Ask the Vet – Bowed tendons, mares in heat, hay analysis and more! – August 2018

SARAH: Hi, SmartPak fans. I’m SmartPaker Sarah. And this is Dr. Lydia Gray — DR LYDIA GRAY: I am. SARAH: –SmartPak’s Staff
Veterinarian and Medical Director. And we’re back with another
episode of Ask the Vet. As always, we’re asking
the questions submitted by you, our fabulous subscribers
and viewers and fans, and then voted on
by you, as well. And of course, the
questions that we answer all get to get a SmartPak gift card. DR LYDIA GRAY: They do? SARAH: They do. DR LYDIA GRAY: That’s great. SARAH: But only if they reach
out to us, and some of you have not reached out
for your gift cards. DR LYDIA GRAY: Shocking. SARAH: I don’t know
what’s going on. I don’t know if they’re hiding
from the government or– I don’t know in what world– DR LYDIA GRAY: Taxes. SARAH: –you don’t
want a gift card. DR LYDIA GRAY: I don’t know. SARAH: It’s a good deal. So looking at you
Instagrammers in particular. If you want to reach out
to us for your gift cards, just email
[email protected] DR LYDIA GRAY:
That’s super easy. SARAH: Without
further ado, let’s find out who’s getting gift
cards this time around. DR LYDIA GRAY:
That’s right, yeah. SARAH: And four out of
the five have already had a question
answered previously. DR LYDIA GRAY: So
they’re getting it. SARAH: So we got
a lot of repeats– DR LYDIA GRAY: Nice. SARAH: –which is awesome. I hope they’re combining
their gift cards to get something even more awesome. DR LYDIA GRAY:
Bigger and better. SARAH: That’s right. So question number one
asked by Maria on the form at And Maria’s wondering–
so she’s previously had a question answered
about straw bedding. DR LYDIA GRAY: I
remember that one, OK. SARAH: Yeah, so
that was a good one. We got to talk a lot about
thoroughbreds, which we always love. And Maria is now
wondering this time, “What exactly is a bowed tendon? What causes a bowed tendon? What’s the rehab protocol? And what are the effects
on future soundness or any athletic
restrictions” in the future? DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, kind of
another thoroughbred question, because we think of bowed
tendons in racehorses. SARAH: It’s very common. DR LYDIA GRAY: The horse
I had before Newman was a racehorse from the track. I got him because he had a bowed
tendon, so it’s very classic. So we should talk
about what it is, because that’s kind of a
layman’s term and nickname. And it’s a breakdown in tissue
of the superficial digital flexor tendon. SARAH: Easy for you to say. DR LYDIA GRAY:
Yeah, I practiced. And that runs on the back
of the leg, the cannon, from the knee to the ankle. And it’s the outermost
tissue that you’d find. It’s just skin and then
the tendon’s right there. And that breakdown, the
injury can happen anywhere on the length of the leg. And it can happen the
whole length of the leg if it’s really bad. So she asked, what causes it? And it can be from
one misstep, or it can be from an accumulation
of sort of wear and tear and poor conformation,
uneven footing, not being trained or conditioned
or fit for the activity that you’re doing– SARAH: Perhaps improper
or stressful shoeing– DR LYDIA GRAY: Yup. SARAH: –could put
additional strain. DR LYDIA GRAY: Just
your foot, the balance and the angles not being right. It’s unbalanced
loading of that tissue. It’s tendon. It’s strong, elastic
tissue, but it has limits of how elastic
it is and how strong it is. SARAH: I think just like the
word you’re using to describe it– elastic– you can stress elastic too
much, and you can break it. DR LYDIA GRAY: Right. SARAH: And this is exactly the
same thing we’re talking about. DR LYDIA GRAY:
And then it tears. And so it can be damaged. It can be stretched, but
no actual fiber tearing. It can have a little
bit of tearing, or it can tear completely. So there’s a range of
injuries that can be involved. And the way you know that is
a little bit the sign– so it’s the heat,
swelling, and pain. But sometimes these horses can
even have pretty severe bows and not be lame. But if you have the swelling,
especially, in that leg, it just doesn’t
look or feel right, because you’re always
palpating your horse’s legs before and after rides. You should contact your vet,
because not only will they palpate it with more
expert fingertips, but they have the ultrasound. And the ultrasound
is the best way to assess the damage,
