Omega Fields

  • Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis

    Written By: Annette McCoy, DVM, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

    What is equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM)?

    EPM is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and/or spinal cord) that is caused by the protozoal organism Sarcocystis neurona. The main host for this organism is the opossum and horses that are exposed to opossum feces with infective sporocysts can develop neurologic disease. Other hosts of S. neurona include armadillos, skunks, and domestic cats; however, these animals cannot directly transmit the disease to horses.
    What are the clinical signs of EPM?

    Since S. neurona can be located anywhere in the central nervous system, a range of clinical signs may exist. To complicate matters, many of these signs mimic those found in other neurologic disease or may occur in a waxing/waning fashion. Potential clinical signs include:

    *Ataxia (incoordination), spasticity (stiff, stilted movements), abnormal gait or lameness.
    * Incoordination and weakness which worsens when going up or down slopes or when the head is elevated.
    * Muscle atrophy, most noticeable along the topline or in the large muscles of the hindquarters, but can sometimes involve the muscles of the face or front limbs.
    * Paralysis of muscles of the eyes, face or mouth, evident by drooping eyes, ears or lips.
    *Difficulty swallowing.
    *Seizures or collapse.
    *Abnormal sweating.
    * Loss of sensation along the face, neck or body.
    * Head tilt with poor balance; horse may assume a splay-footed stance or lean against stall walls for support.
    How do you diagnose EPM?

    There are three tests currently available to test for EPM. Each of them has pros and cons that should be taken into consideration when deciding on which to perform.
    Serum antibody test
    This test is run on a sample of blood and detects circulating antibodies to S. neurona. If the result comes back negative, the horse does not have the disease. However, if the result comes back positive, it does not mean that the horse is currently infected, only that it has been exposed to S. neurona at some point in its life. Since about 50-60% of the equine population has been exposed to S. neurona, but only about 0.14% actually develops the disease, this means that many horses may be treated unnecessarily.

    Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) Western blot
    This test is run on CSF obtained from a spinal tap. The test is more invasive than the serum test, but is more accurate at detecting active infection because the fluid should not have antibodies in it unless the organism is actually in the brain or spinal cord. However, blood contamination of the CSF sample can result in false positive tests.

    IgM capture ELISA
    This recently developed test is run on a blood sample and looks for an immunoglobulin (antibody) specifically found during an active S. neurona infection. This test shows great promise, but has not been widely used yet in the general equine population. It is run only at the University of California-Davis, so samples must be shipped. The test currently costs around $65 and results are usually back within a week.
    How do you treat EPM?

    There are two treatment options for EPM. The traditional treatment protocol is a six-month course of trimethoprim-sulfonamide (an antibiotic) and pyrimethamine (an antiprotozoal agent). However, a newer drug, ponazuril (an antiprotozoal), is the only FDA-approved treatment for EPM and is labeled for a 28- day course of therapy. In some cases, a second round of ponazuril is necessary. Ponazuril is marketed as an oral paste under the trade name Marquis®. General supportive therapy may also be indicated based on the condition of the horse at the time of diagnosis.
    What is the prognosis for a horse with EPM?

    About 60-70% of horses with EPM that are treated will improve, and 15-25% will recover completely. A better outcome seems to be associated with starting treatment early, and the most significant improvement is generally seen within the first four weeks. Eighty percent of horses will remain positive on CSF Western blot tests despite treatment (even if they appear clinically normal), and relapses are seen within two years in about 10-20% of these horses.
    How can I help to prevent EPM in my horse?
    Horses are infected with EPM when they ingest food or water contaminated with opossum feces. Keeping grain in covered bins and controlling the opossum population around your barn are the most practical methods of reducing the risk of infection.

    Permission granted for reprint of article from University of MN Extension. To read more articles from U of M Extension please visit their A to Z library >>>

  • Why Should Eggs Be Stored Pointy End Down?

