horse feet issues

My horse has broken into the feed shed and eaten everything. What should I look for?

The first step is to call your veterinarian immediately to determine what course of action needs to be taken. Overeating can lead to colic and laminitis, while consuming feeds not intended for horses can be fatal. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what to do.  Firstly, if your horse has consumed a large quantity of horse feed, you need to very cautious about an onset of colic or laminitis. Colic is a general term describing stomach discomfort or pain. You must watch your horse carefully for changes in behaviour and closely monitor their vital signs. The common signs of colic are:  Pawing at the ground Looking around at the flank Frequently laying down and getting up Rolling Curling the upper lip Increased heart rate or breathing rate Excessive sweating around the flanks or shoulders Laminitis causes severe pain in the hooves and may be evidenced by lameness, unwillingness to move, slow movement or lying down for long periods. You should closely monitor your horse’s vital signs, and check their hooves for a bounding digital pulse or heat that doesn’t dissipate. Secondly, if your horse has consumed any feed intended for other animals, you should find the feed bag and read the ingredients to your veterinarian. Some of these feeds contain additives or medications that are potentially deadly to horses. Depending on the quantity and type of feed your horse has consumed, your veterinarian will be able to assess the severity of the situation. If you notice any unusual changes in your horse’s vital signs, or suspect colic or laminitis, call your veterinarian immediately.

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How to Determine if Your Horse is Lame

In high intensity horse sports, like campdrafting, eventing and reining, your performance horse is at risk of injury. Learning to correctly identify the source of lameness early can prevent a minor injury from developing into a lengthy recovery.  There are several common signs that indicate lameness, including head bobbing, hip hiking or dropping, and toe dragging when the affected limb hits the ground. A shortened stride can also suggest pain in the hoof or limb.  When diagnosing lameness in your horse, enlist the help of your veterinarian. They will help you pinpoint the exact source and severity of the lameness, and develop a suitable treatment plan to bring your horse back into work safely. Step 1: Look for Injury With the assistance of your veterinarian, stand your horse squarely on even ground and visually examine each leg for lumps, bumps, swelling, wounds, discharge or other signs of external injury. Then, clean and examine each hoof – checking for excess heat and the strength of your horse’s digital pulse. Look for nails, cracks and bruises, and palpate each hoof for sensitive areas with hoof testers. Step 2: Trot Up In a straight line, trot your horse towards and away from your veterinarian while they look for signs of resistance, shortened or uneven stride. Be sure to keep the lead loose so you don’t inhibit any other signs, such as a head bob when the affected limb hits the ground. Step 3: Flexion Tests Flex limbs one at a time for approximately 50 seconds and then trot out in a straight line.  This puts “load” on the limb to mimic strenuous exercise.  This determines if the lameness is worse after work or consistent during or after work. Step 4: Lunge Your Horse The final exercise is to lunge your horse in both directions. Start with a wide circle, then gradually tighten the circle. Usually, the tighter the circle, the more obvious the lameness. With a highly trained eye, your veterinarian will be able to pick up on subtle signs that you may not see.

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My horse ate chicken feed. Is he going to be okay?