because they can look inside at the quality of the
fibers themselves, look for any correlations,
or areas where the fibers are completely separated
and inflammatory fluid, blood and cells, have
filled in the gaps. And that ultrasound– so now
let’s move into the rehab part of it– is useful about every
four to six weeks, or a month, or every two
months as you’re rehabbing. And while I would love to
give you a rehab protocol, it all depends on your horse,
and what caused the injury, and what’s available to you. Like, if you have an
underwater treadmill, super, but not everybody does. And it depends on just
the nature of the injury, so if it’s a really
severe injury, it’s going to take a long time. I will say this, one thing we
learned in– we learned a lot of things in vet school– but
one thing about this was– SARAH: Here’s hoping. DR LYDIA GRAY:
Yeah, people think of fractures, bones
as being really bad, terrible, the worst
thing that can happen. Actually, because
what we were talking about before, the
nature of the cells and the elasticity
of the tendon, that the soft tissue, the
tendons and ligaments, are worse. And they gave us a rule of
thumb that the number of letters in the word is how long, how
many months, it takes to heal. So bone, help me out here. SARAH: Oh, four. DR LYDIA GRAY: B-O-N-E, right. And then tendon is six. SARAH: OK, six. Thank you. DR LYDIA GRAY: And ligament– SARAH: Is more than six. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, so these
can sometimes take– tendons and ligament injuries
can sometimes take six months, eight months,
a year before the horses return to normal. And then we have
the question of, are they ever going
to return to normal? Some do. Some don’t. Nowadays, we have, in
addition to the great imaging with the ultrasound, so
we know what’s going on. And you can sonogram
that tendon before you start the next phase. So first, it’s stall rest, and
then hand walking, and then under-saddle work, or
tack riding, under tack, and then you add in trotting,
and you add in cantering. And you also have to consider
your circles and corners and transitions. All those things can be
stressful on soft tissues. But before you increase
the plane of exercise, you can sonogram and
see how well the tissue is healing and restructuring. Is it organized? Or is it haphazard,
which would be bad. So in addition to
advanced imaging, we also have shockwave therapy. Regenerative medicine
has proven fantastic for healing of tendons. And that’s things like
stem cells, and PRP, and IRAP that you can
inject right in there. But there’s laser therapy. There’s the TENS. There’s massage. And then heat, once it’s
in the further stages. So there’s lots of
techniques that you’ll want to talk to with your
veterinarian in addition to the time frame and what you
should be doing activity-wise at each week. What additional
modalities can be added on to encourage the normal healing? And also, having the building
blocks of normal tissue available when they need to
heal is really super important. So this is something
you’ll want to work closely with your veterinarian
in their rehab. SARAH: When you talk
about the building blocks of normal
tissue, if we’re talking about a bowed
tendon, for example, what are some of those things
that you might look for to be supplying that horse with? DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, I think the
number one thing, because this is what it’s made
of, is collagen. And collagen is protein. It’s amino acids. And so you want to have that
there really for any healing process. But for soft tissue, for
tendons and ligaments, that’s extraordinarily
important. And then there’s some
other– some minerals. You can have some agents
that just promote or support normal inflammation. Like, you want
some inflammation, but you don’t want
excessive inflammation. So things that might help the
horse be more comfortable, especially in that
stall rest portion, where they’re stuck inside. And so things like devil’s
claw or yucca, or boswellia, all those things
that sort of manage the tissues’ and the fluids’
normal response would be helpful. SARAH: So if you
guys are dealing with a horse who has
that kind of situation and you’re in that
sort of situation, as you’re working with
your veterinarian, we do have some supplements
that contain things like collagen or supportive
ingredients for a horse on stall rest,
