what you choose to treat with. 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Mar 15th, 2009 10:16 am
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Pauline, I'll have to confess to having muddled up what Dr. Pollitt is doing. It's not a probiotic he's feeding, it's an antibiotic which affects the balance of gut flora. What his product does is reduce the intra-coelomic population of the bacteria that specifically feed on the fructans -- these are the population that 'blooms' within the gut when the horse ingests a lot of high-fructan grasses. Nevertheless when you do get on to Pollitt's website you will find it useful -- he has many of his papers set up as free downloadable PDF's.

As to the cedar: your comments bring home to me that I must remember, when teaching, that most people are not used to thinking of, or referring to, plants by their scientific name. Because of course the scientific name is specific and unique; in other words, the term Cedrus deodorata refers to one, and only one, kind of plant; always the very same plant; and refers to that same plant, no matter who speaks or writes of it, whether they live in the USA, Great Britain, Australia, or China.

This, as I say, is not how most people think; instead, what people who go out to buy herbs ask for is 'Himalayan cedar' or 'white cedar' or 'incense cedar'. In other words, they use the common name. But to take but one example, the term 'white cedar' in North America means Thuja occidentalis (Northern -- or Eastern -- White Cedar); but the same tree is also called 'Arborvitae'. Whereas in Australia, the tree a person is liable to have in mind when she says 'white cedar' is Melia azedarach, a tree which is known here as 'Chinaberry' or else 'Texas Umbrella Tree', and which is most definitely on our toxic plants list.

The number of examples of this sort of thing that could be given is practically endless -- in other words, there is a high possibility of confusion when using common names for plants. All the plants our Poison Plants book are listed first by their scientific name, but also cross-indexed by every common name I could hear of, so that the person not familiar with scientific names could have the best chance of finding all the plants called 'white cedar' for example. So the PP book functions here to help people learn the scientific name. The bottom line is that the consumer must know the scientific name of the plant in question, or else the buyer and the seller may be working at cross-purposes. And it is advisable to obtain herbal preparations only from reputable companies. This is another reason I recommend Andrew Weil's publications; he tells you the safest places to get stuff.

As to the iodine: well, at some point one must hope that the horse owner's common sense would kick in. Not only will a strong iodine solution, when ingested, kill gut flora, it will also kill the cells OF the gut. Once again: strong-colored, strong-smelling stuff in the primitive mind "must" have medicinal properties.

A mind is primitive whenever it insists that it is self-sufficient; that it knows how the world works without any need to refer to information in books. Or, when it finally condescends to look in books, it is also the very mind that lacks the ability to discriminate between false and true information. The ancient Greek philosopher-mathematician Thales said: 'Education does not consist in conveying to youth a list of facts. True education consists in creating in each youth the ability to discriminate facts. Once that has been accomplished, the young man or woman will be safe anywhere.' -- Dr. Deb

Carol Layton
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 Posted: Sun Mar 15th, 2009 11:59 pm
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Hi all
My name is Carol Layton and I am the one who produced the feeding plan recommendations that Alex and Pauline have commented on and asked questions about.
 
I hope it is okay to add to this discussion on nutrition and substances that are safe and unsafe for horses.  Apologies for the length but I have a lot to address.
 
First of all, I’m a committed horse owner, keen on the sport of endurance and had for a long time been frustrated about what to feed horses and in what quantities.  Speaking to feed companies never helped as it depended on which company I spoke to and a lot of what they said conflicted at the most basic levels.  Obviously they are just pushing their product lines.  After a long search for an in depth equine nutrition course it was clear than none were available in Australia.
 
Thankfully I found Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD, http://drkellon.com/ an equine nutrition specialist who has a number of books published including last year’s ‘Horse Journal Guide to Equine Supplements and Nutraceuticals’.  Dr Kellon offers online equine nutrition courses; NRCPlus is one that every horse owner should do.  Students learn how to use the American National Research Council (NRC), 2007 guidelines for feeding horses and Dr Kellon builds on these guidelines to cover why individual nutrients are needed and in what amounts and most important the proportions of these nutrients to each other to prevent adverse interactions.  This includes how to use pasture/hay tests plus nutritional profiles on feed bags and supplements to determine a balanced diet for their horses.
 
