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Not all honeys are equal in equine wound care

Amanda Edwards - Thursday, September 28, 2017


Not all honeys are equal in Equine Wound Care

The use of medical grade honey in wound care in humans is backed by some serious high level studies.  Recently this has been further supported in horses by a research study conducted by the University of Sydney Veterinary Department.

Medical grade honey is classified as that which is gamma ray sterilized, has a standardized level of antibacterial properties and is registered as a medical use product.

Medical grade honey has been found to be effective:

As a topical antibacterial and anti-inflammatory treatment across a broad range of bacteria (including some multi resistant bacteria)

  • To reduce the smell of offensive wounds
  • As a non stick agent that doesn’t negatively affect the new growing tissue when removed
  • To maintain a moist wound healing environment and promote healing

Interestingly too, medical grade honey does not seem to create resistance to its antimicrobial properties in the way we are seeing with our modern antibiotics.

Medical grade honeys are generally those sourced from New Zealand and Australian bees feeding on the Leptospermum scoparium bush.  These species contain high levels of the phytochemicals that have antibacterial properties.

It’s important to understand the difference between honeys – not all honeys are equal.  All honeys do have some wound healing properties however these diminish over time and are destroyed by heat.  Honeys produced for consumption on the supermarket shelves have been heat treated to remove impurities. 

I see a lot of people on horsey facebook pages saying it doesn’t matter but it does.

Manuka honey is the most commonly used medical grade honey and it is rated according to the level of antimicrobial factors within.

 “Most honeys are active against bacteria because they contain an enzyme glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide from glucose. With heat treatment and time this enzyme is destroyed.The active constituent in manuka honey is methylglyoxal which actually increase in concentration over time.”  (Dart et al, 2017)

 

 To further complicate matters there are 3 different rating scales NPA, MG0 and UMF. NPA (Non peroxide antimicrobial) is the lab certified level of Non Peroxide Antimicrobial),  UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) is the trademarked industry created measure indicating certain criteria and MGO (Methylglyoxyl) is  the trademarked measure for New Zealand Health products .  NPA relates to the level of enzyme produced. UMF measures the NPA activity and so these are the same rating scale for the purposes of the confused horse owner.  MGO ratings are different and are measured in the hundreds. 

 

(Using NPA scale)

 

In this latest study published in the Australian Veterinary Journal Professor Steven Dart and his team measured the efficiency of Manuka honey.  The team compared UMF 5+ to UMF 20+ and found that the higher level healed heavily infected wounds more rapidly than the lower.

 

The article made the observation that in non complicated, non infected wounds lower grades (between UMF5 and 10) would likely be sufficient and more cost effective.

So when should you use medical grade honey?

  •  During the rebuilding and healing phase of wound healing
  • On infected wounds
  • On chronic wounds

 

How is it applied?

I tend to apply the medi honey to the dressing that I’m going to put over the wound with a spatula rather than trying to apply it directly to the wound area.  It’s easier and less painful for the horse.  If you are using sanitary pads or disposable nappies/diapers put a non stick dressing between the honey and the wound otherwise you might find that the honey is drawn into the diaper/pad instead of acting on the wound.

 

When shouldn’t I use medical honey?

 

  • If advised by your Vet not to use it
  • If your horse exhibits allergy to bees or honey

 

I hope that you have found this review of medical honey useful.  As you can see, not all honeys are equal!

Download your FREE Equine Wound Care Ebook here http://bit.ly/woundebook







Is iodine the right stuff for wounds?

Amanda Edwards - Thursday, August 31, 2017

At our First Response workshop yesterday I covered the topic of what to use to clean and heal wounds.  I talk about the products that shouldn't be used on wounds.  At every workshop almost everyone is surprised to hear that Betadine should not be used on wounds as a first line cleaning solution.  Horse owners love the stuff and unfortunately so do a lot of Vets.  In fact many people will quite passionately argue their love of the stuff with 'well the wound healed'. The problem is we have such little knowledge about how quickly a wound should heal on a horse that if it heals at all we believe that the products did that.  Actually many times they heal in spite of all the things we put on the wound just because horses are generally healthy animals.

There are times when Betadine is a good product to use.  I use a weak Betadine solution on skin fungal infections or penetrating hoof injuries.