including calming, which I think we can all agree– DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. SARAH: –is a little bit helpful
when you’re dealing with that. So you’re always welcome to
call our Customer Care team. Our supplement experts would
be happy to help give you some options to talk
with your vet about. One thing you talked
about in that response that I just want to
touch on is if you would show your hands, palms up. You can see the difference. She has expert fingertips, and
I have very novice fingertips. And you can very clearly
tell the difference. That’s why you’re so
good at the palpation and I’m just a layman. DR LYDIA GRAY: Gotcha. SARAH: I love it. I think that is
one of the things– I liked when you
said you learned one thing in vet school– DR LYDIA GRAY: I learned
one thing in vet school– SARAH: –and then you’re
like, well, many things. DR LYDIA GRAY: –two things,
two things in vet school. SARAH: Yeah, so expert
fingertips and then the number of letters in the word. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah,
never forgot that. SARAH: At least you
don’t have to count superficial or deep digital
flexor tendon, because all those letters– DR LYDIA GRAY:
That’s a lot, yeah. SARAH: –that’s a long time. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah,
maybe that’s the weeks. SARAH: Oh, that’s fair. All right, question number
two, submitted by Louise H on YouTube. And this is Louise’s– how many times do
you think she won? DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, second
based on what you said earlier. SARAH: At least second. DR LYDIA GRAY: Oh,
at least second. SARAH: Yeah, her fifth win. DR LYDIA GRAY: Oh my gosh, OK. SARAH: We could do an entire
episode of Louise’s questions. DR LYDIA GRAY: She’s
going to earn herself a free saddle at some point. SARAH: It’s true. DR LYDIA GRAY: Why not? SARAH: She’s working towards it. DR LYDIA GRAY: Right. SARAH: So she’s previously
had questions answered on when to geld a stallion,
locked stifles, corn oil, and wolf teeth. DR LYDIA GRAY: Wow. SARAH: So interesting, so it
feels like her theme is maybe some young horse stuff– DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. SARAH: –with the gelding
and the wolf teeth. So her question now is,
“Can mares in heat”– OK, so maybe she is in
a breeding program– “Can mares in heat have
symptoms similar to colic? If so, is there anything I can
give my mare to reduce pain?” DR LYDIA GRAY: I have
always had geldings. SARAH: Is that by choice? DR LYDIA GRAY: Yes. Mares– what I hear is
that if you get a good one, there is nothing
like a good mare. SARAH: I’ve heard that too. They’ll try their
heart out for you. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, exactly. But I just travel too much. And I’m too busy that in that
week where they’re in heat is probably the week I’m home
or the week I have a show. And I just can’t deal with it. So the short answer
to your question is, yes, colic-like
signs can be something that mares show when they’re
under the influence of estrogen and in estrus and
having their heat. They can have a
wide range of signs. I think most owners and
veterinarians agree. In fact, there was
a survey that said the main sign they show
when they’re cycling is an attitude or
behavior change. So I think 90% of people said
they checked that box– yup. But certainly abdominal pain
can be something– back pain. It’s sort of referred
pain, because it’s their reproductive tissue,
mainly their ovaries, that are hurting at this time. So what I’m guessing
is, she’s got a mare that is intermittently
or recurrently painful, colicky. Here’s the problem. How does she know it’s
because of heat cycles and not because it’s sand,
because sand causes recurrent colic. Could be gastric ulcers. Could be enteroliths. You know what I’m
going to say next, because if I have a horse
that is doing something and I’m not quite
sure what it is, and I want to talk to my vet,
but I don’t have my facts yet, so I’m going to start recording
it, I want to keep a– SARAH: Journal. DR LYDIA GRAY: Bing, bing, bing. Winner here – gift card for you. So it will be really
helpful to your vet, because that’s the very
next thing she should do. She says, if so,
what should I do? Talk to your vet,
because your vet’s going to want to
assess your horse when you see these colicky signs,
because they can go in there and say, there’s
a giant follicle that is probably painful. Or they can follow
