How To Treat Yeast Infection in Dog’s Ear With Monistat

dog ear mites vs yeast infectionWhen a dog continues to scratch at its ears for extended periods, it is quite possibly because your pet has an ear infection. Different infections can occur inside the ears, causing discomfort for dogs. Some of these infections are caused by ear mites, while others are caused by bacteria or fungus. Dogs with large, floppy ears have a diminished airflow as compared with their short-eared counterparts that can lead to excess moisture in their ears. If there is a lot of moisture present, fungus may begin growing and, this may lead to an ear yeast infection.

If your dog does have a yeast infection in its ears, you could take your pet to the veterinarian to get a prescription cream.  Alternatively, or you could use Banixx, which is readily available at most local feed stores.  If you cannot find Banixx locally, it is readily available via online retailers such as Chewy, Amazon, Jeffers Pet or Valley Vet. While we feel these types of treatments are the best solution, there are a lot of people online that wonder if you can also use Monistat for treating the yeast infection in your dog’s ears. Monistat is a product that is commonly used by women with yeast infections, but is it a product that you can safely use on your dog?

What You Need to Know About Dog Ear Yeast Infections

Dogs can get yeast infections in their ears as well as other parts of their bodies, including their paws and toes. Yeast can develop here because these spots on a dog’s body provide the perfect amount of warmth and moisture. Some yeast infections in dogs are more evident than others. Your dog’s skin could start to look slightly pinkish. Your dog might even have an odor that resembles the smell of a tortilla chip. If the yeast is present inside the ears, you will usually notice your dog scratching at the ears and rubbing the ears against objects inside your home to obtain relief. Although it is uncomfortable for your dog, a yeast infection is generally pretty easy to treat in the early stages.

Using Monistat as a Dog Ear Yeast Infection Treatment

dog ear yeast infection treatment monistatMonistat is an over the counter (OTC) product that you can easily find at most drugstores. The product is known for being a yeast infection cream that you can purchase without a prescription. It effectively eliminates yeast infections because of its active ingredient, miconazole. Women can buy this product when they have a yeast infection to clear it up in several days. Although it is commonly used by women, the active ingredient in Monistat is also safe for dogs. When used correctly, you can often clear the yeast infection from your dog’s ears by using this topical cream.

Before using Monistat, contact your veterinarian to ask questions about using this product to treat the yeast infection. If you decide that you are unable to visit the veterinarian for treatment, you can follow these simple directions to treat your dog with the Monistat cream safely. Make sure you are mixing the cream with hydrocortisone cream. You should use the same amount of both creams. The reason you want to add hydrocortisone cream to the Monistat cream is that it will help relieve your dog’s excessive itchiness.

miconazole for dogs earsAfter combining the two creams, you will notice it has a thick consistency. Add several drops of water to the blend of these two creams to make it slightly thinner, add it to a dropper, and then carefully squirt the mixture into your dog’s ears. Use this home remedy treatment for a week to get rid of the yeast infection for good. If the problem does not subside despite the constant use of both the Monistat and hydrocortisone cream, you will need to bring your dog to the veterinarian’s office.

Make sure you are using Monistat when selecting an over-the-counter cream to treat your dog’s yeast infection. Do not mistake this product for another product on the market, such as Vagisil. While Vagisil can relieve itching, it is not formulated to eliminate fungus (yeast is a fungus), so it’s not useful for your dog’s yeast infection.

Is There Anything Better Than Monistat For a Dog Ear Yeast Infection?

Banixx Anti-Fungal Anti-Bacterial SprayIf you are trying to avoid a visit to your veterinarian, there is an over-the-counter treatment that we highly recommend.  It may be time for you to give Banixx Pet Care a try. Banixx is available from most local pet stores or on-line and can be used to treat much more than ear infections. Banixx is an effective treatment for dog ear infections, hotspots, ringworm, yeast infections, wounds, itchy skin, and more because it’s not only anti-fungal (think..Yeast) but also anti-bacterial. 

Banixx is a topical solution that works by controlling the pH level of the infection; its presence creates an environment that is totally hostile to the growth of bacteria or fungus. Unlike other medicinal products available, Banixx has absolutely no smell.  Your dog will significantly appreciate this factor, considering their nose is 1,000 times more sensitive than our own.

Banixx also doesn’t burn or sting your dog when you apply it, so they don’t fear the application. This is so important when one considers that a dog will do anything they can to avoid a medicine that stings and burns when you put it on him.

Find a store near you that carries Banixx by visiting our Where To Buy Banixx page.