The reason I don't use Betadine on wounds is because it is toxic to the healing cells and will actually slow the healing process by drying out the wound bed and damaging the cells in the granulating tissue and cells that are rebuilding.  It's an antiseptic and we don't need an antiseptic for a wound that is not infected.  Iodine is used to kill all the bacteria on skin which is great when you want a sterile area to operate or suture.  That's not what we want when we're healing a wound.  It's not just my opinion either..........there is plenty of evidence out there to support this view and we stopped using Betadine on wounds many years ago in the human wound care space.

There are much better products that can be used to address a bacterial load in a wound than one that will damage it.  

Another thing people often don't know either is that the active product in Betadine starts to diminish and denature after the bottle is opened.  It's recommended that you discard 4 weeks after opening.

As i'm fond of saying it's important to use the match the product you are using to the stage of healing.  If you'd like more information on wound healing download our free e book here at http://bit.ly/woundebook


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Rug sores and the high withered horse

Amanda Edwards - Thursday, August 24, 2017

Rug rubbing Blog

Wither sores from rug friction?  Here’s a cool tip to get the pressure off the area you’ll love.

In the South Eastern States of Australia we’re almost at the end of winter.  This is often the time when horses have changed shape and the rugs rub on the withers and shoulders.  These can cause nasty sores which is why it’s important to take rugs off at least once a week winter.

We have an elderly retiree on the property called Fred.  Fred’s a 28 year old TB with a very high wither.  Earlier in the year he was doing poorly and we thought it might be his time.  With a bit of TLC he’s done well though and has steadily gained weight and health.  This week it rained most days and I suspect the rug got wet around the edges.  When we took it off we found this nasty sore underneath.

Now, ideally we’d leave the rug off but we’re near Ballarat – it’s cold, he’s old and not in good enough condition to cope with no rugs.  

A bit too light on for no rugs.  And you can see how high his withers are!

So here’s what we did after cleaning with normal saline.

We got a bib with a nice bit sheepskin down the middle.  Then I cut off the feet of a pair of stockings and filled them with some rags to make a couple of bolsters and sewed them either side.

Once in position it kept the pressure off the top of the wither

Like so!

Then we put a polar fleece and light doona rug over the top

Worked a treat.  2 days later and pretty much healed over.  He’s certainly most comfortable.  This is the sort of thing we will do to protect bony areas under bandages used in wound care too.  Simple, cheap and very effective!

For more information on Equine Wound Care download our free ebook Maximum healing, minimum time frame.

Happy horsing!

Cheers, Amanda

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betadineequinewoundsno

Amanda Edwards - Sunday, February 26, 2017

At our First Response workshop yesterday I covered the topic of what to use to clean and heal wounds.  I talk about the products that shouldn't be used on wounds.  At every workshop almost everyone is surprised to hear that Betadine should not be used on wounds as a first line cleaning solution.  Horse owners love the stuff and unfortunately so do a lot of Vets.  In fact many people will quite passionately argue their love of the stuff with 'well the wound healed'. The problem is we have such little knowledge about how quickly a wound should heal on a horse that if it heals at all we believe that the products did that.  Actually many times they heal in spite of all the things we put on the wound just because horses are generally healthy animals.

There are times when Betadine is a good product to use.  I use a weak Betadine solution on skin fungal infections or penetrating hoof injuries.

The reason I don't use Betadine on wounds is because it is toxic to the healing cells and will actually slow the healing process by drying out the wound bed and damaging the cells in the granulating tissue and cells that are rebuilding.  It's an antiseptic and we don't need an antiseptic for a wound that is not infected.  Iodine is used to kill all the bacteria on skin which is great when you want a sterile area to operate or suture.  That's not what we want when we're healing a wound.  It's not just my opinion either..........there is plenty of evidence out there to support this view and we stopped using Betadine on wounds many years ago in the human wound care space.

There are much better products that can be used to address a bacterial load in a wound than one that will damage it.  

Another thing people often don't know either is that the active product in Betadine starts to diminish and denature after the bottle is opened.  It's recommended that you discard 4 weeks after opening.

As i'm fond of saying it's important to use the match the product you are using to the stage of healing.  If you'd like more information on wound healing download our free e book using the form below.