I was feeding my horses this morning when I realized that one of them had gotten into the chicken feed- this is a common call we get as Equine Veterinarians. If your horse ate chicken feed, it is important to take action immediately. Chicken feed can be dangerous for horses and can cause serious health problems if left untreated. Symptoms of chicken feed poisoning in horses can include colic, diarrhea, and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to call your vet immediately. Chicken food does not get processed the same way horse feed does and the chicken digestive tract can grind food and tolerate mold and mycotoxins far better than horses can. Often chicken food is completely grain also, which can produce colic, diarrhea, and laminitis in horses. But alternatively chicken can eat horse feed and if you want to read more about it here is a good article on It. Assessing the Situation When you find out that your horse has eaten chicken feed, it’s essential to assess the situation carefully. As a horse owner, it’s natural to be concerned about your horse’s well-being. Here are some things to consider: What to Look For First, check the label on the chicken feed to see what ingredients are listed. If the feed contains any harmful substances, it’s essential to take immediate action. Next, assess the amount of chicken feed your horse has eaten. If it’s a small amount, your horse may be okay, but if it’s a large amount, it could be dangerous. Ring your veterinarian immediately if you think it has consumed more than 2-5 kgs for an adult full-sized horse. Symptoms of Chicken Feed Poisoning Watch your horse closely for any signs of poisoning. Symptoms of chicken feed poisoning can include: If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to call a veterinarian immediately. Treatment Options After discovering that your horse ate chicken feed here are the treatment options: Home Remedies If your horse only ate a small amount of chicken feed, you can try some home remedies. First, remove any remaining chicken feed from your horse’s reach. Then, offer your horse plenty of fresh water to help flush out any toxins. You can also offer hay or grass to help dilute the chicken feed in your horse’s stomach. Keep an eye on your horse for any signs of discomfort or illness. When to Call a Vet If your horse ate a large amount of chicken feed or shows any signs of illness or discomfort, it’s important to call a vet immediately. Signs of illness can include colic, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite. The vet may recommend further treatment, such as administering activated charcoal or intravenous fluids. What to Expect from a Vet Visit During a vet visit, the vet will examine your horse and ask about the amount of chicken feed ingested. The vet may take blood samples or perform other tests to check for any signs of toxicity or illness. Treatment options may include administering activated charcoal to absorb toxins, administering intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration, or providing medication to alleviate symptoms. The vet may also recommend monitoring your horse’s condition for several days after the incident to ensure a full recovery. They may also suggest you keep an eye on your horses feet and their temperature. If the feet become hot the treatment is to give them foot ice baths for 15 minutes every hour for sometimes 48 hours to prevent laminitis from occuring. Preventing Chicken Feed Poisoning Storing Chicken Feed As a responsible horse owner, I know that proper storage of chicken feed is crucial to prevent my horse from eating it. I store my chicken feed in a secure, airtight container that is labeled clearly. This helps to prevent accidental ingestion of chicken feed by my horse. I make sure to always keep the container out of reach of my horse and other animals. Alternative Feeding Options If you are concerned about your horse accidentally ingesting chicken feed, you can consider alternative feeding locations or different food for your poultry. There are many different types of feed available that are specifically formulated and safer for horses if they accidentally eat some. You can talk to your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist to determine the best feeding options for your horse. By following these simple steps, you can help ensure that your horse does not accidentally ingest chicken feed or other harmful substances. Taking these precautions can help keep your horse healthy and happy. Read More About Horse Feeding Topics

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Horse Health: The Spring Health Check

As the seasons change from Winter to Spring, it’s an ideal time to review your horse’s health with your veterinarian. With Spring comes a more active riding and competition schedule, and an assessment of your horse will help to maximise their performance. Our veterinarians are an excellent resource for advice on all aspects of horse management, including preventative medicine, nutrition, body condition, behavioural problems and hoof care. Use Spring to treat your whole horse to gain the most out of the warmer months.  Health Care  Before the busy season begins, a physical examination by your veterinarian will give your horse the best start to an increasing workload. Not only will your vet be able to identify any issues that may affect your horse, but you can also discuss nutritional and training strategies. Vaccination and parasite control are central to your horse’s health. The threat of parasites and biting insects increases as the weather warms, so the start of Spring is the perfect time to protect your horse with vaccinations, de-worming and a faecal egg count. Hoof Care Spring brings many challenges to your horse’s hooves, particularly if they’re kept in soggy or muddy conditions for prolonged periods of time. Thrush and hoof abscesses are common in the wet. A consultation with your vet will aid treatment and prevention. If your horse is encountering any hoof problems in hand or under saddle that relate to shoeing or trimming, it’s important that you resolve these issues well ahead of travel and competitions. Your veterinarian will be able to offer advice on the hoof care solution your horse needs. Nutrition Finally, adequate nutrition and pasture management play a massive role in your horse’s health, energy and immunity. The transition from Winter to Spring can leave your horse susceptible to acute and chronic conditions, like colic or laminitis, if diet changes aren’t managed correctly. Likewise, incorrect feed storage, resulting in contamination by vermin or mouldy hay, can have devastating consequences for your horse. Seek advice from your veterinarian about your horse’s nutritive requirements and safe storage practices on your property.

