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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6 days ago

Optim Equine

PERSISTENT MATING INDUCED ENDOMETRITIS (PMIE)

PMIE. It’s an issue in mares that frustrates breeders and stud managers yet it doesn’t have to. It’s a major factor in mares failing to conceive and in causing early embryonic death when they do.
The persistent inflammation can have one or multiple causes. Adequately identifying and addressing (and where possible preventing) the cause(s) is absolutely crucial to successful outcomes. The different causes and combinations of causes in part explains why one blanket treatment approach is not successful in all mares.

One factor to consider is in the susceptible mare to ONLY COVER HER ONCE PER CYCLE. Remember that EVERY time she is covered and semen is deposited into the uterus, an inflammatory response occurs in the mare. This is normal and is essential to clear the excess sperm and debris associated with breeding and aid in conception. However, the sustained inflammation and associated fluid accumulation is what makes PMIE. By covering only once per cycle, you are reducing the stimuli for inflammatory response. That mare you cross cover, has added insult to stimulate inflammation, setting up a sustained vicious cycle.

Think about it.
Its simple.
More is not better. Even when it comes to covering!!!!
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📸 @whishawrobyn
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#thoroughbredsofinstagram #thoroughbred #breedingseason #foalsofinstagram #foals #foalsof2020 #fertility #broodmare #broodmaresofinstagram #endometritis #horsehealth #racehorses
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2 weeks ago

Optim Equine

IODINE AND HORSES

Iodine. It’s a critical trace nutrient which is required for many physiological processes in horses. Plenty of horse people are aware of iodine’s important role in influencing thyroid function, metabolism and reproductive health.

Whilst many regions of the world (parts of Australia definitely included) are iodine deficient, most commercial feeds and multi mineral supplements are well fortified with iodine. A ‘natural’ supplement, which many people love to add to their horse’s feeds is seaweed. Yet the iodine content in seaweed is HIGHLY VARIABLE, being influenced by factors such as the variety and stage of growth. From personal experience, the amount of seaweed many owners and managers feed their horses also varies widely!

Whilst iodine deficiency is a serious health concern, the flip side of the coin is that EXCESS dietary iodine comes with its own array of just as significant health consequences. This is compounded by the fact that some of the most commonly associated and recognised clinical signs of iodine deficiency are the same as iodine excess (goitre, lowered metabolic rate, a lacklustre coat, an easily fatiguable horse, poor fertility).

Moral of the story? Don’t go self-prescribing seaweed or iodine to your horse. Natural sources of iodine vary widely in their iodine content. An individual horse’s requirements of iodine vary- depending on their access to pasture and the conditions it is grown in, other feeds the horse consumes, the life and growth stage of the horse, any concurrent health conditions a horse has, and activity levels of the horse.

Natural doesn’t always translate to safe. More doesn’t always translate to better.
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📸 @whishawrobyn
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#horses #horsehealth #equinenutrition #thoroughbred #foalsofinstagram #performancehorse #equinevet #horsesupplements #showjumping #breedingseason #dressage #eventingnews #pleasurehorse #ottb
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3 weeks ago

Optim Equine

PLACENTITIS: Think about it

Placentitis. It is the most common cause of late pregnancy loss in mares. It causes many a stud manager and breeder a lot of grief. It costs a lot of money and time. And it goes without saying that it has non favourable effects on both mare and foal.

Yet current routine approaches aren’t necessarily addressing all contributing factors to this problematic condition, and doing so in a way that optimises both mare and foal health.

What is commonly know/accepted is that:

A major cause of placentitis is due to bacterial or fungal infection that enters via the vagina and breaches the cervical barrier, a process known as ascending placentitis.
Aspiration of air and faeces into the vagina can occur in mares with poor conformation or injury to the cervix or vulvar opening, further contributing to/exacerbating the problem.

What is less commonly accepted or adequately addressed is that:

The infection breaching the cervical barrier involves the presence of abnormal bacteria in the reproductive tract. Production of enzymes by these bacteria is thought to degrade the mucus lining the vagina and cervix (which serves to provide a protective barrier mechanism) allowing bacteria access to the placenta.

Whilst these bacteria may be ‘held at bay’ through antimicrobial use, the use of these drugs alone, without adequately addressing and facilitating optimal microflora balance post using them sets up a self-perpetuating and vicious cycle. Whilst the use of antibiotics eliminates the pathogenic, harmful bacteria, they also eliminate any helpful and favourable bacteria and microbes too. This is compounded by the use of NSAIDs. In reality, what this means, is that unless actions are taken to promote and sustain a favourable microbial balance, as soon as the mare comes off medications, a compromised micro-environment is set up, which in theory puts her at greater risk of infection. Mares then cycle on and off these medications or stay on them- further compromising microflora balance and vaginal and cervical epithelial integrity.

Add to this the fact that neither the antibiotics nor NSAIDs directly provide substrates needed to restore optimal vaginal and cervical mucosal lining and function.

If this isn’t enough cause for concern- keep in mind that the foal’s immune system is largely influenced by the microbial population it comes into contact with as it passes through the birth canal of the mare. Remember, this mare has an unfavourable microflora balance- thereby essentially programming the foal’s immune system in a way that does not set it up for the best health for life.

We need to break the cycle. We need to change our approach. We need to adequately address contributing factors rather than just suppressing what is there and resigning to the fact that placentitis is a major problem which is hard to treat.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different or improved results is madness. If your mare is worth spending all the time and cost of a conventional treatment regime for placentitis, she sure as hell is worth spending the time and money on addressing the causes and providing effective solutions.
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3 weeks ago

Optim Equine

WHY DOES MY WELL-CONDITIONED, WELL-FED MARE ALWAYS HAVE SMALL, POOR DOING FOALS?

This week, a new client called me to consult on his mare and foal in relation to the above question.

His city winning mare is a nice type with good conformation. She is in fleshy (ie well covered) body condition. In theory, she should produce nice types of foals. Yet the four foals she has delivered have all been disappointingly small, slightly weak and sub-par.

The owner forgave the mare for the first foal, as she was a maiden. The second foal he reasoned to himself, was possibly throwing back more to the sire.

However, he was out of excuses for the third and fourth foals. The mare has no concurrent health conditions or logical reasons why she should spit out such disappointing offspring.

Upon evaluation of her diet- the likely explanation to me was fairly clear. Whilst the mare’s diet was adequate in calories (energy) and maintaining her body condition, the diet was too low in protein for her requirements. Research has demonstrated that foal birth weight and size can be negatively affected when mares do not consume adequate protein during late gestation, EVEN when mares consume adequate calories and are maintained in fleshy condition.

The solution? We are gradually introducing more quality protein into her diet, to ensure that her milk production is optimised, supporting both her own health and her foal’s growth and development. This is a strategy which will be carried forward to ensure that her future pregnancies are given the best possibly nutritional environment to grow properly and thrive...
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📸 @whishawrobyn
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#mare #broodmare #equinephotography #foalsofinstagram #foal #breedingseason2020 #equinenutrition #healthyhorse #warmbloods #performancehorse
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4 weeks ago

Optim Equine

FOALING HEAT SCOURS...

Why this name is a misnomer and what YOU really need to know....
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