her heat cycle around with those expert
fingertips and ultrasound, which seems to be the
theme of this episode. SARAH: So far. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, right. Once you have recorded facts,
and your veterinarian has done an exam, and
you guys figured out, yup, it’s of a reproductive
nature or it’s not, then you can take actions
to manipulate the cycle. And by that, you can
prevent it completely. You could shorten it. But there’s hormone
therapy that can be given either orally or injectable. There’s even some
long-acting injections that can keep mares out
of heat completely or make it more regular and consistent
and predictable and hopefully more comfortable and pain free. So there are some
things you can do. But the point is,
you have to make sure that it’s reproductive
first, because it could be some other things. And so that journal that you
keep and then having your vet look. And it might require
multiple visits to figure this out would be
the two steps I would do. SARAH: OK. Good luck, Louise. We hope to see you
again next time. DR LYDIA GRAY: For a sixth one. SARAH: Right? So question number three,
submitted by Kim on the Ask the Vet form. She’s also formerly
asked a question about what to look for in
an individual box stall. And this time she
is asking, “I have seen riders get on
and walk their horse for half a lap around
the ring before putting them right to work.” I, first of all, love
that intro sentence. DR LYDIA GRAY: I have
seen that too, yeah. SARAH: “Is this just
asking for an injury? What’s the proper way
and length of time to warm up a horse, particularly
before taking a jumping lesson. Also, my horse spends most
of her day in a stall. Does she need even
more warm-up time?” Oh, great question. DR LYDIA GRAY: Really
good questions. So thank you. Now, I get to talk
about my favorite book. SARAH: Yay! DR LYDIA GRAY: This is
Conditioning Sport Horses by Dr. Hilary Clayton. What I’m not going to do is
turn the book around and show you her picture, because
she would kill me, because it’s from a
long, long time ago, and she doesn’t look
like that anymore. She has a much better haircut. SARAH: It’s very
period-based haircut. DR LYDIA GRAY: It’s very ’80s. But it’s a fantastic
book, and I’m actually going to quote some things right
from it, because it’s so good. But her first question was,
is this asking for an injury? SARAH: Yes. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yes. Yes is the answer. “An effective warm-up enhances
performance and reduces the risk of injury.” So it’s right there
in black and white. She also says,
“During the warm-up, the temperature of the muscles
increases and is beneficial, because warm muscles not only
contract more powerfully, the fibers are more
compliant or elastic, which reduces the risk of injury
due to tearing of the fibers.” So how do you warm up? Knowing that yes,
you have to warm up longer and slower
and more gentle if your horse is
stalled or older– another reason– or it’s cold. In cold weather, your
warm-up must be longer. And using a quarter sheet
is a really good idea, because it gets the
horse warmer faster so you can work more safely. But the walk on long
rein or a free rein is the first step that you do. And this could be anywhere
from a few minutes, if you pull a horse out
from pasture, to one like if yours is stalled could
be 10 or even 15 minutes. The next thing you do is
an active trot or canter. You pick the gait that your
horse is most comfortable and relaxed in. If your horse is going
to fight you in the trot, that’s not helping your
warm-up, because part of it is not only the physical
benefits of the warm-up before work but the
mental benefits. So the whole body, head
to toe, mind and body needs to be relaxed. So warm-up at the
active gait that they’re going to be most
[SIGHS] at, which might be canter for some horses. Then this book says –
the dressage rider – you get to your suppling work. Depending on what you’re doing,
you sound like a hunter/jumper, so you’re not going to
have him as much as I do. But you can leg yield. You can shoulder-fore,
shoulder-in. You can do circles, changes
of direction, serpentines. Get the horse bending and
moving, and loose and goose, and front and back. And then you go
right to your work. And what that means is,
hers is a jumping lesson she wants specific guidance for. OK, the advice is,
from your warm-up, add on segments of