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5 Tips for Managing the Laminitic Horse in Spring

If you own a horse susceptible to grass-induced laminitis, Spring can make you feel increasingly nervous. However, with knowledge and support, you can provide your laminitic horse with the level of care they need to live comfortably.  Tip 1: Book a Vet Consultation A thorough health check by your veterinarian is highly recommended for the laminitic horse, especially to prevent the symptoms of laminitis recurring this season. With the support of your vet, be sure to check: Your horse’s health and set steps to improve their overall health if needed Your horse’s weight and insulin levels, and set goals to reduce these if they’re too high Your horse’s vaccination and de-worming program to ensure they’re fully protected  Tip 2: Assess Your Horse’s Diet  Careful diet management is crucial to the health of the laminitic horse. A high-fibre, low-carbohydrate diet, comprised mostly of hay, will support your horse’s caloric needs, without overloading on sugar. Tip 3: Manage Turnout Time Pasture, especially during Spring, can pose a high health risk to laminitic horses. Depending on the severity of your horse’s condition, closely monitored turnout during the night or early morning when fructan levels are lowest may be acceptable. Tip 4: Provide Supportive Hoof Care Laminitic horses have unique needs when it comes to hoof care. Shoeing should be avoided for as long as possible in Spring, except where corrective shoeing is required. Trimming should be done by a competent farrier with prior laminitis experience. Tip 5: Support Your Horse’s Wellbeing All horses thrive on freedom of movement, access to pasture and interaction with other horses. Provide your horse with unlimited access to water and hay containing less than 10% sugar, and utilise grazing muzzles or a dirt path system to encourage happy, healthy behaviour.

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Common Horse Hoof Problems During Winter

With the arrival of Winter, the weather can take a toll on your horse’s hooves. Not only are their hooves growing slower, but the cold and wet conditions make them more susceptible to common hoof problems. In this article, we outline the four most prevalent Common Horse Hoof Problems During Winter in Australia. 1. Hoof Abscesses The cold and wet conditions of Winter, along with hardened ground, can lead to the formation of abscesses. Abscesses occur from damage to the hoof, regardless of whether the hoof capsule is penetrated or not during injury. Avoid abscesses by checking your horse’s hooves regularly, picking out dirt and stones, and exercising on softer surfaces throughout Winter. 2. Thrush While fungal conditions are unexpected during Winter, there are many opportunities for them to affect your horse. Stabling on soiled bedding and standing in muddy paddocks for long periods can lead to the development of thrush that thrives in moist environments. Avoid thrush by providing your horse with firm, dry ground and clean out your horse’s hooves daily. 3. Mud Fever and Greasy Heel These painful conditions aren’t caused by the change in season, but can often be exacerbated by wet conditions, muddy ground, and incorrect hoof trimming. Maintaining circulatory health of the lower leg will assist in overcoming these infections. Avoid Mud Fever and Greasy Heels by housing your horse in dry areas, clipping long feathers, and regular hoof trimming. 4. Seedy Toe or White Line Disease Another common infection, Seedy Toe is also exacerbated by the cold and wet conditions of Winter. Most often caused by long hoof growth or horseshoe nails which weaken the white line and allow bacteria to enter. Avoid Seedy Toe, also called White Line Disease, by offering your horse relief from wet environments and regular hoof trimming. Hoof Care Remember, during Winter, the growth rate of your horse’s hooves slows down, which can increase the burden of these common horse hoof problems. Keep an eye on your horse’s hooves and maintain regular trimming to ensure sound, healthy hooves throughout Winter.  

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