Do horses eat meat? The quick and simple answer is no, they do not. But a one word answer doesn’t make a very interesting read, so let’s have a more in depth look at what horses eat and why.
Do Horses Eat Meat In The Wild?
Do horses eat meat in the wild? Not voluntarily, no. Horses are naturally vegetarian animals, so their digestion and general eating habits are set up to digest plant material rather than meat:
In a carnivore’s stomach, the intestine is much shorter, allowing meat to be digested and excreted quickly, before it has a chance to rot. The insides of herbivores’ stomachs tend to stretch on and on, because plant matter takes a lot more time to digest and break down, thus releasing all the nutrients fully.
Horse’s teeth are also not made for meet eating, being flat and designed for grinding, rather than sharp and pointed for tearing into flesh.
Horses cannot vomit, so if they had ingested a nasty bit of meat that needed regurgitating it would cause them all sort of problems, unlike carnivores who can quickly and easily get rid of a bit of food if it is causing problems.
Horses also do not have the sort of liver that is designed for removing the toxins associated with some meats.
Aren’t There Really Any Exceptions?
But why then, if horses are such strict vegetarians, will your horse sometimes try to sneak a bite of your burger if you’re eating next to him? Why do you occasionally hear stories of horses killing small animals who venture into their pastures? And why, in some countries, are horses fed fish or animal products and manage to survive?
The first point: stealing your food. Your horse is your friend, there’s no doubt about that. And like some friends, they are curious and want to try what you’re eating – after all, you look like you’re enjoying it so why shouldn’t they? A cheeky nip of a burger while you’re out at a show shouldn’t do too much harm, but remember that horses have very sensitive digestive systems so you shouldn’t make this a regular thing.
Horses have been known to take out rabbits, rats and other small creatures who roam around their fields, but they are not doing this for food, as a carnivore would. Horses are herd creatures who will protect themselves and their friends using whatever means they have – hooves and teeth – and sometimes this means the death of the unwary animal who has strayed into the field. You are very unlikely to see the horse feasting on the carcass afterwards though.
Examples From Iceland And Tibet
In Iceland, horses are fed salted fish during the cold winter months, to give them extra protein and fat and keep them healthy. During Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic, the ponies who carried the packs and pulled the sleds were fed fish meal with their rations, for the same reason – in such inhospitable environments, it is hard to forage or carry enough fodder to keep horses healthy, so alternatives must be found. In the case of the salted fish-eaters, it may well be the salt that the horses like, rather than the fish itself.
Tibetan horses are fed a mixture of blood and grain, again because the climate is harsh and finding enough food, specifically protein, can be very hard. These horses do continue to thrive on this diet, but it is not the eating of meat, as such – mainly fish, and blood is not actually flesh, so it can impart goodness without some of the associated digestive issues.
Do horses eat meat? Some have been known to. But should they? Definitely not. Horses may eat meat if it tastes good; much of the meat we consume is loaded with salt and sometimes sugar, which may make it more palatable to them.
You may also find a horse who is often hand fed is more willing to take food from your hand, because he expects it to be a treat or something he’s used to, but he probably wouldn’t spit something out just because it was meat.
Horses that do eat meat will never seek it out and choose to eat it (apart from that swipe at your ham sandwich, of course). Meat products that are fed to horses are usually well disguised – for example, products designed to strengthen hooves can include gelatin and bone meal, and the fish products are so loaded with salt that it could be argued that this is what the horse is seeking.
Horses can and sometimes do eat meat, but they really shouldn’t. Despite ancient myths telling of “man eating horses”, their systems are just not set up for carnivorous behaviour, and excessive consumption of meat can cause them real problems. Stick to grass, hay and decent bucket food to keep your horse in tip top health.
It’s important to keep your feed room locked and horse proof for many reasons. Even if your horse over eats horse feed, serious complications can be the result. A horse who eats too much feed is at high risk for developing colic, laminitis and intestinal upset. These and other problems are even more likely if your horse eats feed intended for another type of animal.
In this article, we explore the results of a horse eating chicken feed. We also offer good advice to help you deal with this problem quickly and effectively should it occur. Read on to learn more.
My Horse Ate Chicken Feed
When you discover your horse has eaten chicken feed, naturally the first thing you should do is separate the horse from the feed and determine how much he has eaten.
Try to determine how long ago your horse ate the chicken feed. Your horse will probably not experience immediate problems from eating chicken feed, so knowing how long ago the feed was consumed will help your vet understand what signs and symptoms your horse might be exhibiting at this point. This will help your vet to determine whether or not an immediate visit is necessary.
Determine whether or not the feed your horse has eaten is medicated. It’s a good idea to keep the ingredients panels from all the feeds you keep stored in your feed room. This gives you quick reference in case of accidents or emergency. If chicken feed contains medications, it will naturally be the types and dosages of medications intended for chickens. A horse who consumes these medications may be in for some trouble.
Be aware of all the ingredients in your chicken feed. This is just another good reason to cut out the ingredients list and keep it on file. Horses don’t digest common chicken feed ingredients such as whole wheat and cracked corn well. Ingesting these grains can cause imbalances in the hindgut leading to intestinal upset.
It’s also smart to know how the feed has been processed. Look for words such as extruded, steamed or cracked. The processing of the feed will make a difference to your horse’s ability to digest it when it reaches the hindgut.
Check your horse’s vital signs before you call the vet. It will help your vet to know your horse’s temperature, respiratory rate and pulse. It’s smart to learn how to take these signs on your own and take them on a regular basis so that you’ll be familiar with your horse’s baseline readings.
