Friday, December 03, 2010

trim notes december 2010

Cody apparently had a small abscess blow recently in his right front!  We never saw any soreness, lameness, or even slight offness. Trimmer says no treatment is needed - it is clear and healing already. My question is whether this might have been simmering in a low grade way and our turn-out routine brought it to a head, which imo would be a good thing. There's no way to know, but we'll keep watching and see how things go. Otherwise, his feet are fine.

Redford and Rafer Johnson have some thrush - we are probably going to treat them with CleanTrax to knock it out completely.

Salina has the most dramatic change this trim. Her concavity has gone from okay to great and all her frogs are particularly healthy. I definitely attribute this change to her increased movement in the turn-out routine, and to the diet change I made (from a senior mix 4x/day to an IR friendly mix 3x/day) - for the first time this fall I wondered if she might be getting slightly IR as she ages.  I gave her a course of chaste-tree berry as we transitioned into fall, changed her diet, and increased the amount of turn-out. She is moving well and hooves are looking better than ever. Best news is that she is now able again to bend her knees for front hoof trims. I usually give her Bute the day before the trim only but have started a new course of treatment where I give her Bute am/pm Wed/Th/Fri then taper off with am/pm doses again on Sunday and Wed. I muddied the waters a bit by starting this at the same time I changed her diet and turn-out, so am not sure how necessary it is - but will tweak as needed and d/c the Bute if it turns out she doesn't need it for comfort during the trims. An additional note is that she used to do a minor amount of quidding with her hay, but I've noticed that has stopped - so between the fairly large amount of hay she's now eating (and chewing well) and the complete senior diet she was on, I suspect her trace mineral ratio was off - now I'm counting and balancing the hay for her, and this is likely making a difference too. A good example of how we must constantly monitor and be willing to tweak things with care and management.

Keil Bay's thrush is 95% better after his CleanTrax treatment. I may do one more treatment for him - would really like to see his frogs up front get to 100% - but he is moving well and not at all sore, so... will evaluate over the next couple of weeks and decide what to do. He also blew a section of hoof wall on his right rear - not sure if this is associated with his increased hoof wall growth this spring/summer/fall but my guess is again that the increased turn-out (which I should clarify - they now get access to the entire field about 20 hours/day, and their hay is spread all over the field so that they are in near constant movement as they forage and graze) has progressed the hoof wall "trimming" itself - our trimmer cleaned it up and his sole has created a thickened area to compensate. This should work itself out this next 6 weeks as his wall regrows.

Apache Moon has "great feet" as usual. You just can't improve much on pony hooves!

Very interesting hoof notes this time - I love seeing what happens when I make a big change in the care routine.

Some additional diet/nutrition notes I want to document for my own self here:

1. I added 10g lysine to both Keil Bay's diet and Salina's - several months ago - with excellent results. Then I switched the source of lysine and the results seemed to fade. Back to my original lysine source last week and I have seen another huge improvement in Salina's top line and overall condition. Her muscling looks fantastic right now - she easily looks 10-12 years younger.

2. I increased the copper and zinc levels I supplement to account for the new hay and for the pasture (heretofore not tested since we generally feed hay year-round) - this year we had a richer/longer season of grass and I am sure that threw my ratios off. I had noticed some bleaching of color in coats, which corrected itself incredibly quickly once I upped the copper and zinc.

3. Getting ready to put Salina on her winter course of Phyto-Quench, which eases her through the winter months.

4. Getting ready to add glutamine supplement for Cody after work only to help with his PSSM/muscling issues.

**I highly recommend Eleanor Kellon's online nutrition courses if you are interested in learning more about equine nutrition, supplementation, and treating various equine conditions with a good understanding of the whys and hows.

6 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like everything is under control at November Hill. I know J. likes the Kellon site and has done some things there.

Kate said...

Very interesting stuff. We've had IR horses and have had good luck with a magnesium/chromium/selenium/vitamin E supplement - the chromium appears to make the difference. We've also used chaste tree berry with good results.

billie said...

Arlene, as much as they can be. :)

billie said...

Kate, I used a commercial supplement that had chromium before I learned how to balance the diets - it seemed to help the pony a little but then I read more about chromium and horses and decided I needed to start from the bottom up with diets and go from there.

I supplement vit. E for the entire herd using human gel caps so the vit. E goes in with oil. I also supplement magnesium separately and specifically to each horse based on the hay and feed numbers as well as the horse's activity level, work load, and weight. Same with selenium. Since I started doing this very customized diet balancing everyone is getting what they need and I can tweak individual minerals on a daily basis if necessary.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Billie-

Sounds like all is well in the equine foot department :)

How do you figure out much vitamin E to give?

I have been thinking of supplementing E after reading that horses without access to grazing often don't get enough. I looked into bulk E oil but couldn't find any. There were dry crumbles but I think they had extra ingredients. I wondered about using human gel caps.

Thanks in advance :)

billie said...

I do cut back on vit. E supplementation when we have green pasture, but I give some amount all year round. Horses on dry forage only definitely need vit. E added in.

The NRC recommendation is 1 IU per kg BW. Dr. Kellon recommends 2 IU/kg BW for maintenance. (i.e. not in work or with ongoing issues)

A few further notes:

1 IU is the biological equivalent of 2/3 mg (0.667 mg) water soluble natural d-alpha-tocopherol/RRR-a-tocopherol, or of 1 mg of dl-synthetic alpha-tocopherol acetate/all-rac-a-tocopherol. Most supplements use the synthetic dl-alpha-tocopherol.

Vitamin E can react with inorganic minerals, especially iron. If there is any organic carrier in the mix, it will also act as a natural antioxidant as fats oxidize and/or bacterial or fungal growth occurs. Vitamin E should always be stored and added separately.

For horses in work, horses with IR, muscle issues such as PSSM/EPSM, compromised immune systems, etc., often more vit. E is needed.'

I order human gel caps that have vit. E in oil. I get the 400 iu size b/c they are small and I can toss them into the feed tubs each morning - we feed wet so the gel caps get very soft and the horses eat them up with no problem.

I used to prick each gel cap with a push pin and squeeze the oil/E in right before feeding - that was a true test of dexterity in the cold winter months and I'm not sorry I've let that method go!

I give Keil more than the above rec. b/c of his age and size and because he is in work. Salina gets more because of her age and arthritis issues. Cody gets more b/c of being in work and having PSSM issues. The pony and the donkeys get the 2 ius/kg BW maintenance amount. If you take classes beyond the NRC Plus class you learn guidelines on adjusting the vit. E amounts for various scenarios.

Best thing to do is supplement given the above recs. and then do a blood level to see if the horse is actually getting what he/she needs. I haven't done that - might do it for Cody at some point along with a selenium level b/c PSSM horses often need higher levels of these - but esp. with selenium and the possibility of toxicity I wouldn't increase it above requirements w/o having the blood work to monitor what he's actually absorbing.

He's doing well so I'm not taking that extra step as of now.

Probably more than you wanted to know... and I didn't even get into the differences in natural and synthetic, the different forms of E, etc.!

If you are a nutrition geek like I am, you'd love Kellon's classes and the discussion lists for the graduate students.