Monday, August 22, 2016

Vitamin E and Your Horse

Veterinarians will often suggest vitamin E supplements for horses with no access to pasture.  There are many forms on the market; we'd like to provide some guidance to choosing the right one.

Like A, D and K, vitamin E falls into the category of fat-soluble vitamins. These four vitamins require fat for them to be absorbed from the digestive tract, and are stored in the liver and fatty tissues.

Similar to vitamin A, the body does not make any vitamin E; all of it has to come from the diet. Vitamin E is expressed in terms of "activity,” and the NRC or National Research Council recommends 1 International Unit (IU) of vitamin E per kilogram of horse bodyweight. So a 450 kg horse (1000 pounds) would need at least 450 IUs/day of vitamin E. The upper safe diet is considered to be 1,000 IU/kg dry matter (that’s 9100 IU/day for a 1000 lb horse).  Thankfully, vitamin E does not appear to be toxic to horses even at relatively high consumption.

How Much Vitamin E Does a Horse Need?  

Every horse needs vitamin E.  It works closely with selenium to protect cells from excess free radicals or oxidative stress.  According to holistichorse.com:

The amount depends on several factors. The more the horse is exercised, the more vitamin E is needed due to more free radicals being produced; hence more vitamin E is used up to protect cell membranes. 

To survive: 1000-2000 units (IU) a day 
Engaging in regular exercise: 5000 units a day 
Neurological problems like EPM, EDM, and EMND, PSSM: 10,000 units a day 
Broodmares: 5000 units a day 
Older (20+) or Cushing’s horses: 5000 units a day


Found in high amounts in fresh pasture, levels of vitamin E begin to deteriorate the moment forage is cut for hay. Therefore, horses that do not have access to grass or a full serving of fortified grain should receive vitamin E supplementation.

Beyond the Basics

Natural or Synthetic?  Which is best?  When purchasing, 

natural vitamin E appears as d-alpha tocopherol,
synthetic vitamin E appears as dl-alpha tocopherol. 

Although synthetic vitamin E is absorbed by the horse, natural vitamin E has been shown to be more biologically active. It takes a smaller amount of d-alpha tocopherol (natural) to achieve the same activity in the body as dl-alpha tocopherol (synthetic). It's your choice: smaller amounts of the more expensive natural version or larger amounts of the less expensive synthetic version.

You might want to ask your veterinarian to draw a baseline blood sample before you start your horse on a vitamin E supplement and then measure serum alpha tocopherol again about two weeks later, Alpha tocopherol is a fairly fragile compound; your vet will take special care to protect the samples for the lab's analysis.   Things like the wrong type of tube, exposing the sample to light, letting it get too warm, or repeated freeze/thaw cycles can all damage vitamin E in blood samples.

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This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Alternative Therapies for Horses

This is the first of a multi-part series discussing management plans for your horse

Acupuncture, chiropractic, and equine massage therapy can be valuable parts of your horse's management plan when used appropriately and performed by a qualified practitioner.  The key is knowing when to use these modalities, and who to call for help.
Part I of this series outline key steps that'll help you make the most of alternative therapies in your horse's care plan. Future installments will include basic information on acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage; what they are, when to use them, and how to choose a qualified practitioner.
  • Diagnosis
More often than not, if your horse has a musculoskeletal problem, you should begin with your veterinarian, who can do a lameness work-up to determine a specific diagnosis.
Why? Because many injuries are best identified and managed using conventional medical treatments. Should alternative therapy be avoided in these cases? The simple answer is no; ATs can be extremely helpful not only in pain management but in the healing process.  Just be sure to begin with an accurate diagnosis.
  • Do the Research
Choose your practitioner carefully. A properly trained acupuncturist, chiropractor, or body worker should always refer you to your veterinarian when  appropriate, and never perform services until an underlying problem is diagnosed and treated. Opt for a certified practitioner.
Ask the chosen therapist about his or her education and training.  Be especially cautious of someone who suggests prescription meds without first consulting your vet.  This can often be a red flag that the therapist is unclear about (1) the boundaries between him/her and the vet, (2) the exact nature of the injury, and (3) involvement in the horse's ongoing care.
  • Connect Your Vet
Your veterinarian should remain an important part of your horse's management plan in addition to alternative therapies that are outside his or her direct expertise. Bonus:  Your vet can probably direct you to the most competent and likely candidates to help your horse.
Identical to human care management, working as a team is likely to produce the best results.
  • Medical History
With the correct therapy and practitioner selected, it's important that you be prepared for your appointment.   The therapist is likely to request a medical history that includes any chronic ailments or recent injuries, any currently prescribed meds, as well as unlimited contact with your vet.  Plan for an extensive exam and to decide on a treatment plan appropriate to the horse's condition.
  • Be Honest and Open
If your acupuncturist, chiropractor, or massage therapist asks you about the type of work your horse does, or about any known medical problems, it's important to be accurate with your answers. Not only will it help your therapist devise the best treatment plan, it'll also let him or her know whether current treatments are being effective.
  • Be Realistic