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Winter tips for keeping your horse healthy in the cold

Amanda Edwards - Sunday, June 05, 2016

Winter is often a time when many of us don’t ride as often or spend as much time with our horse. And whilst our winters are not as harsh as in other countries they can be cold and wet, particularly in the South East States of the country.  Commonly we see an increase in conditions such as greasy heal, seedy toe, thrush, hoof abscess, rain scald, coughs, colds.  Injuries include sprains, strains and cuts through slips and falls.  Older horses and not so good doers can lose a lot of weight very quickly which can be hard to get back.

Here are 5 tips for keeping your horse in best shape during this time.

  1. Keep hooves tidy and trimmed over winter.  This is so important and also easy to get behind in if you’re not riding as much.
    1.  Seedy toe is a bacteria that will infect cracks in the outer hoof and break it down creating large gaps and holes.  This leads the way for further infections and ultimately lameness.  Work with your farrier to treat.
    2. Thrush is a really annoying and difficult to treat fungal infection affecting the sole and frog of the hoof.  You know your horse has thrush by the foul smell (like stinky runners) when you pick them out.  Thrush thrives in the dark and loves a hoof full of mud.  The best way to treat it is to prevent it.  Even if you are not riding your horse pick out their feet each day or two so air gets to them.  If it’s possible make sure your horse has an dry/sandy/gravel area they can get to so they get out of the mud. If your horse does get thrush you will need to attend to it daily under advice from your farrier or Vet as it can literally eat away the frog causing pain and lameness.
    3. Greasy heel is a bacterial infection and highly contagious.  It’s very painful and irritating for horses. Prevent by keeping them out of mud and cleaning it off regularly.
    4. Hoof abscess can have a range of causes but commonly bacteria tracks up into the hoof via cracks or white wall separation.  Very tricky to manage if you don’t have a stable or dry area. 
    5. Take rugs off at least weekly but preferably 2-3 times or daily.  Groom the horse to increase circulation and remove dirt build up which can  cause skin to itch or hair to fall out in patches.   This can occur If the horse has become wet under the rug.  It’s a bacteria and will need to be treated with antibacterial wash 3-4 times for a week or two.  Check leg straps and front buckles haven’t rubbed or cut into the horse’s inner legs. Check for any cuts, sprains or strains.
    6. Keep horses together in groups if possible.  As we know horses are herd animals.  The naturally do better together.  Horses will huddle together to keep warmer, they are less stressed and hold weight better.  If they are less stressed and have good weight then they are less likely to get respiratory conditions such as coughs and colds.
    7. Feed according to need keeping in mind that horses are designed to eat grass and grazing food 16 out of 24 hours per day.  We have a tendency to feed once or twice per day.  Many areas have been drought affected again this year so grazing is limited.  The problems with this bolus feeding can be the development of gastric ulcers (estimated to be present in about 40% of domestic horses) which then lead to weight loss, behavioural problems and even colic.  A better option is access to good quality hay at all times.  I like to use hay rolls due to their ease of management.  The down side of this is the potential for horses to stand around and gorge themselves until it’s all gone.  We use slow feeder hay nets to slow them down – both small bale and round bale sizes.  It’s a bit like drinking a thick shake with a small straw!
    8. Lastly, make sure you check out your paddocks regularly for items that may cause injury.  Horse shoes that have been sucked off in the mud with nails in them are a common cause of penetrating hoof injuries.  Check for star picket posts that have moved and could cause staking injuries like the one in the picture.  This horse was coming back across a swollen creek in the paddock and staked himself on dislodged post.  Check fences to see that they are still intact and working particularly the electrics.

Winter may be a time when our riding slows down a little and it brings with it some horse health challenges.  Prevention is much better (and cheaper!) than cure so take a little time each week to stay on top of everything and you’ll be back in full force come Spring.  Happy Horsing.

Are deworming pastes enough?

Amanda Edwards - Sunday, June 05, 2016

Most horse owners worm their horses regularly.  Some worm every time the farrier comes, some at the start of every season.  But how many of us really know what we are doing and is it the right thing to do?

According to mounting research this probably isn’t the best way of protecting our horses into the future.  What the researchers are finding is that some worms are becoming resistant to the drugs in the worming paste.  This means they may not work anymore.  As there are not very many different types and no new drugs being developed this could become a big problem.

First things first what are worms and why do we need to worry about them?

