First we have the obvious measurements such as and heart rate. Although a temperature of 37.2-38.3 and a heart rate of 28-44 beats per minute are what is considered a normal range some horses are different. By setting aside a day once a month for health monitoring you can start to collect a record and know where exactly your horses fits into the normal range. Not only is this a great way to get to better know your horse but having both a record of your horse's regular fluctuations but think of the practice you'll be getting by doing this on a regular basis.
Measurement, a tool used by the human race for as long as we could keep count. In fact measurement is so ancient and familiar to us that we forget how handy it use to find ways to measure the little things in life. Little things can be a multitude of different things but today we're going to take a look at the importance of measurement in our lives as caring horse givers.
If anything should ever happen and you find yourself having to respond to an emergency situation, this information and practice will be crucial and could even save your equine partner’s life.
Luckily Daisy the 15 year old black lab has been very good about her tooth brushing days. She came to live with us around age 11 and had never had her teeth brushed. To my amazement she is better than the 6 year old black lab Pasilla (Pah-see-ya) we’ve had since a pup. Oral hygiene not only helps you prevent bad breath it helps prevent tooth infections which can lead to slowly leaking toxins into the bloodstream.
When it comes to oral hygiene for our dogs I will admit we slack off on the tooth brushing, because there is more inside time during the winter this happens to be a seasonal thing for us. I have a Stinky Dog Powder I make that works as a wonderful toothpaste up until the creation of that we used straight baking soda which also worked well.
Golden Paste made from Turmeric added to the dogs food intermittently as well as feeding raw bones on a regular basis has made a remarkable difference with my dogs teeth as well. I’m proud to say that Daisy has not had a sore tooth now for about 2 years. Up to that point she was off her food about once every two months. These are great tools for those of you who wish to help your dog in the dental department but can't see yourself brushing there teeth. Please keep in mind this is no substitute for proper veterinary dental care, if you're concerned about your dog’s teeth please speak to your vet.
Bathing farm dogs is daunting task. Growing up in a pet grooming shop and grooming dogs for 20 years has really ingrained in me how important it is to do on a regular basis even for the sake of training. Some farm dogs get well over 100lbs and if they even NEED a bath, say they were skunked or rolled in something rotten. 100lbs of stinking scared and freaking out dog is not fun, especially when you don’t have a routine.
I bath my dogs on a regular basis not just for the purpose of making it easier but also because I like the way they feel when they're clean and so does everyone else. These little attention hounds hate being rejected because they feel gross. I keep them feeling good so people will pet them. If you think about it if they feel better for us to touch then they probably feel better overall.
There is more than one way to bath a farm dog but over here I just put them in the shower with me and the 3 of us get clean together. Sounds a little weird but I find it much less stressful. When Pasilla’s skin flares up she’s bathed daily until she’s back to normal. Every night we jump in the shower together and voila done!
Regular bathing also cuts down on the amount of hair they leave lying around the house. The more they leave in the tub the less they leave on the carpet. For this reason we use a screen to catch the hair prevent the drains from being clogged.
Brushing your long haired dog is so important that I don’t own long haired dogs. I know at this stage in my life I am not responsible enough to groom them properly. Having uncovered so many horrifying things such as infected wounds, maggots, rashes and a variety of creepy crawlies, from matted dogs I can’t stress enough the importance of proper grooming maintenance enough.
The better we as owners can be at maintaining our dogs hygiene the better the quality of life our dogs will have.
Happy Horsing Around
Cyndi Bird, CEST
Last week we talked about how the horses sacroiliac joint can be related to a bridge with traffic flowing through it. When there is an incident, whether it be a gradual incident such as cracks forming in the bridge caused from repetitive use, or a sudden crash, the bridge closes and traffic to piles up.
These are ideas that I have shared with clients over the last decade and they seemed to have helped. They will under no circumstance take the place of proper professional care they are here to help you help your horse between treatments.
These methods are to be used with horses who have had the characteristic bump for a while. If you have an acute injury and there is swelling you may do more damage than good. If there is heat and swelling you may want to consider having your vet take a look.
Even taking a chunk of pool noodle and rolling it around on the main message points will help.
Next I like to work the muscles along the lumbar. I do this by rubbing the low back both beside the vertebrae and in between them. That's right, you need to get in between the vertebrae too. There are many interwoven muscles that give the spine its range of motion. Now would be a good time to take a mental note of how the space between your horse's vertebrae feels. To get a better understanding of of your own horse it’s a good idea to feel other horses backs as well. This will help you understand what “normal” feels like as well as give you a gauge to work with.
Tail traction is the next tool recommend to clients with lumbar restriction of most kinds. The first thing you need to be sure of is that your horse is safe. If you have a kicker please don’t pull her tail. The trick to tail traction is to pick up the tail and allow it to relax a little. Adding pressure to stiff tail won’t be comfortable for either of you. Now gently pull back stretching the spine. If your horse wiggles around a lot then this is uncomfortable, however if he pulls to one side and adds pressure then he’s using you to stretch something he’s hasn’t been able to on his own, just hang in there and let him do his thing. Some theories say only to pull straight but if the horse asks for it and do it himself using you as the tool I see no harm in letting him do it.
If you’re unsure about pulling on your horse's tail ask around and have someone teach you how. It’s a lovely tool for the low back and really helps encourage flexibility in those restricted upper hip muscles.
These three exercises will get you started, keep in mind that the best way to regain range of motion and get traffic flowing in both directions again is by breaking up the tension that's holding everything stuck and teaching it to be flexible again. One of the best ways to do this is by making your horse move. I like moving them in smaller circles because those little circles really make the pelvis work. If your horse is lame then you still need to move her no matter how weird you feel doing it. It’s taken me many years to be okay with moving lame horses but I’ve learned that for the most part that the more they move the better off they are.
For this reason recommend that horses who are being treated for hunter’s bump type restrictions are worked even lightly a few times a week at least prior to the other treatments.
Happy Horsing Around
Cyndi Bird CEST
The lumbar are the 5 or 6 vertebrae, depending on the breed of your horse, that lay between the rib cage and hips. This delicate and crucial part of the horses body, and our own for that matter, is under a reasonable amount of constant stress from day to day activity. Although supported by a considerable amount of muscle these 5-6 bones are the only bones that attach a horse's front end to his hind, and muscle as we all know can easily become overworked or damaged including the ones that support the lower back.
Today we’re going to have a quick look at my approach to understanding horses with roach backs or hunters bump. I would like to point out the obvious, I am not a vet. I do not have the training nor the tools to diagnose medical conditions.
Just like on the road there are many ways to cause bridge closures that block traffic.
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