Tag Archives: Horse Care

Equi Resp Nebulizer

Several months ago, I had the opportunity to learn about the Equi-Resp from Tonda Collins, the owner of the company.  I was thoroughly impressed with the thoughtfulness that went into the design of this nebulizer.  The unit has multiple fans to help keep the motor free of dust and ensure a long lifetime of use.  It seemed easy to use, with only a few parts: a motor, a mask, and the tubing and cup. 

Perhaps, most importantly, it had clinical data behind it in the form of a nuclear scintigraphy study performed by Rood & Riddle.  The results of the nuclear scintigraphy procedure proved that this machine, when used at the proper psi, would effectively deliver medication to the horse’s lungs and respiratory system.  Therefore, I felt confident that the Equi-Resp would be a fantastic neb unit at a very reasonable price for our thoroughbred and standardbred race horse customers, and maybe some serious barrel racers as well.

A Cure For Chronic Sinus Problems?

Turns out, I was not wrong about that, but I completely underestimated the usefulness of this machine for every horse in every discipline.  One of my horses has been struggling with a chronic sinus issue.  His right nostril was draining constantly.  Faced with the prospect of taking the horse for a sinus scope and possible flap surgery costing thousands of dollars, I decided that I would first try the Equi-Resp. 


Equi Resp Nebulizer Complete

Above all, I have been thrilled with the results!  As a result of using the Equi Resp, the horse drained and drained.  My wife and I used the unit on him twice a day.  We found it extremely easy to use and disinfect after use.  Currently, we are down to using the Equi-Resp on him once to twice per week, and he is doing much better.  We plan on continuing to use it on this horse one to two times per week for the foreseeable future.

A Nebulizer For Any Horse

My wife and I decided to try it on other horses.  If a horse was coughing, out came the Equi-Resp.  What I found most surprising was that the horses enjoyed it.  I had envisioned a crazy-eyed horse rearing and backing up the moment I turned it on – maybe even running down the barn aisle with the machine flailing about behind it.  So far, every horse we have put the neb unit on has just relaxed into it and stood quietly.  Every single one.  This includes an Arabian weanling.


EquiSilver Respiratory Solution 16 oz

During show season, we have decided it would be a really good idea to use the Equi-Resp at the show, especially shows that last more than a few days, and on horses returning from the show.  The chelated silver solution will knock out any bugs the horse may have picked up while traveling or from a barn mate down the aisle.  It does not matter what discipline you are showing in, this machine will help keep your horse healthy, and improve performance.

Respiratory ailments are very common during the winter months.  I know that I do my best to keep my barn as warm as possible.  However, that also means there are more contaminants in the air since my barn doors are closed.  Regular use of the Equi-Resp will help ward off those infections and keep your horse’s airways clear and clean. 

If you have a horse that has allergies, COPD, Roaring, Heaves, etc., try the Equi-Resp.  This includes the motor, with two internal fans, two medicine cup and tubing sets, the mask (which is flexible and will not break if dropped – I know), a bottle of Pure (cleaner), and a bottle of Equi Silver nebulizer solution.  Replacement cups and tubing are sold in sets of two.  If you have been on the fence about purchasing one of these machines, I would encourage you to make the investment.  My horses and I are glad I did!

Written by Grant R, one of our Showroom Managers.

Horsepower

horses running

No matter what horsepower you are taking care of this winter, a sports car, boat or our 4-legged friends preparation is key to keep performance high.  Heading into fall all horse owners, stable owners, horse lovers, trainers, and riders should be thinking ahead to  fall horse care before the first flakes fly or cold weather strikes.

An Ounce of Prevention

Horse activities may be slowing down but much like a boat or a seasonal vehicle, your horse needs care going into the winter months. No, you don’t need to pull the battery, shrink wrap and dry dock, or add more antifreeze but you will need to give this some thought. Beyond buying a blanket, fall health maintenance is a consideration. While cooler temperatures diminish insect-born disease, core vaccines and boosters could be needed. Mares who will be foaling bay foal standing beside grey mareduring the winter months need to be on a vaccine schedule consistent  with their due date. Likewise, foals that are weaned this fall will begin their own vaccination schedule. Check the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) website for recommended vaccine guidelines. Set up a herd health review with your veterinarian. Most veterinarians recommend at minimum vaccines, deworming and teeth floating.