If you're looking for a miracle cure, you'll need to look elsewhere. Medications can't completely cure every disease, and alternative therapy can't fix every problem.
But if you follow all the steps outlined above, are open-minded and have realistic expectations, alternative therapies can make a valuable contribution to your horse's general well-being.
Next Month:  Acupuncture

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This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How To Start A Goat Farm

Be sure to check with your local authorities to make sure goats are legally acceptable in your community.   Goats don’t like wet and damp; they prefer a dry pasture with a good barn or shelter. Remember that goats are extremely social; so plan for at least two.  A goat left on its own may noisily call for a friend and become a four-legged vehicle of destruction.
Check and double-check your budget.  Goats eat lots and continuously throughout the day. Plan to invest a significant portion of your budget into feeding and veterinary care. Every bit of food eaten affects the flavor of the milk you harvest and the cheese you make.  Opt for clean foods and healthy pasture vegetation.
Goats have a somewhat delicate constitution that requires regular veterinary care and monitoring. Goats can get sick easily and die quickly. Their curiosity makes them susceptible to accidents; they need to be closely monitored.  Milk dairy goats on, at least, a daily basis to prevent painful infections. If you plan to leave the farm for any amount of time, hire a knowledgeable farm sitter to take care of the animals.
What is a goat’s environment?
Goats graze grass, just like cattle and sheep.  The difference is that they can live off of thinner grass cover than other animals of similar size. Ever seen wild goats on your favorite animal show?  They live in hilly terrain, similar to the craggy highlands their ancestors once roamed. Feral goats also occupy pine meadows and tropical and temperate forests.
Domestic goats may also be kept in areas without any vegetation, as long as they are cared for daily by humans. They can survive on dry roughage, such as hay, for long periods of time.
What are the top-selling farm goats?
Some good examples of top-selling farm milk goats are Alpine, Nubian, Kinder  and Toggenberg to name just a few.  Breeds such as Angora, Nigora and Pygora are popular for their fleece and used for producing cashmere and mohair.
Goats are kept by farmers, both commercial and hobbyist, for  milk, fleece and meat. Many cultures around the world include goat meat as a staple of their diets;  but, as of 2016, there is little demand in the US.  Nigerian Dwarf goats are one popular breed that have traditionally been bred for both meat and dairy, but they have also become popular as pets due to their small size and simple maintenance.

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This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS)has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Is a Raw Food Diet Right For Your Dog?

This is the second and final installment of a two-part series outlining the pros and cons of feeding your dog a raw diet.
Tips For Feeding Your Dog A Raw Diet
Meat should make up between 50 and 70% of a raw food diet for dogs, within that figure it's recommended that you should have a 1:1 ratio of bone to meat. That means that the smaller bones which have almost an equal amount of meat to bone, are better than a huge bone that only has a little bit of meat on it. The remainder of the nutrition comes from fresh, raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Aim to feed somewhere between 2 and 3% of his body weight in raw food per day.
    For example, a 50lb dog will eat approx. 1lb - 1.5lbs of raw food per day. Divide that amount between two meals, whenever possible.
  • When it comes to the type of fruit and vegetables to use in a raw food diet for dogs, do the research!
Some fruits/veggies can cause upset tummies, or worse - could cause canine bloat in large, deep-chested breeds. Some are actually toxic Here's our short list of what we like and what we avoid:
Good:
Carrots, Parsley, Celery, Zucchini, Potatoes (WITHOUT skins), Cauliflower, Leafy Green Vegetables (Mustard Greens, Brussel Sprouts, Romaine Lettuce), Peas, Parsnips, Peanuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Strawberries, Blueberries, Apples, Bananas, Pears, Melons.

