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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hair Mineral Analysis

This is an invaluable diagnostic tool that can provide insight into your horse's mineral balance.A hair analysis is done by submitting a hair sample taken from your horse's mane.  The analysis will reveal the mineral levels as well as heavy metals. You will receive a thorough explanation of each mineral and metal. 

Why is this important?  Minerals are critical for the biological processes of the body.   For example; too much magnesium can produce symptoms such as diarrhea, fatigue, and muscle weakness; too much calcium can cause body stiffness, tendency toward colic, defensive attitude, joint pain and metabolic disorders. 
Heavy metals revealed in the toxic level can cause many health and attitude problems for your horse.  These toxic metals are found in contaminated water and soil which results in feed absorbing these toxins.  Pesticides and vaccinations are another source of heavy metals.  These metals interfere with the chemical processes in the body and are deadly to the cells if allowed to accumulate.

Commonly detected heavy metals are lead, arsenic, aluminum, nickel, cadmium and mercury.  If any of these are found to be in the toxic range, it is most likely your horse will be exhibiting symptoms related to the toxicity.  
For example:  a horse with toxic cadmium levels will show signs of respiratory conditions, allergies, and sinus irritation.  Toxic aluminum levels can have symptoms such as colic, excess gas, ulcers, diarrhea, anemia, and difficulty concentrating. A nickel toxicity level can exhibit symptoms such as infections, electrolyte imbalances, back pain, skin problems, cancer and respiratory problems.

A hair mineral analysis is the most accurate way to detect the presence of heavy metals and mineral imbalances.  The lab that is used to do the test plays an important role as to the accuracy.  For best results I recommend going through DePaolo Equine Concepts to order the test.

You will receive a thorough explanation of the test along with a consultation with Dr. DePaolo.   He will customize a supplement for your horse that will balance the minerals and help to remove the metal toxicity.   This is a highly effective way to keep your horse healthy and assure you are providing the proper minerals in the diet. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Does Your Horse Squirt Brown Fecal Liquid?

I am finding this to be more common than you think.   This happens when your horse either passes gas or has a bowel movement and out squirts brown liquid that runs down the legs.  The manure can be formed and appear normal.   Your horse can have no other symptoms but squirting the fecal liquid.

The cause can be difficult and frustrating to identify.  It can be caused from worming or a worm overload, antibiotics, electrolyte imbalance, intestinal flora imbalance, stress, dehydration, heavy metals toxicity, leaky gut, ulcers, digestive disorders, sand in the gut and more.

In order to find something that may clear it you will need to go through a process of elimination to find what works and what does not work for your horse. Before starting, be sure that your horse is only getting grass hay or alfalfa/grass mix.  No grains.

This is a list of natural supplements I have tried, some helped and some did not.

Three different Veterinarian's Protocol consisting of probiotics
and other supplements:  did not help
Probiotics:  helps slow it down
BioSponge by Platinum Performance:  did not help
Diagel: worked to clear it but only for 3 to 4 days.  Too expensive to maintain
Apple Pectin: did not help
Kaolin Pectin: did not help
Succeed:  helps slow it down
Psyllium, granular or pellet form: Did not work
Lecithin granules: Helps slow it down
Oat Bran: Helps slow it down
Quercetin: Did not work
Vitamin C: Did not work
Electrolytes:  Worked on and off
DePaolo Excel:  Worked on and off
Uckele custom blend minerals based on hair analysis:  helps slow it down
DePaolo custom blend minerals based on hair analysis:  This works the best

Depending on what the cause is, some of these items may or may not work for your horse.  If none of these supplements help then the cause could very well be an electrolyte deficiency/imbalance  and/or a heavy metal toxicity.

It is important that your horses minerals are in the right balance.  The best way to find this out is through a hair analysis test.  If you have tried all of the above and your horse still has the squirts then I would recommend having a hair analysis done.  This will pinpoint the imbalance and can quickly be corrected with a custom mineral blend.   I would highly recommend ordering the hair analysis through DePaolo Equine Concepts.  

It is one of the most informative test you can do for your horse.  Based on the findings of the test, Dr. DePaolo will customize a mineral blend for your horse.  Once starting your horse on the custom blend the problem should clear within a week in most cases.

