Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Equine Science- Colic & Nutrition

Fuck you blogger. I had a big huge post typed out from all the nutrition & digestive stuff we did in class today and the blog just ate it and now I can't get it back.

So now I get to start all over again!

Mouth, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Cecum
-horses can't throw up once food passes the soft palate and if it's choking you'll see saliva coming out of it's nose.
-they use their lips to sort food, like when you try mixing vitamins/minerals with oats but they leave all the vitamins behind
-horses can't burp (not so sure, there's a horse at the barn that does...) so they're subject to gas pains
-hay and other fibers aren't easily digested in the stomach
-the small intestine is coiled into the left flank area, it's approx 70ft. It breaks down soluble carbs and protein is absorbed as amino acids, but fiber materials aren't.
-fiber moves through faster than grain
-horses don't have a gall bladder
-the large intestine has about 1billion bacteria and protozoa, they ferment the grain/fiber
-bacteria produce B vitamins
-the cecum is the junction between the small and large intestines
-1m in length with a capacity of 25-35L
-1/2 the volume of the large intestine and cecum is bacteria
-this is where the fermentation of cellulose happens which can take days
-high quality hay takes about 3-4days and lesser quality hay takes much longer and they can't eat as much as they may need because it takes so long to ferment.
-Stabled horses are at a higher risk to colic if they don't get regular exercises because movement aids the digestive process.
-consistent diets are important because a change in the diet/time of feed can upset the bacteria ie) getting a substantial amount of grain when not used to it. Large amounts of grain in hind digestive system upsets the bacteria and can lead to founder.
-energy from hay doesn't go to the mind, but energy from glucose does

Colic: Conditions in the gastrointestinal tract cause pain. The interruption of smooth muscle contractions.

1. Gas- is most common in stabled horses but walking the horse or letting it role can help
2. Impaction- the horse eats more than it can digest. This colic requires vet care to get oil into the hind gut or the palpitation of the gut to get the material to move. Not usually successful and risky.
3. Twisted Intestines- 21m of intestine, loosely wrapped with risk of them getting twisted. High risk in over weight and under conditioned horses. Lots of fat around internal/digestive organs. It cuts of the blood supply to affected area and nothing can move through. Horse will die with out vet care. The vet would preform surgery to remove the damaged tissue, this is somewhat successful, but the cost may be more than what it's worth because the horse is often not the same after.
4. Overload of grain

So he says to walk the horse, and I've heard that before but I've also heard that you aren't supposed to walk them or let them role. Does it just depend on the type of colic they have? I should have asked...

Founder/Laminitis: is inflammation of the hoof, causes pain and permanent problems if it's sever.
Its caused by excess grain, lush pasture or retained placenta.
- In mares: must make sure the placenta has been fully delivered otherwise it acts like dead tissue and releases toxins which can lead to founder.
-Healthy bacteria are not set up to use grain unless the they are used to it. If the bacteria is present in large numbers it can break down grain. Toxic material is released from damaged tissue and effects the feet. Histamine causes dilation of the blood vessels which causes problems in the legs and feet. The frog pumps the blood back up the leg but if it can't get ride of blood sufficiently it pools in the foot. The wall starts to pull away from the coffin bone and can cause permanent damage as they do not grow back together. Common in fat idle horses if the pasture is to good.
But if it's caught early ie) you know the horse got into a grain bin a vet can come out and treat the overdose early it can stop the effects of laminitis so they don't reach the onset and cause permanent damage.

Yeah, so that's basically what we did last day, there was lots about enzymes and stuff, but I think I should say that none of this should ever be considered as advice, this is just what my prof has said and may not always be right (see his opinions on standardbreds) so yeah. Don't take this advice, ever. Go call the vet :)

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