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Winter laminitis
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Carol-anne
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 Posted: Fri Jan 17th, 2014 11:17 pm
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I have been researching several sites, made serveral phone calls in canada and usa.... no fda approved magnesium flakes... I did find a site with magnesium chloride hexhydrate.... in a bath salt flakes... however they did state it is NOT for internal consumption.... Please advise on where this can be purchased either in Canada or USA? thank you kindly.

SueMcK
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 Posted: Sat Jan 18th, 2014 07:46 am
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I am using the Ancient Minerals bath salts for the pony, available on Amazon, and she appears to be tolerating the initial dosage just fine. I'm on day 3, so it is early yet, but I am very encouraged. I have mixed the ratios according to Pauline's recommendation on her website.

And yes, while it is not labeled for human internal consumption, it is human grade, and appears to be quite pure.

Hope that info helps in your search.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Sat Jan 18th, 2014 10:42 am
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Carol-Anne
Labelling regulations in many countries prohibit anything being advertised for human consumption unless it has been specifically tested, usually a long and very expensive procedure. For this reason many suppliers of magnesium chloride hexahydrate sell their products for external use only. Transdermal application is much more efficient anyway, although any toxins in the product will also be absorbed through the skin - a fact which seems to have escaped the notice of legislators.

Using magnesium in this way is still highly experimental and as some horses appear to need large amounts of magnesium, I do believe it is vital to feed a product that is Certified Food Grade or mined from pristine sources such as the underground Zechstein Sea (Ancient Minerals brand which I would not hesitate to consume myself). We just do not know enough about the longterm effects on horses of any toxic substances that may be present in other forms of MgCl.

MgCl can be obtained in numerous grades, ranging from cheap industrial to expensive pharmaceutical. The brand I use is Certified Food Grade and has been tested in an Australian laboratory as free from the heavy metals mercury, lead and cadmium. Any reputable supplier/manufacturer will be happy to provide a Certificate of Analysis stating the overall mineral profile and magnesium content.

Beware of material that is classified as 'suitable for livestock' as the heavy metals content may be considerably higher than that allowed for human consumption. Also check the bromide content as some salts and MgCl from areas such as the Dead Sea have an extremely high bromide content which will suppress thyroid function - a disaster for any horse with metabolic issues.

Mercury is of particular concern. Some products may have a declared mercury content of <1ppm (0.0001%) which superficially sounds low until compared with the 0.002ppm (0.0000022%) of some low-mercury fish like fresh salmon. Even at this low level, recommendations are for no more than 2 serves of salmon per week for children and pregnant women (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_in_fish).

Pauline

SueMcK
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 Posted: Wed Jan 22nd, 2014 06:56 am
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I am approaching day 7 and we are once again in well-below zero-temps in MN. While she's still stepping cautiously, pony is moving much better and is back to her bright-eyed and talkative attitude, even in this extreme cold.

I can't thank you enough. Farrier work has begun and I'm hopeful for a good recovery.

SueMcK
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 Posted: Thu Nov 27th, 2014 07:46 am
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As winter begins again, I thought I'd post a follow-up on my pony and share information. Pauline's insight into "not entirely healthy" was dead on.

Pony has Cushings...it apparently wasn't advanced enough last winter that the hair coat symptom had started, although the sensitivity to temperature had.

Though I had veterinary involvement from the get-go, how I stumbled on it was by odor. During our first warm day last June, I noticed a sour smell to her coat. Then it dawned on me she wasn't shedding as my others were doing. I called my vet and described what I was seeing. He stated her on thyroxine. We've adjusted the dose a few times over the summer and fall, based on how her coat is doing and other Cushing's markers like muscle tone and bulges around the eye.

On his first visit after the attack, my farrier was pessimistic we could bring her fully back, it was that severe; after medication, the improvement in her feet has been quite dramatic. It's as if she's finally able to grow a connected hoof again. Farrier's comment was "this might be one that recovers."

Sugars are a concern, and she remains on grass hay diet, along with the magnesium. I am concerned over the Cushing's "hay belly" that doesn't seem to go away, but for now she seems happy and moving freely. So there is some hope for awhile. I understand the drugs only slow the disease, not cure it.

One last note: While hunting around for information, I read something that I can't confirm but wonder about. Maybe someone can speak to this. Apparently in England, custom is to blood test for Cushings as we do Coggins in the States. What one anecdote said was that roughly 60% of horses that have a laminitic attack out of the blue were later found to be suffering from undiagnosed Cushings. I have no idea if this is true. I understand sugar overload is the most common cause of laminitus, but for those of us who "get religion" on the diet and still have problems, continued searching can sometimes find the answer.