How To Take Equine Vital Signs
How to take equine vital signs - YouTube
The next thing you should do is give your vet a call. When you speak with your vet, he or she will ask you a few questions and give you advice to help you assess the situation and deal with any potential problems.
Even if it seems as if your horse is not in ill health and has not eaten very much chicken feed, you should let your vet know. He or she may not choose to come immediately, but a heads-up will give your vet the opportunity to make plans around your potential emergency.
What Can Happen To A Horse Who Eats Chicken Feed?
Intestinal upset, diarrhea, colic and laminitis are not the only things you have to worry about when a horse eats chicken feed. Feed intended for chickens may be filled with additives that are very toxic for horses. Ingesting large amounts of these can cause heart damage.
Follow Your Vet’s Advice To The Letter
If your horse develops very light signs and symptoms, you may be tempted to stop treatment right away. Don’t be fooled, you should continue treating your horse as your vet recommends for a minimum of two days. If your horse does develop colic or laminitis, it can take a very long time to recover.
Even when your horse seems to be completely recovered from consumption of chicken feed, you should be on the lookout for signs of heart damage. These can take a long time to develop.
All-in-all, if you find that your horses eaten chicken feed or any other foreign substance or too much of his own feed, you must get in touch with your vet right away, follow his or her advice to the letter for the time period indicated and remain vigilant to any signs and symptoms that may turn up later on.
Will My Horse Recover From Eating Chicken Feed?
Luckily, if you assess the situation quickly and accurately and get in touch with your vet right away, your horse’s prognosis can be greatly improved. It’s important to get your horse away from the feed, take his vital signs, gather your information and call your vet right away. Doing so can mean all the difference in the world between a horse suffering from colic and/or laminitis or heart damage and one who recovers easily.
If your horse has had an illness such as colic or pneumonia or any other severe infection, he or she may be at risk of developing a very serious inflammatory response known as endotoxemia. This condition can cause failure and collapse of your horse’s circulatory system and vital organs, so it’s nothing to play around with. This systemic disorder is caused by the body’s response to gram-negative bacteria.
How Can You Tell If Your Horse Has Developed Endotoxemia?
After your horse has suffered a serious illness, you should watch him or her very closely. Look for these symptoms which may indicate the development of endotoxemia:
Your horse’s gum line may become dark red or purple, especially along the line of the teeth.
Your horse’s respiratory rate and heart rate may be unusually high.
You may notice that your horse seems to be in a great deal of pain.
Your horse may experience a general malaise or depression.
Your horse’s intestinal functions may shut down.
Your horse may exhibit inexplicable sweating.
Your horse may be chronically dehydrated.
Your horse may run a high fever.
What Causes Endotoxemia?
Endotoxemia is the result of gram-negative bacteria moving from the horse’s intestines to its bloodstream. This will cause systemic toxic conditions or endotoxemia.
Just as with all animals, a horse’s intestinal tract is filled with a wide variety of microorganisms. Healthy horses have defensive intestinal microbes that block the development of pathogenic bacteria.
Gram-negative bacteria in the right amounts are necessary in your horse’s digestive tract. These are the bacteria that naturally break down high-fiber feed such as hay. When these bacteria reproduce, they release a portion of the cell wall.
The portion of the cell wall released into the system is the endotoxin. In a healthy horse, this bacteria does not move outside of the bowel. There is an intestinal barrier containing antibodies, enzymes, and epithelial cells that protect the rest of the body from contact with endotoxins.
Even if very small amounts of endotoxins make their way past to mucosal membrane, the liver acts as a backup. Its immune cells go to work to eliminate this contaminant. If this natural defense is not working, and gram-negative bacteria die off in large numbers, endotoxins can then enter the system in large numbers. This can cause endotoxemia.
These endotoxins can also be picked up within the horses environment. For example, horse manure is filled with endotoxins. If your horse lives inside a stable, he is at risk for breathing in these contaminants. If your horse breathes in dust that is loaded with gram-negative bacteria, he is at great risk of inflammation of his airway.
How Will Your Vet Diagnose Endotoxemia?
If your horse begins exhibiting any of the listed symptoms, it is cause for concern. You should call your vet right away for a full physical exam. Your vet may need to call for a complete blood count (CBC). He or she may also order an arterial blood gas analysis.
If your horse is experiencing endotoxemia, the CBC will reveal neutropenia and leukopenia in the blood. The arterial blood gas analysis will reveal indications of metabolic acidosis and also arterial hypoxemia.
These are very serious conditions that can get out of hand very rapidly. This why it is extremely important that you contact your vet right away if your horse exhibits any of the symptoms of endotoxemia. This is especially true if your horse has recently experienced a health challenge such as colic.
How Do You Treat Endotoxemia?
Your vet may call for administration of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Some examples are flunixin meglumine or phenylbutazone. These drugs don’t resolve cell damage, but they do reduce inflammation and this facilitates healing. Your vet will also probably call for administration of intravenous fluids to support this treatment and help prevent dehydration.
Your vet is also sure to take steps to help keep endotoxins from circulating throughout your horse’s system. This will involve reducing and neutralizing inflammation and providing supportive care.
Your vet may also reevaluate the primary disease that is causing the endotoxemia. Aggressive treatment of this root cause will naturally reduce the problem and may help prevent its recurrence.