the work that you’re going to do that day, the
training or the schooling, but in less difficult,
less strenuous version. So if she’s going to
jump, let’s say, 2′ 6″, then start by doing
poles on the ground, and then add an
18-inch cross rail. So you gradually
build up to your work. So you don’t go from the walk
and the active trot and even the suppling work right
to the 2′ 6″ fence. So she’s a jumping
lesson person. But if you were a dressage
person or you’re a reiner, you would follow
the same protocol. You would leave the warm-up. You don’t even know. The horse doesn’t know. It’s that gradual. And you build in,
you layer in the work that you’re going to be
doing until you eventually get to your peak. And then, of course
you have the warm-down. So there’s the warm-up, and
the work, warm-down, cool-down, so your four segments. But she’s absolutely
right, though the goal is to reduce injury,
enhance performance. SARAH: And I think there are– at least in my experience,
there are safer shortcuts that you can take,
and then there are some less good options. So I think a lot of
people think like, “Oh, if my horse needs to move
around a lot before I ride, I should just lunge him.” It’s going to depend on how
your horse is on the lunge line. If he’s wild, he’s not– DR LYDIA GRAY: Excellent point. SARAH: –warming up slowly. He’s warming up very,
very aggressively. And so some of the
other shortcuts– you mentioned the quarter sheet. There are also some
therapeutic leg wraps, because
certainly the legs have a lot of those
tendons and ligaments that we worry about being
a little bit less elastic– DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. SARAH: –when you
start doing your work. And so some of those
therapeutic products that can warm up the legs
with things like ceramic– SmartPak carries a lot of those. So if you guys ever
are wanting to look for things that can particularly
help you in the winter when you’re not very eager
to spend 15 minutes casually walking around the ring, some
of those can be good options. So our fourth question
was a first-time winner. DR LYDIA GRAY: Woo-hoo! SARAH: Very exciting. Amy Burgunder on Instagram,
you better email in for your gift card. Don’t be one of those other
Instagrammers who just ask us a question and then leaves us. Amy is wondering,
“I keep hearing about the importance
of having hay tested so you know nutrition content.” I think she means she keeps
hearing that from you, because we do talk
about that quite a bit. “How do you interpret the
results of a hay analysis?” Aw, and then she says, “Thank
you for all the videos. They’re super
informative and helpful,” with two little heart emojis. I think you’re the big one,
and I’m the little one, because you’re doing more of
the work, and I’m just over here making dad jokes. DR LYDIA GRAY: I like
the fact that she’s noticed that there’s
several of us out there saying hay
analysis is important. I think the thing that
I neglected to mention was that while it’s a great
idea to get a hay analysis, they’re very
challenging to read. Like, I don’t read my own. But I send it to a nutritionist. I give it to the people who
formulate our ration balancer. I work with FeedXL,
plug it right in there, and even talk to
some local vets. So hay analysis– and I’ll
go through some terms here. And then you’ll see. You’ll be like, “Oh, I
don’t want to do this.” But still have it
done, but then go to an expert to have it
interpreted and to use it. So there’s a couple things
that you can look at it and you’ll want to pick out
and go, oh, this and that. But for the most part, the
really nitty-gritty detail stuff, leave it to
the experts to do. So things you’ll see on there. You’ll see dry matter
versus as fed or as sampled, and that’s just the
moisture content. So the dry matter has
the water pulled out, and that’s the more
apples-to-apples number that we like to compare between feeds. That’s the one that
you’ll want to look at. Digestible energy, which
is often attributed to DE, that is just– so some of it is going
to get used by the horse, and some of it is going
to get pushed on through and not used by the horse. And so the DE is the part that’s
used by the horse, the energy or the calories. You’ll see crude
protein in a percent. And that’s an
estimate, actually, of the protein based
on the nitrogen levels. What it doesn’t tell you– see, hay analysis
is fascinating, because it tells you a lot,