Again, thank you Dr. Deb for the opportunity to learn and share. I hope others can go to school on my experience.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Wed Dec 3rd, 2014 08:14 am
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Hi Sue
Thank you for the update; very interesting about the sour odour you noticed - will add that to my list of subtle changes we can all look out for in these horses. Another report, from someone in Australia, is that her miniature horse starts to breathe more loudly when she is not coping with the limited amount of grazing being allowed; it's an early signal to take her off grass for a while.

Are you giving her chromium? It's an important tool in helping to metabolise sugars. Chromium supplements for people are often labelled as being useful for stress as stress can result in the release of glucose from the liver - it's just another source of sugar. This could be relevant to our horses also as stress/anxiety of any kind may increase the overall sugar burden, perhaps even the ongoing stress of chronically sore feet.

One of my own horses has had Cushings for the past 7 years, and I don't doubt that his many years of footsoreness prior to discovering magnesium played its part. His Cushings is controlled (but not eliminated) with the spice Chastetree berry (vitex agnus castus) so I have not yet had to resort to drugs, and at the age of 24 his feet are still strong.

LittleBlackMule
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 Posted: Wed Dec 3rd, 2014 06:37 pm
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SueMcK wrote:

One last note: While hunting around for information, I read something that I can't confirm but wonder about. Maybe someone can speak to this. Apparently in England, custom is to blood test for Cushings as we do Coggins in the States. What one anecdote said was that roughly 60% of horses that have a laminitic attack out of the blue were later found to be suffering from undiagnosed Cushings. I have no idea if this is true. I understand sugar overload is the most common cause of laminitus, but for those of us who "get religion" on the diet and still have problems, continued searching can sometimes find the answer.


Hi there. I'm a long time lurker on here who hasn't felt qualified to post until now; as a UK member I can confirm that blood testing for Cushings is very common here, with a high rate of positive results.
The cynic in me questions whether this is in any way related to the high consumption of Prascend (Pergolide) at vast expense that follows these diagnoses.. Or if we genuinely have a huge amount of hormonally challenged horses in this country. I don't know..

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Dec 4th, 2014 12:24 am
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Dear LBM: The vets are not diagnosing Cushings in order to sell people Pergolide, that is 100% certain. The reason is that for a long time, Pergolide was only sporadically available; and even then, not always of sufficient quality. You can safely save your suspicions about veterinarians getting commissions "under the table" or kickbacks to the area of feed and supplements, in other words, this occurs primarily where the item suggested or prescribed is "optional".

Though it may seem astonishing that 60%, i.e. a majority, of older horses in the U.K. are showing symptoms of Cushings, that should not be a surprise either. This is for two reasons:

(1) What is now called "Cushing's syndrome" used to just be called "old age". The slow-shedding coat or the spring coat that comes in very late; the changes in the texture of the hair; the weeping eyes; the flaccid belly (indicating increased amount of intra-abdominal fat) combined with loss of muscle mass and tone elsewhere; and the susceptibility to repeated (even daily) mild to moderate laminitis, resulting in loss of the normal shape and structure of the feet -- are all "symptoms" of old age. They are the same symptoms seen in people. We are all marching down the path of time at the same rate, and a point comes, depending upon the individual gene complement (family and individual susceptibility) where it begins to show. If quality Pergolide (or as Pauline Moore suggests, chasteberry supplements) can slow this absolutely inevitable slide....would you not be dosing yourself as well as your horse?

(2) Throughout the British Commonwealth countries, it is like pulling teeth to get people to build dry-lots (diet pens, starvation pens). It is simply not traditional. In New Zealand, my students who are wives of dairy farmers get extreme resistance from their husbands when they go home from our clinic and say to them, "honey, we need to build a starvation pen and feed our horses hay." And the husband says: "WHAT! You want me to not only spend money to build a length of new fencing, but here we are sitting in 500 acres of lush green rye-clover forage (that makes our cows fat) and you want me to BUY HAY???? YOU'RE NUTS!!!!"