If your horse has been struggling with a gastrointestinal tract disease, your vet may recommend some of these treatments:
You may need to provide your horse with supportive care for inflammatory bowel disease.
The ischemic bowel may need to be removed.
To neutralize endotoxins, your vet might administer intravenous plasma or a hyperimmune serum. These treatments can be very effective if endotoxins have not yet entered your horse’s bloodstream.
Another way of neutralizing endotoxins is to administer a cationic polypeptide antibiotic called Polymyxin B. As a catalyst, dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) can be very helpful in speeding delivery of anti-inflammatory medications. DMSO also has value as an anti-inflammatory substance on its own.
If your horse has endotoxemia, your vet will do all that he or she can to provide cardiovascular support and limit inflammation. These steps must be taken very quickly for best results.
Your vet will also make recommendations for ongoing care, and it is very important that you follow them to the letter even if your horse seems to have recovered fully.
Is It Possible To Prevent Endotoxemia?
Of course, the best way of dealing with endotoxemia is to avoid it altogether. There are many steps that you can take to help your horse maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Follow these 6 smart tips:
Always take your horse out of the stall when you are cleaning and moving manure around. This will help prevent your horse inhaling endotoxins.
Remember that horses are grazing animals and can maintain a healthier digestive system by consuming many small meals throughout the day rather than eating one or two large meals a day.
Do not make sudden feed changes. Add or reduce ingredients and feed gradually over a period of at least two weeks.
Be sure your horses getting plenty of dietary fiber. He or she should have free access to high-quality hay at all times.
If your horse is subject to heaves, be sure to soak or steam his hay thoroughly and feed it right away.
If your horse becomes ill, don’t hesitate. Call your vet right away and address any illness your horse may have. Endotoxins thrive in horses who are not in optimum health.
Understanding your horse’s digestive system will help you create an appropriate plan to help keep your horse’s gastrointestinal system strong and healthy to avoid endotoxemia.
If your horse breaks into the feed room and eats too much grain, he is in real danger of developing colic or laminitis. What can you do? In this article, we review the steps you need to take if your horse eats too much grain. Read on to learn more.
How Does Excessive Consumption Of Grain Lead To Colic And Laminitis?
Grain and fortified feeds are easy for horses to eat quickly. Not only that, they are easily and quickly digested. They don’t spend a lot of time in your horse’s stomach. Instead, they move right to the hindgut where microbes start to work on them right away for quick digestion.
The starch and sugar found in horse feed is exactly what some of these microbes need. Simultaneously, there are other microbes that need fiber. The imbalance of starches and sugars versus fiber in the hindgut is what leads to problems with colic and laminitis in horses.
Colic In Horses
Colic in horses: Horse Vet explains what owners should know - YouTube
If your horse eats an unaccustomed amount of fortified feed or grain (it can be as little as 6 pounds of grain or processed feed) the starch and sugar loving microbes begin the process of digesting all the starches and sugars contained in this feed. In this process, the microbes produce a number of byproducts. These byproducts can change the pH levels of the hindgut and can also cause systemic inflammation.
When this happens, the microbes that specialize in fiber digestion begin to die. Their death creates a product known as Indo endotoxins. These endotoxins are the cause of laminitis in horses that have ingested too much grain or feed.
Laminitis In Horses
Laminitis – Recognizing Early Signs and First Aid Treatment - YouTube
My Horse Ate Too Much Grain. What Should I Do?
The first thing you should do is separate your horse from the grain, be sure he has plenty of fresh water to drink and then call your vet. Excessive ingestion of grain can be a real emergency, but if you get your vet out right away you may be able to ward off the very serious problems of laminitis or colic.
While you’re waiting for your vet, it’s a good idea to cool your horses hooves down with cool water or ice. An old-fashioned way of cooling horses’ hooves down is to have them stand in a stream or other body of cold water. If you’re not able to do this, you can use buckets or wading pool or, if you have them on hand, hoof boots that are made for holding ice.
While this may seem a bit dramatic, the fact is that keeping your horses hooves and lower legs cool does a great deal to ward off inflammation. That is the cause of laminitis. Understand that the suffix of the word laminitis – ITIS – means inflammation. Keeping your horse’s feet cool for a solid 24 to 48 hours can go a long way towards preventing a laminitis attack.
Another thing you can do while you’re waiting on your vet is to try to determine exactly what your horse has eaten and how much. Also, look around to see if you can determine how much manure your horse has passed.
Check your horse’s vital signs, including respiration, temperature and pulse. Check digital pulse is in all four legs.
Do a pinch test to check your horse for hydration, and be sure he has plenty of fresh water available at all times.
Armed with this information, you will be able to give your vet a head start on his diagnosis.
Dehydration Tests from HORSE HEALTH TRACKER app - YouTube
What Will The Vet Do?
When your vet arrives, he or she will perform an exam and may end up addressing the problem in several different ways, including:
Use of activated charcoal to help absorb toxins in your horses digestive system
Gastric lavage to flush the horses digestive system
Administration of anti-inflammatory drugs
Dosing with mineral oil or laxatives
Administration of fluids
If your vet decides to administer activated charcoal, he or she will do so through a nasogastric tube. Activated charcoal helps to limit the amount of feed absorbed by the gut.
Your vet will discuss strategies with you to help you address symptoms of excessive ingestion of grain and feed. These may include:
Your vet may recommend that you soak your horse’s feet and lower limbs in cold water continuously for as long as 48 hours. When done correctly, this will not damage the tissues. Naturally, you’ll want to take care not to expose your horse directly to ice as this can cause frostbite.
