Maintaining Hydration in Horses: The Roles of Water and Salt
By Mary Beth Gordon, PhD • Jun 03, 2013 • Article #31985
The old adage is accurate: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” That’s especially true for severely dehydrated horses in medical crisis. But there are ways to keep your horse well-hydrated from the start and avoid these potentially dangerous scenarios.
First, provide fresh, clean water in clean troughs or buckets at all times. Check frequently for dirt, debris, manure, dead animals, or other contaminants. (These truly are deterrents: I have seen horses dehydrated and colicking in a paddock because they would not drink water from a trough with a dead opossum in it.) Scrubbing dirty troughs and buckets and refilling them is part of the nitty-gritty of horse keeping–don’t overlook this important first step.
In cold weather horses drink less water, especially if the water is cold as ice (or literally is ice). Warm up the water in the wintertime by regularly adding hot water or by using bucket or trough heaters. Studies have shown that horses prefer drinking water that is around 50°F.
On the other hand, horses drink more water in hot and/or humid weather conditions, especially if they have been exercising and sweating. Horses’ water intake can double under these circumstances, so make sure they have enough fresh, clean water; refilling water receptacles frequently or add buckets/troughs as necessary to account for this increase in water intake.
Next, make sure your horse’s diet is meeting his sodium requirements; correct sodium balance in the horse is necessary for proper thirst response and body water equilibrium. There are multiple ways to provide salt to your horse. Salt blocks or salt licks are an affordable and convenient approach. However, researchers have shown that individual intake of salt from these blocks is highly variable, and horses might not consume enough salt from these sources to meet their daily sodium requirements, especially if they are exercising and sweating regularly.
Offering plain, loose table salt free-choice or along with daily concentrate meals is another way to supplement sodium in a ration. This is also relatively convenient and inexpensive, but it’s important to consider these points when choosing this option as well: Top-dressing large quantities of salt can lead to inconsistent intake (some horses can sort salt from the feed with their lips, leaving the supplement uneaten) or palatability problems (top-dressed salt can reduce feed consumption because some horses might not like the taste).
Additionally, researchers at Oklahoma State University showed that feeding repeated daily doses of electrolytes (which are compounds typically used in a similar fashion to salt, usually containing sodium, potassium, and chloride) correlated with an exacerbation of gastric ulcers. If you have a horse prone to ulcers, discuss the type and amount of salt or electrolytes you feed with your veterinarian to help prevent additional damage.
At this point, you might be wondering, “Do I need to supplement at all? Doesn’t my feed and hay cover the sodium requirements for my horse?” And this is a great question, to which the answer is: Maybe. Sodium content varies widely among hays—with most offering low amounts—and horse owners should not rely on hay for meeting horses’ sodium requirements. Commercial concentrate feeds usually contain some sodium, typically as added salt at 0.1 to 1.0%. This might be enough for some horses at rest, in addition to their hay, but once horses begin exercising and sweating, sodium requirements must be met with supplementation. In these cases, provide salt or seek a product that offers sodium in sufficient amounts to meet body hydration requirements and maintain thirst response while, importantly, retaining palatability.
In conclusion, it’s simple to keep your horse hydrated if you follow some simple steps: Provide plenty of clean, fresh water and ensure horses’ diets meet their sodium requirements. If concerns arise about a horse’s hydration or sodium status, contact a veterinarian or equine nutritionist for further advice.
Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.
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Courtesy of the Texas Equine Veterinary Association
Oklahoma Tornado Report
If through your contacts you would like to spread the word, OSU just established a link for those interested in helping with the care of animal tornado victims. Please pass on to any friends you may have that can help.
Todd C. Holbrook, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM, ACVSMR
Associate Professor of Equine Medicine
Equine Section Chief
Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences
Courtesy of the Texas Equine Veterinary Association
Oklahoma Tornado Report
We have had several TEVA members reach out and want to know what they can do to assist in providing aid to the tornado victims in Oklahoma.
We have received reports from two of our Oklahoma members that at this time, they do not see a need for immediate help. They are still trying to assess the situation and will report back with ways we can help as soon as possible.
Reports are that a race horse training facility was completely demolished with little left to be rescued. At this time we ask that you pray for Oklahoma and those effected by the tornadoes both in Moore and in Shawnee.
We have also reached out to the Veterinary Emergency Response Team at Texas A&M University and will keep you updated on any ways that we can assist them.
Please watch our FACEBOOK page for up-to-the-minute updates.
If you have information on any veterinary needs, please contact Sara Green at 806-673-1987 or [email protected]
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* Data on File, The Nutro Company 2012.
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According to a 2011 study, 53 percent of dogs and 55 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. That’s an estimated 41 million dogs and 47 million cats.*
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Trifexis® (spinosad + milbemycin oxime) for Dogs:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Trifexis?
Trifexis is a monthly chewable tablet for dogs. Trifexis kills fleas and prevents flea infestations, treats and controls hookworms, whipworms and roundworms, and prevents heartworm disease. Trifexis is for use in dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age or older and 5 pounds of body weight or greater.
Q: Should I give Trifexis each month all year round?
The doctors at Argyle Veterinary Hospital recommend giving Trifexis each month all year round. Due to the warm climate of North Texas, mosquitoes are present throughout the entire year.
Q: Will Trifexis kill heartworms?