and it doesn’t tell you a lot. SARAH: It’s very coy. DR LYDIA GRAY: It raises more
questions than it answers. But it tells you the quantity
of protein but not the quality. So we care about the quality. So while it’s handy to know,
do I have an 8% crude protein or do I have a 12%? And then I’d know, do
I need a multi-vitamin, or do I need to step up
to a ration balancer that also includes protein? It doesn’t tell you the
specific amino acids that are in the protein,
and that’s really handy. Crude fiber– I
think a lot of people that have horses that
are easy keepers, that have equine metabolic
syndrome, Cushing’s Disease, they’re concerned
about the sugar. These fiber numbers
are where they focus a lot of their attention. And I’m actually going to
use my paper with this, because if I get this
wrong, it’s really bad, and somebody will tell me. So you’ll see things
like ADF and NDF, and that stands for
acid detergent fiber and neutral detergent fiber. That’s somewhat helpful. It mostly tells you the
quality of the forage based on when it was cut,
its level of maturation. So the longer plants grow before
they’re cut, the more mature they are, the higher
those two numbers will be. And then they’re
considered to be a bulkier, more straw-like hay. They’re stemmier and
harder to get nutrition– SARAH: Breakdown. DR LYDIA GRAY: –out of. Right. So those are the structural
carbohydrates– the cell wall, what allows plants
to stand up straight. The nonstructural
carbohydrates are what people are concerned about. And so we have simple sugars. And the other word for
them, the fancy word that you’ll see on
your hay analysis, is ESC, or ethanol-soluble
carbohydrates. I can tell you,
for this segment, the screen is going to be
full of numbers and figures. SARAH: Because ESCs are an NSC,
which is different than the ADF and the NDF, because… DR LYDIA GRAY: And WSC– we
haven’t even gotten to WSC yet. SARAH: We got a lot
of things going on. DR LYDIA GRAY: Right. So when you add simple sugars
and fructans, you get the WSC. And when you add starch
to that, you get the NSC. So see how it got complicated. The important thing is, when
you get to those numbers– those ESCs, WSCs, and NSCs–
they should be less than 10% to 12% if you have one of those
horses I mentioned earlier, where you’re watching the sugar. If not– and this is the
main reason a lot of people analyze their hay. And you can just order
a package that has this. You don’t have to
have everything else. You can soak your hay,
not rinse it, soak it, like for 30 minutes in hot water
and 60 minutes in cold water. SARAH: Not steam it. It’s different. DR LYDIA GRAY: There is
some benefit to steaming, but it’s different. And they’re beginning
now to show that there’s some benefit to reducing the
carbohydrate load and steaming, but soaking is still
the preferred method. SARAH: Right. Steaming better generally
for reducing dust– DR LYDIA GRAY: For
breathing issues. SARAH: –for allergies
and things like that. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So that’s the carbohydrate. That’s really important
for those kind of horses. And then I think
the other reason that people analyze their
hay is to know the minerals. So one thing is to know,
are you getting hay that’s low or high in selenium? So do we have to
supplement that? Because it’s got
a narrower window between the minimum and the
maximum than some others, but not scarily so. I’m not sure if that’s
a word– scarily– but anyway. And then you want to look
at your macro-minerals like calcium and phosphorus. And hays will always be more
calcium than phosphorus, but it’s handy to know the
absolute number as well the percentage, that ratio. It should be somewhere between
one and a half to one parts calcium to parts phosphorus to
two to one, so always higher in a calcium-to-phosphorus. What happens is, if it’s just
on that one-to-one border and you add in some grain,
which is higher in phosphorus, then you maybe have an inverted
ratio and trouble ensues. So the macro- and
the micro-minerals, they’re also important. But if you subscribe to FeedXL,
then you just plug all this in. And then they’ll do the– ching,
ching, ching– math for you, and you get an answer. And then you know, do
I feed a multivitamin? Because here’s the bottom line. You want to use
this to say, do I feed a multi-vitamin, a ration
balancer, a fortified feed, a complete feed? And are there
specific areas that I need to supplement