Horse Care 101

Blanketing is a personal decision depending on your horse’s job. If he is a pasture pal he could get by with just a turnout rug for wet weather. Horses are generally healthy being out in the elements if they have a shelter, water, and forage. If you are on the show circuit, finishing or continuing your race meet, blanketing will be necessary to ensure a lighter hair coat for competition. Heavy exercise in cold weather can make cool-out time longer. Blanketing and clipping can help. Remember, stabled horses need year-round daily exercise and plenty of hay and water through their day to avoid health issues. hay bag tied to trailerUsing slow feed hay nets is a great idea for stabled horses and could cut down on hay cost. You may decide to pull your horse’s shoes. Just like checking your tires for the winter be prepared with an easy boot or two in the barn to handle any hoof issues that may crop up during turnout on frozen ground.

Fencekeeping

Is that a word? Nothing is more aggravating than a downed board in bay horse walking in pasturethe middle of winter during the worst snowstorm…it always happens that way am I right? Avoid this scenario by taking a walk-about to check fencing.  Pick up fencing tools and repair items, and keep a toolkit in the tack room.

It is the perfect time of year! Fly free weather is around the corner. So trail riding on bridle pathenjoy trail riding through the leaves, showing or racing.  Remember “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man”, Winston Churchill.  Take care of your horse and he will take care of you!

Written by  Big Dee’s Web Products Specialist, Kathy Kilbane

 

Clean brushes for healthy horses!

Horse Brushes are quite possibly one of the most collected, and frequently used tools in the barn. Whether your go-to brush is a synthetic mud brush or a natural fiber body brush, any brush is going to get dirty with time. Before you condemn you favorites to the bottom of the bag or worse… read on about how to clean brushes for the health of your horse and the longevity to your grooming kit!

Do I really need to clean my brushes?

Dirty Brushes
Dirty brushes can harbor bacteria, fungus and creepy crawlies.

Not only are dirty brushes unsightly but they can also harbor fungus, bacteria and even creepy crawlies. Taking a moment to clean your brushes not only helps to extend their life, but also helps to ensure that your horse is getting the best and healthiest grooming possible. Plus it is really tough to get a horse really clean with a gross, dirty brush. If you are Continue reading Clean brushes for healthy horses!

Don’t Leave It To Beaver

If you are like most horse owners’ winter represents a big change in horse care, stabling and enjoyment of our equine friends. The dreaded four letter word, snow, is on the way for those horse owners living in colder climates, however winter signals change for all horses and owners. As we begin to stable more and turn out less horses boredom levels can rise. Farm buildings, stalls and even trees may take the brunt of this when horses begin to chew wood, crib or wind suck. There are differences to these behaviors but most horse owners agree they are not ideal behaviors. These equine beavers can destroy our stables and wreck havoc on their own health in the process. It is incumbent on us to help our horses through these behaviors and to save our own sanity!

This horse is chewing on a fence rain

Let’s look at the what

Cribbing in horse terms is the physical behavior of a horse latching on to a hard surface, arching the neck and sucking in air. As we investigate this stable vice we find the behavior could be associated to stomach ulcers and may develop into colic. Another related behavior, wind sucking, is the act of sucking in air without latching on to a hard surface.  Finally wood chewers can eat us out of stable and barn in no time causing unsightly barns and paddocks not to mention costly repairs.