Trifexis prevents heartworm disease by killing certain stages that develop after an infected mosquito bites a dog. As with other heartworm preventives, Trifexis does not kill adult heartworms. Speak to your veterinarian about treatment options if your dog is diagnosed with an adult heartworm infection.
Q: Will my dog still need to be tested for heartworm infection while taking Trifexis?
We recommend annual blood testing for heartworm disease even if your pet is up-to-date on monthly prevention, for a few reasons. In the case of missed or late dosages, protection against heartworm disease decreases. Most importantly, in the unlikely event that an animal on prevention contracts heartworm disease, your veterinarian needs to know as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment are very important in terms of your pets well being and prevention of any permanent changes in the heart or lungs.
Q: How should I give Trifexis to my dog?
Give Trifexis with food for maximum effectiveness. Trifexis is a chewable tablet and may be offered as a treat. To help you remember the monthly dosing schedule, stick-on labels are included for your calendar.
Q: How quickly will Trifexis kill fleas?
In a laboratory study of spinosad alone, an active ingredient of Trifexis, spinosad started to kill fleas within 30 minutes and killed 100% of the fleas within 4 hours. Trifexis kills fleas before they can lay eggs.
Q: Does seeing fleas on my dog mean that the treatment is not working?
Trifexis kills fleas before they can lay eggs when used monthly according to the label directions. Remember that all animals in the household should be treated with an approved flea product to help control the flea population. Your dog can continue to be exposed to the fleas that live in the environment. When fleas jump onto your dog, they will be killed by Trifexis. If within a month after your dog receives Trifexis you see fleas on your dog, it is most likely that these are new fleas. These new fleas will be killed before they can produce eggs that contaminate the environment. Continued monthly use of Trifexis can prevent any new infestations.
Q: What if I see worms in my dog’s stool during the month after administration of Trifexis?
Trifexis is indicated to treat and control intestinal parasite infections of adult hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. In occasional cases, it is possible that the action of Trifexis in killing the intestinal worms will lead to the dog expelling them in the stool.
Q: Can other medications be given while my dog is taking Trifexis?
Yes, Trifexis has been given safely with a wide variety of products and medications. Your veterinarian should be made aware of all products that you administered and/or intend to administer to your dog.
Q: Can Trifexis be given to cats?
No. Trifexis is not registered for use on cats. Trifexis was developed exclusively for administration to dogs.
Shedding is natural and there’s no way to eliminate it. But, there is a better way than constantly vacuuming and scrubbing hair off your floor, furniture, clothing and car seats.
FURminator deShedding Tools can help you reduce the amount of loose hair in your house by up to 90%! That means less time spent cleaning and more time to spend enjoying your pet.
Here are a few great tips for maintaining a professionally groomed look:
- FURminator’s Long Hair and Short Hair deShedding edges make choosing the right tool for your pet easier than ever. Plus, FURminator® now has a deShedding tool for every pet size, so you can get the very best results every time.
- While weekly deShedding is fine for short hair pets, medium to long hair pets may need to be deShedded a few minutes each day to prevent mats, tangles and dirt.
- If your pet does have mats and tangles, it’s best to brush your pet to remove them before using the deShedding tool. Using the tool on matted or tangled fur can bend or break the teeth.
- Keep your deShedding sessions fun and positive. Remember, you can always take a break and continue the session later if necessary.
- When you groom, brush or deShed your pet, check for any changes in your pet’s skin and coat. Talk to your professional groomer or see your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual.
- While shaving may seem like a good fix for your dog’s shedding, it can change the texture of the coat, interrupt the natural shedding cycle and impair your dog’s ability to regulate body temperature. FURminatordeShedding Tools provide a healthier solution to shedding management.
- The condition of your pet’s coat is directly affected by his diet. Feeding your pet advanced nutritional food has many benefits for improved overall health, like a shinier coat, strong muscles and healthy teeth and bones.
Comprehensive Horse Health Begins One Cell at a Time.
Platinum Performance® Equine Wellness Formula is a comprehensive foundation formula for all horses. Platinum addresses equine health at the cellular level, providing a special blend of more than 55 ingredients that supports the fundamental health of each of your horse’s 12 trillion cells. Healthy cells mean a healthy horse. That’s the Platinum difference.
Each serving, stated above, equals 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine Wellness Formula. Our recommendation is 2 scoops a day for an adult horse.
Anywhere in the country, it’s always possible for fleas, ticks and other dangerous vectors to infect your dog. It only takes one bite to potentially spread disease. That’s why you only need the fast-cating, long-lasting, broad-spectrum protection of Vectra 3D®
Kills through contact; parasites don’t have to bite to die
Begins reducing flea feeding in 5 minutes; kills fleas in 6 hours.
Broad Spectrum Protection
Repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, biting and sand flies, lice and mites (excluding mange mites).
A repelled vector does not attach or bite your dog; therefore repellent action may reduce the risk of vectors spreading disease to your dog.
Kills adult fleas and prevents the development of all immature stages of fleas: eggs, larvae and pupae.
Remains effective after bathing and swimming.
Protects for 1 month.
Protection for puppies as young as 7 weeks of age.
Patented applicator makes it super easy to use.
DO NOT USE VECTRA3D® ON CATS
For more information visit www.vectrapet.com