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Horse Trailer Safety Checklist

  • You should always assess your horse for its health and fitness prior to trailering.
  • Only trailer a fully healthy horse, unless it’s going to a vet hospital to get treatment.
  • Be sure your trailer is of proper size for the horse in question in terms of both height and width.
  • Learn how to haul the trailers safely prior to loading your horse. Also, inspect the whole trailer prior to each trip.
  • Avoid traveling alone anytime that you can do so.
  • If you’re hauling somebody else’s horse inside your trailer, then make arrangements in advance to determine who is going to be held responsible should the trailer get damaged or the horse injured.
  • Train the horse to both load and unload safely and calmly ahead of time.
  • Use a helmet, boots, and gloves whenever you load or unload horses.
  • Be sure that there aren’t any hazards near your horse trailer, such as ditches, fencing, or farm machinery, whenever you load or unload horses.
  • Apply both a head bumper and leg wraps prior to the horse getting into the trailer.
  • Never put your horse into an unhitched trailer. Also avoid unhitching a trailer that still has a horse remaining inside it.
  • Should the trailer be dark inside, first open the doors and then turn lights on in order to increase the visibility.
  • Never start loading a horse into a trailer if you’re missing an easy potential escape route.
  • Anytime you are loading a single horse, do so on the left side. Alternatively, tie on the trailer’s left side for slant loads, since roads get ‘crowned’ in the middle.
  • If you are unloading multiple horses from your trailer, be sure that least one of the horses is in sight of the last horse until they are all unloaded safely.
  • Never open the trailer door or get into the trailer when the horse is spooked or panicked. You should get assistance instead.
  • Be sure that you are carrying all the right certificates and you have all the current inoculations.
  • Include a comprehensive emergency first aid kit, one that works for both humans and horses. Also, know how to use it.
  • Be sure your trailer has snug-fitting and proper mats, as well as good ventilation.
  • Verify that all trailer doors have been locked and secured before you set out. Also, check them again after every stop.
  • Make sure that your trailer has sufficient reflective tape on the sides, top, and bottom.
  • Always drive defensively. Leave at least twice the normal braking distance, and always travel at slower than normal speeds.

horse trailer

Safe Trailering Checklist

You should do a good walk around of your trailer prior to any trip to ensure everything is in proper working order.

Your horse trailer should have the following:

  • Two flashlights. One should be a portable spotlight or large Maglite. The other one should be a headband flashlight.
  • Two spare tires.
  • Disposal bags, broom, and shovel.
  • Sponges and buckets.
  • Electrical and duct tape.
  • Emergency flares or triangles.
  • First aid kit for both human and equine needs.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • A hydraulic jack capable of jacking the whole trailer when loaded.
  • Knife.
  • Lug wrench.
  • Portable fencing, or just a roll of construction fencing.
  • Spare bulbs for any of your lights.
  • Spare lead ropes and halters.
  • Water.
  • WD-40.
  • Wheel chocks, which are wedges to keep accidental movements from happening.

The following are needed for your tow vehicle:

  • Trailer and vehicle registration.
  • Roadside assistance membership and proof of insurance.
  • Gloves.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Spare tire, tire iron, and jack.
  • Tool kit which includes spare hoses, belts, fuses, and wiring.
  • Tow chain.
  • Map book or GPS device.

horse trailer walkaround

Doing A Horse Trailer Walkaround

  • Be sure you’re within your gross vehicle rated capacity.
  • Your tires are in great shape.
    • This includes wheel bearings serviced in the last 12 months.
    • You lug nuts are good and tight.
  • Verify the tire pressure of all of your tires, which includes the inside ones.
  • Be sure that your trailer hitch has been secured to the vehicle frame, rather than the bumper.
  • Be sure your ball size is proper and that the ball has been secured tightly to the ball mount.
  • Make sure your hitch is lubricated and in sound condition without showing any obvious signs of wear and tear.
  • Verify the hitch has been properly seated onto the ball and also locked. You should be able to feel the clamp that’s around the ball bottom if the coupler is properly connected.
  • Confirm that any safety chains are connected appropriately underneath the hitch.
  • Your trailer jack should be fully removed or retracted.
  • The electrical connection is both the correct one and connected properly.
  • Make sure that the emergency breakaway system has also been connected right.
  • Verify that the breakaway battery has been charged.
  • Be sure that all the trailer rights are functional, including turn signals, running lights, brake lights, and perimeter lights.
  • Your interior lights should have safety cages around them to give them protection from the heads of the horses.
  • Be sure your brake controller is functional.
  • Your trailer should be sitting level.
  • Make sure you have tight-fitting mats on the floor and that they’re in good condition.
  • Check out the trailer for hazards like rough edges, loose wiring, butt bars/chains which don’t close right, door locks that won’t lock or are hard to open, or chains which don’t open properly.
  • Every horse gets a head bumper and leg wraps.

Treating scratches with Banixx

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How Do You Prevent Hot Spots on Dogs?