    Written By Lisa Steele, Fresh Eggs Daily

    You've probably heard that eggs should be stored with the pointy end facing downwards, but often wondered why? Or maybe you've not ever heard that and you're reading it here for the first time. Either way, it's the truth. Eggs should be stored pointed end down. But why? Well, I'll explain it to you.
    Let's back up a bit. When an egg is being formed and laid, there is a narrow pointy end and a more rounded, blunt end. As the egg travels down the oviduct, it travels pointy end first (and also spins, almost like a bullet travelling down the barrel of a gun, but that's a story for another day). Just before the hen lays her egg, she stands up a bit in the nest, holding a squatting position, and the egg flips around so that it's laid blunt end first, making for a better landing, more surface area for cushioning and less likelihood of being broken.
    There is an air sac at the blunt end of every egg. It's this sac that an incubating chick embryo will use for air to breathe once its lungs are developed, but before it has hatched and is breathing outside air. As an egg ages, whether fertile or not, the air sac will expand and get larger as air is allowed through the eggshell pores and moisture is allowed to escape. There's a natural 'bloom', an invisible coating on the egg, that helps prevent air and bacteria from entering the egg. Preserving that bloom is one reason why eggs should not be washed until just before using them.

    So back to the air sac. As air and bacteria enter the egg through the pores in the eggshell, they encounter the egg white first, since the yolk stays anchored roughly in the middle of the egg by thin, ropy strands of protein called chalazae. The egg white (or albumen) provides a layer of protection for the yolk - which is the more perishable part of an egg.  Being alkaline, the white makes it difficult for any bacteria to thrive and grow inside the egg. However, as an egg ages, the bacteria will move towards the nutrient-rich yolk where they can flourish. Also as the egg ages and the air sac grows, that air sac allows bacteria to move closer to the yolk.
    When an egg is stored pointy end up, with the air sac at the bottom, that sac will slowly rise and move towards the yolk, bringing any air and bacteria with it.  That will hasten not only the 'aging' process of the egg, making it less 'fresh' since keeping the yolk completely enclosed within the white protects the yolk from drying out, but also increase the likelihood that salmonella or other bacteria will reach the yolk more quickly and contaminate the egg. There is also a chance the air sac will rupture and contaminate the egg with any bacteria it contains.

    By storing the egg pointy end down, the air sac remains at the top of the egg (the blunt end) where it belongs. Also more of the white, which is mostly made up of water and from where moisture evaporates, is sitting in the carton and not exposed to quite so much air, and therefore loses moisture more slowly.

    So to sum it up:

    Eggs should be stored pointed end down to keep the yolk centered and keep any bacteria as far as possible from the yolk, which is far more likely to be contaminated by any bacteria that enters the egg than the non-bacteria friendly white. Air and bacteria enter the egg through the blunt end into the air sac located there. If you store the egg blunt end down, the air pocket will rise, touch the yolk and risk contaminating it. By storing eggs blunt end up, the pocket of air stays away from the yolk, and the egg stays fresh longer.

    -ceramic egg carton from Amazon-
    That being said, since we use our eggs so quickly and they are 'backyard coop fresh', I don't worry so much and usually keep a bowl of eggs on the kitchen counter that I use first and then store the rest in the fridge, topsy-turvy. Go figure.
    End Note: If you are collecting eggs for hatching, then storing them pointed end down until you are ready to incubate them is very important. Keeping the yolk and air sac in place and intact is very important for optimal hatchability.
  • The Healthy, Older Horse

    Written By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

    Let me tell you about Bugsy. He was an Appendix Quarter Horse I rescued a few years ago. When he came to me, he was significantly underweight, suffered from an old stifle injury, and had a distrustful attitude. A few months later, he’d filled out, was running up and down hills with ease, and showed the curiosity and warmth of a youngster. How old was he? 25. Not old by today’s standards and yet, definitely up there. What made the difference? Nutrition played a big part in his improvement.

    Advances in veterinary medicine and greater attention to nutrition have made it possible, and even probable, that your horse will live well into his 30s and even the 40s or older. Individuality plays as much a role in the way horses age as it does for us. There are fairly predictable changes, however, that go along with growing old, no matter at what age they become noticeable. Some horses have trouble gaining weight, others become too fat. Teeth wear down, making chewing difficult; some may even lose teeth. Most horses experience a decline in immune function and get sick more easily or develop allergies. Muscle mass may diminish and joints can become stiff. Digestion and absorption efficiency declines.

    All these changes come about gradually, but as your horse starts to show signs of aging, the diet you’ve been feeding may now be obsolete. It may be time adjust it to meet your horse’s needs.

