Monday, January 30, 2012

3 Surprising Reasons to Give Up Soda | Yahoo! Health

3 Surprising Reasons to Give Up Soda | Yahoo! Health

Not to mention that processing caffeine leaches calcium from your body processes and/or bones in order to process the caffeine out of the body. There's a reason why they always told you that drinking coffee will stunt your growth, and it actually promotes osteoporosis.

Penguin Ivan

Christina Perri - Penguin lyrics

Can you find the time 
to let your lover love you
He only wants to show you
The things he wants to learn too
The hardest parts you'll get through
And in the end you'll have your best friend

Love like this may come once
Baby it's fate
Like a soul mate he's your penguin
Baby it's fate
Baby it's fate
Not luck

Can you find the time to let your lover hold you
He needs somebody to hold to
His love is strong and so true
His arrows aiming for you
And he's the one that you were born to love

Love like this may come once
Baby it's fate
Like a soul mate he's your penguin
Baby it's fate
Baby it's fate
Not luck

Let go
Let go
of time for you 
and I
Let go
Let go
of time for you 
and I
Let go
Let go
of time for you 
and I

Love like this is all I want
Baby we’re fate
Love like this may come once
Baby we’re fate
Like a soul mate you're my penguin
Baby we’re fate
Baby it's fate
Not luck

R.I.P. baby. You are my heart.

The Horse | Weed of the Month: White Snakeroot

The Horse | Weed of the Month: White Snakeroot

Weed of the Month: White Snakeroot
by: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
January 28 2012, Article # 19492
White Snakeroot
Common name: White Snakeroot
Scientific name: Ageratina altissima (L.) King & H.E. Robins
Synonym: Eupatorium rugosum Houttuyn
Life Cycle: Perennial
Origin: North America
Poisonous: Yes
White snakeroot is a warm-season perennial frequently found in shaded areas of pastures near streams or woods. It reaches a height of four to five feet. Leaves are opposite each other, characterized by three main veins and serrated margins. At maturity, white flowers bloom in flat-topped or domed panicles (branched clusters). White snakeroot emerges in late spring and is often not identified until flowers develop in late summer or early fall.
White snakeroot plants are toxic to horses; both fresh and dried leaves contain the toxin. Cumulative intake between 1 and 10% of body weight is toxic and can be lethal. Clinical signs of white snakeroot poisoning in horses include depression, weakness, tremors, or congestive heart failure. Signs of poisoning generally occur within three to 14 days. The toxin also is readily passed in milk and might poison nursing animals.
Look for white snakeroot in moist, shady areas in pasture margins. Removing these plants from the pasture by hand is often the best course of action, but ensure horses cannot access dried plant material after removing. Consult your local Cooperative Extension Service personnel for herbicidal control in your area.
William W. Witt, PhD, a researcher in the department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Kentucky, provided this information.

