Did you miss the last See Tony Opportunity? There’s another coming up on November 19th at 10am. I understand this is a Saturday and that you humans don’t do the thing known as work on that day. That means no excuses for not coming to see me. This will be a talk about exercises and mental strategies that can improve your riding. I don’t know about the exercise portion, but I hear petting a cat while he purrs is an excellent mental calming exercise.
Now on to the main topic for this week: worms. Allow me to digress for a moment; it will make sense in a moment. A funny thing happens around this time of year. First, I notice a change in the weather to excellent catnapping in the sun temperatures, next I notice there is less of the aforementioned sun, and finally one day the humans are all late for their serving duties. This has been explained to me as The Time Change. I feel it’s just an excuse for opening the door and feeding me a full hour late! How does this relate to worms? This Time Change thing coincides with the ideal time to check a fecal parasite egg count on horses. I am a wise cat. I know all sorts of things the average city cat doesn’t.
Worms are smart. Not cat smart, but smart. Over time they have learned how to survive every deworming agent available: that includes the so called “natural” dewormers (more on that later). We humans are responsible for teaching the worms this skill. By using dewormers too often, we let the worms learn how to fight. What’s a horse owner to do? Learn how to use deworming properly by doing three things: 1-Deworm the right horse, 2-Use the right product, 3-Deworm at the right time.
Let’s start with deworming the right horse. The only way to know if your horse has parasites is something called a fecal parasite egg count. This is performed using a small amount of fresh poop. We do some mixing, spinning, and settling before we are able to count how many eggs are left on a microscope slide. This number is our guideline for which horses need deworming now and how often they are likely to need dewormed. These egg counts are often very surprising. Turns out it’s pretty difficult to tell if a horse has worms just by looking at them. Plenty of fat, shiny horses have really high egg counts!
On to the right product. Once upon a time a great idea arose among people who study worms. There were a few products available and they were from different chemical families so it made sense to rotate those products so the worms couldn’t get used to any one drug. Sounds good, makes sense, DOESN’T work. The worms are pretty good at resisting the –zoles and pyrantel so using these drugs doesn’t do much good unless you know they work on your farm. How do you know if they work? Fecal egg counts. Here at Springhill Equine we usually stick to ivermectin and moxidectin used as infrequently as possible, again based on those fecal egg counts.
Deworm at the right time of year for the biggest bang for your buck. You may find this hard to believe but worms don’t like summertime in Florida. This means if we deworm once the weather gets hot, all the worms get killed in the horse and the sunshine kills all the worms in the ground. That means less deworming because you are decreasing your horse’s exposure to parasites. Next we wait for the weather to cool off (like it does right around the time change) to hit the parasites coming out of summer hibernation. Ta Da! Targeted deworming!!!
These strategies help the dewormers we have now last as long as possible. It is very, very important that deworming is done with help from our amazing Clinic. All of our technicians and docs can help you design the plan that’s right for your horse, your property, and your horse’s lifestyle. There are no new dewormers even in development. That means when resistance to ivermectin becomes widespread, that’s it. We won’t have a way to deworm horses and worms used to kill horses. So be a good human and deworm your horse the right way!
It’s almost hay season around here. Sure the weather is still warm but with the daylight decreasing our grass will slow down on growth over the next few weeks. This means our horses will need more hay. There’s good news and bad news on the hay front.
Good news: We have had more than enough rain this summer which means many pastures have done very well growing grass. You will be able to get by longer without hay as your horse grazes down what they have. This isn’t true for all situations, but check your pastures for actual grass and monitor how they are doing weekly. If you notice your horse starting to pull up grass by the roots, bare patches in your field, or weight loss in your horse it may be time to add more hay. Not sure what the right answer is for your horse? Have one of our amazing technicians: Beth, Charly, or Nancy come out and assess your pastures and feed program.