The emotional why

These three behaviors are thought to be caused by boredom, frustration, habit and/or nutritional deficiencies. Boredom and frustration may be relieved by the numerous stall and paddock toys available. Equine animals in the wild were foragers. Horses are rudimentary animals and as such rely on routine.  For stabled horses, feeding small amounts of hay throughout the day can help them follow a natural routine in a less than natural life.  Slow hay feeders during turnout can also help with boredom but be sure to incorporate ample grazing and regular exercise. As for the elephant or equine beaver in the room pastes, sprays and wood chewing deterrent applications are available. But take heed they may make the problem worse.  When these remedies fail, capping stall doors fence posts and interior stall partitions with metal or mesh or stringing electric fence in the cribbing or chewing area can discourage this behavior and save our horses from indigesting wood splinters.

The physical why

Nutritional deficiencies or gastric ulcers can be the root cause. Be sure to discuss the situation with your veterinarian who will examine your horse and perform blood testing to identify any minerals lacking in the diet. If mineral deficiencies are the culprit supplements can be fed. Something as simple as a salt block can often help. If gastric ulcers are suspected many remedies are available to horse owners. Simply using a grazing muzzle could be the ticket to solving the issue.

Grazing Muzzles for horses

Can you manage the habit?

Managing horses with these behaviors can be challenging but not impossible. Regular exercise, turnout or hand walking and regular grooming may help with boredom. Working with your veterinarian, stable owner, trainer, other horse people and Big Dee’s can be insightful. Horses give us such enjoyment. They can be our friends and our therapists; wouldn’t you agree that they need the same from us in return.

Himalayan Rock Salt is great for horsesCheck out our website for a full line of equine products to help curb these behaviors.

Click here for Cribbing and Habit Control Solutions

This article was written by Kathy Kilbane – Big Dee’s Web Products Specialist

Horse Feed Room Storage and Organization

Feed Room Storage and Organization

Feed Scoop | Big Dee's
Horse Feed Storage and Feed Room Organization

The efficiency of feeding time is reliant on how well organized and accessible your grain and supplements are stored. From a small back-yard barn to the largest boarding facilities the ultimate goal should be the same: ease of use, maintaining feed quality, accuracy of feeding and minimizing unnecessary footsteps. I hope to offer some great ideas on how to handle feed room storage and feed room organization.

Having a safe and secure feed storage area will aid in ensuring the overall health and well-being of your horse. While we never wish for a horse to get loose, it is always a possibility and as such all grain should be kept in an area off-limits to horses. If your facility does not have a separate stall or room that can be secured from the threat of a loose horse you will need to source feed storage containers that horses are unable to break into. Do not be fooled by that reassuring click of a trash can, horses can get into them successfully and the results of a horse overeating can be devastating.

Feed Storage

Grain stored in bags can be susceptible moisture and rodent damage and could easily be damaged by a loose horse.  Grain maintains it freshness best in cool, dry conditions. An ideal feed storage container should offer a tight seal to keep the freshness of the feed in while keeping pests, contaminants and moisture out. Continue reading Horse Feed Room Storage and Organization

Safe Spring Pasture Practices

Introducing a Horse to Spring Pasture

Eventually Spring will come.  Despite the massive snowfall much of Northeast Ohio received this past week, Spring is on its way.  Many of us have cloistered our horses in their stalls for much of the winter.  When turned out in the pasture, they have been dependent on round bales. Some sifted through the snow for any scraps of dormant grass they could find.  All of them have been dependent upon hay for their forage needs, but soon we will have lush green pastures once again.  While this is a fantastic occurrence, early spring grass presents its own challenges for us horse owners.

First, to preserve the integrity of our pastures, we need to let our grass grow and develop healthy root systems.  To ensure healthy pastures that will last all summer and into the fall, it may be necessary to use a sacrifice area or paddock for a few weeks.  According to an article found on the Penn State University Extension website – grass should be allowed to grow to 4-6 inches before introducing horses to pasture. Continue reading Safe Spring Pasture Practices