“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure” – Benjamin Franklin, 1736

Almost three hundred years ago, a very wise Benjamin Franklin so famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  This is true for humans, of course, but it’s also true for our four-legged friends.  In this case, we’ll be touching on some inexpensive and easy tips to prevent Fido from suffering with one of the most common and frustrating conditions known to dogdom – Acute Moist Dermatitis, more commonly referred to as “Hot Spots.”

Banixx dog hot spot treatment

5 Tips For Preventing Dog Hot Spots

A hot spot can appear on your dog seemingly out of nowhere as a small red spot on your dog’s skin – transforming in just a few hours, for no apparent reason, into large, red, irritated, oozing, PAINFUL lesions.  Unable to ignore such irritations, dogs instinctively lick, chew, bite and scratch at the area – obsessively – which often results in raging infections. And while every dog owner hates hotspots, there are 5 easy ways to prevent them:

Tip #1 – Identify and Address the Underlying Cause of Your Dog’s Hot Spot

  • The first step in hot spot prevention is always knowledge.  In this case, we need to know what causes hot spots in dogs?  Unfortunately, this may be the most difficult step to overcome because there are many potential causes for hot spots in your dog. 
  • mites and fleas on your dogSome of the more common causes of hot spots include food allergies, environmental allergies (i.e. chemicals on lawns), ear and skin infections, an immune deficiency (especially in puppies or senior dogs), flea allergy dermatitis (flea bites), parasite infestation (i.e., mites, ticks), and even boredom to name a few.
  • Any breed of dog can and probably will develop a hot spot sometime during their lifetime; however, some breeds are more prone to hot spots than others.  Longhaired breeds are more likely to develop hot spots than are breeds with short, coarse hair/fur.  Likewise, dogs that are in water a lot, particularly during hot weather are also more prone to hot spots than those who favor dry land.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  Moisture may be a good thing for our complexion’s ladies, but it is not a dog’s best friend.
  • In short, hot spots may result from any skin irritation that causes your dog to obsessively lick, chew, bite, or scratch at their skin. 
  • Proper treatment of skin infections, parasite prevention, and proper identification and management of any allergies are essential in preventing your dog from inflicting trauma (hot spots) to their skin.

Tip #2 – Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Diet

According to Dr. Adam Patterson of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Small Animal Clinic, “Food allergies in dogs present themselves quite differently than food allergies in humans. For instance, a person who is allergic to shellfish may experience throat swelling and possibly a critical or fatal reaction, but in dogs, the allergy is expressed through the skin and seen most often as itch.”

  • The most common symptom of food allergies in dogs is non-seasonal itching that may be focused on specific areas such as the feet, ears, or belly, or it may involve the whole body.
  • Other symptoms may include such things you might not expect such as vomiting, diarrhea, or even excessive gassiness Some dogs may even develop vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive gassiness.
  • cute dog eating watermelon rindFood allergies often begin in dogs before they reach one year of age; however, they can and do develop in many dogs at any time throughout their life cycle.
  • Typically, dogs are allergic to proteins that come from animal or plant-based ingredients in their food with beef, dairy, wheat, and chicken being the most common culprits of food allergies in dogs.
  • Did you give your pup a new treat just before the scratching frenzy began?  Don’t be fooled.  Food allergies take time to develop, so your pup may have been eating the problematic food for a long time prior to exhibiting any symptoms.
  • The time involved in proper diagnosis of food allergies is significant (8 – 10 weeks or longer).  If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy, consult your veterinarian. 

Tip #3 – Good Hygiene and Routine Grooming Can Help

  • Regular brushing and grooming, whether at home or by a professional groomer, is essential in preventing or early recognition of skin irritations that can develop into raging hot spots.
  • Whether your dog has long hair, or short fur, regular brushing will eliminate painful matting that will prevent air from reaching the skin and may hold moisture close to your dog’s skin.
  • girl brushing her dogBrushing can be a relaxing, bonding experience if started early and treated as a positive experience with your pup. 
  • Matting in a dog’s coat is like someone pulling a lock of your hair.  It hurts.  Mats are nothing more than knotted up fur/hair that extends down to the skin.  With every step – every movement the mat is pulling on your dog’s skin, potentially creating open wounds.
  • If mats work their way too close to your dog’s skin, they can no longer be brushed out without torturing your dog.  The only solution is to shave the dog’s coat.  True, the hair/fur will grow back, but who wants to see Fido bald – especially in cold weather.
  • This is also a good time to do your daily check on your pup for any parasites or insect bites that may develop into a nasty hot spot, especially if you see your dog starting to pay particular attention to any one site by obsessively scratching, chewing, or biting.  This may be a good time to start application of a topical antibacterial/anti-fungal solution to the area, such as Banixx Pet Care to sooth the itching and stop infection in its tracks. 

