Monday, September 14, 2009

Understanding Beet Pulp as an Equine Feed
by: Eric Haydt
September 07 2009

Beet pulp has been a popular feed for horses for years without many people really knowing why.

Beet pulp is a byproduct of the sugar beet industry and is predominant in the upper Midwest, Michigan, and California. Sugar beets look a lot like turnips that have been taking growth hormones--they are very large. The beets are grown and processed not so we have something to feed to our horses, but for the sugar content. After the sugar is processed and removed, the pulp is left over. Recently, the use of shredded beet pulp has become increasingly popular as a feed ingredient; first in the pet food industry followed by the horse feed market.

Today, about 90% of the beet pulp produced is sold to the export market in the pelleted form. The shredded beet pulp market is primarily domestic. Up until the last couple of years, shredded beet pulp was only available in bags, but now feed mills using it as an ingredient can buy it in bulk form.

Initially, consistency of particle size and stem and root contamination were a concern. Stems and roots look like small pieces of balsa wood and are typically about 1 to 2 inches in length and about a 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch in diameter. Utilizing improved screening systems the industry is continuing to do a better job of making the product cleaner and more consistent.

Beet pulp is often referred to as a "super fiber" due to its high digestibility and ease of fermentation. The reason is the lack of lignin in the fiber. Tall pastures and overly mature hay cannot be digested well by horses because of the high lignin content in the plant to give the stalk strength. In addition, high lignin content fibers like peanut hulls, oat hulls and rice hulls have very low fermentation properties and are, therefore, very low in caloric content.

Beet pulp, on the other hand, has about the same caloric content as oats. It is unusual to have a fiber product that is easier on the horse's digestive system and still provides the calorie content of a grain product. Furthermore, in the shredded form, the beet pulp provides some additional fiber length, often referred to as scratch factor, which is lacking in many alternative fiber sources and explains why shredded beet pulp is preferred over pelleted beet pulp in equine diets.

Individuals mixing their own rations need to understand that beet pulp is a very dry product at only about 5% moisture. If a horse consuming beet pulp does not chew long enough or provide enough saliva, the beet pulp has the potential to cause choke. This is why most horse owners soak the product in water prior to feeding.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Unraveling Equine's Mysteries - Full Article

September 03, 2009

Most people don't realize how close Kentucky came to having the life sucked out of its bid for the WEG by a small tick. Dr. Peter Timoney does.

by Jeff Beach

Lexington, KY - As the head of the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center at that time, he was made aware of a growing concern among the event's European organizers that holding the event in Kentucky could expose the horses to paraplasmosis, a blood disease commonly spread by the ticks.

Timoney, who served on the state World Equestrian Games Commission, played a central role in gathering the evidence that helped alleviate the concerns, including tick-counting surveys in the Horse Park area and risk assessment analyses on the likelihood of the disease spreading.

While few may be aware of its role in such matters, the Gluck Center's ability to apply its scientific expertise to the most pressing equine issues of the moment has made it a highly valued resource to Kentucky's significant horse interests over the years.

And in recent years, the Center has started a new chapter, as Irish born Timoney stepped down last year to make way for "new blood and a fresh perspective," he said, which has come in the form of Dr. Mats Troedsson, a native of Sweden.

Troedsson, an expert in horse reproduction, left a position at the University of Florida to become Gluck's new director last year. That has allowed Timoney to dedicate more of his time to his first love: researching infectious diseases found in horses.


Stone Bruises
by: Les Sellnow

Few occurrences are more disturbing to a horse owner than lameness. A lame horse is one that is idle in a stall or paddock instead of being enjoyed in the show ring or on the trail. Sometimes lameness can be brought on by a complex and serious cascade of events such as with laminitis, but at other times the lameness is the result of something that seems minor--like a stone bruise.

This rather innocuous injury can have its own complexity and, if left untreated, can result in a horse's demise.

The bruise referred to here affects the sole of the horse's foot. A bruise can result from a variety of factors--ranging from a step on a stone causing an external bruise to landing with such concussive force when going over a jump or racing across a hard surface that the bones of the inner foot bruise the inside of the sole.