The most important aspects of preventing laminitis and colic after excessive ingestion of feed or grain is early intervention. Start taking measures to prevent laminitis as soon as possible. Be consistent in your actions for several days, and stay in close contact with your vet for further advice.
Keep a close eye on your horse’s digital pulse and the temperature of the hooves. If the pulse and/or the temperature increase, call your vet. Also watch out for signs of laminitis such as lameness, soreness and an unusual way of standing. Horses that are developing or experiencing laminitis may tend to rot back on their heels.
To prevent this problem in the future, be sure to keep your grain secure at all times.
How To Care For Horses: How To Feed Horses
How to Care for Horses : How to Feed Horses - YouTube
We all know the struggle of eating too fast and feeling uncomfortable, or being wistful about the fact that all the food is gone! This affects horses too, with the added issue of boredom – put a horse in a stable and take away his food source and he will quickly get restless. If you are looking for a way to slow down your horse from polishing off all his hay too quickly, why not look into slow feed hay nets?
The best slow feed hay net will keep your horse eating for much longer, as it is harder for him to take huge mouthfuls, thus ensuring that he has a comfortable tummy as well as something to occupy him during long boring hours in the stable!
Best Slow Feed Hay Net Reviews
We have found three fantastic products for you to choose from:
Slow Feed Hay Nets
TOP PICK: Derby Originals Slow Feed Hay Bag
A unique, innovative design that encourages to eat slowly.
1. Derby Originals Supreme 4 Sided Slow Feed Hay Bag Review
This is a very unusual hay net; most are rounded but this one is formed into a square, which adds to its slow feeding capabilities.
Better for the horse’s digestive system than a standard hay net – When they are forced to eat slower, horses mimic their natural grazing pattern, which is much better for their sensitive tummies.
Extremely hardwearing and durable – This hay net is made from nylon with superior double stitching, so it should survive even the most determined hay net breaker’s efforts!
Suitable for more than one horse at a time – Because of the shape of this hay net, multiple horses can use it at once without arguing about who gets more or who is standing on who’s foot.
Comes with a year’s warranty – Hopefully you won’t need to use it as this is a well made hay net, but it is nice to have that reassurance from the manufacturer.
The large hole could trap a foot – If you have a particularly gymnastic horse, there is a possibility he could get a leg stuck in one of the holes. Get around this by stringing it up past the reach of flailing hooves.
The unique, innovative design of this hay net is a big seller for it, as well as the fact that it will encourage your horse – and his field mates – to eat more slowly.
2. Round Bale Slow Feed Hay Net By Texas Haynet Review
This is not a hay net that you hang, this is one to be left in the field covering a large bale. It’s great for those with big herds, or horses who are hard to access on a daily basis.
Saves you money on hay – When your horses chomp through a massive bale in a short space of time, you have to buy another. Then another. Then – you see where this is going! This hay net will reduce your hay expenditure no end.
Great for horse’s digestion – When food is abundant, horses tend to guzzle it quickly, which is no good for their stomachs and can lead to health problems. Eating more slowly will save you on vet’s bills as well as hay bills!
A good, strong hay net – This is a big plus for a hay net that is designed to live in the field. It can stand up to any amount of abuse, so it should last you a long time.
Fits round or square bales – Whether your supplier gives you bales with curves or edges, this hay net will work on them and still deliver the same great performance.
Can potentially tangle a leg – With any product that you leave in a field, you have to consider the possibility that your horse may try to play with it, or accidentally get caught up in it.
This is a fantastic slow feed hay net that you can use for larger bales, ideal for feeding your big herd all at once. There are enough holes that there shouldn’t be any squabbling!
Weaver are a well known, trusted company so you can be sure that any product from them is high quality and does exactly what it’s meant to. This slow feed hay net is no exception.
Tiny two inch holes encourage slower feeding – The smaller the hole, the harder your horse has to work to get the hay. Conversely you also want the holes big enough that he doesn’t get frustrated trying to pull out a mouthful. The spacing of these holes is perfect.
Ideal for slow feeding at shows – Like people, some horses eat more if they’re stressed or nervous. You don’t want a massive bellyful of hay right before an important show, so this one is ideal to take out and about with you.
A strong, hardwearing hay net – With its nylon construction, this net should last a long time and withstand any rough treatment.
Holds 2-4 flakes of hay – Even with a slow feeder, you want a net that can hold a good amount of hay, to keep your horse occupied and make sure he has the right amount of food. The capacity of this net means it won’t have to be refilled too often.
The small holes can get larger – If a piece of the webbing breaks, the hole is larger which allows faster feeding, thus defeating the object.
A great standard slow feeding hay net, made by a well known company. You can’t go far wrong with this one!
Slow feeding hay nets can help digestion, prevent boredom, and save you money on hay expenditure. If you have a horse who eats too quickly then this is definitely a product you should have in your tack room!
The best slow feeding hay nets are also ideal for multiple horses at once, meaning that you don’t have to shell out on a great many hay nets. They can also be used on large bales, unlike your standard hay net that is designed for one single horse. Have a look through the products we have selected, and I bet you will find one that suits your needs perfectly.
The stomach is such a huge, complicated organ, and it is connected to so much of the rest of the body that it is no wonder that if your stomach feels bad then so does the rest of you. Probiotocs are designed to help improve the gut’s natural flora, thus improving digestion and so overall health and wellbeing.