    While the scope of this article is limited, you’ll find more detailed information in my book, Feed Your Horse Like A Horse, as well as in the Spotlight on Equine Nutrition series book, The Aging Horse. Here are some highlights…

    There are two major changes to consider:

    1. Saliva production diminishes. A senior-friendly diet takes into account your horse’s reduced saliva production, which makes dry food difficult to chew and nearly impossible to swallow.  This natural aspect of aging is easy to manage by simply moistening your horse’s feed; he’ll appreciate having his meal a little on the mushy side. And be sure there is water close by.
    2. Digestion efficiency is not what it once was. This leads to diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances, and weight loss. It starts in the small intestine where your horse produces fewer digestive enzymes, leading to malnutrition simply because his tissues never receive the nutrients from his meal. Plus, undigested food enters the hindgut where it is either fermented (which can lead to colic or laminitis) or ends up in the feces.

    To improve the diet, follow these guidelines:

    • Choose senior feeds. Senior feeds are pre-cooked and extruded (formed into kibbles) that are easy to chew and digest. Many senior feeds add digestive enzymes to their formulas to further assist with digestion. They also contain vitamins and minerals, but keep in mind that the only way your horse will get enough of these nutrients is if you feed the recommended amount.
    • Or choose beet pulp or hay pellets.  Moisten these feeds into a mush. You’ll want to add a digestive enzyme supplement, along with proper vitamin/mineral supplementation.
    • Feed the hindgut microbial population. These microbes are responsible for digesting fibrous portion of the diet, providing your horse with calories. They are also necessary for B-vitamin production and maintaining a healthy immune function. Their numbers can significantly diminish due to several causes, such as stomach acid reaching the hindgut because of an empty stomach or inadequate saliva production (saliva neutralizes acid), pain and mental stress, illness, or administering antibiotics. Pro- and prebiotics are often added to senior feeds or supplements designed for aging horses.
    • Include a source of omega 3s. They support immune function, reduce the inflammation of aging joints and muscles, regulate blood insulin levels, promote healthy skin and hooves, and improve attitude. Stabilized flaxseed meal (that has added calcium to correct for high phosphorus levels) and chia seeds are excellent sources of omega 3s. They are well tolerated and easy to feed.
    • Supplement vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production (protein found in bones, joints, and blood vessels). It is also a potent antioxidant and natural antihistamine. When young, your horse was capable of producing his own vitamin C. Now that he’s getting older, he’s losing that ability. He’ll get ample vitamin C from fresh pasture, as long as it is lush; but hay has virtually no vitamin C.
    • Supplement vitamin D during winter or when stalled. Your horse can produce vitamin D from sunlight but during the winter months or if your horse is not exposed to at least 8 hours of sunlight each day, be sure there is enough vitamin D in your commercial feed or supplement. This vitamin (along with vitamin C) will help keep your horse’s bones, muscles, and teeth in top shape.
    • Avoid high starch feeds. Cereal grains (oats, corn, barley, etc.) and feeds made from cereal grains should be eliminated from the diet. As horses age, they are more inclined to become insulin resistant and may start to exhibit signs of equine Cushing’s disease.


    A few words about weight…

    Many horses gain weight as they age. This has to do with his sluggish metabolic rate. If he has weight to lose, he doesn’t really need anything other than pasture and hay except for a small, low starch meal each day to serve as a carrier for supplements such as flaxseed meal, vitamin C, and a comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement. But never restrict forage — he needs to be able to graze all the time. Going for hours without eating will, ironically, prevent him from burning fat and he’ll remain heavy.

    The underweight horse can be very challenging.  First, try to determine the reason for weight loss. Worm infestation, ulcers, infections, liver or kidney disease, even cancer can cause weight loss. Pain and mental stress can also make it difficult for your horse to hold a normal weight. The most common reason for weight loss in older horses, however, is poor teeth. Soaked hay cubes or chopped forage, fed free-choice, will meet forage requirements. Extra calories can be provided in a variety of ways, but avoid cereal grains. Horses are more prone toward developing Cushing’s disease as they age and should be fed a low starch diet. Additional fat through flaxseed meal and rice bran are safer ways to help your horse gain weight without the risk of starch. Additional protein from alfalfa will boost protein quality to help maintain muscle mass, while adding extra calories. A good pre/probiotic will allow for more calorie production from the hindgut microbes.


