Monthly Archives: March 2015

  • Equine Back Pain

    Written By: K. Searcy, veterinary student, University of Minnesota

    Just as in people, back pain in horses is common and can be related to a variety of problems. Common complaints associated with back pain in horses include: restricted mobility; “cold-backed” behavior; refusing work; stiffness when making sharp turns; unwilling to change leads; loss of hind limb propulsion; and sourness with saddling or riding.

    If back pain appears to be an issue, owners should consider improper saddle fit, rider imbalance, sprains of the ligaments along the back, muscle injuries, vertebral fractures and bilateral lameness. To diagnose back pain, veterinarians can use a variety of methods, including direct palpation, radiographs, ultrasound, bone scans (scintigraphy), local anesthetics, physical examination, and thermography, to rule other sources of pain.

    Treatments for back pain can include:

    1. A combination of a muscle relaxant and an NSAID (phenylbutazone or flunixin meglumine)
    2. Regional injection of a steroid to decrease inflammation
    3. Dynamic stretches to engage and strengthen back muscles
    4. Shockwave therapy to improve circulation to the area and relieve muscle spasms
    5. Surgery to remove accessible bony eminences to alleviate pressure
    6. Acupuncture and/or chiropractic therapies to help with the pain and muscle spasms
    7. Aqua treadmill therapy to strengthen the back musculature
    8. Saddle fit adjustments
    9. Modified warm ups prior to exercise

    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 >>>

    http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/horse/a-to-z/

  • Arthritis in the knee

    Written By: Lauren Bullock, senior veterinary student, University of Minnesota
    Article permission from University of Minnesota Extension http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/horse/a-to-z/

    A joint is composed of 3 parts: the cartilage, the synovial membrane, and the synovial fluid.

    If you have ever been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease, you understand what a horse goes through when diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis is caused by wear and tear damage that hasn't been repaired. A joint is composed of 3 parts: the cartilage, the synovial membrane, and the synovial fluid. Cartilage covers the ends of the bones and is mainly used as a shock absorber. Cartilage lacks nerves. However, as the cartilage is destroyed, the underlying bone is exposed. Pain is due to the pressure on the nerves in the bone as well as the inflammatory agents found in the synovial fluid and damaged cartilage. Unfortunately, these inflammatory agents create more cartilage damage, leading to a vicious cycle.

    Treatment of damaged cartilage is difficult and often impossible in both horses and humans. This means osteoarthritis will continue to progress over time. Management of arthritis involves managing the pain and optimizing joint health. This will vary by the joint(s) affected and by the use of the horse. Your veterinarian may prescribe a combination of joint protectants (glucosamine, chondroitin), pain relief (phenylbutazone, firocoxib), and/or joint injections (corticosteroids, hyaluronan). It is also good to evaluate the need for weight loss, farrier work, altering exercise levels, and rehabilitation programs. These programs may vary by time of year and how your horse responds so it is good to have your horse re-evaluated on a regular basis.

    To read more articles from University of Minnesota Extension please visit >>

    http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/horse/health/arthritis-in-the-knee/

  • Vitamin D and Omega-3 Together May Help Mental Illness

    By Niamh Michail, 27-Feb-2015

    Vitamin D and omega-3 could work together to improve cognitive function and social behaviour with particular relevance for battling ADHD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, say researchers.

    To read COMPLETE ARTICLE >>>http://www.nutraingredients.com/Ingredients/Omega-3s-Nutritional-oils/Vitamin-D-and-omega-3-together-may-help-mental-illness

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    Check out Mega Omega - high Omega-3 flaxseed supplement with 1,000IU of Vitamin D-3 per serving >>>

    https://www.omegafields.com/people-products/mega-omegar.html

  • Trailer Preparation Tips for Travel Season

    Written By USRider

    While many of us are currently buried up to our noses in snow, travel season is just around the corner. Before the start of this season, it is critically important for many equine enthusiasts to perform basic, yet essential, maintenance on their trailers. USRider reminds equestrians to invest time doing routine preventive trailer maintenance. This will be time well spent because trailers will be in optimal shape to provide safe travel for precious cargo.