Probiotics are not only great for people, but also for horses – especially if you have one with a sensitive stomach. The best probiotic supplement for horses will make a big difference to your horse’s health and general behaviour – if he feels better, he will behave better!
Best Probiotic Supplement Reviews
Have a look through the list of products we have selected as three of the best, and see which one you think would suit your horse.
Opti Zyme Probiotic Supplement
Ideal for the horse who has to have limited grazing.
1. Opti Zyme Probiotic Supplement For Horses Review
This is a great supplement designed to be taken alongside your horse’s normal feed. It will promote great digestion, and lasts a long time.
Aids digestion of just about anything – This product is designed to help your horse’s digestion, making short and easy work of sugars, starch, protein and fiber.
Contains naturally occurring yeast and enzymes – Natural yeast is a very useful little thing; not only does it contain its own protein and vitamins and minerals, but it can also help prevent against damage from free radicals.
Easy to feed to horses – Even the pickiest horse will polish off his feed with a little of this supplement mixed in, so you will have no worries about how to get it into him.
48 day supply – The fact that this product lasts longer than a month should endear it to you even more!
It’s relatively expensive – Compared to some other probiotic supplements, this one is a little on the pricey side.
This will help to maintain a good, healthy weight on even a reduced feed diet, making it ideal for the horse who has to have limited grazing or food for health reasons. Just because he’s on a diet, doesn’t mean he can’t still be healthy!
This powder is easily dispersible and is suitable for every day use. It is gentle on the gut, and will work wonders to transform the condition and overall health of any horse.
Excellent at healing the gut after antibiotics – Although sometimes necessary, antibiotics can wreak havoc on the digestive system. A good probiotic, like this one, will restore the balance of the natural gut flora and keep your best friend healthy.
Easy to feed and palatable – Because it is a dispersible powder, it can be stirred into other food and your horse won’t even notice it’s there. If he does notice however, you don’t have to worry because it has a tasty flavour.
Helps to calm the stomach after stressful events – Anything stressful, as we all know, can tie your stomach up in knots. The same is true for horses, so this is a great product to use after a yard move, or the sad loss of a field mate.
Keeps horses healthy and in good condition – When the guts are working well, everything is working well. You will probably notice an improvement in your horse’s overall condition when using this probiotic supplement.
Container fullness can be inconsistent – There have been a couple of reports about the amount of powder in the tub being different for subsequent orders.
This lactic acid enzyme probiotic is a great all rounder, which can be given to other animals as well as horses. Whether you want to use it to get over some acute issue your horse is having, or for general every day use, you won’t be disappointed with the results.
3. LMF Feeds Inc Digest Prebiotic And Probiotic Supplement Review
A great supplement to improve the digestive health of your horse, this one is easy to measure out and feed, and can be sprinkled directly onto other feed – the horse won’t even notice it’s there.
Promotes overall health as well as digestive health – The stomach is connected to so much of the rest of the body, that if the stomach is healthy there’s a good chance that the rest of the body will be too.
Enhances nutrient absorption – Using this supplement will not only improve your horse’s health, but can also help him to take on more nutrients from his other foods, thus improving his overall health no end.
Can be used during times of stress or daily – There is no restrictions on this supplement; you can give it to your horse if he is going through a stressful time or has health problems, or just add it to daily feed for constant maintenance.
Comes with a measuring scoop – This is a great bonus as it means you can measure out exactly how much your horse needs, and not just guess or judge by eye.
Can stimulate the appetite – This is a huge plus point if you have a horse who struggles to keep weight on, or who is naturally on the slim side – not so great if you have a horse who naturally runs to fat and already wants to eat everything in sight!
A fantastic all round probiotic supplement, great for horses during difficult times or every day – you will find that their condition improves as their gut health does, and you should also notice that your horse is happier.
The best probiotic supplement for horses will improve the digestion, deliver great nutrients and improve the overall condition, weight and temperament of your horse. Probiotics are a natural substance, so you don’t have to worry about adding anything unpleasant to your horse’s diet – it’s just supplementing the existing gut flora with carefully selected strains that will really help improve their general health.
Probiotic supplements are especially great for horses who have previous digestion issues, as well as being suitable for every other horse in the world! Try out a probiotic supplement today, you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Liniment is designed to be applied to the skin, in order to relieve pain or stiffness arising from pulled muscles, strains or arthritis. The liniment can be made of a large variety of different substances, and is usually rubbed onto the horse’s body, as the rubbing action can also warm the muscles and soothe aches and pains. Liniment can also be diluted and sponged onto the body, especially after hard work or during hot weather, as the alcohol in the liniment will evaporate quickly thus cooling the body.
Best Horse Liniment Reviews
The best horse liniment can be a liquid, a spray, or in patch form, and you can find three of the best listed below.
1. Chapman’s Premium All Natural Horse Liniment Review
This fantastic, all natural product is guaranteed to relieve aches and pains and sore muscles, and it has the added bonus of being completely, 100% natural.
Approved by vets as safe to use during competition – This product, because it contains nothing whatsoever artificial, will be allowed in any discipline in any area of any country.
Relieves inflammation as well as being a pain relief – Using this liniment will bring down swellings which will help the body heal as well as reducing pain at the same time.
This product is compatible with homeopathy – If treating a horse’s aches and pains naturally is your thing, then this product is ideal for you as it can safely be used in conjunction with homeopathy and other natural remedies.
Non greasy and smells good – You won’t have to worry about getting oily stains on your best riding clothes using this one, or smelling unsavoury either.
