Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dealing with Rain Rot on Your Horse

We are approaching rain rot season. Rain rot seems to be more common and worse in horses with weakened immune systems. It is caused by Dermatophilus congolensis and it is a bumpy skin infection. It thrives in low oxygen, high moisture skin. It usually occurs under a horse’s winter coat.

If you do not groom your horse regularly or checking his skin condition it is easy to miss in the early stages. When the horse has a heavy coat it is also easy to miss at the early stages. At this time horses are not usually sensitive to touch. It will leave a small area of raw skin as the scab comes off and the hair will still be attached to the scab. The infection will grow if it is not caught in the early stages. The scabs become thicker and form scab crusts. It then becomes painful to the horse when it is touched.

Sunlight and air can help clear up rain rot but the crusts that develop can prevent that from happening. To treat rain rot you must remove the crusts and treat the skin. There are many effective products that can be purchased to help clear up this condition.

The horse’s skin will be sensitive but curry lightly as much as you can to remove the scabs. The infected area may need to be clipped for products to penetrate their best. Follow the directions for the product of your choice. When the infection is gone the hair will begin to grow back.

Once a case of rain rot has been cleared up you will need to keep the horse protected from snow and rain to prevent reinfection. If the horse happens to get wet dry the coat. Use towels or blow dryer if the horse is used to one. If it has not shown signs of improvement in a week of using a remedy call your vet.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Take Your Horses Temperature

When one of our horses is not acting like themselves or what is normal for them we take their temperature.

A horse’s temperature will increase with exertion, excitement, illness and hot humid weather. It will decrease with shock. Their temperature can also be lowered a few degrees if the weather is very cold. Adult horses at rest usually have a temperature in the range of 99 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 37 – 38 degrees for Celsius.

To start, you will need a thermometer with an eye at one end. Many feed stores carry thermometers for horses. You will need to thread a string through the eye of the thermometer, waxed dental floss works well for this purpose. On the other end of the string tie an alligator clip. You will also need a lubricating jelly to make the thermometer easier to insert.


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Establishing Normal Vital Signs for Your Horse

We have established the importance of keeping a record of values of normal vital signs for your horse. It is your best starting point for decision making if you think your horse is ill and will help your veterinarian in their analysis of your horse.

In order to establish “normal” for your horse you will need to take vital signs twice a day for three days and average the readings. The horse must be at rest and not after he has been worked or has been excited. Choose various times of day. Morning, afternoon, and evening readings should be taken.


What is Normal for Your Horse?

Hello folks. I would like to tell you about some things you should really know about your horse. It could save his life or you a very expensive vet bill.

It is important to know what your horse’s normal behavior is. Is he a chow hound? Does he typically lick his feed bucket clean? Does he wipe out every trace of hay he’s given? How much water does he typically consume in a day? Is he eager for his turn-out? Where is his favorite "hang out" when he is turned out? How often does he lie down? Do you notice his expression when he first sees you and what it is like? Knowing what is normal for your horse’s behavior can be one of the earliest clues that he might be ill or not.

Besides knowing his normal behavior it is also just as important to know what is normal for your horse’s vital signs. Vital signs are a good clue for your horse’s overall health. They can also indicate how his body is functioning. It is important for you to know how to take your horse’s temperature, respiration, and measure capillary refill time, check the pulse, check hydration and know how to listen to his heart, lungs and intestines. You need to know what the normal values are for your horse’s vital signs. Keeping a written record of the normal values of his vital signs will be helpful for you and your vet in making assessments if your horse should become ill.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Pets Mart

Hey folks. Thought I would tell you about an experience my people had today. We live in the country. It is a 25 mile drive to the nearest town to shop. My people made a special trip to Pets Mart today to purchase some items needed for myself, the dogs, birds, rabbits, ect. . After making the drive the store was out of a number of the products we needed. My people don't make unnecessary trips to town with gas as high as it is, they usually go once a week if that often. Not being able to purchase what they needed because the store was out of stock was irritating and wasted a lot of valuable time. What they decided to do is check out Pets Mart online. Everything they needed was in stock and the same price they would have paid at the store. It is actually cheaper when you add the cost of gas compared to the cost of shipping. So they discovered it will be cheaper to purchase products on line from Pets Mart and save time.

By the way, with $50 purchases in products shipping is FREE!! I have a link to Pets Mart under "Skimbleshanks Shops Here" in the upper left hand corner. Pets Mart is staying on top of items that are being recalled. Pets Mart carries a lot of fine products for pets and is recommended by Skimbleshanks. Be sure and try the Pets Mart's on line store.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Annoying, Minor Injuries in Your Horse

Here is some information that can help you determine if an injury is minor in your horse.

A fact of life, if you own a horse you will already know, horses will get scratches, bumps, bruises, kicks, and strains. Not all of these will be serious but suitable, prompt action is necessary to keep a minor injury from becoming a big problem. It will not only minimize the discomfort for your horse it will get you back in the saddle more quickly.

Minor injuries are usually a cut or scrape, a muscle strain, a kick from another horse, a stone bruise, or an accident with an immobile object, or ingesting harmful vegetation. Things that help identify a minor injury are listed below:

· It comes on suddenly. Usually it is caused by an accident, not poor conformation or performance related.

· It will improve quickly. Most horses get over a minor injury fast. Strains and bruises may be painful for the horse at first but with time and proper care steady improvement will be seen over a relatively short period of time. This is not true with serious injuries.

· Outward signs are usually minimal. No freely bleeding wound or endangered vital structure (such as a joint).

· It will usually be inflamed. There will be swelling in the area, pain and heat. This is not how the body protects an injured area. This is how the body lets you know there is a problem. The inflammation can be what is causing the horse’s discomfort.

· A minor injury gets steadily better with limited work. Hand walking can work wonders.

If your horse is hurt you usually want to stop using him immediately. If the injury is serious that is best. If it is minor some limited, light activity can be the best medicine. Inflammation and heat are the way the horse’s body protects itself and will be present if the injury is minor or serious. After proper treatment the pain and swelling, along with heat in the injured area will begin to subside.


Monday, April 30, 2007

Is Devil’s Claw an Alternative for Bute for Your Horse?

Good day! Here is some information about devil's claw and how you may effectively give it to horses.

Devil’s claw is a naturally occurring herb that cannot be patented. The reason being naturally occurring substances are not allowed to be patented. It is more like using an aspirin than using bute but is effective for horses. Devil’s claw can be used for inflammation and pain relief for horses. Research has established that devil’s claw extract can inhibit production of inflammatory and Cox-2. Cox -2 is an inflammatory cytokine which drugs like phenylbutazone, commonly known as bute, for horses and many recently marketed drugs for humans contain for the treatment of pain and swelling of arthritis inflammation. Cytokines are small secreted proteins which mediate and regulate immunity, inflammation, and hematopoiesis.

More recent studies on devil’s claw have found that it works more like aspirin and not like bute. Just as aspirin, it should not have the negative side effects on healing and the circulation that other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs may have.

In other words, devil’s claw can be used in place of bute in some instances. It will not have the harsh side effects that may come with using bute. It can be very beneficial for arthritic horses.

Hope you find this helpful.