    Other age-related problems

    • Joint and muscle deterioration. Most, if not all, horses over the age of 20 will develop arthritis to some degree. Stall confinement makes arthritis worse and makes muscles tight. Mild exercise helps lubricate stiff joints and builds up surrounding muscles. Even if you don’t ride your horse, the more pasture turnout he gets the better off he’ll be.
    • Tendons and ligaments lose elasticity over time and muscle mass starts to decline.  There are several nutrients that I find helpful in boosting joint and connective tissue strength and lean body mass. These are gamma oryzanol; branched chain amino acids; vitamins B6, C and E.

    Bottom line…

    Your horse’s genetic background combined with his health status throughout his growing and adult years will influence how well he ages. If he was fed well all his life, with attention paid toward filling in nutritional gaps, he will likely live longer and with fewer ailments.

    You are the best judge of how well your senior horse is aging. By keeping track of his weight, his eating habits, and his overall condition, you can make appropriate adjustments to his diet that will impact his health and overall quality of life.


    Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided attribution is given to Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. No editorial changes may be made without her permission. Dr. Getty appreciates being notified of any publication.

  • "Omega Fields Donates Omega Horseshine to Horses4Heros from Customer Support"

    Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is proud to announce its new donation campaign for Horses4Heros that has started today and will go thru Christmas Day. When a customer purchases any 50 lb bag of Omega Horseshine (, Omega Grande (, Omega Antioxidant – Senior Care (, or Omega Rice Bran (, Omega Fields will donate one (1) month supply of Omega Horseshine (4.5 lb bag) to Horses4Heros.
    Horses4Heros is the ONLY national non-profit that owns its own horses, including aged, donated and Feed Lot rescues and uses those horses every day in programs and activities that promote healing and hope among the men and women whose Call of Duty is to protect and serve!
    “During this Christmas season especially, we wanted to offer our customers a way to “give” to such a worthy cause when they make their horse supplement purchases with our company, said Sean Moriarty, Omega Fields President.
    Please visit ( to learn more about their non-profit and additional ways to donate that will help our troops, vetrans and their families.

    About Omega Fields
    Omega Fields® mission is to offer the finest quality, most nutritious products at fair prices, and to provide outstanding customer service. Omega Fields wants its customers to have exceptional experiences with their products, staff, websites and retailers.

    Omega Fields is the first manufacturer in the animal health industry to use human-grade, non-GMO stabilized ground flaxseed, rich in fiber and antioxidants, and containing the optimum ratio of the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids for equine, canine, poultry and human nutrition. The innovative use of flaxseed milled with a unique stabilization technology ensures long shelf life and superior quality for Omega Fields’ products.

  • "Omega Fields Spokesperson, Hallie Hanssen BFA World Championship Success"

    Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is proud to congratulate and announce one of its spokespeople, Hallie Hanssen for a successful BFA World Championship in Oklahoma City, OK the week of December 7 – 12, 2015. Hallie placed 7th in the Futurity and 8th in the Super Stakes, earning $23,000. Hallie feeds Omega Fields Omega Horseshine ( and Omega SureGut ( to her futurity and derby barrel horses. “THANK YOU for keeping our horses looking and feeling great!” says Hanssen. Omega Fields president, Sean Moriarty comments, “We are so proud of Hallie’s continued success and are pleased to have her be such an influential spokesperson for our company and products.”
    About Omega Fields
    Omega Fields® mission is to offer the finest quality, most nutritious products at fair prices, and to provide outstanding customer service. Omega Fields wants its customers to have exceptional experiences with their products, staff, websites and retailers.

    Omega Fields is the first manufacturer in the animal health industry to use human-grade, non-GMO stabilized ground flaxseed, rich in fiber and antioxidants, and containing the optimum ratio of the full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 Fatty Acids for equine, canine, poultry and human nutrition. The innovative use of flaxseed milled with a unique stabilization technology ensures long shelf life and superior quality for Omega Fields’ products.

