Natural Equine Health Solutions
Optim Equine brings a unique approach to optimising horse health, wellbeing and performance.
Combining scientific evidence-based medicine with traditional naturopathic practices, Optim Equine delivers the most effective and beneficial health outcomes for your horse.
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5 days ago
At a recent presentation I gave this past week, I was asked to talk about gut health. The health of a horse’s gastrointestinal tract(GIT) both directly and indirectly influences nearly every health parameter in the horse.
One of the themes we explored within the presentation was the importance of fibre in the horse’s diet. Adequate roughage/fibre in the diet plays numerous roles in promoting a horse’s health. Just one of these many ways fibre is essential to horse health is merely through the act of chewing. When a horse chews, it produces saliva (unlike humans, horses only produce saliva when they chew). An important fact to note is that the majority of fibrous feeds (particularly hay and pasture) require much more chewing than grains and pelleted feeds. More chewing = more saliva production. One of the components of saliva is bicarbonate- which buffers and protects the lining of a horse’s stomach. This is just one of the many important ways fibre is thought to help protect against gastric ulceration. It is also a terrific reminder that by only treating the symptoms (for example using medications to treat gastric ulcers) without addressing underlying causes (such as insufficient fibre in the diet) are of limited value and do not promote the best long-term health in your horse.
#horses #horsehealth #equestrian #equine ...
BEST VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS (Part 2)
Continuing on from our previous post, when choosing the best supplement for a horse, it is vital to take into account any conventional pharmaceutical medications (even those seemingly innocuous treatments such as bute, NDAIDs, ulcer meds, etc) and/or nutritional supplements (for example magnesium, etc) a horse has/is receiving. These influence the absorption, metabolism and utilisation of nutrients. Any illness or injury will influence the need for dosing particular nutrients in order to facilitate optimal health and healing.
As a qualified and fully accredited naturopath, I am a regular user of therapeutic herbal medicines in the majority of my cases. I absolutely love using quality, (practitioner only, human grade) herbs, but I can tell you- herbs will not cure a nutritional deficiency!! Many herbs contain small to reasonable amounts of various vitamins and minerals, but very few (if any) will make up for a significant shortfall in the diet. (Sure they can help restore GIT health, integrity and function, helping to promote PRODUCTION, ABSORPTION and UTILISATION of various vitamins and minerals, but that is a whole different topic😉!!)
#horses #equestrian #horsehealth #horsenutrition ...
BEST VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS (Part 1)
Horse owners, breeders, riders and caretakers are always wanting to do the best for their horses. One of the most significant ways a horse’s health can be influenced is through nutrition. A question I am commonly asked (and regularly see on social media) runs along the lines of ‘what vitamin and mineral supplement is best for my horse(s)’? There are some VERY important considerations to take on board in relation to this topic.
Firstly, there is no one single supplement that should be given to every horse across the board. Each horse is an individual and its needs should be assessed and met accordingly. There are so many factors to consider before selecting a supplement. It is essential to take into account the diet your horse is consuming- nearly all concentrated feeds on the market are fortified with basic daily mineral requirements (and often vitamins). Keep in mind that the actual amount of feed you give your horse (and that they consume) will determine if these nutrients are providing, exceeding or falling short of basic requirements. Adding further supplementation to an already adequately fortified feed can be costly at best and have detrimental health effects at worst. Of the fortified feeds on the market, the actual amount (dose) of particular nutrients contained in the feeds vary, as do how readily these nutrients are digested, absorbed and metabolised by the horse (bioavailability).
Consideration must then be given to factors which influence a horse’s needs for specific vitamins and minerals. What she and life stage is your horse at? What breed is it? What is the purpose/use of your horse at this point in time (pleasure horse, race horse, performance horse, retired horse, show jumper, top show pony, hack, event ER, polo pony, etc)? What illnesses has it had in the past? Does it have any medical concerns/conditions?
#horse #equine #horsehealth ...
4 weeks ago
Turmeric Supplementation in the Horse: Important Considerations
Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is a commonly fed supplement to horses. It has many potential therapeutic actions including:anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective and gastrointestinal protective. These therapeutic properties are largely attributed to a group of active compounds collectively referred to as curcuminoids.
The use of Turmeric however, should only be under the guidance of a suitably qualified practitioner, using quality supplements produced under stringent regulation: Turmeric is a commonly being mixed with extraneous, lower cost botanical ingredients, starches, chalk powder, synthetic dyes and cassava. Studies have shown that many turmeric supplements are mixed with synthetic curcumin, and have far lower therapeutic constituents in the product than stated on the label.
Even pure turmeric on its own has relatively poor bioavailability, and the active constituents deteriorate on exposure to light. Add to this that compromised GIT health in the horse is likely to further decrease the actual amount of the active constituents which can be metabolised.
As with any supplement used in the horse, it should be incorporated as part of a holistic treatment approach, with clear indication for its use, and be produced under strict regulation. ...
1 month ago
SKELETAL INJURIES: CONSIDERING THE ROLE OF BONE DENSITY IN THE HORSE
One of the most significant injury concerns for all athletic horses is that involving the bones and joints. Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common cause of poor performance and wastage (wastage refers to a loss of training days, either temporary or permanent) in the equine industry.
A vital consideration in bone and joint health is bone density. Bone density refers to the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue and plays a significant factor in bone strength and durability (and hence resistance to injury).
Many factors influence bone density- and many of these factors can be positively or negatively influenced by feeding, management practices and medication use. Put simply, owners and caretakers of horses have the ability to positively or negatively influence the bone density and hence resilience and strength of a horse’s bones….
Sufficient minerals and vitamins in a horse’s diet, in appropriate proportions are important. These include (but are not limited to): calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin D, copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K. Appropriate energy availability is also crucial in helping ensure adequate bone development.
Many medications have the ability to negatively influence bone density through various mechanisms: increasing the excretion of key minerals needed for bone structure; altering the gastrointestinal microflora balance (in turn impairing the body’s ability to synthesise some key vitamins needed for bone health); and altering the absorption of essential minerals for bone health.
Keeping horses in stables/box stalls is an often overlooked consideration in regards to bone health. Several studies have documented a substantial decrease in bone mineral content in horses kept in stables/ box stalls.
Think about foals, weanlings and yearlings, confined to stables in order to ‘keep them out of the elements’ or for sales preparations. These horses are going through crucial stages of bone development and laying down bone mass. The practice of keeping them stabled may hamper their ability to be strong, resilient performance horses. ...