Category Archives: Education

Equine Strongyle Worms Weather The Winter

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

Like many horse owners I was under the assumption that freezing temperatures in winter would kill off any small strongyle worm eggs or larvae on horse pastures, and stop the life cycle of these parasites when they are outside of their equine host.

 

Apparently that is not the case. Surprisingly, the small strongyle can survive not just freezing temperatures, but also freeze and thaw cycles. There is no such thing as a ‘killing frost’ where strongyle worms are concerned, as Dr. Neilsen and Dr. Reinemeyer explain in their wonderful Handbook of Equine Parasite Control 2nd Edition.

 

While there are environmental factors of moisture and oxygen availability to be considered as critical components in the development life of the strongyle worm, the effect of temperature plays a significant part in its survival.

 

Optimum temperature for egg and larvae development is in the range of 77-91 degrees Fahrenheit. While non-optimal conditions may slow the rate of hatching and development of the strongyle worm, studies conducted by Dr. Nielsen indicate that unembryonated eggs can survive occasional freeze/thaw cycles up to 97 days.

 

When you think about the insulating effects of a light layer of snow on animal and plant life on the surface of the soil and the likelihood that worm eggs are often located in equine fecal balls, the microenvironment for the strongyle worm can be kept at a relatively constant temperature close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides an effective level of protection for the worm eggs from repeated freeze and thaw cycles.

 

That is not to conclude that long term freezing doesn’t damage strongyle eggs and reduce larval yield significantly. It indicates that the horse owner still needs to be vigilant about their targeted horse worm control program throughout the year.

 

It is important to remember that worms enjoy a life ‘cycle’ and that their life is not one in stasis. This means that even if you have dewormed your horse following an initial positive F.E.C.T. (fecal egg worm test) and have a negative shedding egg worm count when you conduct a follow up test F.E.C.R.T. (fecal egg count reduction test), it does not mean that the stronglye worm is not present in its host the horse, laying wait in an encysted stage in the intestinal mucosal layer for shedding later. It also means that worm eggs may be present on the pasture that may have survived cold or warm temperatures.

 

A smart horse owner will therefore take the precaution to pick up manure on a regular basis from the pastures to reduce the degree of contamination of the horse herd from infective parasites and also enact a regular F.E.C.T. program to keep abreast of the levels of strongyles present in the herd and administer appropriate dewormer treatments.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ to find out more about F.E.C.T. services available directly to the horse owner including; advice on equine fecal egg count testing; quick and easy purchase of test kits online; reporting and expert consultation services. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information

Why You Should Care About Evidence Based Equine Parasite Control

 

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

The stark reality about dewormers and their use in horses, is that worms of variant types are becoming resistant to the products currently available on the market. According to experts in equine parasitology there are no new dewormer products on the horizon. So as a horse owner you probably don’t want to ignore the fact that you are either contributing to the dewormer resistant problem, or are one of the growing number of enlightened horse owners that are taking responsibility by not following an ancient unsustainable protocol in equine worm management.

 

How do you know if you are doing the right thing? The answer is a hard NO if you answer YES to any of the following:

 

  • Are you a horse owner that uses a variety of anthelmintics on a random rotational basis?
  • Do you deworm your horses based on a fixed calendar schedule?
  • Do you treat your herd of horses before moving them to a new pasture?
  • Do you deworm your horses based on the weather, such as immediately after the first frost?

 

So are you guilty of following an antique protocol that may be contributing to a dewormer resistant equine worm population? Unfortunately the arbitrary nature of these aforementioned actions does nothing to target the worms with an efficient treatment. They waste your money, subject your horse to unnecessary chemicals and make little sense in the modern world of equine parasitology. But it’s not too late to fix things.

 

Think about why you deworm your horses in the first place? Presumably, you wish to optimize your horses’ health and performance. Excellent! That’s a great premise. How do you know if you are being successful in achieving that goal? Bear in mind that a horse can show no outward signs of the presence of worms, but as host his immune system or other mechanisms may be compromised by their presence.

 

Should you worry about dewormer resistance and do you know how to check your herd for the issue and know what you can do to try and mitigate its presence or perhaps even prevent it happening in the first place?

 

Many boarding barns insist that all horses are dewormed on a set schedule and many horse owners follow along blindly. The blind leading the blind! It is important to understand that no deworming program will entirely destroy all parasites in the horse or his environment. The goal is to minimize the presence of infective parasites in both the pasture and the herd, and to enact control measures that are customized for each particular farm.