A good understanding of this material enables the student to be able to evaluate feeds and supplements, in short, the course is empowering and for me, joyful.  Dr Kellon bases her recommendations on science when it is available by providing abstracts and links to papers and when the science is not available specifically to horses then relevant papers based on other animals.  Of course the preference is for studies on horses but as we all know, there are vast gaps in our knowledge that hopefully in time when funds are available, a lot of these questions can be answered.  Dr Kellon’s credibility has always been strengthened in my mind by her extensive experience as a nutritionist, the time she has spent helping horse owners with problems that have a nutritional element and her own breeding and training of Standardbreds.
 
The substances that have been questioned are all recommended by Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD.
 
Linseeds (flaxseeds) and linseed oil (flax oil) is recommended as the omega-3 (anti inflammatory) to omega-6 (pro inflammatory) ratio is similar to what is found in grass which is roughly 4:1.  If a horse is predominantly on hay rather than pasture then to replace the fatty acids lost when the grass is turned into hay, either the oil or the seeds (ground) can be added to the feed.  All the other oils, including oily feeds such as black sunflower seeds have the ratio higher in the pro inflammatory omega-6.  Horses do not manufacture omega-3 or omega-6; they have to come from the diet.  It takes about 56 g (2 oz) of linseed per 4.5 kg (10 lb) of hay to replace the essential fatty acids.
 
In the case of the diet that I balanced, the amount of linseeds was 60 g which is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of oil.  The owner of these horses was feeding more than this and I recommended that he decrease the amount.  Since the horses are on pasture the hay situation doesn’t apply but the 15 ml of oil puts a lovely shine on a horse’s coat and the owner wanted to have some linseed in his horses’ diets.  One of my own horses had a very dry coat; a small amount of linseeds changed that to a smooth silky coat.  This could be achieved with any oil but if the preference is for an oil higher in omega-3 than omega-6, then linseed is it.
 
Fortunately for people in America and elsewhere they have access to ground and stabilised linseed or flax as boiling will destroy the fragile fatty acids.  One supplier is Horsetech.  Here in Australia we don’t have that option so instead we add freshly ground linseeds to a horse’s feed.
 
I had concerns with the issue of hydrogen cyanide but Dr Kellon explained that the seeds contain little, to no, preformed hydrogen cyanide.  It is produced when the cyanogenic glycosides come into contact with enzymes that are normally packed in vesicles but get released with grinding.
 
“To put the risk in perspective, pigs are fed diets containing as much as 15% linseed by weight with no toxicity.  In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a report of cyanide poisoning from flax in a horse.”  A lot of people have been feeding freshly ground linseed for years.  I know of people who grind enough linseed to do a number of horses for a week and store it in the freezer.  My preference is to grind it just before feeding so in essence, there is a way to feed ground linseed with all the benefits of the nutrients in the seeds.
 
Copper sulphate – is a source of copper but not a very good one as it is not as soluble in alkaline pH and there is the potential for more interference with copper absorption (e.g. sulphates in water).  Copper sulphate is a chemical compound that in the context of feeding can supply copper, it is used by many feed and supplement manufacturers as an ingredient for copper.  Here is one Australian example – Coprice M http://www.coprice.com.au/speciality/horse/m.asp.  However, the better copper source is polysaccharide copper, known as poly copper, again readily available in America but impossible in Australia.  I managed to track down an importer of minerals who could sell me some but I had to buy 25 kg of the stuff!  I try to steer people away from copper sulphate to poly copper as it is more bioavailable.
 
Context or where a substance is used is highly relevant, just because copper sulphate can work powerfully in the elimination of seedy toe and thrush doesn’t mean that it will work like this in the digestive tract, mixed in the intestinal fluids.
 
