Monday, November 23, 2009

Feed, Supplements, and Treating COPD and Cushings.....aka Photo Challenge - Day FIVE

I am not a Monday person......groan. LOL! At least this is a two day work week! YAY! :D I was not motivated to do the photo challenge today, and I really did not want to take pics at school and all. Plus I forgot my camera, and truly this blog is about my horses, not about my job.

SO......I got a couple of comments about my last post, specifically the question WHAT IS DENGIE? So I thought I would show some pics about what my horses eat and why they eat it.

It must be added that I am NOT a veterinarian, not do I play one on TV. I am just a girl who has been riding horses for the past 24 years and has owned her own horse for the past seventeen. So that is my disclaimer. Yeah, I am pretty well educated about horses, specifically the ailments MY horses have/still do suffer from. But I am by no means an expert, and I would never claim to be. I have spent many hours researching feeds and supplements (just ask my friend Rachel!!!! LOL!!) and feed what I do based on what my horses need right now. I discuss things with my feed rep and with my vet. So again, please do not take my words as gospel. Each horse responds differently to things and have diverse needs.

So here is a photo of two of the three grains I feed. The grain on the left is Triple Crown Senior, which I feed to both Dreamy and Sparky . On the right is Blue Seal alfalfa pellets, which Sparky eats. I store my grain in an old chest freezer. It is perfect. You can see my 1 lb. measuring can on the left and the 1/2 lb. measuring can on the right. They are also perfect for measuring out the exact poundage of grain I need. I do not feed with "cans" or "dippers" as measurements, but rather weigh everything out and adjust by pounds. Each grain weighs something different, more or less. Coffee cans are just a tiny bit too large (they measure in at 1.25 lbs. not exactly a pound), but I have found that pumpkin cans are perfect! LOL!!!!

The other grain I feed is Triple Crown Performance 14, which is for Reva. This is just stored in a Rubbermaid trash can, and I forgot to take a photo of it. So in this photo here, we have Reva's PM grain at the top (green bucket), Dreamy's PM grain in the lower left (blue), and Sparky's in the lower right (burgundy). I mix the feed in those little buckets and then pour them into their hanging grain buckets. (BTW, I feed supplements at night feeding).

Right now, Reva, my three year old, is getting 2 lbs. a day of her Performance 14, which is split into two feedings. She probably eats 16-18 lbs. of hay each day in 3-4 feedings. Reva is only on MSM right now, seeing as she had very large puffy joints when she arrived, and every time she moved she popped and cracked like an old horse (!!!). It is cheap and I figure for now, it won't hurt. I think this was $24 for an 180 day supply? Because she is just an easy keeper, I can feed her such a small amount of grain. It is MUCH less than the recommended amount, I have also added Mega Cell, a multi vitamin supplement. It will arrive in a week or so with her Smart Pak. I was going to add her MSM to the Smartpak, but it would have been $10 a month! Um......if I can get half a YEAR of MSM at the feed store for only $24, why the heck would I pay $10 a month just for it to come in a Smart Pak???? LOL!!!! (I love my Smart Paks, but you also have to use your noggin.....)


Sparky, my 27 year old, is getting 3 lbs. of the TC Senior and 1 lb. of the alfalfa pellets each day split into two feedings. She is not as much of an easy keeper as she used to be, but still maintains her body condition on a smaller amount of grain than some older horses. She gets the alfalfa pellets because I had noticed over a year ago now that she was starting to not eat as much hay anymore. Her teeth are fine, the hay was fine, etc., but I noticed she was no longer eating the 12 lbs. a day of hay like usual. Because of this, she was starting to drop weight. Because of her Cushing's, I did not want to up her grain ration. SO......after much thought, research, and discussion with a Nutrena feed rep (I fed Nutrena forever until recently switching to TC....another story for another day....) I decided to try the alfalfa pellet. The feed rep told me to start with 1 lb. a day and work her up to 5 lbs. a day. WELL......the 1 lb. a day did the trick. She holds her weight like a champ. I would say she eats more like 5-7 lbs. of a hay a day now in multiple feedings, but still looks good because of the pellets. They help add the extra fiber she needs.