Multi-Vitamins for Horses

Multi-Vitamin Supplements

Deciding on an adequate nutrition program for one’s horse can, at times, be a frustrating endeavor.  There are so many differences, from types of feed to the amount one needs to feed to ensure all of your horse’s nutritional needs are being met.  Combine that with differences in the quality of hay from field to field.  First to second cut, and nutrient loss over time – one can really struggle to provide the best possible diet for one’s horse.  Feeding a general multi-vitamin can help ensure that your horse is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Multi-vitamins are going to include a wide range of vitamins including vitamin A, D, E, and the B-complex vitamins.  Most horses can meet their requirements of vitamin A simply by grazing.  However, especially here in northeast Ohio, horses are unable to graze year round.  As we switch from relying on pasture for our horses forage requirements to relying on hay, we need to consider the impact storage has on vitamin content.

What Should You Look For

Hay, no matter what quality, will lose vitamins, especially vitamin A over time.  The hay we are feeding in February, March, and April is of significantly lower quality than the same hay that was fed last September or October. Because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, horses are capable of storing it for a certain amount of time. This can somewhat offset the content lost in hay over time. However, towards the end of winter it may be a good idea to look for alternative sources for vitamin A.

Vitamin D is readily available, especially during summer months, as horses can obtain all they need from the sun.  Again though, not all of our horses are turned out all day during the winter months.  Some show horses are kept stalled and turned out either for short amounts of time, or in indoor arenas only.  For these horses, vitamin D supplementation is important as well.

Horses in strenuous work during the winter months have and horses suffering from muscular system disorders need extra help.  Supplemental vitamin E and the mineral selenium can be very valuable and help prevent certain disorders. Continue reading Multi-Vitamins for Horses

Weight Builders for Horses

How Can You Keep Weight on Your Horse in Winter Months?

While this winter has so far been quite mild here in Northeast Ohio, it is usually very common for some horses to drop weight during the winter months.  Freezing temperatures can place quite a demand on the horse to burn calories simply to stay warm.  Horses also lack the benefit of lush pastures, and have to obtain a majority of their calories through hay intake.  One of the best ways to keep weight on a horse during the winter months is to increase hay intake.  However, not all of us have a barn full of hay that will allow us to do this.  If you have ever tried to purchase additional hay in January and February, you may have noticed it is a bit more expensive than in June and July.  Additionally, boarding facilities typically run on a tight budget, and may not be able to increase hay rations to the levels needed to maintain horses in optimal condition.  So, what can you do to supply your horse with the calories needed to stay warm and fit?

I recommend looking at a fat supplement to supply the extra calories.  Increasing the fat content of your horse’s diet can be beneficial not only for weight gain, but for skin and coat health, and a host of other reasons as well.  For weight gain, fat contains a substantial amount of energy or calories.  In fact, it contains more than twice the calorie content of carbohydrates or proteins!  When looking to add weight to a horse, look no further than fat sources.  Horses can absorb about 20% of their diet as fat, but most experts will recommend roughly 10-12% of the total diet be constituted from fat sources.

Horse Supplements
There are many ways to add fat to a horse’s diet, including top dressing with a vegetable or corn oil, using a fat supplement such as Gain Weight, Weight Builder, or Ultimate Finish 40 or 100. You can also use a fortified, extruded fat supplement such as Progressive Nutrition’s Envision, Buckeye Nutrition’s Ultimate Finish 25, Tribute’s K Finish, or Purina’s Amplify. You can opt for a stabilized rice bran supplement such as Equi-Jewel by Kentucky Performance Products.  Supplementing the diet with a cup of corn oil may be the most economical, but there are other factors to consider, especially omega fatty acid levels.

You hear quite a bit about omega fatty acid content in horse supplements, specifically, omega 3’s, omega 6’s.  There are huge differences between how these fatty acids interact with a horse’s body.  In order to give your horse the greatest benefit from a fat source, you must consider those effects when deciding which fat source is the best fit.

Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory in nature.  They help balance the immune system, protect joints and ligaments, reduce skin allergies, improve heart and vascular health, and have many other beneficial properties.  Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and tend to aid in blood clotting.  It is important to note, both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids, meaning horses cannot produce them on their own.  They must come from external sources, and horses need both of them.  The important component to consider is the ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s.

