Ask Horse Journal: 06/02

Pellets Without Oats
Your fantastic article about minerals for youngsters and broodmares (January 2002) sent me out to buy Triple Crown 30 (TC30). Your article mentions a grass hay/oat diet. My horses have a history of being obese and have always had supplementation with high-quality hay but no grain.

Does the Triple Crown 30 give adequate suplementation without oats’ I have two top-of-the-line Hanoverian broodmares, and one mare has produced foals with orthopedic limb deformity (fortunately resolved with medication) prior to using Triple Crown. I realize I may need to add oats during lactation or if the mares do lose weight before foaling, but I’m worried that the recommended use of Triple Crown 30 is meant to be with oats.

-Betsy Moorhouse
Rhode Island

You definitely can feed the TC30 (800/451-9916 or hay only and no oats. In fact, when we did our compatibility calculations, we used hay only in determining the mineral needs. With timothy hay and the 1.5 lbs. TC30 all your trace minerals are high enough to meet needs of pregnancy, major minerals, too. There is enough flexibility in the major and trace mineral ratio that addition up to as much as 10 lbs of oats on top of a full hay intake (about 30 lbs./day for a 1,400-lb. mare) works fine, too.


Is there any advice on how to deal with a choke’ My yearling was inadvertently fed a small apple (just larger than a golf ball), which he swallowed whole. He immediately began to choke. While waiting for the vet I aggressively massaged him behind the jaw area, which is where I suspected the apple was lodged. After a short time he was able to swallow. Perhaps I stimulated saliva, which allowed the apple to move. Are there any other methods of emergency treatment’ Obviously, I no longer allow the horses to eat small pieces of apple.

-Jackie Alois

Choke can make you feel pretty helpless and, unfortunately, to a large extent you are. Our best advice is to put the horse in a quiet area and let his body’s reflexes, which will be pretty dramatic, try to deal with it. Definitely don’t squirt any liquids into his mouth.

With “choke” the food is actually lodged in the esophagus, not in the throat or the windpipe. There is no danger of the horse suffocating, but there is a risk he could inhale any liquids since he is not able to swallow past the obstruction.

You should always call the vet — even if you end up calling back in a few minutes to cancel — since, if the horse can’t either cough up a bolus lodged high or manage to eventually swallow one lower, the vet will have to pass a stomach tube to help things along, sometimes even with the careful use of small amounts of fluid after the horse has been tranquilized into a marked head down position to minimize the risk of inhaling any fluids. Any horse that seems to clear a choke but remains depressed or not eating needs the vet, too. The food may indeed have gone further down but could be hung up again without having actually entered the stomach.


Rain Rot
What should I use to combat rain rot’ My horse gets it every year, despite my efforts to keep her skin clean and coat dry. Nothing seems to work well.

-Rose Smith
New York

Keeping the horse clean and dry are definite starts. Sunlight and air are also good at helping clear up rain rot, so clipping the area may be necessary if the hair is thick. You can help speed up healing by spot bathing or a full bath with a good medicated shampoo, like Aloe-Med from Aloe Advantage (see August 1998; 877/624-9693, Really persistent rain rot may also require the use of antibiotic/antifungal wound creams. If these measures don’t work, you may be battling a dietary deficiency that causes your horse to be more susceptible to fungal infections. Ask your vet or a nutritionist calculate out the levels of copper, iron, manganese and zinc for all sources and check for deficiencies and imbalances.


Wet Manure
Blue is 29 and gets plenty of hay and five pounds of sweet feed each day. However, her manure is wet with almost no fecal-ball formation. The vet has taken a blood sample — no abnormalities.

Assuming that the above condition is not normal, would you have a suggestion or two that we could check out’ It isn’t diarrhea, nor does she soil herself with it. It’s just more like cow manure than horse manure, and it leaves the bedding very wet.

-Jim Lochary

Cow-like manure is not normal in a horse.?? Sensitivity to a component of her diet and/or a disrupted fermentation in the large bowel are the most likely causes.??Some horses tend to be loose when on alfalfa so if you’re feeding it switch to a grass hay.

Think about changes that have occurred, possibly in her grain or hay type or a pasture change. Think about anything she’s consuming that’s new to her, including supplements and antibiotics. It could be an ingredient in her sweet feed that changes. If the feed is not a “fixed formula” feed (your label ingredients will list multiple “products” or “byproducts” rather than specific grain types), every bag may contain some different ingredients or different proportions of ingredients.??

Even hays can contain a wide variety of yeast and mold that can cause a sensitivity. If all this is the same, consider physical problems.

A horse with abnormally wet manure may seem to be doing OK but, because it is a sign of a gastro-intestinal problem, she could be more susceptible to colic.?? She’s also losing more water, sodium and possibly other minerals, too, as a result and is therefore in precarious fluid balance and could easily become dehydrated.

Ask your vet to do a fecal exam to check for parasites and a culture for salmonella.??Low-grade salmonella infections can result in a chronic diarrhea picture like this.??Parasites rarely cause this reaction in an adult horse but, given her age, it’s possible since resistance to parasites often drops off sharply with age.

If these are negative, we would start by stopping all grain and substituting beet pulp meals.?? Begin with about half a pound twice a day and work up.?? Beet pulp is well tolerated by most horses and also tends to make the manure more tight.??We would also start her on Ration Plus (, 800/728-4667), beginning at about 10 cc/day for a week then dropping to 5 cc/day.??This will help establish a good population of beneficial organisms in her large bowel.??


Drops Penis
My 12-year-old Paint gelding sired three foals before he was gelded due to a lack of interest. However, he drops his penis for what appears to be no reason. It’s most noticeable after returning from a ride. I thought maybe it was dirty, so I cleaned it but it didn’t help.

-C. Belen

If you’ve properly cleaned his shaft (see September 2000), it may simply be that he wants to urinate after doing work. We recommend you put him in a stall after he’s untacked to see if that’s it. Of course, abdominal pain or tying up could also cause this reaction, but nothing you said seems to indicate it. If you can’t trace it to urination, you may want your veterinarian to rule out any problems.


Vitamin C for Joints
Is there any benefit to vitamin C supplement for joint support’

-Terri Cummings

The information available from human studies and dog breeders is that vitamin C is important to joint health, which isn’t surprising given vitamin C’s important antioxidant role and that it’s intimately involved in the health and production of normal connective tissue. It’s also known that the vitamin C status of horses that don’t have access to fresh grass is shaky at best. It may be enough to prevent a full-blown deficiency but probably not enough for maximal health. Vitamin C is a reasonable ingredient in a joint supplement.


Clenbuterol Or Camphor’
Both inhaled and injected camphor are old-time remedies for lung problems. We still take advantage of the properties of camphor, and related volatile oils like menthol, in products like Vicks VapoRub. There is an obvious effect on making respiratory secretions more watery so that they can be cleared easily, and the vapors are “soothing.” But camphor can do even more.

A 1998 British study by Dr. C. Wright showed that camphor can both block bronchoconstriction caused by irritants and reverse bronchoconstriction that is already there. Since this simple substance not only relaxes constricted airways but also helps clear them of mucus (and eases coughs in the bargain), maybe that old-fashioned treatment of camphor in oil wasn’t such a bad idea after all.


Hoof Products Can Stain Leg Hair
Most Likely To Stain: dark-colored dressings, anything with iodine, anything with oils.

Least Likely To Stain: beeswax-based products, products with lanolin and other moisturizers, petrolatum products.


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