Worms are parasites that live off the horse.  There are several different types but essentially they follow the same pattern.  The eggs are in the grass and on the ground, horse eats the eggs which then hatch inside as larvae (baby worms).  These then live in different parts of the horse and feeding either directly off the horse’s insides or off the food the horse eats.  Once they grow up into adults and then lay eggs which leave the horse via the manure.  Then the cycle starts again.

They are dangerous to the horse because the worms are either taking away the nutrients the horse is eating or causing damage to the gut lining by embedding themselves into it.  If there are a lot of worms this can cause the horse to lose condition, have a low blood count,  get stomach ulcers, develop colic and even die as a result.

These are the more common worms affecting horses.


Common name

Picture

Fancy name

Horse problem

Treat

Large Redworms

Nadis.org.uk

Large strongyles

Fever, tiredness, gut problems, anaemia through damage to blood vessels and internal bleeding.  These worms hook into the blood vessels in the bowel and suck the blood from the horse.  Very important for foals to be wormed against these.

Spring

Small Redworms

Nadis.org.uk

Cyathostomes 

These little guys form cysts and attach themselves in the wall of the bowel.  They can stay there for up to 3 years.  They are hard to detect too. The number of worms encysted in the wall of the intestine does not equal the number of eggs in the manure.  Treat for these whether they are identified in faecal egg count testing or not. *Faecal egg count will NOT tell you if your horse has encysted cystathomes and they are killers.

Spring, Winter

Bots

(©Tracy Chapman)

Gasterophilus

Bot eggs are laid on the horse.  Horse scratches and licks the eggs.  Eggs hatch, worms attach themselves to the stomach lining.  Large numbers can cause the horse to lose condition and have gut ulcers. There are often lots of them .  Gastric ulcers, colic, poor condition are often signs.

Autumn 

Roundworms

valleyvet.com

P.Equqoras

These worms are nasty.  They are long and can grow up to 60 cm!  They get into the liver, bile ducts and lungs.  The horse may cough excessively without other symptoms of a cold.  The worm eats the food the horse digests and so the horse doesn’t get the nutrients it needs.

Pinworm

valleyvet.com

O.equi

These tiny worms sit on the outside of the anus causing itchiness.  The horse scratches its tail a lot and can rub it out.  Other than that they don’t cause serious problems.

Tapeworm

Nadis.org.uk

Anoplocephala

Gut ulcers, colic, poor condition,

Ascarids

Nadis.org.uk

Pasacaris equorum

These guys are why it’s critical to worm foals in their first months of life.  Ascarids are only found in foals and they grow up to 10-15cm inside the horse.  They get into the liver and lungs as well as the bowel.  If they haven’t been treated early when the horse does get wormed and the worms die they get stuck in the bowel and cause constipation, obstruction and colic.

In the past Large Redworms were a major problem in Australia and were the reason that 6-8 week worming was recommended.  Now, however, these have been mostly eradicated tend to only be an issue for foals.

Now, small redworms (cyathostomes), bots and tapeworms are more of a problem.  Small redworms travel as larvae to the large bowel, form cysts that attach to the wall.   If there are lots of them and they all hatch at once they release toxins which cause the horse to scour, develop colic or even die.  This is triggered by worming and killing the strongyles in the gut which sends a signal to the encysted strongyles to ‘hatch’.  The massive release of strongyles and their waste products are toxic to the horse.  This is called Larval Cyathostomosis and can look a lot like colic.  The horse develops scouring, weight loss and becomes very ill and may die.  The worst thing about this is that the horse can look very well before this happens and it’s often misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated.

This is why it is important to get worming right.

Bot worms found inside a horse who died of colic

Managing worms is not as simple as buying a worm paste and giving it often.  Latest advice about deworming suggests the following:

