The Naughty Pony
brought to you by Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic
July 2015 Issue 51
Person of the Month:
Dr. Vurgason graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine
in 2014. During vet school, she worked in the Equine ICU, and participated in
numerous externship experiences across the country. She was captain of the Foal Watch
Team at Mizzou, and enjoyed a unique trip to South Africa to practice wildlife medicine.
Please join us July 22nd @ 6:30pm at Springhill Equine Clinic to Meet and Greet
Dr Vurgason and the Gainesville Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit
The list of supplements available and the things they will fix is simply awe inspiring. I
recently flipped through the SmartPak catalog and came up with several new problems I
didn’t even know my horse could have! And I went to Veterinary School. What’s a horse
owner to do?
First apply a few rules. Just like human diets, quality is key. Using high quality hay as the
foundation of your horse’s feed program starts things off correctly. Next add in a
concentrate (grain) only as needed to fill in the gaps. For the average pony this means
having loose trace minerals and salt available.
However, a thoroughbred in the same field may require 6-8 pounds of a high fat, high
protein concentrate. For most horses this is all they need. Yep that’s it. Hay and a little bit
The next rule is you should understand all the ingredients in the stuff you use. There are some very fancy words in the ingredient list on most feed bags but those words are often just the scientific names for vitamins and proand pre-biotics. This is an excellent time to use Google. If you Google tocopherol you will find this is a high falutin’ way of saying Vitamin E. If you Google BioThrive Formula E you are not going to understand what it is anymore than you do from the words BioThrive, Formula, and E. It’s like looking up the definition for some of those crazy Words with Friends words: no definition is available at this time but you can use it to play this game. Outrageous claims about the products efficacy and a name that means nothing is code for we put some stuff in a jar with a pretty picture and we have no idea what it does. Run away!
A corollary of this rule is that the quantities of stuff must make sense given the size of a horse. I’m going to pick on resveratrol for this one. There have been several studies done in rats which indicate resveratrol is the stuff in red wine that is good for you. The problem is the rats have been on pretty large doses of resveratrol in those studies. A company came up with a supplement with resveratrol in it. You feed 2-4 ounces per day of this stuff. Based on the rat studies horses would need to consume somewhere between 3 and 4 POUNDS daily to experience the same benefits. Fat supplements are another pet peeve here. Feeding a 1200 pound horse a 2 ounce scoop of a 30% fat supplement means you just gave them a little over one half an ounce of fat.
The last rule: Consult your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist to determine if the need for Fancy Supplement X is real. Sometimes it is, often it isn’t. For example, Dr. Lacher has a “special” horse who doesn’t sweat in the summer and is allergic to everything she comes in contact with. This horse gets alfalfa hay, pasture, and Purina Enrich for her concentrate. To help her sweat she gets Platinum Refresh and to help reduce inflammation in her skin she gets Flax seed oil. If you read the label on Platinum Refresh you would think every horse needs it to help “thermoregulate” in the summer. The truth is most horses thermoregulate just fine. Horses with the medical condition anhidrosis do have a problem regulating and therefore a supplement is needed to help.
We all want to do everything possible for our horses. Trust us we know, we are just as bad.
That’s why everyone at Springhill Equine looks in the mirror and says “Do I really need
this for my horse?”
Holy hotness!! This vet, her technicians, and our patients have been incredibly hot already
this summer. I can tell you Icees and Gatorade are lifesavers this time of year. The horses seem to be handling the weather OK. I will say we see more colics as the weather heats up. It seems once they get used to the hot weather things level back out. The upside of hot weather is fewer lacerations since everyone is just standing around in their fields not looking for trouble.
My horses don’t know it but their vacation is almost over with the arrival of Dr. Vurgason. I
am beyond excited to begin introducing Dr. Vurgason to everyone. I may also be a little bit
excited to not work seven days a week and go back to showing my horses. Dr. Vurgason
brings a lifetime of horse knowledge along with a love of potbelly pigs and Disneyworld. I
hope you can join us at her official Welcome Party on July 22nd, 6:30pm at the Clinic.
July in Florida means one thing for sure… afternoon showers!
While the grass and our gardens love the rain, our ponies’ feet do not. Consistently wet feet can cause thrush and mushy soles, which can eventually lead to very sore feet.
We all want our horses to be happy and comfortable and aside from keeping them in the barn, there are a few things we can do to help their feet stay hard through the rainy season.
We recommend picking hooves at least once aday, and we always start by applying Durasole or a similar product four times a week. If that is not working please feel free to call the office and we can get you a stronger product and assess different shoeing options.