 

The only method to do this is to utilize an evidence based targeted deworming program, and that means you need to test your horses scientifically using a fecal egg count test (F.E.C.T.). This testing will provide you with an indication of what worms are present and in what numbers and most importantly, in which members of the herd.

 

Once you have these results you can evaluate your present treatment protocol, administer any necessary adjustments with a dewormer targeted for the particular type of worm, follow the worm’s lifecycle and retest. The retest or fecal egg count reduction test (F.E.C.R.T) can be completed at the appropriate time interval after dewormer administration, to ascertain whether there has been a significant reduction that is expected of 90% – 95% worm egg count. If this has not occurred, you may have a dewormer resistant parasite population and other treatments should be enacted with the advice from your vet or equine parasitology expert. It is important that your entire horse herd population be tested and not just one horse in order to obtain an accurate picture of the possible contamination with infective parasites.

 

Knowledge is a powerful tool in horse health management. With the clear scientific evidence from leaders in equine parasitology such as Dr. Martin Nielsen and Dr. Craig Reinemeyer amongst many others, that dewormer resistance is a real issue, please think about becoming an active part of the solution in combating the overuse and misuse of anthelmintics.

 

Unlike some countries in Europe, where dewormers are only available by prescription, we are fortunate in the U.S.A. to be entrusted to buy our deworming products over the counter and administer them as we see fit. Always follow directions as to dosage and never over or underdose. Use a weight tape to measure your horse, ensure that each horse receives the entire required dosage and that it isn’t spit out or lands on your new barn coat! Follow an up to date protocol that is evidence based. Note that some dewormer product manufacturers have recently changed the packaging so check each product carefully for changes and go by the instructions on the label.

 

We all need to preserve dewormer efficacy for our horses’ benefit and if we all step up to help it will make a positive difference for us all. Testing is simple and convenient to do. Kits can be purchased online for the purpose. Follow the collection instructions and mail them in. Results will be emailed, and if you need help managing those results or advice on what products to administer and when, consult an equine parasitology expert.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!

Newly Approved USDF National Education Initiative Events Announced

Lexington, KY (October 29, 2018) – The United States Dressage Federation™ (USDF) is pleased to announce three newly approved educational events, as part of the USDF National Education Initiative (NEI). The primary objective of the NEI is to create and support new and affordable programs, hosted by USDF Group Member Organizations (GMOs) that engage members. Each of these events is USDF University accredited, with attendees automatically earning USDF education credits.  GMOs that participate in the USDF National Education Initiative demonstrate their commitment to providing affordable, quality education opportunities at all levels. The following events have been newly approved for 2019, and are also receiving funding support through USDF National Education Initiative Grants.

New Dressage Test Seminar with USEF ‘S’ Judge Margaret Freeman
Hosted by the Northern Ohio Dressage Association
January 5, 2019
Mentor, OH
www.nodarider.org

Ride-a-Test with USEF ‘S’ Judge Joan Darnell
Hosted by Arkansas Dressage Society
January 27, 2019
Perryville, AR
www.arkansasdressage.org

Camp with FEI B Certified Instructor and L Graduate with Distinction Stacey Hastings
Hosted by the Coastal Empire Dressage Association
April 27-28, 2019
Rincon, GA

For more information about NEI opportunities, including information on how GMOs can apply for the program and grant funding, and to access a full list of upcoming education events, visit the USDF website at http://www.usdf.org or contact the USDF office at education@usdf.org.

Is Your Horse Bothered By Bots?

 (Photo Credit: Horse and Hound)

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

If your horse is bothered by bots you will most likely see small yellow, white or grey specks on your horse’s coat. These are eggs and may appear on your horse’s front legs, neck (mane and withers) or under his jaw. The eggs are laid on your horse’s coat by female flies that look a bit like honeybees, and the eggs will hatch into larvae when contacted by the saliva from a horse’s lips.

 

Other signs that your horse is infected with bots are excessive salivation, chewing issues and irritation of the mouth. A high population of bot larvae may even cause pus in the oral cavity. Not pleasant!

 

While horses can easily reach the deposited eggs on their front legs and consequently lick and ingest the eggs, given that most horses are not able to reach their own manes and wither area, grooming by another horse will enable transmission of eggs deposited at these locations to their respective lips and mouth.