    Contact: Allison Kuhl _ Director of Business Development, Omega Fields
    Images available upon request

  • Old Dog, New Tricks

    Written By: Jenny Pavlovic

    Senior dogs have a special place in my heart. This is the story of a senior dog who ended up in an animal shelter after her owner passed away. Trigger’s days were numbered until a caring person halfway across the country decided that she would not let this dog die. On October 26th, I received an e-mail message from Julie in Ohio. She’d heard about a 14-year-old female Australian Cattle Dog who had been surrendered to a county animal shelter in Arizona on September 12th. A euthanasia date was already set for this old girl, for first thing in the morning on Friday, October 30th, just four days away.

    Trigger at the shelter_1


    If, for whatever reason, people cannot keep their dog, they often think that dropping the dog off at the local shelter will give the dog another chance. Sometimes this works out ok for the dog, but local pounds and government-run ‘shelters’ are often overcrowded and have limits on the number of animals they can house. A dog that has been surrendered usually is given less time than a stray dog because they know that nobody is looking for the surrendered dog, but someone may come in to claim the stray.

    In the e-mail message, Julie offered to pay the $40 adoption fee for the 14-year old cattle dog if someone would give Trigger a good home for whatever time she has left. Having adopted and cared for several senior dogs herself, Julie felt that traveling all the way from Arizona to Ohio would be too much for Trigger. Julie already has a rescued 11-year-old cattle dog that she adopted in early February. Many people would have given up, thinking there wasn’t anything they could do for Trigger, but Julie was determined to find someone closer to Arizona who would act quickly to give Trigger a loving home.

    Julie’s 63rd birthday was October 30th, the same day that Trigger was scheduled to be euthanized. Julie could receive no better birthday present than to know that Trigger was safe. So she contacted the shelter and told them she was going to find a new home for Trigger. She e-mailed her cattle dog rescue contacts all across the country, spread the word on Facebook, and contacted everyone she knew who might be able to help. She asked us to please give her the birthday present of keeping Trigger alive and finding her a forever home “with someone who truly cares”.

    And that’s when the magic began. A woman in Washington State offered to match Julie’s $40 by donating another $40 toward Trigger’s care. A woman in New Hampshire offered to foster Trigger if there was a way to safely get her there. People all across the country who care about old dogs and love cattle dogs spread the word about Trigger, creating over 300 shares on Facebook. Somehow the word got to Sandra in Arizona, who already had Australian cattle dogs and rat terriers. Sandra had also housed an aged senior from a California puppy mill bust in the past.

    On October 28th, Julie paid the adoption fee. Sandra went to the shelter to meet and evaluate Trigger, to see if she might fit in with Sandra’s pack. Sandra had already stated that if Trigger went home with her, she would be going home to stay, but she wanted to make sure her home was a good fit. Once she met Trigger, Sandra determined that Trigger would likely do well at her house and made the commitment to take her home!

    On October 29th, Sandra provided an update on how Annie (formerly Trigger) was adjusting in her household. Annie took time to get used to the new house and yard and was given space to get comfortable. Everything was new to her, including the dog door! Later Sandra reported that Annie (as in ‘Annie Oakley’) had gone to the vet for bloodwork, an ear cleaning, a toenail trim and a bath. She was treated for tick fever and roundworms and the vet determined that she had lost her functional hearing. Annie was getting along with the other dogs in the household, and even learned how to use the dog door. Now she has had dental work and had a tumor removed. She’s lucky to have landed with people who can afford the vet care that she needed.

    Annie in her new home_1


    Annie is doing well, and Sandra continues to post her progress and photos on Facebook. The community of people who helped Annie find her forever loving home follow along.
    Julie was ecstatic on her birthday, October 30th. She had shown, and learned, how much of a difference one person can make by setting her mind to helping a dog in need. You, too, can help the dogs in need in your community, especially over the holidays when people often get busy with festivities and forget about animals who need help. Even spreading the word about the animals in need in your local shelter can make a difference. Look at what a difference Julie made, along with a supportive network!

    Annie -2_1


    During this season of giving thanks, I’m thankful for Julie, the network of people who helped find a safe place for Annie to go, and of course for Sandra, who took Annie in.