Not only are you clearing the squirts, you are correcting a mineral imbalance and/or heavy metal toxicity which is the most likely cause of the symptom. This is important.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Feeding Guidelines to Keep your Horse Healthy

Your horse is a grass eater.  They are designed to be grazing on grasses throughout the day. This is how their digestive system functions the best.
They forage for grasses and even weeds and other plants that they instinctively know will meet their nutritional needs.

Depending on the stabling conditions not all horses have access to grass 24/7.  In this case, hay nets or slow feeders are recommended so their digestive system can continue to work efficiently as was designed by nature.

As a general rule, healthy horses should be fed a diet that consists mainly of grass hays.  Timothy hay is an excellent well rounded hay that meets most of their nutritional needs.   If Timothy is not available in your area, there are other grasses that work just as well.

About 80% of the diet should be grass.   Alfalfa can make up the other 20%.  Although alfalfa is a legume hay and not a grass, it is the one exception that causes the least problems.  A diet that is more alfalfa than grass can cause mineral imbalances.

Horses should never be fed grains such as wheat, barley, corn, oats, processed grain mixes like senior feed etc.  This wrecks havoc on their digestive systems causing long term health issues. 

Never feed your horse anything with sweeteners of any kind.  See my post No Sweets

A typical health maintenance diet for horses without any health issues is as follows:

80% to 90% grass hay
10% to 20% alfalfa cubes or pellets (can be a mix of alfalfa timothy)

  • Seaweed (for minerals) such as Source Micronutrients or 
This is an excellent way to allow your horses to decide which minerals they need.   These small feeders can be mounted inside a stall and filled with different minerals to see which one the horses will choose.  I have found that horses who are stabled  and only have access to dried grasses will choose the A Mix or the BVC Mix which has the vitamins that the grasses lose during the drying process. 
  • Free Choice Salt 
  • ABC's Plus  also by Advanced Biological Concepts.  This is an excellent digestive aid that increases the absorption rate of the nutrients in the feed and supplements.  It acts as a preventive to avoid future digestive disorders.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  These can be found in flax, chia and other oils such as coconut.    A good form is HorseTech's NutraFlax .    This supplements the needed fatty acids that the dried grasses lack and helps keep the joints healthy.  
All of the supplements can be mixed with the pellets or cubes by adding enough water to make the supplements stick to the pellets.  More water is okay. 

These are basic guidelines as long as your horse is not having any health issues and is used as a maintenance type diet.

Anytime your horse is given a paste wormer or medication, digestive flora are depleted which causes diarrhea, gas, colic, and a host of other mild to serious problems.  After worming or administering medications, you will need to supplement with a probiotic to replenish the digestive flora.   A good one is BioMos and Yeasacc . This can also be used during times of stress such as trailering, showing, training etc or  if you see signs of digestive upset. 

Depending on the needs of your horse, the supplements may need to be adjusted but the core diet should always remain as primarily grass hay. 


Sunday, September 20, 2015

No Sweets!

The common treats that are given to horses are carrots and apples.  Although, I have seen horses given chocolate, cookies, candy bars, lifesavers, hard candy, sugar cubes, soda and many other types of human sweet snacks.

Because the horse eats it, it is assumed that they like it and it can do no harm since the horse will not eat something that is not good for them.  This is  a myth.  They eat it because it is sweet, for the same reason, people eat sweet snacks.

Feeding your horse sugar laden treats is more of a psychological comfort for people rather than doing something good for the horse. 

Carrots and Apples, even though natural, have a high sugar content.  Much of the pasture grass that horses graze on, originally was planted to fatten up cattle, and has a high sugar content. 

All grains when digested are metabolized as sugar.  Feed manufacturers add molasses to grains, pellets, cubes and supplements.  This is a hidden form of sugar that should be avoided. 

Feeding a horse grains or high sugar content human foods causes the pancreas to secrete insulin.  Insulin is used by the cells to process sugar.  Over time, the cell becomes over saturated with glucose resulting in a condition know as insulin resistance or IR because the cell can no longer process the high levels of insulin.  If this continues the horse can develop Cushings.

Feeding a piece of candy or even several apples to your horse can trigger laminitis by causing hind gut acidosis which results in a metabolic shift in the micro-organisms of the digestive system.  Inflammation of the laminae in the hoof occurs and your horse has sore feet or acts off. 

Some horses may even have an allergic reaction to the sweet treats.  They may develop hives, a sore back, sore feet, mood swings or stocking up.