Sparky is on chastetree berries from MoreThanAlive for her Cushing's (stored in the little container in the lower right...I buy in bulk and only put one pound in the feed room at a time while I store the rest in the fridge. For the record, the pound cost has gone up significantly since I started feeding it 5 years ago. :( I can only guess it is because SO many people are now feeding it to their horses. The owner of MTA actually emailed me about 2 years ago asking if I fed it to my horse and how much, etc. She had started getting lots of emails about feeding the chastetree to horses and wanted help!), Corta-Flx for her joints, and TractGard for her tendency to colic and do weird colic-but-not-really-colic episodes where she decides not to eat or drink much, but her TPR is normal and she is not really "colicking" but she sure as heck is not right. She did it back in the fall of 2007 and then worse the spring of 2008, where she refused to eat or drink for 5 days. I nearly had a heart attack. So she was on cimetidine for a few weeks (bought at WalMart.....yeah it is a funny time to pick THAT up!) and is now permanently on the TractGard. It is great because it is a pellet and Miss Picky will eat it. And I do think it has helped her quite a bit! She was also on flaxseed for for the past year and a half too, but I ran out at the end of the summer, was too poor at the moment to buy more, and so far I think she is just fine. The nutritionist at Foxden (makers of the TractGard) recommended it to me back when she had the weird colic-not-colic episode and I started the TractGard.

Dreamy, my 18 year old, is currently on 3 lbs. a day of TC Senior split into two feedings. She has COPD, so I spent lots of time finding a supplement that would help her with that. Not only did it have to WORK, she had to also EAT it. Sparky is picky, but Dreamy is downright stubborn. For many years I gave her a product called Wind. It was fabulous. But when we started doing rated USDF shows this year, I had to find something else because the devil's claw is a banned substance. ARG!!!! So I put her on Immuzim. It seems to work OK. I think I might go back to the Wind now that show season is over. Six months of one and six of the other. We shall see. She is also on chastetree berries, as she was having attitude problems under saddle due to her heats. I never notice when she is in heat, but when I started working her more she began having little temper tantrums about once a month (noticeable from re-reading my blog....). And Dreamy is on Recovery EQ through Smart Pak for her joints.

Yes, I am nearly out of the Immuzim. I buy it in a gallon jug and only fill the smaller dosing bottle shown here. After tonight's feeding, I refilled the bottle. :)

Here is a close up of the chastretree berries......you can see that Sparky gets a full scoop while Dreamy gets about a third.

Now....those are all the daily feeds and supplements my mares get. Dreamy does have an arsenal of meds that she takes for her COPD though. I have a well stocked first aid kit. :) The blue coffee can at the top is full of Rounders. LOL! They each get a carrot in their PM grain and then a Rounder before I leave the barn. Spoiled? Yes.

If you look very closely, you can see the HUGE pill bottle of cimetidine from WalMart (middle left). The prescription is for SPARKY THE HORSE TEWKSBURY. ROFLMAO!

So, Dreamy is on the Immuzim daily. And I soak her hay from roughly May-November. The rest of the year she is on a product called Dengie Hi Fi. Basically because I live in Maine, from December - April her soaking hay makes hay ice cubes. There is no feasible and practical way for me to soak her hay in the winter. Even if I soaked it in my dirt floor basement, it would be a long walk from the front of my house to the barn out back with the hay in the wheelie cart thing. When there is over 3 feet of snow on the ground and it is hovering around 10 degree with a windchill of -5.....yeah. Not dealing with soaking wet hay.

So the Dengie is basically a chopped hay feed. Technically it is called Dengie everywhere except here in the US. So I am not sure why we have always called it Dengie since I was a kid. The stuff I buy is called Hi Fiber (HiFi). The website says: Horses suffering from respiratory problems and allergies associated with field-dried hay benefit by feeding our forage feeds. The high temperature drying process eliminates harmful mold spores that can lead to respiratory allergies (heaves), resulting in a chronic cough and decreased physical performance ability. Feeding your horse any one of Lucerne Farms high temperature dried forages will help prevent an allergic cough and to help keep his airways clear. My vet had me start with the HiFi and if she ballooned in weight, we would switch her to the Totally Timothy. But she did fine with the HiFi. And I like that Lucerne Farm is right here in Maine. :)

On an as needed basis, she gets Tri-Hist (antihistamine/decongestant) and Dexamethasone (steroid). She is only on these when she has had what I call a COPD "attack", which basically consists of a VERY high respiratory rate (Ever seen a horse panting? Yeah, NOT cool. Ask me how I know.....) and a persistent cough. I will write an entire post about COPD/heaves/RAO at some point in the future....but not right now.

And of course, when she presents with something really yucky, like a snotty nose, she gets SMZs (antibiotic) with the trusty balling gun and daily temperature checks. It can be hard to tell the difference between an allergic reaction and an infection or pneumonia.


So, that is my exciting photo challenge today. A mix of my daily feeding routine, plus a little info on what I do for my COPD allergy mare. :D

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for all the details - feeding and supplements can be complicated and a challenge. I thought it was some sort of chopped hay from the picture!

    My mare Lily has COPD. Now that she's retired and out 24/7, it isn't much of a problem any more. When she did/does get attacks, we use Ventipulmin syrup by mouth.

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  2. nice blog !! i was looking for blogs related of feed supplements . then i found this blog, this is really nice and interested to read.

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