The Horse | Understanding Carbohydrates in Equine Diets

The Horse | Understanding Carbohydrates in Equine Diets

Understanding Carbohydrates in Equine Diets
by: Erica Larson, News Editor
February 04 2011, Article # 17729
When it comes to managing the carbohydrates in a horse's diet, knowing the basics of how horses digest food is half the battle. Laurie Lawrence, PhD, an equine nutritionist from the University of Kentucky's Department of Animal and Food Science who gave a presentation at the University of Kentucky's Breeders' Short Course, held Jan. 22 in Lexington, confirmed that managing a horse's carbohydrate intake is easiest with an understanding how the digestive tract functions and how different types of feed contribute to equine nutrition.
Nutritional Goals
"The main dietary goals related to carbohydrates are to provide the horse with adequate digestible energy (or adequate calories), to keep their GI (gastrointestinal) tract healthy, and to provide adequate energy stores (or enough energy to perform their required actions)," Lawrence said. In doing so, it's important to consider each horse's energy requirements before feeding. A lean Thoroughbred in consistent training, for example, will have a much higher energy requirement than a pasture pony.
Veterinarians and nutritionists often suggest low fat, low starch, high fiber diets for overweight horses and ponies as a way to help them slim down. These diets also are commonly recommended for horses at risk for diseases such as equine metabolic syndrome and laminitis (founder), as most horses at high risk for these conditions are overweight. For these horses, a high-fiber diet is thought to be beneficial for keeping them healthy.
During her presentation Lawrence explained that an understanding of how the digestive tract functions makes it much easier for an owner to develop an individualized feeding program for each horse.
"There are two main parts of the digestive tract: the foregut and the hindgut," Lawrence said, adding that the foregut houses the stomach and the small intestine, and the hindgut is home to the large intestine. She also pointed out that there are many different types of carbohydrates in the horse's diet, and that different types are digested and metabolized differently.
Lawrence said that minimal carbohydrate digestion actually takes place in the stomach; most of the digestion takes place in the small and large intestines. The small intestine primarily digests the sugars and starches in a horse's diet, while the large intestine digests the fiber.
She explained that horses digest sugars and starches (which are specific types of carbohydrates) primarily in the small intestine. These substances are found in most types of grain-based concentrated feed (such as pellets and sweet feed) and in forage. Both sugar and starch are absorbed into the body as glucose.
Fiber, on the other hand, is digested by microbes in the large intestine, Lawrence said. The term "fiber" refers to carbohydrates that can't be digested by the horse's own enzymes. There are many different kinds of fiber including cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and fructan. Cellulose and hemicellulose generally come from pastures, pectin from beet pulp and alfalfa, and fructan generally comes from cool season grasses like Bluegrass or Timothy.
Sugars and Starches and Fibers, Oh My!
According to Lawrence, carbohydrates play an important role in the horse's diet. So while cutting back on certain carbohydrates might be ideal for some horses, eliminating them from the diet is both inadvisable and almost impossible to achieve.
Sugars and starches are absorbed into the body as glucose. Despite the fact that glucose can be converted to fat and stored on the horse's body, it plays several important roles in the body. Glucose is essential to brain function in horses and also aids in storing energy in the muscles.
Both of these substances are energy sources for the horse. Because they are digested rapidly by the small intestine, the energy is released quite rapidly into the body. This will give the horse a short burst of energy rather than sustained energy.
Fibers, on the other hand, are digested slowly. They provide the horse with sustained energy that can be used over longer periods of time. Fiber digested by the microbes in the large intestine yields volatile fatty acids, which also are used by the horse as an energy source. Lawrence also pointed out that some types of fibers are digested more rapidly than others. Fructan, for example, can be digested rapidly by the microbial population that lives in the horse's hindgut. Excessive consumption of grass pasture that is high in fructan might cause problems in horses, especially those that are predisposed to laminitis.
Lawrence stressed that both fats and oils are additional good calorie sources for horses. She added that they are not carbohydrates, nor can they form carbohydrates. In addition she noted that fats are very high in calories compared to fiber or even starch. If you are trying to get your horse to slim down, she said, a high-fat diet is not a good choice.
Putting it All Together
So what does this mean when it comes to developing a feeding plan? According to Lawrence, consider each horse's work load, body type, and nutritional needs before feeding.
A horse that is doing little to no work might maintain a good body condition and receive adequate energy from a diet of forage and a small amount of balancer pellets (which will provide the vitamins and minerals the horse needs). A horse that works consistently or has a slightly harder time maintaining weight will likely need both forage and concentrate to maintain his required energy level. And a horse in heavy work might need a fat or oil supplement in addition to both forage and concentrate to maintain his required energy level.
Lawrence suggests consulting an equine nutritionist for more information on how to properly manage the carbohydrates in your horse's diet.

For Ivan

I'm going to tell you all a story that is very hard to say. I need to say it for Ivan. 