    Annie -3_1


    Here are two groups that focus on helping senior animals:
    The Top Dog Foundation::
    Best Friends “Love is Ageless”:
    ‘After’ photos of Annie taken by Steve Ball

    Annie  _1
    Looking for inexpensive gifts that will be appreciated by animal lovers? Stay home, spend more time with your animals, and buy gifts that will provide hours of reading pleasure and raise awareness. The hard cover Not Without My Dog Resource & Record Book and paperback 8 State Hurricane Kate: The Journey and Legacy of a Katrina Cattle Dog are on sale for $15 each (+ shipping) - OR - $12 each (+shipping) for any 3 or more purchased by December 10th. Personally signed on request. Inquire for special pricing on Bernie Siegel books Love, Animals, and Miracles (NEW!) and A Book of Miracles. These books include my stories about Chase the Library Dog, Dolphin Healing, and Bandit, My Bolt Out of the Blue, and I will personally sign them as well. Please contact me at [email protected] with questions and to order. Include BOOKS in the subject line. See the NWMD book trailer video at Thank you!

  • Shelly Temple earns her USDF silver medal with Cooper

    It is tough to be a champion in any FEI discipline. But, what does it take to excel at two? Just as Shelly Temple who with her 17 year old Morgan gelding LR Ami B-Line (“Cooper”) recently earned the US Dressage Federations silver medal. Shelly has concentrated on ridden dressage with Cooper since his informal retirement from the sport of combined driving in 2013. Shelly and Cooper finalized the silver medal in September at the Pumpkin Patch Dressage Show in Camden, South Carolina with coach Amy McElroy.

    Although Shelly was a former dressage rider during her equestrian career, Cooper was primarily a combined driving pony. Their partnership result in Shelly and Cooper being crowned US National Champion Single Pony in 2006, 2010 and 2011 as well as members of the US Pony Driving team in 2007 and 2011. In the World Championships, Shelly and Cooper won silver and bronze medals in driven dressage as well as two Bronze Team medals. Shelly is sponsored by Omega Fields; “Omega Fields’ Horseshine has been an important part of Cooper’s feeding regimen for years. His coat looks fantastic, and he continues to have health hooves.”

    Shelly’s next goal is earning her USDF gold medal with her longtime partner, Cooper.

    Catalyst Driving Center is an equestrian driving facility in Windsor, South Carolina specializing in the training of all levels of drivers and horses. Please feel free to contact Shelly to learn more about her, the products she trusts, her horses, and what Catalyst Driving can offer the driving enthusiast.

  • To blanket or not to blanket

    Written By: Marcia Hathaway, PhD, University of Minnesota

    horse winter drinking water

    We have received numerous questions lately regarding blanketing. A horse's winter coat can be an excellent insulator, but its insulating value is lost if it gets wet. It is important to keep the horse dry and sheltered from moisture.

    Research has been conducted on the benefits of blanketing a horse to reduce the effects of cold weather. However, most horses are blanketed for various reason (show schedules) and/or personal beliefs of the horse's owner. Blanketing a horse is necessary to reduced the effects of cold or inclement weather when:

    1. There is no shelter available during turnout periods and the temperatures drop below 5°F, or the wind chill is below 5°F.
    2. There is a chance the horse will become wet (not usually a problem with snow, much more of a problem with rain, ice, and/or freezing rain and chilly temps).
    3. The horse has had its winter coat clipped.
    4. The horse is very young.
    5. The horse has not been acclimated to the cold.
    6. Keep in mind a horse will continue to develop a natural winter coat until December 22 (Winter Solstice), when days are becoming shorter. Horses begin to lose their winter coat (and start forming their summer coat) as the days begin to get longer (starting on December 23). Blanketing before December 22 will decrease a horse's natural winter coat.

    Permission granted for reprint of article from University of MN Extension. To read more articles from U of M Extension please visit their A to Z library >>>

  • The risk of administering intramuscular banamine

    Written By: Raffa Teixera DVM & Stephanie Valberg DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota

    Figure 1. This horse has swelling and gas under the skin. Figure 1. This horse has swelling and gas under the skin.

    Flunixin meglumine (Banamine) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent that is very effective for the relief of pain, inflammation and fever in horses.

    Figure 1. This horse has swelling and gas under the skin. Figure 1. This horse has swelling and gas under the skin.