Nonetheless, the advice we're giving to our students is the correct advice. You cannot put horses and cattle on the same grass (the issue of whether rye-clover is good even for cows apart; it is horrible for horses). Some horses, those which have moved far enough down the physiological road to insulin resistance/"equine diabetes", you cannot put on grass at all -- or at least not until you've got their diet corrected as per Pauline's advice. In short, EVERY farm that has horses MUST have a starvation pen, or at least stalls; they are as necessary to managing your horse's health as correct feeding, exercise, regular farriery and worming, and everything else that we know we must do. -- Dr. Deb

Kelley MN
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 Posted: Mon Dec 15th, 2014 08:34 pm
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Reading this thread with interest since my daughter's pony foundered this August and has experienced a lengthy, prolonged recovery period, much longer than any of her previous episodes (we board, and each time, without fail, when we move to a new facility mistakes in her tightly controlled diet and environment get made, typically resulting in short periods of discomfort, followed by a quick recovery with bute for about 3 days following the episode). In Sept. the vet put her on Thyroxine when her insulin levels were 600+ (not a typo!) and low thyroid levels. Five weeks later her thyroid levels were still low so he doubled it. As of now she still lays down for parts of the day, is out 24/7 when the weather is reasonable, her feet are looking better and no longer hot with a digital pulse, still walks on her heels, has trouble making tight turns, rests a front foot intermittently but has stopped the shifting on all four. She eats nothing but unlimited grass hay (slow feeder style) and has her twice a day bute and thyroid meds mixed with water and syringed orally.

I am wondering what to do next; right before her August episode she refused to eat her Quiessence and diet balancer, and then I have kept her off of it as she recovers. I think she is stabilized enough to go back on it--but after reading this thread I am wondering about trying the Magnesium flakes and Chromium supplement. The method of getting it into her is a problem since she gets nothing but hay and potentially the diet balancer, (and since she is a 38" Shetland pony it is not much for mixing!), and is in a boarding situation. Right now she gets the thyroid and bute syringed into her 2x day, so I could add in the Magnesium, except it sounds like there is a high volume of the mixture. Also, I see the Chromium supplement recommends it is fed diluted, but no ratio given, and would I cut the amount according to her 250/300 lb weight?

Another route suggested toward real recovery for her is to go through a complete re-population of her gut bacteria, under the guidance of my trimmer who is also an osteopath.

My vet feels getting the thyroid correctly regulated is the key to get her system balanced.

Any clarity on how to structure supplementing this very small pony would be much appreciated, as well as any insights on where to go next. She is a wonderful pony who has done an excellent job teaching my daughter for the past three years, and I would like to get her healthy enough that she can be passed on to educate the next small child by spring.

Thanks,
Kelley

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Mon Jan 12th, 2015 05:09 am
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Hi Kelley
I’ve been intending to reply to your post for several weeks but the festive season hijacked my time. How is your pony now?

If thyroid function is an issue, have you and/or your vet looked at iodine supplementation? Dr David Brownstein’s small book ‘Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It’ is an excellent reference for information on the connection between adequate dietary iodine and optimal thyroid function.

Kelp can be a good source of trace minerals and iodine but the iodine content may be quite variable. Here in Australia a cold-fermented liquid kelp is available with a declared iodine content; it is made from wild kelp growing in clean waters off the Tasmanian coast. Perhaps there would be something similar in your country?

If you would like to try magnesium and chromium, I would suggest mixing with a handful of copra coconut meal, or you could even buy some packs of dessicated coconut from a supermarket. Most horses get to love the taste of coconut so it is an easy way to mask the bitter flavor of magnesium chloride. Contrary to popular belief, coconut oil is not fattening, in fact it is beneficial for weight loss so may help your pony. Failing that, perhaps you could get some small hay cubes or pellets and soak them in the mag chloride solution.

For such a small pony it is important to reduce the amount of chromium proportionately as, unlike magnesium, chromium could be toxic in excess. Need for magnesium does not appear to depend on bodyweight, numerous miniatures or ponies of similar size have benefited from larger amounts of magnesium than their full-sized companions. Guidlelines for feeding magnesium can be found in the updated magnesium article on my website (since changing the format, magnesium now has it’s own page in the vertical menu bar).

The Suppliers page of my website (http://www.gravelproofhoof.org) has contact details for retailers of most of the items I recommend, including magnesium, chromium and unrefined sea salt. I’m assuming you are in the US, so just scroll down to the listings for the US.

You mentioned feeding a ‘diet balancer’. Most balancers that I’ve seen include calcium and/or potassium as an ingredient. My experience has been that any supplemental calcium or potassium will drastically reduce, if not totally negate, the effectiveness of any magnesium that is given.

Despite continuing formal recommendations that calcium:magnesium should be consumed in a 2:1 ratio (for horses and humans), research and clinical observations by cardiologist Dr Tom Levy has found that any dietary calcium excess, from food or supplements, is toxic and implicated in a wide range of degenerative diseases. Excess is defined as anything more than the tiny 300 milligrams needed daily by an adult person. Dr Levy’s book ‘Death by Calcium’ is fascinating reading with over 50 pages of citations.