Bad news: We have had more than enough rain this summer which means farmers had to race against storms to try to get hay put up. Check with your regular hay supplier early to see what availability they have. Local hays may be difficult to get. Luckily farmers are farmers and they watch the weather more closely than Dr. Lacher (which is saying something since she has been known to check the radar every 5 minutes). So while hay may be a bit tougher to find most of them should be able to take care of their regular customers.
Coastal hay has a bad reputation when it comes to colic. Some of that is earned. Horses on lots of coastal and nothing else will often colic. Horses suddenly put on a round bale of coastal will colic (especially if this happens after 6pm on a weeknight or anytime on a weekend). Luckily there are easy ways to minimize your coastal hay colic risk.
Most important: gradually increase your horse’s hay. If your horse isn’t normally on hay during the summer now is the time to gradually start them on hay. Begin with 3-4 pounds of hay per day. Increase by about 1 pound weekly until your horse is leaving some hay behind. Once they are leaving hay you may put out a round roll of hay if that’s your feeding preference. Once your horse is on 8 pounds of coastal hay daily you should add in about 2 pounds of alfalfa or peanut hay daily. Alfalfa and peanut hays draw water in to the intestinal tract helping reduce the risk of colic.
Don’t feed coastal? We’ve got a plan for that too. Northern Grass and grass/alfalfa mix hays are excellent choices for many horses. Timothy, Orchard, and Brome hays are the most common grasses. You don’t have to worry about colics due to hay with these types of hays and they provide more nutrition than coastal hay. But they provide more nutrition than coastal hay and sometimes that’s too many calories. For the easy keeper or Insulin Resistant horse we don’t recommend more than 2-3 pounds of these hays per day added to a base of a coastal.
Want to get the most out of your hay dollar? Consider some type of feeding system. Slow feed hay nets come in sizes from a flake or two to an entire round roll. Hay nets have numerous benefits including slowing your horse down which makes your hay last longer, decreasing the calories they consume from hay, keeping them eating small amounts for longer, keeping their feet, manure, and urine out of the hay, and keeping them from stuffing their nose in the bale which often causes problems with allergies. We haven’t found a reason not to use these hay nets yet. One of our technicians, Nancy, began using them on her coastal round bale and got an addition 10 days out of the roll and her two older horses were able to stop taking medication for their heaves since they couldn’t stick their noses into the bale. If hay nets aren’t your thing check out YouTube for about a million different slow feed hay DIY options. Check out this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7Ws8–3IOU for starters.
We are here to help you design the perfect nutritional system for your horse, your life, and your farm. Gives us call, e-mail, or text!
For starters, I went and got married. It was a great day with everyone in costume, amazing cake (very important with my sweet tooth), and fantastic pizza from Villagios (also important). In typical Dr. Lacher fashion I did things a little weird. We took a bit of a honeymoon pre-wedding since Dr. Vurgason is expecting her first child any moment now. I asked Baby Vurgason to wait until after the wedding to appear but now we are ready and she can come any time!
I don’t know about you guys but I am officially ready for Fall! I love Summer but like all things we love too much is not a good thing. My horses are all hairy and need clipped but doing that while sweating is just no fun!
With the time change we are now relegated to riding in the very tiny area where I have some light. This always involves spooking at the imaginary dragons that live just outside the lit area. Good times!!! At least there is Pumpkin Spice everything to make it all better.
In this month’s Tech Corner, I’d like to talk about what tending to Coby’s wounds has taught us. Coby is the horse who fell through the floor of the horse trailer approximately 3 months ago. The bones were exposed on both hind legs and one tendon was torn.
The first thing we all learned is the importance of working with dedicated owners who are willing to devote the time and effort necessary for the patient to make a full recovery. This includes following the directions and time line set forth by your vet which is best determined by IMMEDIATE consultation with your vet. Coby’s owners did an excellent job! The second thing we learned is that good old well water does amazing things! Lots and lots of “shower effect” hosing of the wounds clean them quite nicely and helps reduce swelling and discomfort. We were able to experiment with amnion, provided by another client, and discovered that it does not attach to bone but loves granulation tissue. We also used a dressing called Cica care, which accelerated the healing process dramatically.
