Feed & Nutrition

How many of us remember the days when the only way to find out the facts on a subject was to go to the library and look it up? Answers to questions we had about the care or feeding of our horses might have been found in one of the many reference books we all owned. Or, maybe we would find the information we were looking for by perusing the many equine magazines we kept “just in case.”

Equine Guelph, Dr. Bri Henderson, how test horse dehydration, horse dehydration, equine mucous membranes, equine capillary refill

“Hydration is everything. The correct balance of water and body salts controls everything from the brain to the gut. As dehydration develops we risk our horse’s health and welfare by stressing their hearts, kidneys, and gut function. From the polished show horse to the race horse to the beloved pasture horse, we must ensure access to clean drinking water and CORRECT replacement of electrolytes lost through sweating.”

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If you have ever evaluated your horse’s ration or tried to calculate an appropriate dose of dewormer for a growing horse, you will know that accurate estimation of your horse’s body weight is important for meaningful results. While we all know that a mechanical or digital scale is probably the best way to evaluate the weight of your horse, not many of us have convenient access to one. Horse owners do have access to other tools for estimating the body weight of their horses. Weight tapes, for example, are inexpensive and readily obtainable at most feed stores.

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Horse owners have been wetting or soaking hay as a feed management practice for many years. Soaking hay for horses can be invaluable when feeding a hay that is a little dusty as a result of soil contamination or where it was stored in the barn. Horses that have allergies and are sensitive to the natural dust and particles in hay can benefit significantly from wetting or soaking hay.

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Donkeys are highly adaptable feeders. If given the opportunity, they will consume a variety of different grasses and shrubs to obtain sufficient nutrients. It is generally accepted that the donkey can exist with less food than a horse. Their efficient utilization of food makes donkeys easy keepers, but don’t let the term misguide you. It is important to take care in determining when and how much to feed as obesity is a major concern in modern domesticated donkeys.

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Horse owners know how important good nutrition is to the health and performance of their animals. They spend considerable time and money ensuring that their horses are provided with the nutrition they need to do a job and stay healthy. There is a great deal of debate in the equine industry today about feed and its safety or suitability for our horses.

Equine Cushing’s Disease, more correctly called Pars Pituitary Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), is a non-cancerous but progressive enlargement of the pituitary gland in the horse. It is estimated that 20 percent of horses over the age of 15 will develop PPID. Note that Cushing’s Syndrome in humans and dogs (when not due to giving too much steroidal medication) involves an actual tumour of either the pituitary or the adrenal glands, (either benign or malignant), whereas Cushing’s Disease in horses has a different cause.

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Manitoba Horse Council