 

As the eggs hatch into larvae they will burrow into the horse’s tongue, around teeth in gingival pockets and after 21 to 28 days will then molt and be swallowed by the horse and migrate to the stomach. Here they continue to develop while attached to the mucosal lining of the stomach and just past the stomach in the alimentary canal.

 

Amazingly aside from the mouth irritation the horse does not appear to experience discomfort or other issues from the ulceration that the larvae produce in the alimentary canal or stomach. A large population of bots hosted by the horse may cause many small ulcers that have the potential to become one large ulcer which could produce a colic risk, but this is unusual.

 

The larvae spend the winter inside the horse, to be excreted back onto the pasture during the warmer Spring months. Presence of bot larvae in horse fecal egg count test is seldom seen but certainly provides proof of bot infection. It is a good idea to deworm your horse once a year to mitigate bot populations. The ideal time to deworm the horse to break the life cycle of bot species is late Autumn, early Winter. A dose of Ivermectin or moxidectin should do the trick.

 

Meantime removal of the eggs visible on the horse’s coat will help defray the discomfort of these larvae stage bots reaching your horse’s mouth. There are many different methods for such removal. You can utilize a bot comb or bot knife, or carefully use a disposable razor. Lava stone grooming blocks act as a type of sandpaper and may successfully remove the eggs and the traditional method of wiping the eggs off with vinegar may work. Use gloves if you decide to pick them off by hand, you don’t want eggs underneath your fingernails! Bot eggs can be difficult to remove, so be patient.

 

If you apply mineral or baby oil to the horse’s coat after removing the visible eggs, more egg laying antics may be reduced.

 

 

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ for more information. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information.

 

About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International and national published freelance writer and photographer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, Warmbloods Today, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, Reiter, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprints, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Western Horse and Gun, Pony Quarterly, Horses All Canada, Catskill Horse to name a few. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki also produces catalog copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures and advertising copy for international corporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.

 

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. Please visit http://www.NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com to learn more.

 

Feeding Weanlings for Growth, Health and Soundness


The two life stages that have the most intensive nutritional needs are mares in early lactation and weanlings. Their requirements per pound of body weight are the highest.

Nutrient dense diets are those that have high levels of protein/amino acids and minerals per calorie. As you might expect, mineral requirements are extremely high during periods of rapid growth. At 4 months, the horse has higher daily total mineral needs than they do as a yearling, despite having lower daily calorie needs. If you really think about this, it is immediately clear that trying to feed weanlings the same diet being fed adults is going to be severely inadequate.

Calories:  Calories are actually the easiest part of feeding weanlings.  In fact, most are too heavy and this has been linked to developmental orthopedic disease.  A 6 month-old weanling requires 7% fewer calories than he will at maintenance at his full adult weight.  If feeding him 93% of the adult diet, he will also only get 93% of the adult protein and minerals, much too low.

Minerals: The foal’s body can’t create the minerals it needs for growth, and stores at birth are minimal to none. This is where the needs of the weanling and those of the adult show the greatest difference.  For example, the 6-month-old weanling needs almost twice as much calcium and phosphorus as he will when he’s a full grown adult.  Obviously 93% of the adult diet won’t get the job done.  The weanling may be falling short by as much as 20 grams of calcium.  This has been linked to developmental orthopedic disease and may set the stage for joint disease and breakdowns when started in training.

Protein: While calorie requirements were lower than adults, protein needs are 7% higher and lysine 10% higher.  If you are feeding the adult diet at the 7% reduction, the gap gets wider.  For a horse that will mature to 50o kg, this amounts to a deficit of 90 grams of protein overall and 4 grams of lysine *if* the adult diet was adequate for lysine in the first place (many are not).

The Solution:  What to do about this? You can scrap the idea of feeding your regular adult diet entirely and go with a specialty mare and foal feed according to directions.  If you do that though, the diet can be 50 to 60% grain based, with much of your protein and minerals tied to grain calories.

It is well known that overfeeding in general is linked to early orthopedic problems across the board and high grain feeding rates put some horses at higher risk for osteochondrosis.  It also used to be believed that weanlings had to have a high percentage of grain in their diet because they couldn’t handle a high fiber diet as well as an adult.  Recent research has proven that false.