Since copper is a trace mineral requirement in horses it is only needed in very small amounts but should not be ignored as it is involved in so many cellular processes, the most obvious being in the coat, skin and hooves.  A valid concern is feeding too much of it.  But there is a way to ensure this doesn’t happen, once you know exactly how much to supplement you can then make up a bulk amount say for 40 days, mixed with salt as the base and you can tell if it is evenly mixed by the blue colour of poly copper/copper sulphate.
 
Mineral blocks don’t work.  I think it is agreed that the self medicating theory for horses is a doomed one; otherwise they wouldn’t eat tasty poisonous plants and never have dietary laminitis.  Hence, some horses never touch mineral blocks or overdo it due to the molasses or similar to make it palatable.
 
Once you know how much of each mineral is in the whole diet then a custom mineral mix can be made to supplement the ones that are deficient and correct the ratios to prevent adverse mineral interactions.  One example is excessive zinc, it was found to interfere with copper causing copper deficiency symptoms in foals.  There is debate over whether the high zinc prevented the copper from being absorbed or to effects within the body but the bottom line is that trace minerals must be kept in balance.  The 2007 NRC recommends ratios of copper:zinc:manganese of 1:4:4.  Because sulphur in drinking water and other sources can interfere with copper, Dr Kellon recommends a safer margin with 1:3:3.
 
Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones.  High and low intakes are known to cause goitre and hypothyroidism and it is associated with ‘dysmaturity syndrome’ in foals.  One of the sources of iodine that Dr Kellon recommends is Lugol’s Iodine.  The 2007 NRC guidelines recommend 3.5 mg/day for a 450 kg horse.  You can calculate how much iodine is needed to be supplemented if there is a deficiency in the whole diet.  Dr Kellon also recommends kelp but only if the nutritional profile is known.  Kelp can vary widely with iodine content and I would never recommend kelp if the source is not reliable.  Iodised salt is another source but unlikely to be sufficient to make up the amount needed.
 
It became clear to me that the leading experts in equine nutrition do not all agree on all things, not that I would expect the leaders in any field would agree with each other.  Debate is an essential part of it.  In the end we have to look at the evidence and be guided by the experts and decide for ourselves plus a bit of commonsense.  I am working on expanding the breadth of my knowledge so that it isn’t just Dr Kellon’s take on feeding that I listen to so I appreciate this discussion and have found it very interesting.

* * * * * * * *
 
Caroline: it is not permitted here to mention any business service, or anything that is for sale, or anything from which you might derive a profit; nor is it kosher to post a business card or link. This Forum is for discussion only. This is just to get you up on our rules and standards. We appreciate your reply and will be responding to it shortly. -- Dr. Deb 

 

Last edited on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 04:31 am by DrDeb

leca
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 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 12:44 am
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The problem with NRC recommendations is that it is based on American soil profiles which are very different to Australian soil profiles.  The mineral supplements recommended for American conditions just dont fit Australian ones and can lead to big problems. 

Carol Layton
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 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 01:11 am
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Hi all
Soil is soil. American and Australian soils are not different in regards to what horses get in nutrients, there is variation across both countries.  Some soils are saline, some are selenium rich, many are copper, zinc and selenium deficient both in America and Australia and elsewhere.  If you want to compare soils then look at the top few cm's that plants derive their nutrients from ,that is, how far down the roots can grow.  More importantly it is the pasture/hay that counts as horses eat pasture or the hay that pasture produces.  There is a lot of pasture/hay test discussions in Dr Eleanor Kellon's Yahoo groups and the problems they face in America with mineral deficiencies and inbalances are the same in Australia and elsewhere.  Horses are horses whether they be in America or Australia.  If your horse's diet is deficient for any nutrients then it is doesn't make any difference whether the horse is in America or Australia, same principles apply.

International students who have take Dr Kellon's courses are in Canada, South America, Egypt, UK, Australia and other places I can't think of for the moment.  They do not think the NRC guidelines are unique to American horses.