    Despite the fact that a good roadside assistance program is something every horse owner should have, the thought of having to use it is never close by. USRider’s mission is to continually educate horse owners about trailer safety as well as keeping you and your equine partner safe on the road.

    On its website, USRider has carefully developed the Equine TRAVEL SAFETY Area to be a resource with helpful and practical topics – all free and available to members and non-members alike. Horse owners can put these tips to work and greatly reduce the chances of being stranded on the side of the road.

    Some helpful tips from USRider:

    1. Remove and inspect all wheels and hubs or brake drums.
    2. Inspect suspension for wear.
    3. Check tightness of hanger bolt, shackle bolt and U-bolt nuts per recommended torque values.
    4. Check brake linings, brake drums and armature faces for excessive wear or scoring.
    5. Check brake magnetic coil with an ohmmeter. The magnetic coil should check 3.2 ohms (+/- 0.3ohms). If shorted or out of tolerance, replace.
    6. Lubricate all brake moving parts, using a high temperature brake lubricant.
    7. Remove any rust from braking surface and armature surface of drums.
    8. Inspect oil or grease seals for wear or nicks. Replace if necessary.
    9. Inspect and grease wheel bearings.

    In addition to these recommendations, USRider advises horse owners to check all trailer tires, (including spares) for signs of dry rot, correct air pressure, faulty air valves, uneven tire wear, overall tire wear and damage. Invest in a high-quality air pressure gauge – learn how to use it - and inspect tire pressure before each trip. Always replace tires if worn or damaged. In addition, tires should be replaced every three to five years regardless of mileage. When replacing tires, always replace the valve stems. Only high quality tires specifically designed and rated for trailers should be used – never use retread or automobile tires on a horse trailer. Think of it this way: Quality tires are like fine leather shoes, they only hurt once – when you pay for them.

    It is also important to service the wheel bearings annually, or every 12,000 miles, regardless of mileage, due to moisture build-up. Keep a spare set of wheel bearings in your trailer in case of premature failure. Be sure to inspect trailer wiring and lighting; inspect door latches and grease the doors; inspect the floor (be sure to remove any rubber mats so the entire floor can be examined); and inspect and lubricate mechanical moving parts, such as the hitch and suspension parts. If the trailer has been sitting for a while, check for wasp nests, spider webs and any other creatures that may have made a new home.

    USRider advises horse owners to use ICE – In Case of Emergency. This important initiative was designed to aid emergency responders in identifying victims and determining who needs to be notified. Implementing ICE is easy. Program your emergency contact information into your cellular phone and designate it with the acronym ICE.

    Horse owners should also ensure that their emergency contact information is stored in their tow vehicle. To facilitate this, USRider has developed an In Case of Emergency form and posted it online for horse owners to print. Simply fill in the blanks and store the paper in the tow vehicle as well as in the trailer. Additional recommendations, as well as a Power of Attorney form, are posted on the USRider website.

    USRider – in its 14th year of operation – is the only company to provide emergency roadside assistance for horse owners. Through the Equestrian Motor Plan, USRider provides nationwide roadside assistance and towing services along with other travel-related benefits to its Members. The plan includes standard features such as flat-tire repair, battery assistance, lockout services, and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, plus towing up to 100 miles.  As an additional service, USRider maintains a national database that includes emergency stabling, veterinary and farrier referrals. For more information about the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan, visit www.usrider.org online or call (800) 844-1409. For additional safety and travel tips, visit the Equine Travel Safety Area on the USRider website at www.usrider.org.

    Make sure to pack your Omega Fields supplements and Omega-3 treats when traveling>>

    https://www.omegafields.com/equine-products.html

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