    Banamine is available in both injectable and oral formulas. Veterinarians routinely use the injectable formula intravenously (IV). Horse owners may have oral and injectable Banamine on hand to relieve pain. It is important for owners to be aware of the risks if they give intramuscular (IM) injections of Banamine or other medications.
    Banamine as well as a number of other drugs (ivermectin, progesterone, anti-histamines, phenylbutazone, dipyrone, vitamin B complex, synthetic prostaglandins) can cause muscle damage when injected. While this usually causes few problems, spores of the bacteria Clostridium can lie dormant in healthy muscle and begin to proliferate if muscle is damaged. Growth of this bacteria causes Clostridial myositis, a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Within 6 to 72 hours of the bacterial infection beginning, horses develop swelling and crunchy areas of gas under the skin at the site of the IM injection. As bacterial toxins are released into the bloodstream horses quickly become very ill with signs of depression, colic, purple gums, and reluctance to move. Diagnosis of Clostridial myositis is made by identifying gas produced by Clostridia in the damaged muscle using ultrasound and by examining aspirates of the area for bacteria.
    It is very important to recognize and treat Clostridial myositis early and aggressively to decrease fatalities. Antibiotics such as intravenous penicillin and oral metronidazole are used in addition to surgically opening and cleaning any affected areas. Between 31% and 73% of horses survive Clostridial myositis but it may take months for the skin and muscle to heal.
    Although the risks of Clostridial myositis are relatively low, whenever possible it is best to administer Banamine orally or have a veterinarian administer the drug IV. If any IM injection is given, the area should be monitored for signs of swelling and gas pockets under the skin and horse watched for fever or depression. Call your veterinarian or the UMN CVM immediately if you notice these signs.

    Permission granted for reprint of article from University of MN Extension. To read more articles from U of M Extension please visit their A to Z library >>>

  • A Dozen Eggs - Why Are They Sold In A Dozen?

    Written By Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily


    The number twelve has had special significance for man since the ancient times, from Jesus' twelve apostles to twelve full moons per year and twelve months in a year. There are twelve inches in a foot and twelve hourly divisions on a clock.  There are twelve zodiac signs, twelve tribes of Israel and twelve Knights of the Round Table. There are twelve days of Christmas. But what does any of that have to do with why eggs are sold by the dozen?
    Eggs too have had an important significance throughout history. To Christians, an egg represents the resurrection of Jesus. Eggs universally represent rebirth, fertility and new life. Eggs have been eaten and used in baking reportedly as early as 25 BC. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, eggs were typically sold at markets individually, with the buyer choosing the number of eggs they wished to buy from a large basket the seller had on display and transporting them home with their other market purchases in a smaller handheld basket
    In Western Europe, particularly England, from as early as the 700s and continuing right up until around 1960, the Imperial Unit System was used. Under this system, there were twelve pennies to a shilling, likely because of the huge importance of the number twelve to civilization. This meant that an egg could be sold for a penny, or a dozen eggs could be sold for a shilling, with no change-making required. Breads and rolls were sold the same way at market. It made it simpler to sell individual units this way and group them into sets of twelve.  By the Elizabethan period, roughly 1550-1600, selling eggs by the dozen was the standard practice, and several years later, the settlers coming to North America brought the same system with them and eggs continued to be sold in sets of twelve.



    Clearly old habits die hard! Even with the advent of the decimal system in Europe and elsewhere, eggs still continue to be sold by the dozen for the most part, although in some countries they are sold in cartons of ten.
    So that's why eggs are sold by the dozen to this day, but where does the term 'baker's dozen' come from? Well, in the 13th century, King Henry III ruled that severe penalties would be inflicted on bakers and others selling goods at market if they cheated their customers. To ensure that the buyers were not being accidentally shortchanged, it became common practice for the baker or farmer to put an extra roll or egg into each customer's basket. Hence, a baker's dozen is thirteen, not twelve.

    Some trivia for you:
    The English word "dozen" comes from the  French word "douzaine" meaning a group of twelve. The French word is a derivation of "duodĕcim", which is the Latin word for twelve.

    The modern egg carton wasn't invented until 1911 in Canada. Several years prior, in 1906, an 'egg box' was invented in England which was basically a wooden box with slats to keep the eggs from breaking. By this time, the practice of selling eggs in dozens was commonplace and cartons started to be manufactured commercially that held twelve eggs.
    A 'gross' is a dozen dozen.


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