Vegetable oils, especially corn oil, tend to be high in omega 6, and low in omega 3 content.  Adding corn oil will add calories to your horse’s diet and improve coat luster, but certainly will not benefit an older horse with creaky joints or a horse subject to seasonal skin allergies. To start, I look for a product that is higher in omega 3 content than omega 6, so that I can be sure my horses are getting the added benefits omega 3’s provide.

Horse Care | Supplements
If you are feeding fat simply for the weight gain factor, I would recommend choosing a product such as Buckeye Nutrition’s Ultimate Finish 100 or Cool Calories 100.  Both of these are 99% fat and are designed simply to add weight.  They are not as engineered for Omega 3 and 6 ratios, but are excellent for bulking up that thin horse.  Another option would be to go with an oil like Coca Soya, Rice Bran oil, or FSO (which is a flax seed and soy oil mix), or Equine Omega’s Mega Gain.  Typically oils are in the 98-99% fat range and are great at adding weight.  However, palatability can be an issue with an oil, especially if fed in large amounts.

If you are looking for a product that will help with weight gain, but has been designed with Omega 3 and 6 ratios in mind, take a look at Buckeye Nutrition’s Ultimate Finish 40, Gain Weight, or Weight Builder.  All of these products are roughly 40% fat, with 14% protein.  They do a good job of putting weight on while providing the benefits of a higher Omega 3 to 6 ratio.  Currently, I have one horse on a fat supplement, more for the anti-inflammatory and coat benefit than for a weight gain.  I am using Equine Omega Complete, which is one of the best on the market.

Hopefully, this has given you some good options to consider when choosing a fat supplement.  Remember, to introduce fat slowly to the horse’s diet, and consult with your veterinarian if your horse has a history of liver issues before deciding on a fat supplement.

The importance of giving your horse electrolytes in the winter

Most of us horse owners recognize the value of electrolyte supplementation during the hot summer months.  After working one’s horse hard, or coming back from a long trail ride, or even bringing horses in on a hot day, we can see the sweat marks that indicate a horse may need electrolytes to replenish the lost salt and potassium.  However, electrolyte supplementation is at least equally important during the winter months.

Those of us who have access to an indoor arena are able to ride and work our horses year round.  During periods of hard work, regardless of temperature, horses will sweat and lose electrolytes.  By using a supplement such as Buckeye Nutrition’s Perform ‘N Win or Perfect Balance by Peak Performance, we can help our horses stay healthy by replacing valuable electrolytes lost.

Horse Electroloytes

A second reason to use electrolytes during the winter months is to encourage water consumption.  Many horses’ water consumption drops dramatically during the winter, and this can easily lead to impaction colic.  During the spring, summer, and fall, horses are able to graze and have access to fresh grass.  During the winter, when fresh grass is not available, horses have to rely on hay for their forage requirements.  The water content in grass is significantly higher, around 5 times higher, than that of hay.  Therefore, horses are able to ingest a good amount of their required water intake just by grazing on fresh grass.  Horses’ water consumption also declines when their water is cold.  So, during the winter, we have a situation where our horse is not getting water from forage, and is not inclined to drink as much from water troughs or buckets.  By adding a good, salt or sodium based electrolyte to their feed, we can help increase thirst, and improve water consumption, and hopefully avoid impaction colic issues.

When choosing an electrolyte, I tend to look for the ones that are low in dextrose or other sugars, and gravitate towards those that are sodium based.  If you have a horse with HYPP, you have to be careful about potassium intake, so look for an electrolyte that is specifically designed for horses with HYPP.

waterheater

Other ways to encourage water consumption include filling water buckets with warm water, or using heated buckets or water heaters if you are using a trough.  Ideal water temperature is around 40 degrees.  This year, I am making use of Eccotemp’s Horse Washer, which is a portable hot water on demand system.  I do not have access to hot water in my barn, and after a few years of lugging buckets of hot water down to the barn every morning and evening, I decided to make life a little easier on myself.  This system connects to my hydrant and to a propane tank.  I simply turn it on, and have instant hot or warm water to fill my water buckets with.