  1. Manage the Poo!  Pick up poo in small paddocks or yards every 2-3 days, in stables at least daily.  In larger paddocks avoid overgrazing and rotate horses to other paddocks when the grass gets shorter than 5cm.  Harrow the paddock and leave to rest for 6-8 weeks.  If you don’t rest the paddock you are just spreading the worms around and feeding them to your horse which makes harrowing a problem not a solution!
  2. Some horses will need worming more often than others.  Doing fecal egg count tests can tell you which horses need worming and whether the worming has been effective.  (note this is not the case for redworms as they don’t produce eggs)  Check out stockwatch lab for more info.
  3. Get some dung beatles – they love to eat poo and this helps break the worm life cycle.  Buy them from John Feehan at the Dung Beetle Expert
  4. Use the right wormer at the right time, that is,  the point at which it will kill the most worms.  This is largely dependent on the weather.  Worms can survive the cold, thrive in temperate weather but cannot cope with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius.  Use this to your advantage and deworm around this.
  5. Making sure that new horses are wormed on arrival and kept separate from the others for 4 days.  Oh, and pick up their poo too!
  6. Make sure that you give the dose according to the weight of the horse……….if you don’t know this use a weight tape and add 10%.  Better to overdose a little than underdose, except in foals, ponies and minis.  And don’t let him spit it out either!  Weight tapes are a guide and I’ve found that they underestimate weight. 
  7. Suspected small strongyle encystation should be treated with 5 days of Panacur followed up with a wormer in Spring and then again in Autumn that has a moxidectin in it.
  8. Don’t Rotate dewormers - Rotation of dewormers is no longer recommended and is now considered to be causing resistance to dewormers across the world.

Wormer family

Includes the following active drugs

Active against

Common Brand names that include these drugs

Macrolytic lactones (mectins)

Abermectin

Invermectin

moxidectin

Round worms and bot larvae

Equimax, equiminth, equaquell, equimax LV, equiminth invermectin liquid, equest

Benzimidazoles (dazoles)

Oxibendazole

Oxfendazole

Fendbendizole

Redworms at all stages and if they are embedded in the gut

Strategy T, oximinth, oximinth plus, Fencar 100, panacur 100

Praziquantel

praziquantel

Tapeworms

Equimax, equimax LV

Tetrahydropyrimadines (antels)

Pyrantel

Morantel

Tapeworms and roundworms.  (morantel minimal effect on tapeworms)

Strategy T, ammo

Organophosphates (chlor…)

Dichlorvos

Trichlorfan

Bot worms and larvae

Oxyminth plus

Telmin – Plus

I have read lots of papers and information on deworming but my favourite and best resource on deworming is written by fellow Australian Dr. Ann Nyland.  I’m going to give this little ebook ‘What you don’t’ know about worms will surprise you’  a big plug here.  The information is evidence based, practical and easy to understand.  She gives a clear outline of what to worm and when in much greater detail than is covered here as well as covering other worms and worm related issues.  For around $5.00 it’s a great buy and something every horse owner should read. On top of that the proceeds go towards helping Ann look after rescue horses.   Get it here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/600944 .  PS:  I don’t have any connection to Ann – I just think it’s a great reference!


Building an off the grid equine facility; Part 1

Amanda Edwards - Monday, February 01, 2016

I am going to open this blog by saying we are no experts on this subject. However, this is what we have experienced during our development of the new Equine Care Clinic Facility as owner/builders. This process has taken a serious amount of planning, time and effort and for those of you who are looking at developing a current or new horse property you need to be prepared for a A LOT of hard thinking. But in the end the process and product is very rewarding so at least you have something to look forward to.

Firstly we recommend that you start by organising a meeting at your local council. Speak to them about any questions you have about building any infrastructure, water management, amenities, effluent zones, environmental overlays and permits, you name it ask the question and follow up the answer. This is probably the most tedious part of the entire process, prepare for a serious amount of frustrating back and forth. But once you know your parameters you know what you are working with. One question we found useful to ask was “are there any other potential barriers or permits we may need to apply for?” Councils are used to working with builders who know the rules so they assume you do to. Even if you are working with a project manager or building company you still need to clearly articulate your end goal so they can help you get there.

Once you have spoken with your council it is time to decide what you need in terms of infrastructure. Do you need a 8 horse stable complex for your two retired oldies and a pleasure horse that you ride on a casual basis? Probably not.... It is wise to remember that the bigger you go the more maintenance you will have. So really have a think about what you need. Now is also a good time to consider your budget. Have a good look a your finances and stick to what you can afford. For those of you who have a tighter budget do not be dismayed, there are a number of options such as DIY, using subcontractors and self managing your build. Once you have decided your budget and the infrastructure that you want, shop around for some quotes from reputable builders. Ask them for references and have a look at the quality of their work before you commit to anything.