The bottom line is, if you’re going to have horses who are allowed to be out and act like horses, you are going to have wounds. Coby had severe wounds which had all of us holding our breath but with diligence, the right materials and guidance, MOST wounds that we see can heal nicely.
Events of the Month:
Springhill Equine has had a very busy October…..hence the reason the Naughty Pony News Letter from October is late.
So if you have not already heard, the Open House on the 20th was a huge success! Thank you to all the Vendors and Contributors who helped to make it a great one! Thank you for all the participation from our clients!!
October 24th Dr Lacher and Justin Long shared a very special day with all of us! Congratulations and well wishes for a lifelong happiness together! It was a very unique event with all the costumes appropriate for Halloween right around the corner.
Dr Vurgason is impatiently waiting the arrival of her new baby girl. So she has been on maternity leave for a couple of weeks now. We will post some pictures of mom and baby when she arrives.
November 17th @ 6:30pm
Please join us at our clinic 22837 NE 22nd Ave Newberry, Fl
Wellness 2016 Enrollment is HERE! You should have received the paperwork in the mail! If you did not. please call our office.
Hello all….so last year at this time I was pondering what “I” would be doing for my Thanksgiving. The humans were around here discussing their plans for dinner with their family. So I decided to go on my own adventure. One of our clients came into the clinic with a trailer. I saw an open opportunity to make the great escape. After all the discussion about dinners, I wanted some turkey, giblets, mashed potatoes, and all the other wonderful food they were discussing. So, I hopped into the trailer in the stealth mode that I can do from time to time. I remained silent in the trailer, and then off we went. I was on my own holiday adventure and I was going to have me some turkey and not be stuck alone with my sister in the clinic. I arrived with all kinds of anticipation but I could not let the humans know I had made the great escape. I am sure they were extremely worried about me at the clinic but I did not care, I was going to have turkey dinner. I decided to make my grand appearance a day or so later and wow were they surprised to see me! They kept asking, “What I was doing here”? “How did you get here”? Silly humans and their questions…..a cat will never tell! So this year, unfortunately, they are onto me and I won’t be making the great escape again this year. Maybe someone can bring me a taste of turkey this year….If not, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
However, being inside for the weekend isn’t all bad. I sure would hate to be out and about with the cooler temperatures that have arrived in North Central Florida. I have seen and heard some strange things around the office about SALT and horses! Ya don’t say?? From what I understand, you add salt to the horse’s feed in the evenings (yuck not a cat thing) and according to Dr Lacher, this should stimulate them to drink more water because it makes them thirsty. The key thing here is keeping these guys and gals hydrated in the cooler temperatures so that you don’t have to call us out in the middle of the night because your horse is colicing. We have had several phone calls this past week with horses needing our help. I can get on board with the Docs recommendation to keep lots of food in front of the horses. Hay in particular but I’m not sure about that nasty stuff. The Docs say hay acts as an internal heater when the horses digest it and, if it is alfalfa or peanut hay, it keeps the poop moving. I can’t believe how difficult it is for horses to perform this basic operation: moving poop. So on really cold or wet nights throw an extra flake or two of hay to your horse, and they will stay toasty warm.
And now my feline opinion on blankets: I love them! Soft, warm, fluffy, great to curl up in, and purr. Yep, love blankets. Horses sometimes love blankets. Most horses handle our cold weather just fine. Older or fine haired horses may need blankets on the coldest nights. If they are shivering, our Docs recommend a blanket but if not then they are happy frolicking naked through the winter’s eve. Clipped horses definitely need blankets since not only have we taken off all their hair (appalling thought for a cat) but what little hair they have left doesn’t work like the natural stuff to block rain and wind.
I have generously closed the office Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. But Dr Lacher is still reachable at 352-474-5007 for emergencies.