Tip #4 – Be Aware of Your Dog’s Activity level

  • If your dog is lying down for unusually extended periods of time, especially with elderly dogs, he/she may be suffering from an orthopedic problem such as arthritis or back problems.  This behavior, lying down a lot, and cause a hot spot formation in these dogs. 
  • dog lying down on bedJust as we humans tend to rub our sore joints, dogs tend to lick or chew at sore joints to relieve the pain. 
  • Likewise, dogs who lie on one side for extended periods of time may develop abrasions over pressure points with little muscular padding, such as hips or ankles (hocks).  Again, trapped moisture from the excessive licking creates an environment ripe for the formation of hot spots.
  • If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from any orthopedic problems, a quick trip to your vet is in order.

 Tip #5 – Keep Your Dog From Becoming Bored

Increase your dog’s daily exercise with walks, runs, active play time.  In addition to loving the time you’re spending with them, they will be happier, healthier, and so will you.

  • Utilize puzzle toys, hidden treats, or slow feeder to keep your dog mentally active and stimulated when you can’t be with them. 
  • A new brother or sister from the local shelter might also be a consideration.  Friends are always a distraction from boredom, right?

The good news is that hot spots CAN be prevented with little effort.  It doesn’t cost much, except your time and love.  And if a hot spot should erupt unexpectedly, daily management and early intervention with Banixx Pet Care topical spray should result in a speedy and inexpensive resolution of the problem.

Banixx is the trusted solution for cuts and wounds on dogs

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6 Dog Ear Infection Home Remedy Tips

If you go on the internet and search for home remedies to take care of your dog’s ear infection, you’ll find all kinds of advice and recommendations – some good and some bad. We have seen everything from hydrogen peroxide, and apple cider vinegar to lemon juice and oatmeal proposed. Some suggestions can be beneficial – but you need to go slow before trying any of these remedies.

The following are our Top 6 Tips for determining if you should try a home remedy or not:

  1. Not all websites are alike. Many people who are proponents of homeopathic medicine are not really qualified to talk about the medical benefits of a remedy – they’re just enthusiastic “believers.” Go with websites like Pet MD, Banixx or Vet Info, who have the expertise and/or clinical backgrounds or contributors. Beware of websites whose main purpose is to sell homeopathic remedies for your pets.
  2. Benadryl For DogsWhile many products found in the home are benign, some may actually cause harm. For instance, did you know that the Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve you give your dog for pain can cause kidney or liver failure in your dog? (see here). Or that hydrogen peroxide is caustic and destroys the very cells (fibroblasts) that are needed to heal a wound (find out more here)? Make sure you do your research to find out about side effects in case of overdose or improper application.
  3. Don’t try it just because it’s “cheaper.” It’s natural to want to use something that’s already in your kitchen or medicine cabinet – but if it doesn’t work or it hurts your dog, you’ll be spending money on veterinary bills eventually. If you can’t afford a vet, here are some tips that should help.
  4. Many home remedies don’t work as well as proven drugs or pet products. There are very few clinical studies on homeopathic solutions in pets, and little scientific evidence of their efficacy. If you have a friend who tried something, and it worked for their dog’s ear infection, it might or might not work for your dog. Our recommendation is to temper your expectations.
  5. Using coconut oil to treat dog hot spotsHow messy do you want to get? Your dog might hate the smell/sting of a home remedy application (like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide); or she might LIKE it too much – like coconut oil, and lick it off immediately. With some remedies, the application might include drenching your pet in the stuff, enduring a shower as your dog shakes it off, or dealing with greasy ointments that collect dirt and rub off on furniture.
  6. ALWAYS be prepared to take your dog to the vet if the home remedy doesn’t work. And don’t wait too long to see if it works – if it hasn’t had a positive impact in a couple of days, it’s not working.

In other words, be CAUTIOUS and SMART when trying a home remedy on your dog’s ear infection.

We’ve done a little of the work for you in researching certain home remedies for ear infections, hot spots, pain, and more. Visit our blog to learn more about the following home remedies for dog ear infections:

Best Home Remedy For a Dog Ear Infection

And if you haven’t tried Banixx yet, we highly recommend you give it a go. You can buy it online or in local pet stores and use it at home whenever you need it. There are lots of uses for Banixx, but we feel its hands down the best dog ear infection treatment on the market.

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Can I Feed My Horse Lawn Mower Grass Clippings?

The short answer is: NO!