Combining these steps with electrolyte supplementation will hopefully lead to a healthy and happy horse this winter.  Most electrolytes can be added either to your horse’s feed or water.  If you add an electrolyte to water, you should also remember to put a second bucket of just plain water up as well.

Click here to shop a full selection fo Electrolytes

Click here to shop the Eccotemp Hot Water Horse Washer

This blog was written by Grant – one of Big Dee’s Showroom Managers

Deworming Horses 101

Deworming Horses 101 | Big Dee's Tack & Vet Supplies

Deworming guide

Have you ever been in a tack store staring at the wall of dewormers wondering “what should I give again“? Hopefully a savior (in the form of a store associate) arrives to tell you what to give. Then one arrives, but they are full of questions you just can’t remember the answers to! What did you de-worm your horse with last? , How often do you de-worm?, Have you had a fecal sample taken?  Since most of us have been there, here is an overview that we hope is helpful when planning your horses deworming schedule this year.

Let’s start with some basics –

What types of worms cause trouble?

Encrusted Small StrongylesMost susceptible are young and older horses. The larva can embed in the intestines. Large numbers of small strongyles can cause weight loss, colic, diarrhea and overall poor condition.

Ascarids (roundworms) – Dangerous to foals and horses under the age of two. Once ingested the larvae move through the veins into the liver, heart and lungs. Larvae in the lungs will eventually get swallowed to develop in the small intestine. Because the larvae migrate through the lungs a young horse could develop respiratory disease, have poor weight gain and colic.

Large Strongyles (bloodworms) – These worms can be dangerous to organs and can weaken abdominal artery walls. Common symptoms – diarrhea, weight loss and colic.

Pinworms – Not as dangerous as the other worms listed here – these worms typically cause itching around the horse’s rectum and tail.

Threadworms – Dangerous to foals and young horses. Foals can become infected by nursing from a mare with the larvae. They live in the intestinal tract. Common symptoms – diarrhea and weakness.

Bots In the warm seasons bot flies swarm around horses with the main purpose of finding a place on the horse to lay its eggs. After the eggs are laid – the horse can ingest them. Once inside the horse, they implant themselves in the mouth or intestines. While living in the intestines they can cause poor overall condition and mild colics.

Tapeworms – These are probably the least worrisome worm of them all. Tapeworms reside in the intestine and just live off of the food that comes to them. Mild colic and diarrhea are common symptoms of a horse carrying many tapeworms.

Now that we know about the worms… let’s find out how to treat them!

What types of dewormers are there?

Ivermectin Paste &  Praziquantel – For the removal & control of large and small strongyles, pinworms, hairworms, threadworms, stomach worms, lungworms, ascarids (roundworms) and bots.

Moxidectin Paste & Praziquantel – For the removal & control of large and small strongyles, ascarids (roundworms), pinworms, hairworms, stomach worms and bots.

Fenbendazole – For the treatment of large and small strongyles, ascarids (roundworms) and pinworms

Pyrantel Pamoate – For the removal and control of large/small strongyles, roundworms and pinworms

Daily Dewormers – Pryantel Tartate – Provides continuous protection against large and small strongyles, ascarids (roundworms) and pinworms.

Many veterinarians recommend fecal exams every three months. The exam will determine how much your horse sheds parasite eggs. Horses can range from heavy, to moderate to light shedders. Some horses have a high immunity to the parasites while others don’t. Horses that are in the pasture with other horses have a higher risk of becoming infected with roundworms and strongyles. A horse needs to ingest the eggs to become infected. Horses that are kept in well cleaned stalls are less likely to become infected. There are other factors as well – age, environment, climate, etc.

Your vet will most likely come up with a proper deworming program for you that will last a year. After a year, you will need to reevaluate and come up with an updated program.