Some bruises come and go with little notice. Fitting into that category, says Doug Butler, PhD, Certified Journeyman Farrier, Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, of LaPorte, Colo., are bruises that can occur from the buildup of snow in the bottom of the foot during the winter months. Butler is widely known as a lecturer on hoof care and shoe making and fitting, as well as the author of the classic book on farrier science Principles of Horseshoeing I and II.

The first detection of a mild bruise from balled up snow, says Butler, often comes when the horse's feet are trimmed in the spring and the farrier notices a reddish spot or area where the bruise occurred. In such cases, the bruise would have caused tiny blood vessels to rupture, but would not have created pain to the point that the horse was lame.

On the other side of the spectrum are bruises so severe that they not only produce lameness, but also result in an abscess that can compromise the health of the entire foot if left untreated.

[...full article]

Tendons Show Improved Healing with Glycosaminoglycan Polysulfate
by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
August 29 2009, Article # 14811

Injecting glycosaminoglycan polysulfate directly into lesions of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) significantly improves reorganization of the tendon's collagen bundles during the healing process, report Brazilian veterinary researchers.

Tendon injuries are an important source of lameness and decreased performance in horses. Despite aggressive management, there is a high rate of recurrence associated with these injuries.

In the absence of universally effective therapies for tendon injuries, researchers from Barão de Mauá University Center in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, examined the effect of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (trade name Adequan) injections on the organization of collagen fibers in the superficial digital flexor tendons of horses.

They experimentally-induced tendonitis in the front left SDFT of 10 horses. After one week, the affected tendons were subsequently injected with either 1.0 mL of Adequan or saline, administered four days apart for a total of five doses. Horses in both groups were confined to stalls for 60 days then moved to restricted paddocks until 150 days after initiation of the tendonitis.

On day 150, the tendons were collected and examined microscopically to evaluate the organization of the collagen bundles in the tendons.

According to the authors, 77% of collagen bundles were "organized" in the tendons from the treated group, which was significantly higher than the 66% of "organized" bundles measured in the untreated group's tendons. This increase in organization indicates "remodeling of the scar," the authors noted.

[...full article]

Feeding the Endurance Horse
Feeding the endurance horse is critical to its success, health and longevity in
the sport. It can make all the difference. Read on to learn how to feed
an endurance horse.

Step 1

It is critical to the success of your endurance horse that you feed him properly. Endurance horses
are the equivalent of long-distance runners in humans, but their
metabolism works very differently. In order to make sure your endurance
horse is fed appropriately for his work, you need to know what and how
to feed. The basic platform for feeding an endurance horse is forage,
electrolytes and grain concentrates.

Step 2

Do not feed too much grain or feed concentrates. Too many carbohydrates
and starches will adversely effect your horse by causing him to go into
full blown low blood sugar once he has burned up the quick calories. If
you feel you must feed your horse concentrates/grain, feed a low
protein, high fat feed. Make sure the fat content is at least eight to
10 percent, and the top dress it with one cup of corn oil once a day.

Step 3

Too much protein demands more water intake, which can be devastating for an
endurance horse. Make sure that you stay away from alfalfa and other
hi-protein roughages and concentrates. Stick to quality forage that has
a lower protein content but is full of quality vitamins and minerals.

Step 4

Forage, forage and forage. It has been proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
that good quality forage is the best possible feed for endurance
horses. Make sure your horse has all he can eat, all the time. This
will cut down or negate any need for grain or concentrates. Also know
that there are “super-fibers”–beet pulp, soybean hulls, almond hulls
or oat hulls–that are excellent calorie sources with little to no
blood sugar boosters. Just be sure to follow instructions on how they
are fed.

Step 5

Make sure your horse’s electrolytes are primed and ready for the race. Put
electrolytes in his water, and give him an electrolyte boost before,
during, and after your competition. Feeding the endurance horse can be
tricky, but the results are a healthier horse and a fitter one.

[...full posting]