Ivan didn't die from a colic with complications. We found insidious little pieces of metal inside of him resembling hypodermic needles. The piece we measured was 2 1/4" long and looked a little chewed on. They're not remnants of fencing, and they're not nails. I've held them in my hand myself, and they will puncture your skin if you put them between your forefinger and thumb. The vet thought that there was more, but I didn't want him to go digging and prolonging it just to search for the rest. He had a couple of holes, one of which was large enough to poke your finger through in his ileum. There was no saving him. He was just so stoic that he never let on. 

Because of the state of his organ tissue, these pieces were in him for a very long time... many months, maybe even a couple years, we just can't tell. Ivan NEVER GAVE ANY INDICATION. He never had a fever. His white blood cell count was normal. His heart rate was always normal. Additionally, a friend mentioned that for Ivan's body to have ignored it for long until it finally punctured through his organ walls, it was likely surgical steel, or else his body would have rejected it long ago. What we pulled out of him was not anything standard that you might find lying around the barn yard, and surgical steel is not what you usually find as scrap metal around a farm. Even so, there's no way to tell for sure if it was intentional or malicious. It just was. Even the vet and his staff said they had never seen anything like it, even Beverly with her 20 years of experience on the job.

He was so brave all the way until the end. I sat with him on his last day, and we loved on each other while he laid in his stall. I held his head in my lap for one last time. I kissed his face and told him I'd see him when he woke up. He never did. Part of me died on the table that night with him. I will never be able to stop searching for pieces of him everywhere I look. It's so hard... Please hug your babies tonight and say a prayer for my sweet boy.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shit. Shit shit shit shit SHIT!

Shit. Shit shit shit shit SHIT! I just got a call back from the vet, who now says he's showing pain again. FOR THE LOVE!!! He was looking perky at first this morning when Beverly showed up, but by the time the vet arrived, he was showing pain again. My pony keeps having low grade pain that won't go away, and now he's calling Auburn and maybe Kentucky and is mentioning a surgery consult.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Progress Report

Morning Status Report: Ivan is a little better this morning than last night. The vet did stay with him through the night, and they're still monitoring him closely. He had more gut spasms/looking at his stomach episodes through the night, but he's more perky this morning. He's still not 100%, but they're going to see if he can self regulate and stay hydrated today without IV fluids by just offering lots of fresh water. We'll know more this afternoon. I'll be tied up with work stuff from 11-5, but I'll be going by before and afterward to see him. At least he's made a little progress from last night!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bad news

Ivan keeps getting better then worse. We could have expected some additional gut spasms, sure, but he worsened to the point that even the vet is concerned. Dr. E gave him more drugs and additional fluids because we started reintroducing soaked forage (alf cubes/hot water) and he started presenting symptoms worse than the ones that landed him in the hospital in the first place. Dr. E says he's concerned enough that he's going to stay the night at the hospital with him, so hopefully he'll get better and we'll have a good prognosis by morning. If he's not better by morning, then Dr. E is planning to call Auburn, and then we'll go from there.

More colic, and now a hospital visit

The doc came out this morning after he worsened. He did a rectal exam and got pretty concerned, so we opted to hall him in for treatment. The doc says that he does have a rectal displacement but not full torsion yet. He's hoping that the oil will help everything go back into anatomically correct position. We went ahead and put a big bucket of oil down to his stomach, started him on 20 liters of IV fluids, and he got another shot of banamine. He was looking ribby from getting dehydrated and continuing to not want to eat since Monday's event, but now even after just a short time in treatment, he's looking perky and less ribby. Keep your fingers crossed everybody... he's not out of the woods yet till he starts passing the oil and we've confirmed everything is back into its normal, anatomical place. Thank goodness the people at Harrington Equine are awesome.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Holy bejeezus, Ivan DON'T scare me like that! 1st Colic

First colic experience tonight, and worst of the worst it's with my baby boy, Ivan. Apparently, the cool thing to do is turn 7 years old and then colic within 2 weeks of your birthday to make Mom think that you're not going to make it to see 8.