If you mow your pasture and leave behind grass clippings that dry in small, airy amounts, generally speaking, that is probably not a problem for your horse. But, gathering the clippings into piles, and feeding them to your horse in larger amounts will cause problems. And here’s why:

  • horse foragingAs we explained in a previous blog post on horse colic, your horse’s digestive system is sensitive. His stomach is relatively small, so he needs to eat small amounts over an extended period of time in order to digest properly. Your horse doesn’t know this, of course, so if he’s presented with a tempting pile of grass clippings, he will dig in and eat them quickly – clogging up his system and possibly resulting in a dangerous case of colic.
  • Also stated in our blog on colic, adding grass clippings to your horse’s diet can upset the delicate balance of microbes in your horse’s gut. Again, colic might rear its ugly head.
  • If you stick your hand in a pile of lawn clippings, you’ll notice how warm they are. That’s because they’re fermenting! Because the lawnmower has already chopped them up, your horse doesn’t need to chew them before swallowing them. This by-passes the important step where saliva gets mixed in with food. Saliva helps dilute acids created by the fermenting process. When a horse eats grass clippings, the grass arrives in the stomach already fermenting, and the gases that are given off can expand to the point where they result in a bad case of colic, or, even rupture the stomach.
  • Grass ClippingsA pile of mounded grass clippings can encourage mold to form – this is not good for your horse, it can lead to colic, and/or diarrhea.
    Horses are very sensitive to poisonous plants. When they are eating in a pasture situation, they naturally avoid the plants and any garden waste that are toxic. But lawn mowers have no such instincts – all the clippings get mixed in together. So your horse, in his haste to eat something that has already been chopped for him, is not able to discern whether there are any toxic weeds mixed in. Since horses do not have a mechanism for vomiting contents from their stomachs, he has no way to remove the toxins once they have been ingested. This can end up as a huge vet bill for you and/or the possible loss of your horse
  • In addition to all facts previously mentioned, there’s little air inside the warm piles of grass clippings; this potentially leads to botulism forming– and THAT can be deadly for your horse. Botulism is difficult to treat, and it can cost in excess of $3,000 per horse. This particular antitoxin is really most beneficial if you use it when your animals first start showing symptoms. The clinical signs of botulism are similar to other causes of central nervous infections (loss of coordination, tremors, inability to eat). Accordingly, the diagnosis is not clear-cut. With the right amount of care, a horse can recover from this but, if they happen to get exposed to a large amount of this toxin, there is a good chance that most will die despite treatment.
  • Lawn grass is not the same as pasture grass. It generally receives more chemical treatments such as fertilizers and weed killers. And, if you have other pets, there may be urine and feces intermingled. None of this is beneficial to your horse.
  • A horse that’s presented with a “treat” of grass clippings may gulp it down too quickly – and it may stick in his throat, causing “choke,” a condition that will require veterinarian care.

Are those enough reasons to persuade you from feeding grass and lawn clippings to your horse? Better safe (with a treat of carrot or apple) than sorry!

Banixx For Horses

Learn more about Banixx and how it can be used to treat rain rot in horses.

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Caring For Your Horse: 9 Tips For Preventing Colic

Your beloved horse may be big, strong, and proud – but her digestive system is sensitive and requires tender loving care. A case of equine colic – or severe abdominal discomfort – could be just around the corner, as every horse is susceptible. Its effects range from merely passing gas to experiencing extreme pain and threatening her life. In fact…

Horse Colic Is the Number One Horse Killer

Horse ColicEquine colic takes many forms, but generally, you can tell if your horse might be on the road to colic if you observe any of these symptoms:

  • Frequently looking at, and/or biting or kicking her flank or belly
  • Pawing at the ground
  • Rolling or wanting to lie down continuously
  • Little or no evidence of manure having passed
  • Excessive sweating
  • Manure appears dry or mucous-covered
  • Lack of appetite
  • Change in drinking behavior
  • Frequent attempts to urinate
  • High pulse rate (over 50 beats per minute)
  • Off-color mucous membranes (evidenced by examining gum tissue)

If you suspect your horse has colic, get immediate help from a veterinarian. This is not something you want to fool around with – even if the signs are vague, call in the expert for diagnosis and treatment. Too many times, an owner decides to wait for more concrete proof of colic and loses valuable time. Your chances of saving your horse from death increase exponentially the quicker you are able to get a vet on site to treat her.

Prevention Is The Best Answer

Not all colic can be prevented – but you can take steps to decrease the chance your horse will have to suffer from it. Here are nine proven tips for keeping your horse healthy:

1. Let Him Forage

horse foragingThe stomach of the horse is small in relation to his size; it only takes up 10% of the capacity of the digestive system. Because of this relatively small stomach, a horse naturally eats small amounts of roughage – continuously. Just watch your horse out in the field – he seems to eat without stopping, but if you watch long enough, he will take breaks where he stands like a statue. Domestication has changed this for many horses, particularly if they are stall-kept.  

Your horse is designed to eat grass and hay as part of a high-fiber, low-starch diet. Try to make this type of natural roughage the bulk of his diet, limiting the grains and energy-dense supplements that can upset the gut’s delicate bacterial balance. For every pound of grain or corn, the colic risk increases by 70%. Think about that one! 

Of course, some horses are expected to eat large amounts of grain and are fed once or twice a day to suit our lifestyle along with some hay. This can cause “traffic jams” in his digestive system due to the lower roughage content that may lead to upset and then, potentially, colic. If you do need to enhance his diet with concentrates, feed them to him in small amounts and more frequently. This allows slow and steady digestive action and helps prevent overloading your horse’s digestive system.