Regards
Carol Layton

Last edited on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 04:32 am by DrDeb

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 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 05:08 am
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Hi Dr Deb,

I have a 13yo Standardbred Gelding who is on agistment & the paddocks now have virtually no pasture left, just dirt & weeds, so he relies on hand feeding.  Up until now I've been feeding lucerne chaff, oaten chaff (dampened down with water just before feeding), economix & recently added in Kohnke's Own Cell-Provide (I was advised he would need extra vitamins & minerals).

Two weeks ago he had a choking incident (oesophageal obstruction) in the afternoon that ended up with him being hospitalised as  I thought he'd resolved it himself by the evening, but by the next morning he still wasn't right.  The vet came out & was unable to clear it with him being sedated & using a nasal tube connected to a garden hose.  He also had aspiration pneumonia which he was given anti-biotics for. In hospital the following day he was sedated & tubed again then an endoscopy showed it was clear & he also had no strictures or growths in his oesophagus for the food to catch on.  The vet also checked his teeth & determined they were well maintained (I get them done yearly by a master equine dentist) & not the cause of the problem.

The vet advised to prevent future occurences I put bricks or large rocks in his feed tub, however even with bricks in he had another obstruction, but he fortunately cleared it himself.  I became scared about feeding hay or chaff & went looking for advice.  A lady told me either adding some oil (energy gold if I could afford it, otherwise canola) when I dampen it down would help lubricate it, or some apple cider vinegar would help him salivate more.  I wondered if olive oil would be good, but haven't used it yet because I wasn't sure.  I've been using 1/4 - 1/3 cup canola oil for now & it seems to be working well & stopping the chaff from clumping in his throat but was unsure about long term use of it.  Do you have any suggestions or re-inforcing comments?

Thankyou,

Emma

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2009 09:08 am
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Emma, the first step on this will be for you to use the search function above and keyword "choke" and read the very explicit description of this problem which I posted to this forum some time ago. I want you to be clear on what choke is and how the peculiar anatomy of the horse makes it different from "choking" in people.

The reason the horse had aspiration pneumonia is from the attempts made by the vet to intubate him. I am not saying the vet did wrong; I am sure he did what he thought was necessary. Nevertheless, once you have read the detailed post on choke, you will understand that if there is something stuck in a horse's esophagus, then if you try to tube him with either water or mineral oil or canola oil or anything else, the fluid goes in, meets the obstruction, then comes right back up into the pharynx, from which it has noplace to go but down the larynx and into the lung. If you put very much fluid into a horse that's got choke, you will kill him by filling his lungs with fluid (you will drown him).

The reason the horse has repeated bouts of choke is that the intubation procedures, as well as the material that got stuck in there itself, has scraped some of the mucus membrane off of the internal surface of the esophagus. This type of tissue does not repair itself very fast or very well; hence the vet's concerns with strictures and/or polyp-like growths. Yet the best thing in the world for it would have been to just leave it alone. Most chokes clear of themselves within a day or so.

For Emma, the time comes for every horse. They all have their Achilles Heel, their weak spot, someplace. You did no wrong by bringing the animal to the vet clinic, but what should probably have been done once he arrived there would have been simply to observe him. He would not have died if he did not drink water for a couple of days, and he would not have died even after that if he was in the clinic, because they could have hydrated him intravenously almost for any length of time. Attempts to flush down a choke or mechanically poke it down often scrape the inner lining of the esophagus and thus may do more harm than good.

At this point, you have a horse that is prone to choke. The friend who told you to slather the food with oil means well....but it will be hard to put enough oil on there to really help him not choke without also making him fat. You'll probably do just as well by soaking the feed in water. You are about to become an expert in preparing "chaff mashes".

Bran mashes aren't a bad idea for this, either; in other words, any food that is soft and fine-grained will help him. If he could be on a diet like this for several months, you might even cure him. I would like to suggest that you contact one of our longtime members and have a talk with him by telephone about mashes -- this is an Australian horseman, longtime breeder of Arabians, who has always fed his horses in the old-fashioned British way, with cooked mashes. If you would like to talk to this fellow, you may EMail me privately and I will give you his EMail to get you started. -- Dr. Deb

 


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