So now that you have a budget and a building in mind it is time to decide where you are going to put it. The things that we considered during this process were

  • Accessibility

  • land topography

  • Proximity to Utilities

  • Wind and light direction and passive solar benefits

  • Existing Infrastructure ( Fences, house, other sheds, driveways)

  • Tree Removal

  • Property flow

  • Fire Risk

  • Water flow during periods of rain

For example one of the buildings that we are building is a large two storey 15m X 20m shed that will house the Equine Care Clinic's stable and teaching facilities. We spent quite a bit of time giving this serious thought and consideration. Because there was no previous infrastructure on our block of land we had to put in driveways to all our building sites. The place we chose for the Shed then had to be cut and filled and have drainage put in. we had to design the interior configuration to best suit the wind direction and remove part of an existing fence to fit it all within the permitted zone. We wanted to work around existing trees and vegetation as possible. We also want any horses that need long term stabling to be able to visualise other horses at all times so a room with a view was important too!

Then we had to think of the workflow. Where was the compost pile going to be? Where was the tack room in relation to the wash bay and grooming area? Was there enough room next to the shed to put in the arena? How would the yards and paddocks flow from this? How would horses get in and out, how do we design for safety with horse movement? Where does water run off go? What's the best way to design for good infection control? A thousand questions to be answered before we even put a peg in the ground!

Being a visual person I find it difficult to work from plans and imagine the final outcome.

Things that helped were:

  • printed out pictures of the block that we could draw on.

  • Grid paper to plot potential angles.

  • Leggo to build models and 'walk' through the potential scenarios.

  • Standing on the block and actually walking it all through using cans of paint to mark out the proposed options

  • Looking at other people's set up and talking to them about what works and what doesn't.

I'm sure we will build it and there will still be things we didn't think of but after lots of discussion we're hoping we'll tick a lot of the boxes. If you can think of anything else, we'd love to hear from you. What worked for you? What do you wish you hadn't done?

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HorseSense - Get more of it!!

Amanda Edwards - Sunday, January 24, 2016

Exciting news.  Do you like to learn on the run?  In the car, at the gym,  picking up poo?  Then I have a treat for you which I’m just busting to share!!!  The first Australian Equestrian Podcast Radio Show  for all things horsey is being launched on Tuesday, Australia Day.  HorseSense is a podcast radio show you can listen to wherever and whenever you want. If you love hearing practical, relevant, up to date and inspirational information about horses you are going to love this!   It’s been the little project I’ve been working on while our new Equine Care Clinic is being built.  The line up is fantastic.  I’ve recorded interviews with

·         Lynne Blighton, an amazing older lady who was one of Australia’s early women jockeys

·         Sue Martin from Equine and Canine Health talking horses, herbs and holistic health

·         Steve Brinkworth, horse (and people) educator extraordinaire on his No Buck training and retraining methods for calm, sensible horses of all disciplines

·         Dr. Shannon Lee, Equine Dental Vet, talking all things teeth and busting dental myths

·         Dr. Barbara Padalino, Equine Vet and PhD Candidate at University of New South Wales on her research on horse transport and travel sickness.

·         Emeritus Professor Bob Cook on the likely reason for Sudden Cardiac Arrest in horses (think Admire Ratki) at the last Melbourne Cup.  If he is right, this turns everything we think we know about using bits on its head.

·         Pauline Naudi, First Responder for the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance Group on best practice management of Cushings and Insulin Resistance

·         Tanja Mitton, author of 7 Steps to the Mindset of an Equestrian Champion, talks overcoming fears and reaching your best potential.

And the list of upcoming recordings is just as impressive.

So, you might ask, How do I access HorseSense Podcast?

It’s easy!  You can access from your phone or mobile device or your computer.

For Iphone users simply click on the podcast app is a purple app already installed on your phone, type HorseSense into the search bar, click on the icon and then click subscribe.  Episodes will automatically come into your ‘feed’.  To listen each week all you have to do is click on the episode and it will play for you.

Android users need to download the Stitcher (a black icon with red, blue stripes) or audioBoom  (a big B with pale blue lightening strike)  app and do the same thing.  Search for HorseSense and click to subscribe.  Then each week your episode will come into your channel and you just click on it to play.

If you have a fancy car that comes with Stitcher already in it it’s even simpler – just search and subscribe!

From your computer simply:

1.        Go to itunes store

2.       In the search bar type in HorseSense

3.       Under the icon, click the subscribe button.

4.       Click on the episode that you want and click play.

Or you can go to the Podcast page on our Website at the Equine Care Clinic and click on the link.