Foraging behavior is also important for the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract. The chewing process itself produces large amounts of saliva that help to buffer the acid that is produced in the horse’s stomach. Excess stomach acid can lead to stomach ulcers that produce pain and discomfort. This discomfort/pain may lead to a sub-standard performance on his part and/or a hostile attitude from him to his owner.

2. Don’t change your feeding program frequently or quickly

As we noted, your horse’s stomach is sensitive. Not all horses are affected equally, but a sudden change in what you feed him could upset the microbes in his intestine – and result in colic. If a change is needed, convert him gradually to a different diet over 7-10 days. For example, if he is exposed to a new type of hay, try to mix it in gradually, over several days, with the hay he is used to eating. A consistent feeding program is very beneficial in avoiding equine colic.

3. Make sure your horse has access to fresh, clean water

two horses drinking waterHorses that don’t have access to water for 1-2 hours increase their risk of colic. In winter, horses naturally drink less (they don’t like ice cold water, or the water in the trough is frozen) – so we recommend that you make sure automatic waterers and other water sources have free flowing water. If possible, in colder climates, install heaters especially designed for horse water tanks/troughs, so that your horse has access to tepid temperature water. This will help to ensure he drinks adequately. 

4. In areas with sandy soil, avoid putting hay on the ground

barn fire orevention hayIn geographic areas where the soil is very sandy, it’s easy for horses to ingest sand along with hay. This can cause a problem since it does not move easily through the digestive tract and may end up ”sitting” in the horse’s large intestine. Large amounts of sand can cause impaction or blockage and lead to colic. 

If putting hay on sandy soil is unavoidable, institute a good sand-elimination program. Discuss this with your vet and do your own research. It’s not difficult or expensive to administer, but the alternative – a trip to an equine hospital for sand colic surgery – is certainly expensive. Although many horses recover well, there are no guarantees with surgery and no guarantees that your horse will return to his active life for quite a while after surgery.

5. Make sure your horse gets exercise every day

treating horse colicMoving around helps stimulate the digestive system; it’s how nature has designed the horse. Horses that stand in stalls run a higher risk of colic due to inactivity. It doesn’t have to be a lot of exercise – just a regular turn out for her out into the pasture, for as long as you are able, is often enough to keep things going in the digestive area. In addition, a longer warm up and cool down before and after work are beneficial. If your horse is stall-kept, try to get her out for some sort of exercise every day.

6. Control parasites

Horses that are on a regular de-worming program are less likely to colic. Worms attach themselves into the lining of your horse’s stomach or intestines and wreak havoc with your horse’s health. They may “steal” the food that your horse needs (for their own survival) and even attach to your horse’s blood flow, disturbing it and robbing your horse of essential nutrients that are carried by the blood system. 

Consult your vet with help in this area; there are many factors that may put your horse at even more risk. Many owners maintain a program of removing manure from fields several times a week, as horses graze near the piles and may ingest worms in the process. This is particularly important in restricted grazing areas. In general, horses are thought not to graze in heavy manure areas, but there are exceptions, and in small paddocks it’s impossible to avoid.

7. Provide routine dental care

Your horse should have regular dental check-ups and have his teeth “floated” (filing down any sharp points) to ensure he can grind his food properly along with making sure that he has no bad or infected teeth that may require removal. A horse with sharp points on his teeth (and this happens to every horse at one time or another!) will not forage or eat well due to the associated pain. Be sure to obtain the services of a highly recommended professional. Some horses need higher maintenance than others; some can be seen successfully just once a year. As your horse ages, the dental maintenance becomes particularly important, because if your horse has lost weight due to her inability to eat or chew well, it’s difficult to get the weight back on. 

8. Reduce your horse’s stress

If your horse has to deal with changes to her environment or workload, it can cause intestinal disturbances. This really comes into play if a lot of traveling is involved, as is the case with race or show horses. Stress varies from horse to horse or breed to breed. Keep your horse’s forage level high and check with your veterinarian regarding either supplements and/or medication that help with a high stress routine or life change.

9. Monitor your horse yourself as much as possible

Schedules and situations don’t always allow it – but the more you’re around your horse, the more you’ll be able to ensure these preventive tips are being followed. Let’s be honest: No one knows your horse like you do, and no one has a vested interest as deep as you do, so the better you know your horse, the quicker you’ll be able to recognize subtle differences in behavior and signs of impending colic. 

And now there’s one additional tip:

10. No matter how well you follow Tips 1-9, your horse may still get colic – every horse owner’s nightmare!

horse outsideIt is the experience and opinion of many veterinarians and horse professionals (who have all been there!): Get Help NOW!