Similar research specific to horses has not been done, but my observations over several years with thousands of horses around the world exactly mirrors Dr Levy’s findings, hence my continuing emphasis on the need to eliminate all supplemental calcium and to minimize high-calcium feeds.

Best wishes
Pauline

sumosha
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 Posted: Mon Jan 12th, 2015 08:08 pm
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Hi Pauline,
Quick question on your coconut suggestion. I've been giving my mare magnesium for the past several months. I have followed your suggestion to dilute the MgCl in water. Since it's a liquid, it tends to be more difficult for my boarding barn to serve than a powder would be, so I was toying with some ideas to serve dry. When you mention serving with copra or dessicated coconut, do you mean to serve it dry? Would unsweetened shredded coconut be sufficient, or is there something special about dessicated or copra? Copra seems difficult to source around here (barring CoolStance, which is expensive to ship to where I am), so something found in the grocery store would be ideal.

Thanks!
Sumona

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 12:25 am
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Sumona, just as a quick introjection here: I feed the MgCl dissolved in water AND make it easy for the barn staff. Here's how:

1. From "Fisher Scientific Supply" or else your local hobby and craft store, obtain about 120 small plastic vials with snap-on caps. The caps fit tight enough that unless someone actually went after shaking the vials, they won't leak. Each vial is about 1- 1.5 inches tall, and holds about 2-3 tsp. of liquid.

2. At home or wherever you're going to mix the MgCl, boil 4 cups of water.

3. Measure out 20 slightly heaping tbsp. of MgCl flakes, putting them into a 2-qt. pitcher.

4. Pour the 4 cups of boiling water over the MgCl in the pitcher (actually measure to make sure you have no more than 4 cups of water). Stir vigorously; this is the most MgCl I can get to dissolve in boiling water.

5. Allow the mixture to cool. Meanwhile, take the caps off all the vials and set the vials out on the countertop.

6. Fill each vial from the pitcher, then snap the cap on.

7. Obtain a flat-topped plastic storage container. Mine is about 15 inches long by 10 inches wide by 3 inches high -- it will have a snap-on lid, the sort of thing you might use to store sewing supplies. Put each vial upright into the container, then take the whole kit & Kaboodle to the barn. Write your name on the outer container in black marker so they know whose supplement it is.

8. You will also need a small plastic bucket as an "empties container" for barn staff to use.

By this method, you create a "standard amount" of MgCl in each vial. I don't know how much that is, but it does not matter, because this amount becomes your "unit amount".

So what you then do is instruct barn staff to start with 1 vial per feeding per day -- pour it over whatever pelleted stuff you're giving the horse otherwise. Then gradually increase per whatever schedule seems to be beneficial and that the horse will tolerate.

My horse does not require huge amounts of MgCl; however, if yours does, then simply get larger vials and/or more of them. I mix a new batch about once a month. Barn staff puts empty vials in the small bucket as they use them, and I go pick that up, then rinse the vials out before reloading them again. The beauty of this system is not only that it's no more trouble for barn staff to feed than any other supplement, but it puts quality control and dosage entirely under my control. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

 

 

geedubya
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 Posted: Tue Jan 13th, 2015 02:26 am
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We feed MaCl, and mix it much the same way Dr. Deb mentions. My wife found a set of 20 small rectangular plastic containers with lids at the dollar store, and used them for ease of adding to feed when we sent the horse to a trainer for a month. Worked well, and trainer had no problem adding to feed. We also add a drop of peppermint extract to each 1500 ml batch of MaCl. Horses seem to like it.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Wed Jan 14th, 2015 09:16 am
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Hi Sumona
There is no problem with mixing the dry MgCl flakes into something providing your horse does not sift out the the flakes, as many horses are so clever at doing; I do know of several horses who will happily eat the dry flakes in their feed.
There is nothing special about copra or desiccated coconut, any readily available coconut product would do the job if it persuades your horse to consume the supplements.

sumosha
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 Posted: Thu Jan 15th, 2015 11:06 pm
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Thanks Dr. Deb, Pauline, and geedubya. Great ideas--I will look for some vials I can fill up, that will make it much easier. I also appreciate the clarification on the shredded coconut vs. copra vs. dessicated. I actually have a bunch of unsweetened finely shredded coconut around, and I was contemplating supplementing my mare with coconut for additional fat this winter, so I'll play around and see if she'll eat it with the MgCl. Thanks again!


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