If you can’t work it out just message me and I’ll walk you through it.

Tune in each week for your dose of great horse information and inspiration.

Take the Ouch out of long term intramuscular injections for horses

Amanda Edwards - Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Recently I was contacted by a horse owner who was desperate for some help.  Her horse had injured itself on a fence post and had a bone infection.  The prognosis was not great and his only chance was the high doses of antibiotics the Vet had prescribed for around 4 weeks.  Things had started out well but by day 8 the horse was over it.  He was becoming very stressed and fought the injections which was making it almost impossible to do.  Rather than switching to less effective oral medication the owner wanted to keep going.  We talked through a plan of action which included the following steps:

  1. Initially giving a dose of Bute before the injection to reduce the inflammation and pain in his neck.
  2. Rotating sites to include pectoral muscles.
  3. Applying heat packs prior to injecting
  4. Applying cool packs for 15 minutes after the injection to reduce pain and swelling
  5. Last, but most importantly, using the Steve Brinkworth training method to teach the horse to lower his neck and relax the muscle when the needle was inserted. www.stevebrinkworth.com

Fortunately, this owner was persistant and able to put the plan in place.  Her horse received all his medication and survived his injury.

Download a free video demonstrating administration of intramuscular injections.

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Horses with Hives – what to do?

Amanda Edwards - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Last year I did a short talk for the lovely folk at Werribee Pony Club and one of the members, Taylor asked me about her horse who gets a rash each year around Autumn.  Taylor said that the Vet had come and given hydrocortisone injections and anti histamine medication which helped the horse but it still came back. The Vet suggested that the next step was allergy testing but  at several thousand dollars, it’s not really viable.  

Hives are categorised as an ‘urticarial’ (itchy) rash.  The lumps are soft and fluid filled and may cover parts of the body or be all over.  They may come up quickly in response to a reaction to a medication or insect bites or come and go like Taylor’s horse.

Picture sourced from www.equestrianandhorse.com

The reasons for the rash can be many and varied and it’s important to try and eliminate them one at a time.

If your horse comes up in such a rash it’s important to check that it is not causing facial swelling which may impede his breathing or cause his eyes to swell and make it difficult for him to see properly. If this happens call your Vet immediately.

If the rash is something like the one in the picture however, Veterinary care may be required but is not as urgent.  It may go away of it’s own accord in a day or two.  As in Taylor’s case, anti inflammatory and antihistamine medication may make the rash go away and not return.

Check your horse’s paddock for possible causes. Is there an ant nest near the feed or water area?  In summer one of our horse’s, Snoopy, has a favourite place under the pine trees.  Unfortunately it’s also a favourite place of the mosquitos and her head often looks like the picture above.  Whilst not true ‘hives’ it tends to look the same.

Are there plants that flower at the same time of year that the horse gets hives?  Try moving the horse to another paddock where there are none of these plants and see if that helps.  Is there a change of feed.  The idea is that you eliminate one potential item at a time to try and work out what it is.

This can be tricky though and you still may not be able to work out the culprit.

Get your Vet to do a full work up on your horse as the cause may also be hormonal.  Discuss the possible management courses.  You may have to live with the fact that sometimes you will need to give your horse some anti histamines or anti inflammatory medication.  This can be a real problem if you are competing where your horse is likely to be swabbed.

It’s worth trying some herbal approaches as well.  The idea here is that some herbs will dampen the allergy response.

A review of herbalist articles suggests the following can be helpful.

Rosehips have a high level of Vitamin C which is a natural anti inflammatory response.  15-20g/day for full size horse.

Garlic 15-30g granules each day can supress the histamine response.

A handful of Chamomile flowers each day calms the allergic response.

Add Omega 3 fatty acids to your horse’s diet either through Chia or Flaxseeds or the addition of Omega 3 oils to the feed also helps reduce inflammation.

And finally, Spirulina, a blue green algae (a good kind) is said to be a strong anti allergen as well as have a range of other benefits.  Feed 20mg morning and night for a large horse.  (Sweeney, M, 2004)

There are a number of very reputable herbalists who work with horses and for specific cases it is best to consult with one of them.  Try  Sue at Natural Equine & Canine Health http://www.naturalequinehealth.com.au/ or  Victoria Ferguson at www.thecountryherbalist.com.au

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