The next time you want to treat your horse, instead of a carrot or apple, reach for a hay cube.  The cubes can be a grass hay or alfalfa mix cube with no molasses hidden in it.  Your horse will be happy and satisfied. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015


There is a popular belief that beer is good for horses.  It is especially recommended for horses with anhydrosis (inability to sweat).  There a numerous other beliefs such as; it will put weight on them, it will make their coat shine, it helps digestion and so on.  

There is no good reason or logic to feed beer to your horse, no matter who swears by it. To help understand why lets start with the digestive system.

A horse's digestive system moves food through it slowly.  It has to travel 90 to 100 ft to finally complete the process and eliminate the undigested food.  There is only one way in and out, the horse cannot vomit and expel bad food or liquids. 

Therefore, food that is spoiled such as moldy hay, contaminated water, grains and other undesirables have to make their way through the digestive system.  During this time damage is caused, perhaps by the formation of ulcers, acidosis, bacteria overgrowth, gas, indigestion, colic and much more.

Because of the way the digestive system is designed, deviations away from the horse's natural design for eating can have serious adverse effects on your horse.  Feeding beer to horses is a deviation that should not even be considered an option. 

Number one reason;  Beer doesn't exist in nature for them to graze on.

Number two reason; it is carbonated.  Carbonation can cause stomach pain, digestive pain and colic in horses.  What you are feeding them is carbon dioxide gas which the body cannot always expel.  If it does not get rid of it, the gas gets trapped in the intestinal tract and can cause bloating which leads to colic. Excessive gas built up in the stomach and intestines causes pain also leading to colic. Carbonation increases stomach acid production and irritates the stomach lining.  Excess acid leads to ulcers.

Number three reason; it contains alcohol.  Dehydration is caused by alcohol consumption.  Ethanol can cause uric acid build up which can lead to laminitis or arthritis.  Ninety percent of it is metabolized by the liver leading to liver disease.
Beer contains high levels of purines which also can contribute to laminitis and arthritis as it is accumulative. 

Lastly, beer contains many unwanted additives.  I had to dig a little to find out what other ingredients may be added to beer.  Keep in mind each manufacturer may or may not have some or all of these ingredients in their beer.

You do not want to feed your horses any of the following ingredients which beer may contain:
  • MSG, a food additive that causes sweating, hives,rapid heart beat, nausea
  • Propylene Glycol,  a toxic solvent used in paint, antifreeze and food
  • Calcium Disodium EDTA, a chemical salt used to separate heavy metals from dyes and in foods to prevent air from spoiling them
  • Sulfites, causes asthma attacks and other allergies
  • Natural Flavors, which can come from anything
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Carmel Coloring, a known carcingenic made from ammonia
  • FDC blue, red and yellow, made from petroleum
  • Insect Based Dyes to color the beer
  • Animal Based Clarifiers, the most common ones are egg whites, milk, casein, gelatin and isinglass (prepared from the bladder of the sturgeon fish).
  •  BPA (Bisphenol), leaches into beer from the container, can cause infertility
  • Carrageenan, used as a thickener, can cause inflammation and bleeding ulcers, considered a carcinogenic

There are much better alternatives should your horse need some digestive conditioning.  To restore the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, BioMos and Yeasacc work very well.  Also read my post on Ulcers. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014


My new zazzle store for MyHorseyStuff is now online.  Lots of great gifts for all of us horse lovers.  Check it out. 
It is still a work in progress.  I'm adding new horseystuff as quick as I can. 
A few samples:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Clean Water for your horse please!

It is very important that your horses have clean water to drink.  Do not put fish in your horse's water tank thinking it will keep the water clean.  Fish poop in the water and fill the water with bacteria and parasites and this is what your horse is drinking.

Mosquitos and other insects lay eggs in water, bird droppings land in the water and then your horse consumes the water that contains larvae and bacteria and  gets parasites or diarrhea.  

The tanks or automatic waterers need to be cleaned on a regular basis.   Don't let fungus grow in them.   Your horse consumes the fungal spores putting stress on the immune system.  

Sand and dirt accumulate in the water.  It may seem as if the sand settles to the bottom so your horse is okay to drink it.   If the water is stirred around which some horses do as they drink, the sand is consumed and could accumulate causing sand colic.

Take the extra time to clean your horse's water tank or automatic waterers.  Clean water is life giving.  Keep your horses happy and healthy.