It’s more expensive than some others on the market – It’s quite pricey to start with, and the shipping fees are relatively high too. But you pay for quality, right?
This fantastic product has been used on horses for many years, so its reputation should speak for itself. But you should never believe everything you hear, so try it yourself!
An effective liniment which comes in a large bottle so it is great value! It is a cooling and all natural product which is very safe and effective to use.
Perfect for horses with sensitive skin – Some horses don’t like liniment that “tingles”, which makes this one perfect for them as it is soothing and cooling without any harsh feelings
Twice voted “Product of the Year” by The Horse Journal – With an accolade like this, how could you not want to try this product? It has been voted best at reducing pain and inflammation by a well known, trusted horse publication, which is a great recommendation for it.
Pain relief lasts for a long time – Because you don’t need to wash this liniment off after use, it absorbs into the skin and continues relieving pain for a good few hours.
Can be used before exercise for great results as well as after an injury – Applying this product before hard work can loosen the muscles and ligaments, reducing any possibility of damage to your horse.
Spray nozzle could be better quality – Some people say that the sprayer doesn’t last too well and that the product is better applied using the hands.
If you are looking for a very good, natural product that does what it says on the tin, look no further! This one will soothe aches and pains and keep your horse feeling comfortable. As an added bonus, if you have any pain in your hands it should ease after applying this to your horse too!
3. Horse Health Cool Pack Green Jelly Liniment For Horses 64oz Review
Don’t be put off by the startling colour; this product really is great at soothing any aches and pains your horse may have, and it’s fantastically easy to apply too.
A really thick consistency so it easy to apply – Unlike some thinner liniments, this one is thick and gloopy, so you can slap it on with the greatest of ease – and the bright colour means that you can see where you’ve applied it!
Ideal for soreness after overexertion – This product is great for applying after some serious exercise which may leave your horse feeling sore and achey. The gel will soothe and cool.
Great for reducing swelling and promoting healing – You can use this liniment on swollen joints and muscles and it will bring down the swelling, thus speeding up the healing process.
A little goes a long way – The fact that this product comes in a huge tub is already a big plus point, and added to the fact that you don’t have to use very much to get great results means that this one is great value for money.
Not quite as natural as some other products on the market – This one has more active ingredients but some of those are more on the chemical side than some other liniments, so if you are going down the all-natural side then this may not be the product for you.
This liniment works well at soothing strained muscles and joints and can give a good few hours of pain relief. Plus, the bright colour means you’re very unlikely to lose it in the tack room!
The best horse liniment will soothe aches and pains, reduce swelling and help your horse get back on his feet much more quickly than you might imagine, certainly faster than if you just leave him to get on with it by himself with no intervention.
Liniments come in a great many shapes and sizes and components, so it is just a case of looking through the products and picking the one that suits you the best, then giving it a try – hopefully you will be as amazed by the results as countless other people before you. Whether you want an all natural product, or you are happy with a chemical or two, the best horse liniment is just out there waiting for you to find it.
While it’s not entirely impossible for horses to get fleas, it is unusual. For the most part healthy horses can resist flea predation. Additionally, fleas are typically host specific (targeting only certain types of animals). For example, cat fleas do not infest dogs, and dog fleas do not infest cats.
Even so, in unusual circumstances fleas may attempt to get a meal from an unusual host. In this article will discuss the improbability of horses getting fleas and provide tips to help you avoid this unlikely occurrence. Read on to learn more.
When Could A Horse Get Fleas?
Horses that are unhealthy are naturally subject to illness and parasite infestation. A horse who is underweight, sick, aged or otherwise in compromised health would be likely to attract mites, ticks, fleas and other fairly unusual parasites.
Fleas are also able to wait for a very long time between meals if there is no host available. For example, if you move your horse into a barn that has been empty for a very long time but formerly had a large population of barn cats, you may be moving your horse into a situation filled with hungry fleas.
In that case, your horse might have a brief and enthusiastic infestation of cat fleas. You might, too, for that matter. This is a situation that would burn out on its own and amount to nothing.
If you are on a trail ride and happen to ride through an area that has heavy flea infestation for some reason, your horse may pick up some fleas. Again, if your horse is healthy this is unlikely to be a serious problem.
To deal with this sort of temporary swarming, you could bathe your horse with Dawn dish soap and/or spray thoroughly with your usual fly products. If your barn or property seem to be infested with fleas, talk with your county agent to choose an appropriate product to eradicate them.
What Can You Do To Prevent Fleas On Horses?
All of the things that you do to prevent flies on horses will prevent fleas on horses. Be sure to keep your horse healthy by feeding a balanced and wholesome diet. Add supplements to boost your horse’s immune system and to act as natural fly repellents.
Groom your horse every day and apply fly spray as needed. The common fly repellents found in standard equine fly products will also repel fleas.
Keep other animals on your property free of fleas. Be sure that your dogs and cats take an appropriate flea repellent oral supplement on a regular basis. Use flea sprays, powders, collars and the like as needed to prevent flea infestation on animals who live around your horse.
So Fleas Aren’t Really A Problem For Horses?
For the most part, you should never see fleas on your horse. This is a very unusual circumstance, but as noted, it’s not entirely impossible. If you keep a clean barn and surrounding property, keep your horse healthy and take care of all companion animals correctly, you should not have a problem with fleas on horses.