Bad (Some Potentially Toxic):
Onions, Garlic, Broccoli, Beans, Turnips, Cabbage, Grapes, Raisins, Macadamia Nuts, Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers

Here are a few more tips and tricks...
  • You need to supervise mealtimes when offering a raw food diet for dogs, at least during the early days. Raw dog food requires more effort (i.e. chewing and tearing) to eat, and an over-excited dog could gag or choke if not supervised at first
  • NEVER FEED COOKED BONES as these can splinter and cause damage to your dogs' digestive system
  • If you want to feed a raw diet to your dogs, but are looking for a little less work--try prepared foods. There are dehydrated and/or frozen options available
  • Grind up raw fruit and vegetables to help him get maximum benefits. Use a blender, food processor or juicer, and simply add the pulp or juice to food
  • Worried that Rover isn't getting all he needs? Add a daily vitamin/mineral supplement to his diet. Adding some dietary supplements such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids , Vitamin E, Vitamin C or probiotics ensures your dog gets all the essential nutrients he needs
  • Mix up the menu by alternating the major meat ingredient every 3 - 4 days (i.e. feed lamb, then chicken, beef etc.) to prevent sensitivities. Organ meat (offal) is extremely rich; offer no more than once each week.
A Few Final Words.....
There are advocates on both sides of the raw/commercial debate. Whichever food plan you decide on (raw, commercial or home-made), the result should be a healthy and happy dog.
If Fido is ready for anything, has no digestive, immune or skin problems, keep doing what you are doing. You've found the best choice for you and your dog.

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This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems. Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pet Pig Arthritis


You probably didn't know that arthritis strikes most pigs when they hit their senior years.   Maybe it's genetics, likely it's their love of all-things food.   As in humans, it is a painful and disabling condition that may prove fatal. 

Joint Supplements--Start Young

As with all animals, we recommend a trip to the vet to rule out other potential causes, including fractures.  If the vet says arthritis, a course of treatments, including supplements, may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.  Supplements like Glucosamine and Chondroitin can be bought over the counter and do help improve arthritic joints.  One of the messages that has been stated repeatedly at pig seminars over the last few years is that even pigs without apparent problems should be on at least the maintenance dose of joint supplements from a very early age.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin is a supplement that has been demonstrated to improve the overall condition of joints and to slow any degenerative diseases that strike the joints. The syrup version of G&C is easy to sneak into a pig's diet.  There is also a powder version that you might try. Both of these products are sold for equines and one half the dosage for a horse will work for your pigs. Be aware, these supplements are expensive! But they are also effective.

Glucosaminoglycans is effective in removing bad fluid from around the joints and improving the fluid around the joint in general. This is usually an injected supplement. It is given weekly for a month and then given once every month. It has been found to be very effective in improving joint health. In some cases the damage arthritis caused the joints were actually reversed!

Pain Relief--An Aspirin Won't Do

Sometimes your veterinarian will prescribe a mild pain medication so that it is easier for your pig to move around. One of the common medications is called Rimadyl, or what is referred to as the best, Derramax. These drugs are not safe over long periods and it is recommended that if your pig is on these medications that it also takes an acid-reducer medicine like Paxil, Ranitidine, or the like. These pain-relieving medications will allow your pig to move around relatively painlessly while the other supplements that you are giving it have time to take effect.

You can find most of these supplements under Equine sections on most on-line vet supply companies. You just type into the search box Chrondroprotec or Cosequin and it should pop up a listing for that item.

 If all else fails you can ask your veterinarian to start your pig on Prednisone, a steroid. Steroids have substantial risk but are effective. The pig must also take an acid reducer like Prilosecor Nexium to prevent digestive tract issues. You vet will know the proper dosages and instructions for taking the medications.

Environment Helps

 Senior pigs should have heated beds and never sleep where cold can get to them. There are many bed warmers you can get from farm, feed or pet supply stores. Look for heated rubber bed warmers. Provide plenty of room for your pig to be able to get off the mat if it gets too warm.

 You should also consider re-think your pig's habitat to provide for an arthritic condition. Make walking surfaces level and provide ramps. Offer heated pens or houses for your pig. A healthy diet of leafy greens coupled with higher protein hog feed will satisfy a big appetite.  Lots of light will limit the possibility of a trip and fall. 

In the end it is quality of life not quantity that counts most, so if your pig starts to suffer more than the drugs can compensate for, you should consider humanely putting your pig down so that it doesn't continue to be in intolerable pain. Providing a comfortable living environment for your arthritic pig is challenging, but it will make it more comfortable and happy for the days to come.