The longer you wait, the less likely it is your horse will have a good outcome. Veterinary medicine has come a long way in treating colic, but once your horse has passed a certain point, it doesn’t matter if you have the best vet in the world – there just may be no good answer for you or your horse.

So if you see any symptoms or the thought “colic” crosses your mind when you observe your horse – bring in the vet immediately. 

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How Long Can A Horse Go Without Water?

Dehydration is the result of excessive loss of water in your horse’s body. It is one of the most common challenges a horse will face in its lifetime, so it is essential to be able to recognize and treat the symptoms of dehydration quickly – your horse’s life may depend on it!

Horse Dehydration Prevention

Did you know that your horse’s bones are made up of about 30% water, his muscles about 75%, and his brain a whopping 85%? Water makes up about 60% of your horse! Water is an essential nutrient that is needed for almost every bodily function. It’s little wonder that dehydration and loss of vital electrolytes (salts) will not only negatively affect a horse’s performance, but it can lead to systemic (internal) and neuromuscular imbalances that can lead to severe and even life-threatening health issues for your horse, if left unchecked.

Electrolytes are responsible for the transfer of water through the cell membranes, which keeps the horse’s system balanced and working correctly. The loss of too much water and essential electrolytes will cause the horse’s body to become stressed. This can quickly lead to a variety of physiological problems, including fatigue, kidney impairment or failure, muscle spasms and reduced muscle function, inadequate respiratory responses, gastrointestinal stasis, and heart arrhythmias to name just a few.

Horses sweat in much the same manner as humans do to rid their bodies of excess heat. But dehydration from excessive activity, coupled with sweating, can cause the loss of essential fluid reserves and electrolytes needed, not only for continued activity but for the continuation of life. For example, just to fulfill their basic physiological needs, most adult horses that weigh around 1,000 pounds (which is NOT a big horse!) require at least 10 to 12 gallons of water each day! Under moderate conditions, a trotting horse will lose slightly over 3 gallons of sweat per hour, so it’s easy to see how quickly your horse may become dehydrated to the point of irreparable harm. And equine sweat contains more salts than body fluid (hypertonic), which means that a sweating horse loses more electrolytes than water.

Common Causes of Horse Dehydration

  • horse exercising and getting dehydratedVigorous exercise, long rides, or racing, especially on hot, humid days
  • Increased respiration rate
  • Endurance/trail riding
  • Athletic events
  • Long bouts of diarrhea
  • Fever or abnormally high body temperature (hyperthermia)
  • Anaphylactic shock (triggered by an allergic reaction)
  • Severe burns
  • Colitis-X (a disease which causes watery diarrhea and hypovolemic shock)

Dehydration can also be a problem during cold, winter weather, as well. In cold weather, a horse’s thirst may be significantly reduced. Instead of losing excessive amounts of water through sweating, as they do in hot weather, horses lose water even on the coldest days through such functions such as the saliva they use to soften their food, through urine and feces, and also the moisture in their breath. With a diminished thirst trigger, dehydration is a danger – even in the dead of winter. And remember – snow is NOT an acceptable substitute for plenty of good, clean water for your horses. Just as humans often enjoy hot beverages during winter months, warming the drinking water for horses (to a temperature of around 90 degrees), during the winter, will result in the horse consuming more water.

How Can I Tell If My Horse Is Hydrated?

Remember – It’s essential to act quickly to intervene in cases of dehydration, and the way to do that is to be able to recognize the symptoms before severe damage is done.  The most reliable way to diagnose dehydration is to take a blood sample to determine the level of proteins in the plasma, along with the proportion of red blood cells in the blood compared with the plasma. Your veterinarian may also order a urine test. However, there are other means by which you may be able to detect the effects of dehydration in your horse. Although these not as specific as blood or urine tests, they are generally reliable as diagnostic indicators that your horse may be in a state of dehydration and imminent need of intervention.

The Pinch Test

Probably the most straightforward test to check for signs of dehydration in your horse, is the pinch test.  As with humans, a horse’s skin loses its elasticity when it’s in a state of dehydration. S0 pinch up a fold of skin anywhere along the horse’s back, or, near the base of the horse’s neck, or on his lower chest. Hold it for 2 seconds, then release it. If the skin is NOT dehydrated, it should immediately spring back to normal. If the horse is dehydrated, the skin will stay up in a ridge, and the longer the ridge remains is an indicator of the severity of the dehydration. If the skin remains in a ridge for 10 to 15 seconds, seek veterinary assistance immediately, as your horse may be dangerously dehydrated.

Respiration Rate

barn fire orevention hayThis is an excellent quick check for your horse’s health. A typical breathing rate for an average horse is between 8 and 12 breaths per minute. If a horse is dehydrated, he will take more frequent, shallow breaths, as his body tries to move its vital resources from one system to another to maintain a sense of normalcy. 