Tonight's timeline

  1. Fed at 4:30/4:45 pm. Didn't notice odd behavior then, but he wasn't as talkative...
  2. Turned out at 5:20 pm. He calmly walked out to the pasture.
  3. Started noticing odd behavior when he went down to roll and then didn't scramble up immediately to start chasing the others around the pasture off of their hay piles.
  4. Stayed down on the ground, so I walked up to him, started stroking his face, asked him to get up and move around. He walked off and went back down again.
  5. Jennifer and I decided to bring him back in, so I walked him into the small paddock, then went for his halter by his stall to be able to walk him up to the trailer where my medi-kit was. 
  6. Gave him a 10cc shot of banamine at 5:30/5:35 pm, then started walking him up the road. Attempted to offer water before passing the house, but he refused it. 
  7. Walked Ivan up the road past Faye's all the way up to past the Williams' mailbox, then called the vet at 5:55 pm. Spoke with the vet for 4 minutes, relayed symptoms, received instructions. Called Tasida back at 6 pm, received more instructions.
  8. Checked vital signs at 6:20 pm. 
    1. Mucosa normal and slimy
    2. Respiration normal
    3. Heart rate normal
    4. Capillary refill normal
    5. Checked bilaterally for gut motility and was able to detect sounds in right lower quadrant. Not as much noise in upper quadrants or in left quadrant. 
  9. Within another 15 minutes, Ivan was perking up, acting turdly towards the cat, and trying to nibble at grass.
  10. Brought Ivan back out to the small paddock and let him loose, then caught Valor since they are buddies so that Ivan wouldn't stress out about being away from the herd for the night. 
  11. Just did an 8:30 pm check on Ivan. He seems to be doing alright.
    1. Mucosa normal and even more slimy than before. Has the scent of grass on his breath. 
    2. Respiration normal.
    3. Heart rate normal.
    4. Capillary refill normal.
    5. Forgot to check for gut sounds.
  12. I put Ivan's sheet back on him since it's supposed to drop to 41 tonight. I'll be doing an additional check at 11 pm on him tonight. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Horse | Recognize Insulin Resistance Before Laminits Onset

The Horse | Recognize Insulin Resistance Before Laminits Onset

Recognize Insulin Resistance Before Laminits Onset
by: Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Feature Editor
January 06 2012, Article # 19396
Early detection and intervention are key to managing any disease process. With laminitis, picking up on the subtle signs of hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood resulting from insulin resistance) before the horse suffers a serious laminitic event is one way caretakers and veterinarians can try to halt the hoof disease in its tracks. At the 6th International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, Donald Walsh, DVM, of the Animal Health Foundation, in Pacific, Mo., described easily detectable changes in hoof growth that might hint at the development of hyperinsulinemia and laminitis.
Laminitic changes associated with hyperinsulinemia start and progress slowly. Walsh believes abnormal division of insulin basal cells (the bottom cell layer of the epidermis) and stimulation of insulinlike growth factor receptors on laminar cells cause the laminae, which connect the horse's hoof to the coffin bone, to stretch and lengthen. "If hyperinsulinemia is not addressed and blood insulin levels normalized (through diet, exercise, and appropriate medication), then continued abnormal hoof growth may lead to further weakening of the laminae and the development of laminitis," he explained.
Early signs of hoof damage due to hyperinsulinemia can include abnormal growth rings in the external hoof wall, separation of the hoof wall from the white line when looking at the bottom of the horse's foot, and a "seedy" toe (increased width of the white line, where the sole and the hoof wall meet) as the laminae weaken. Small areas of hemorrhage (caused by damage to the laminar vessels) in the seedy toe area might also be visible.
This process can be "somewhat reversible," Walsh said, if caught early. Thus, "owners need to look for abnormal hoof growth, have their veterinarian check the horse's insulin levels, and institute a low-carbohydrate diet and exercise program (even 10 minutes a day is beneficial) and medical treatments to restore (normal) insulin levels," he concluded.
Regarding trimming and caring for these horses' feet, Walsh suggested farriers move the breakover back to reduce stress on the laminae; leave a little excess hoof wall on the sides of the foot to reduce sole pressure; and cauterize the seedy toe to prevent bacteria from entering.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Calves, Core, and Thighs