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a serious equine disease that can be very hard to diagnose. Its symptoms are similar to those of a number of other types of horse health problems. Furthermore, signs and symptoms may vary from horse to horse. In some horses symptoms are quite mild, while in others they are quite severe.
Exposure to EPM is common. In fact throughout the United States, on average about 50% of horses have been exposed to the protozoal parasites (Sarcocystis neurona and Neospora hughesi) which causes this debilitating disease. In some areas of the United States, the exposure rate rises to 90%.
The vast majority of horses are able to fight off these organisms through strong immune defense. Unfortunately a very small percentage succumb to neurological damages wrought by these organisms. Even though EPM is a widespread condition and cases have been reported all over the United States, the fact is only about 1% of horses will succumb to this disease.
How Does EPM Spread?
This parasite is not spread from one horse to another. Instead it is spread through ingestion of sporocysts that come from the feces of possums. Horses may pick up the sporocysts from grass, contaminated hay, contaminated feed or drinking water.
When a horse ingests sporocysts, the organisms land in the intestinal tract and move into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the sporocysts are capable of crossing the blood/brain barrier and attacking the central nervous system (CNS).
How Can You Tell Your Horse Has EPM?
For many horses, the immune system launches a rapid response and fights off the organisms. Others succumb. For these, the onset of symptoms may be gradual or sudden.
Here are the symptoms to watch for:
Weakness and muscle atrophy are common. Your horse may lose condition in the hindquarters and the top line. They may be lying down more than usual. Occasionally, the muscles of the front legs and the face become atrophied.
Your horse’s mouth, face and eyes may become paralyzed. You’ll notice this by a droopy affect around the lips, ears and eyes.
Loss of balance may cause your horse to stand splay footed or lean against walls to avoid falling down.
Your horse may lose sensation at any place on its body, but most especially on the face and neck.
Severely affected horses may have seizures and even collapse.
Loss of muscle coordination can cause difficulty in swallowing.
Your horse may move in a stiff and stilted way (spasticity).
Your horse may suffer from a lack of coordination (ataxia).
Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating is a common sign.
Your horse may tilt his head to one side or the other.
Your horse may go lame or exhibit ad unusual gait.
Symptoms may vary from horse to horse, and a horse may exhibit just one or a few of these symptoms. The severity and type of symptoms your horse exhibits depend upon the location and severity of lesions the organisms cause on the spinal cord, brainstem and/or brain. Typically the symptoms are asymmetrical in that they occur only on one side and not on both sides.
If you notice symptoms of EPM in your horse, it’s very important that you contact your vet right away. Quick diagnosis and treatment can make a tremendous difference in rate of survival.
Is EPM Always Fatal?
If caught early and treated aggressively your horse may survive an attack of EPM. There are four factors that seem to influence the severity of the disease. They are:
The number of organisms your horse has ingested makes a difference. If your horse eats a great deal of contaminated grass, hay or feed, he is likely to have a far more severe case than a horse that has experienced light exposure.
Speed of treatment. The longer your horse goes without treatment, the more opportunity the parasites will have to reproduce and cause damage.
The location of the damage seems to make a difference in the severity of the illness. Damage may occur at any point along the spinal cord, the brainstem or in the brain.
Stress level seems to have a great impact on the severity of the symptoms. If your horse is under a great deal of stress while infected, the symptoms and the damage will be worse.
What Can You Do to Prevent EPM?
Your location strongly influences your horse’s chance of contracting EPM. Because the disease is spread by possums (and possibly by rodents) your horse is far less likely to contract the syndrome in parts of the nation where possum populations are low or nonexistent. Even so, keep in mind that feedstock and hay travels from state to state, and you may very well be feeding your horse a product that has been in contact with possum feces.
To avoid contamination, follow these protocols:
Secure your feed and hay. Keep feed in metal containers with tightly fitting lids, and keep your feed room and hay storage areas locked so that possums and other vermin can’t contaminate your hay.
Feed your horse the right amount in a weighted container or one that is attached to the wall that minimizes spillage. Be sure to clean up any spilled grain right away to avoid attracting mice, rats and possums.
Never feed your horse on the ground. Always feed grain in containers and hay in hay nets or in a manger.
When selecting grains, look for those that have been heat treated as this process kills off the sporocysts.
Keep vermin under control through use of a professional pest service or traps. Don’t use poisons as this may cause you even more problems. Be sure to dispose of vermin carcasses quickly and carefully.
Keep your horse’s water tanks filled with fresh clean water. Clean them frequently to avoid multiplication of harmful organisms.
It is also important to remember that a minority of horses actually succumb to exposure to the parasite. Keeping your horse healthy and well fed, maintaining a regular schedule of veterinary visits and exams and keeping your own property clean and possum/rodent free will go far toward protecting your horse against this dangerous disease.
How Long Can A Horse Live With EPM?
It’s impossible to say how long a horse will live with the disease, and surviving with EPM is not a goal that any responsible horse owner would strive for. It is imperative that the moment you notice any possible symptoms of this neurological disease, you contact your vet, get a diagnosis and begin treatment as appropriate.
Here is a video of a horse who was diagnosed quickly and received aggressive treatment.
Fielder EPM 2016 - YouTube
This horse recovered.
Here is one of a horse who received diagnosis and treatment but ultimately succumbed to the disease.
Horse with Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM, Opossum Disease) - YouTube
Different horses respond differently to treatment, but the faster you can get a diagnosis and begin aggressive treatment, the better your horse’s chance of recovery.
What Will The Vet Do?