Going back then to the adult diet with modest levels of grain/concentrates and heavily based on forages, how can it be fortified for the weanling?  Assuming the adult diet meets minimum protein and mineral requirements, look for a supplement with about 25% protein, lysine minimum 1.5% and 5% calcium with a balanced mineral profile.  Feed 1 pound per day of this.

Some diets have adequate trace minerals for the weanling, but come up short in the critical nutrients for building bone. If that is your situation, a broad-spectrum bone support supplement with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins A and D will fill the gap. Consult your veterinarian or nutritionist regarding dosing.

If you are already feeding enough supplemental minerals across the board and don’t need to add more, it’s very useful to have an unfortified high protein source.  Look for 40+% protein, at least 2% lysine and a mixture of milk/whey protein with vegetable sources.  Feed 1/2 lb per day.  If total protein is adequate, but all or most from hay with unknown lysine content, supplement with an amino acid supplement containing 10 grams lysine and 2 grams threonine per dose.

Finally, for fall and over the winter with no pasture available, you need to think about essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are fragile and largely destroyed when hay cures and during storage.  Adequate supply is required by the eyes, heart and may even influence disposition.  Flax and Chia are good sources, 4 to 6 ounces/day.

Tweaking your diet to fill weanling needs is not terribly difficult or expensive, but the pay back in terms of growth, health and soundness can be enormous.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, offers Probiotic formulas that support the weanlings growth, health and soundness. 

 

Milk & Grow is formulated meet the increased protein, vitamin and mineral demands of the pregnant and lactating mare and growing foal. Highly digestible protein supplement with favorable profiles for all the essential amino acids including the most often deficient amino acid, L-Lysine. Combined with a complete spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and Probiotics

Amino-Fac-41 supports the increased protein needs of growing horses to promote muscle integrity and definition.  Concentrated source of all the amino acids, including 4% Lysine. Supports lean muscle mass, bone and joint structure, vital organ development, immune system function, and hoof and connective tissue health.

Tri Amino helps maintain strong muscles, healthy weight, and supports a healthy topline with the three most essential amino acids. Lysine aids in bone health and immune function. Methionine plays a role in the synthesis of structural proteins, especially hooves and connective tissues. Threonine aids in healthy immune function.

Super Bones is for use when additional Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium are imbalanced to support strong bones and structural integrity.  Also contains Vitamin A and D3 and for additional support in a palatable base.  Perfect for supplementing pregnant and lactating mares and developing foals that have significantly increased requirements.

CocoOmega is a non-GMO and soy free formula that supplies fatty acids in the ideal ratio that mimics the ratio of 4 to 1 Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids found in fresh forages. Promotes a glossy, healthy coat, and supports skin, hooves and joint function by retaining moisture in the cells and tissues to maintain healthy hydration.  Highly concentrated levels of Omega-3 fatty acids enriched with antioxidants also provides EPA and DHA to support brain and nervous system function. Contains Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds and Fish Oil. Very palatable, 100% cold pressed, unrefined oil.  Also available in a granular.

 

Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided credit is given to Uckele Health & Nutrition, who appreciates being notified of publication.

 

About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.  www.ecirhorse.org

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier.  On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances.

US Equestrian and the United States Dressage Federation Publish 2019 Dressage Tests

by US Equestrian Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) announced today that the co-branded 2019 USEF/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Dressage Tests are now available and published online through USDF.

Effective December 1, 2018, through November 30, 2022, the 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests are newly co-branded with the USDF as the two organizations work together to continue to proliferate and promote the sport of dressage in the United States. The 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests continue to serve as a measure of the horse and rider’s schooling and training, while each level builds upon the preceding level’s principles.

USDF’s “On the Levels” will continue to provide examples of the new Introductory through Fourth Level dressage tests.  “On the Levels” features engaging videos to help athletes understand the requirements for tests within each level, with commentary from top U.S. trainers and judges and segments geared toward improving difficult movements at each level.  Keep an eye out for the launch of this product in the coming months.

Additional test products will include a new test app containing both the USEF and USDF tests and, once produced, a test booklet, which can be purchased through the USDF online store at store.usdf.org.

Click here to view the 2019 USEF/USDF Dressage Tests. For information on licensing the new tests, contact USDF at copyright@usdf.org.  For questions or additional information contact Hannah Niebielski, Director of Dressage National Programs, at hniebielski@usef.org.