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This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com


All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Wild Horse vs. Domestic Horse-- Less Difference Than You Think

There's no difference in the training, and all horses should be trained. No horse wants to be treated harshly and aggressively, or laxly and indifferently. They do not respond well to anger or nonchalantly.   Like your kids, they will take over if you don't establish clear boundaries and limits. Take your time--horses don't like to be rushed. Remember, wild horses are, simply HORSES. In many ways they are just like any other horse.

There are some important differences, however.

Wild horses haven't been abused, spoiled or taught bad behaviors by you or anyone else.  Think pure when you hear wild.  Think empty canvas on which to paint the most beautiful image.  
Wild horses have a much stronger sense of self-survival than domestic horses, which must be understood in your training program. That's why it's so important to work at your horse's pace, and not yours.  Be sure that your horse understands exactly what you want before moving to the next step.   It's critical that Step 1 in any training  program is trust-building.  Once a mustang trusts you, you'll be their partner.  But until then, that sense of self-preservation will be one of your greater challenges. 

A horse who has spent time in a social setting is smarter, has a stronger sense of self, and is more "in the know"  than one who has grown up a in a stall. Horse society requires good manners, respect and the ability to get on with others.    Perhaps, most importantly, horses understand that there must be a leader in order for the community to work well.  It makes sense to become the good leader that inspires your mustang (or domestic for that matter). 

Wild horses, with their keen senses, read and understand their environment and the beings that move through it.  They have a profound ability to spot and understand body language, energy, movement and purpose.  Who you are is clear as day. Not so true from our side; we do not always read the horse well and that's when the trouble begins.

If you want the horse to trust you, be trustworthy!

All horses are naturally honest, and will give you true and genuine feedback. Calming and training your wild horse will make you a better trainer and handler of all equines.  And, perhaps, a better person too.

Once you have earned the horse's trust and loyalty, it is ready to be trained just like any domestic horse. And as with any horse
The better the trainer
The better the training
The better the horse.

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This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 8th is National Cow Appreciation Day...Bravo to Our Bovines!

No one knows how Cow Appreciation Day got started.  It joins a long list of unofficial holidays:  National Pretzel Day, Name Your Car Day and Bald & Free Day to name just a few.   Let's say thank you to the animal who gives us so much.  As Bart Simpson says, "COW-abunga!"
Did you know that cows are excellent recyclers?  A Cornell study reported that cows are often fed byproducts of industrial processes. The alternative – incineration of the byproducts – directly contributes to environmental degradation, so cows actually help reduce the impact of the human food supply and make that food supply affordable, he reports.
Bet you didn’t know that, did you?
Here are a few little-known facts about these gentle farm creatures:
1.  Dairy cows live about 25 years
2. Cows have almost panoramic, 360-degree vision, allowing them to watch for predators or humans from all angles. Translation: It’s nearly impossible to sneak up on them, would-be cow tippers.
3. Bovines can’t see the color red. Those crimson flags that matadors wave in the rodeo ring only catch a bull’s attention because of their fluttering.
4. Cows have an acute sense of smell and can detect odors up to six miles away, which is also helpful in detecting imminent danger.
5. These mammals have no upper front teeth. Instead, they press their sharp bottom teeth against the top hard palate of their mouth to cut efficiently through blades of grass.
6. Cows move their jaws about 40,000 times a day, chewing cud or grass about 40 times a minute.
7. Thanks to a high metabolism, the average dairy cow consumes more than 100 pounds of food per day and drinks up to 40 gallons of water per day.
8. These extremely social creatures don’t like to be alone. So if a cow isolates herself, she's either not feeling well or she's about to give birth.
9. Cows spend the vast majority of their time lying down — about 10 to 12 hours each day.
10. Cows and humans share a very important trait — gestation for both is 9 months

We all know that cows supply each of us with nutrition in a variety of ways.  Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream.  Meat products from roasts to steaks to burgers.  Cows have been feeding us for centuries; isn't it time to show our thanks by celebrating National Cow Appreciation Day on July 8th?

Cow-Filled Ways to Celebrate
Scrabble Contest--How many words can you think of that contain the word "cow"?
Art Show--Cow drawings.  Categories may include Most Life-like, Funniest...you decide!
And, of course,
Cow Costumes

The prize?  A loving cup full of ice cream!!!
So, get moo-ving...it's National Cow Appreciation Day!!
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This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.