Your vet will perform a complete neurological exam. He or she may also want to perform a blood test and take a cerebrospinal fluid sample. Testing procedures and treatment can be costly, but they may save the life of your horse. Based on the results of the exam and the testing, your vet will create a treatment plan.
Equine Neurological Exams - YouTube
Treatments involve a combination of drugs and complementary treatment. Both anti-protozoal drugs and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed. Additionally, your vet may recommend that you supplement your horse’s feed with vitamin E as an antioxidant. Vitamin E is known to help support healing of nervous system tissue.
Are There Any Complications Or Side Effects?
Use of EPM drugs can negatively affect your horses iron levels. Throughout treatment, your vet will want to monitor your horses white blood cell count, platelet count and iron levels.
There are some rare complications associated with the use of the antiprotozoal drugs. For example, fertility may be affected in stallions. Pregnant mares may also experience some complications with their pregnancy, and unborn foals may be at risk.
While your horse is being treated, stay in close contact with your vet. Report any changes in behavior and symptoms. Be especially vigilant about side effects such as acute diarrhea.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
Surprisingly, the duration of treatment is rather short considering the seriousness of the condition. Generally speaking, an affected horse may take FDA approved antiprotozoal drugs for about a month. In some cases (and depending upon which drugs are used) treatment can take as long as nine months.
Keeping your horse in a stable is a necessary thing, especially if your livery yard specifies restricted grazing at certain times of the year. But what do you do in the height of summer, when keeping your horse inside without the benefit of a tree to shade under, or a cooling breeze? You give him a fan, of course!
The best fans for horse stalls will move the air about, preventing stuffiness, and will help to keep your horse cool during hot weather. You may be wondering where you go to find one of these stall fans, so we have made the job easier for you by picking out three of the best so you don’t have to.
This is a sleek, sophisticated stall fan that mounts on the wall and can be positioned just about any way you want it to be for the maximum air flow to your stall.
2 speeds so you can select how fast you want the air movement – Adjustability is important when choosing the best fans for horse stalls, as some days you may want more air flow than others.
Fan head tilts 180 degrees – This wide range of movement allows you to point the fan in pretty much any direction you want, so you can direct the air flow to wherever you need it the most.
Rugged hanging bar – When you’re fitting a fan in a stable, you don’t really want it anywhere near a horse who could chew, kick, or otherwise mess with it. The fact that this fan can be hung high up on its strong hanging bar is a great bonus.
Safety rated and OSHA compliant – You will want to know that any product you use in your horse’s stall is safe. This one comes with all the relevant safety certificates to put your mind at ease.
Some users report that the fan arrives damaged – This is not the manufacturer’s fault, obviously, but it is worth keeping an eye on your sender as some have been known to damage the product.
This is a great product for keeping your horse’s stall cool and aerated. It is a product made in the US, so you can be sure of helpful advice should you ever need to contact the manufacturer.
2. Air King 9020 1/6 HP Industrial Grade Wall Mount Fan Review
This efficient 3-speed fan will keep your four legged friend deliciously cool in his stall, and prevent stale stuffiness as the high quality motor will circulate the air.
3 speed setting so you can choose how much air you want circulating – Being able to choose whether you want a slow, gentle air movement or a full on blast to cool down a hot stable is a great feature.
Rear mounted pull cord switch – A very useful feature for something that is going to be mounted in a horse’s stable. There will be no dangling parts, just inviting a horse to chew on them!
20 inch powder coated metal blade – The larger blade size will circulate more air more efficiently, and the powder coating means that the blade is more likely to stay in pristine condition for longer.
Pivoting head to direct airflow – It’s great to have a feature that allows you to change the airflow from one place to a whole range – this stall fan will send cooled air in all directions rather than just in one place.
Can cause a vibration on the highest setting – The fan may sound pretty loud when used on its highest setting – it’s working really hard!
This is a fantastic stall fan that will help keep your horse comfortable in his stall in hot weather. The components have all been tested and rated to the relevant specifications, so you will have no worries about anything going wrong.
3. New Air Wall Mount 18” High Velocity Industrial Fan Review
A hardworking fan that will bring down the temperature in your stable block so your horses are comfortable. This fan can be mounted, but comes with unique little feet meaning it ideal to be placed in a corner somewhere.
Wall mounted or free standing – You can choose how you operate this handy fan, whether it be high up or down low – it just depends on your needs.
Adjustable tilt angle so you can send air where it is most needed – An adjustable tilt on a fan is everything; after all it is useless if it doesn’t point where it’s meant to go! This one can be made to send the cool air wherever you like.
Strong, durable motor housing – This is a great feature as it stops sawdust, hay fragments or other particles getting into the motor and causing potential hazards such as stable fires.
Only costs 12 cents a day to run – Cost is, of course, a key factor to consider when buying the best fans for horse stalls. The fact that this one runs so cheap is a massive plus point!
It’s quite expensive for what it is – It’s a great fan, but it is a little on the expensive side. This may be something to consider if you are working with a budget.
A good, efficient fan that does what it’s meant to and is guaranteed to be safe. This one is a great bet for those dealing with a large area with lots of activity.
Keeping your horse cool and comfortable is something you really have to think about, especially if he is going to be stabled for a long time, or in the heat of the summer months. If a horse cannot move himself about to the nearest tree for shade, or move about in the field to find a little breeze, you’re going to have to help him be cool another way. Investing in the best fans for horse stalls can not only give you peace of mind, but can prevent any “bad” behaviour caused by your horse being uncomfortable.