So apparently all this daily riding I've been doing has really been strengthening my calves, but I've still got some work to do on my core muscles and inner thigh as yesterday's work proved. Thanks Cathy Zappe for giving me eyes on the ground yesterday, and thanks to Paula Padelford for letting us join the party! Next stop, Atlanta to do a clinic with Karen :)

The Horse | Human Behavior Changes Necessary to Improve Equine Welfare

The Horse | Human Behavior Changes Necessary to Improve Equine Welfare

Human Behavior Changes Necessary to Improve Equine Welfare
by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
December 31 2011, Article # 19358
All animals--including horses--have the right to their "five freedoms" (as established by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee): freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress. Welfare issues arise when animals are denied any of their freedoms, and most animal welfare problems are directly due to human behavior problems, according to one Thai researcher.
"Most veterinary intervention tackles welfare problems related to health and disease, but providing solutions takes away from prevention and the responsibility shifts from animal owners to veterinarians, creates dependence and is unsustainable," explained Siraya Chunekamrai, DVM, PhD, of the Lampang Pony Welfare Foundation during her presentation at the 12th Congress of The World Equine Veterinary Association, held Nov. 2-6 in Hyderabad, India.
According to Chunekamrai, to achieve sustainable results, human behavior must change. However, traditional methods of changing human behavior (such as awareness campaigns, incentive programs, imposing legislation, and social marketing) have limited success in achieving behavior change.
Instead, participation is a key factor in inducing change.
For example, some equine communities invite owners to participate in workshops to address welfare problems instead of simply being on the receiving end of efforts to prevent or treat them. Chunekamrai explained that owner participation in such programs and human behavior change will address welfare issues related to the other freedoms, not just freedom from injury, pain, or disease.
"ROPES is the acronym for Responsibility, Ownership, Prevention, Empowerment, and Sustainability, which are the key concepts of the HBC (human behavior change) work," explained Chunekamrai. A more detailed summary of the ROPES concept and additional information regarding human behavior change is available .
Chunekamrai concluded by saying, "Veterinarians are at the forefront of witnessing welfare problems and are often asked to take part in resolving the problem. If we take on an approach that can change human behavior it will make our efforts more meaningful and sustainable."
A full summary of Chunekamrai's presentation will be available for free on the International Veterinary Information System

Monday, January 2, 2012

Smarty Pants Queenie!

My filly was so great this morning! And she's getting SO BIG SO FAST! Her little face barely fits between the foal feeder bars anymore, and she's only 3 months old. We did leading work this morning, and she was very well mannered, and she picked up all four feet over and over again on command, she was great about haltering and unhaltering, and she even let me put one of her front feet up on Kimberly's step-up box for her ponies! Queen is such a smarty pants :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Re-emergence of the Turdinator

Grrrrrr.... The Turdinator showed up today. I put both the bridle/bit and saddle on him for the first time in over a week, and apparently he decided he still thought he was on vacation. Managed to get him somewhat soft by the end of the ride after first a jackass-running-away-from-me for 15 minutes in the paddock (making him continue to run till he quit giving me the finger), then tacked him up and lunged to make sure he wasn't still unsound in the left hind like he was yesterday, then hopped on and alternated between good boy behavior and battling behavior, then at least managed to end on a good note (in the saddle anyway). Yes, I'm aware that was a long, semi-run-on sentence with punctuation but oh well. Untacked and groomed, then uh-oh, Turdinator acts out again on the ground so out came Mr. Whippy and we practiced backing up and getting the hell out of my space when asked. Finally, he was good, so dinner, a blankie, then an evening with his hay, and now I'm rewriting our workout itinerary for the week.