Heart Rate

A horse’s resting heart averages about 36 – 42 beats per minute. For best results, try to count his pulse for 60 seconds. A resting heart rate higher than 60 beats per minute may be an indication of dehydration. (Avoid 10 seconds of pulse multiplied by 6, if possible – the results may be inaccurate.)

Check Eyes and Gums

The mucous membranes should appear moist and shiny. Excessively red gums and/or dry-appearing eyes may indicate that your horse is moving fluid from those regions to more core body functions to compensate for dehydration. Another easy test is to press gently on the gum near your horse’s upper teeth, with your fingertips, and release. As you press, the skin will turn white, or pink. When you release, the color should return quickly. This will determine how long it takes the capillaries to refill. More prolonged refill means a higher chance of dehydration. Anything longer than 2 seconds, for the color to return to his gums, may indicate dehydration.

Urine

A horse that produces dark urine or has not passed urine for an extended time may be dehydrated.

Other Symptoms of Horse Dehydration

  • Lethargy/sluggish activity/fatigue/depression
  • Loss of glossy coat/dry skin
  • Signs of pain/Muscle spasms
  • Thick and sticky saliva
  • Decreased feed intake due to lack of saliva
  • Constipation/impaction colic
  • Cardiac arrhythmias

What Can I Do If My Horse Is Dehydrated?

horses get dehydratedFirst and foremost, the administration of fluids and electrolyte solutions is vital in the treatment of dehydration for horses. Contact your veterinarian, as the dosages are essential and require medical expertise. One easy remedy while you are waiting for the vet to give advice or to arrive, is to give your horse a nice bath – this depends of course on the time of year etc….you don’t want to bath your horse in the middle of winter…depending on where you live!! It is possible that excess rehydration can lead to a condition called water intoxication. In this condition, excessive water intake can cause stress on the kidneys and dilute the electrolytes in the horse’s body, which hampers their ability to regulate body temperature. Research has shown, however, that healthy horses generally do not drink beyond their body’s normal capacity based on body weight or weather conditions. Be aware that there are medical conditions and even diet imbalances (such as high levels of fiber/hay, salt, potassium, and protein in the diet) that may cause your horse to over-hydrate, in this case; you should seek the advice of your veterinarian as soon as possible.

For less severe dehydration, be aware that offering water alone does not always sufficiently rehydrate a dehydrated horse. The water may simply dilute the body fluids surrounding the tissues – effectively turning off the thirst mechanism. Some effective rehydration therapies that may stimulate drinking include the administration of electrolyte preparations in feed or water, which are commercially available in rations specifically formulated toward activity levels. Increased hydration can also be stimulated by adding extra water to your horse’s mash and letting it sit for 10 minutes to allow for expansion of the grain, as well as increasing your horse’s salt intake – keeping in mind that the recommended daily intake of salt for a 1,000 pound horse should be about two ounces.  

How To Prevent Horse Dehydration

Unlike many conditions over which horse owners have no control, dehydration is often totally and easily preventable. GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO DRINK AND THE AVAILABILITY OF FRESH, CLEAN WATER, MOST HORSES WILL NOT SUFFER FROM DEHYDRATION!

Here are some simple steps that owners can easily practice to prevent horses from suffering the effects of dehydration, especially during stressful or strenuous events. 

  • horse hydration is importantMake sure that your horse has plenty of fresh, clean, palatable water to drink and access to salt at all times. If you’re feeling thirsty or dehydrated, the chances are that your horse is feeling the same.
  • Be sure to frequently check water troughs and buckets, scrubbing and refilling as necessary.  
  • Pay attention to each horse’s unique level of activity and weather conditions.
  • Make sure that electrolytes and fluids are balanced and at appropriate levels for the activity level of the horse and the weather.
  • Never ride or exercise a horse to the point of exhaustion. One way to practically guarantee dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in your horse is to force him/her to be active during hot, humid weather.
  • Do not restrict your horse’s access to water at competitions.
  • Check for signs of dehydration regularly.
  • Don’t wait until a horse looks dehydrated to administer electrolytes. If your horse doesn’t seem to like the taste of water when you travel, bring some from home. You can also add a masking flavor such as apple juice, mint, or a commercial product designed to help horses drink.
  • Consider the higher moisture content of well-soaked beet pulp for a horse that isn’t drinking well. It will provide the horse with water and fiber, reducing the risk of colic.  
  • On a hot day, cool your horse off thoroughly, as soon as possible after exercising. Try to keep your horse in the shade whenever and wherever possible, especially at competitions. And remember to administer electrolytes to help replace the salts in the body lost through sweat.
  • When traveling with your horses, consider stopping every two to three hours to offer your horse water. This will keep him hydrated and better able to tolerate traveling over long periods. Also, consider giving them some well-soaked beet pulp the day before and if possible the day of the journey.
  • Finally, if there is any doubt as to the severity of the situation, seek expert veterinarian care immediately!

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