specifically, or is this hay not good because
it’s got too much sugar? Those are the kind of things it
tells you, but get some expert help to analyze it,
because it’s hard. SARAH: And then, how
often do you do them? If you get a new cut of hay, is
doing it at the beginning fine, and you can assume that to be
true for the life of that hay as you use it up in the barn? DR LYDIA GRAY: Yes. SARAH: How often are you
doing hay analysis for Newman? DR LYDIA GRAY: We
analyze each cutting, because each cutting is
going to be different. And so probably three times
a year we get a new batch in, and so that’s how we do it. And then we send
that to the person that formulates our ration, and
he makes little adjustments. SARAH: OK. Terrific. Last but not least, we have a
question submitted by Michelle on YouTube. And this is
Michelle’s third win, so congratulations, Michelle. DR LYDIA GRAY: Third win. SARAH: Yeah, that’s
exactly right. And her previous
questions were on how to tell if your
horse is overweight and tips for a horse sensitive
to bugbites in the summer. And today, she is
wondering, “What are your thoughts
on mowing pastures? Isn’t it bad to
leave grass clippings behind when mowing, especially
if the horses go back in the pasture right
away and eat them?” Hmm, interesting. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, this
was really interesting, because the day this came
in, our pastures got mowed. So I was like, [GASPS]– SARAH: I don’t know. DR LYDIA GRAY:
–what should I do? Quick, look it up. So what I found was,
grass or lawn clippings are much different
than pasture mowing, because if you think
about the machine you use to mow your lawn
versus the machine you use to mow your
pasture, they produce very different leavings. We call them clippings, because
they’re very, very short in a lawn, like an inch. And the pasture can be inches. It’s long stem. So that’s one problem,
one difference. I’ll tell you my
bottom line first, and we’ll come back
and talk about it more. But you should not feed
grass or lawn clippings. But it’s OK to leave
horses in pasture, generally, when
they’re used to it, you’re mowing their pasture, and
you’re leaving it in the rows to dry. If you have a horse that is
prone to colic or laminitis, or you’re worried,
then mow them. Take them off for the day. Put them back on. But once those trimmings
are dry in the pasture, they’re essentially hay. That’s how you make hay. You cut grass. But it’s in the lawn,
when it’s so much shorter. And we tend to put it in
bags, so we condense it. We tend to pile it or clump it. All those things make it
unsafe, because it’s too wet. And if you put
your hand in there, you’ll feel how hot it is. It’s already starting
to ferment, so imagine the fermentation
that’s going on in your horse’s digestive
tract if you feed that. And they eat them super
fast, because they don’t have to mosey. They don’t have to select. They don’t have to tear. They just have to hoover. And so they get all that
really short, dense– and lawn clippings are really
high, excessively high, in the simple sugars,
in the carbohydrates that are the bad kind. It’s like eating
bread at a restaurant. It comes first. It comes early. And you gobble all
those rolls down. Yeah, that’s what it’s like. SARAH: It’s warm in the middle
when you put your hand in, just like you were saying. DR LYDIA GRAY: It’s
warm in the middle. So no on the lawn clippings,
yes on the pasture. There’s even more stuff. There’s mold can happen,
that the grass clippings, the lawn clippings
get too much moisture. In certain parts of the
country that have botulism, that can form, because
it’s a perfect environment. Horses that eat too fast
eat those clippings– so short clippings
too fast– can choke. And one of the main reasons
that a lot of experts don’t recommend grass
or lawn clippings is that the risk of, oh, I’m
going to also trim my bushes or trim this
ornamental or whatever. And many ornamentals that
are just fine and beautiful for yards are deadly to horses. So you got to watch your
neighbors too, not just you. For that reason,
experts just say, you know what, let’s just
hold hands and agree we’re not going to feed lawn clippings
and any lawn waste to horses, because it’s just so unsafe. To bundle up and
say, here you go, it’s just not a good practice. SARAH: But mowing the
pasture, generally speaking– DR LYDIA GRAY: Generally. SARAH: –if your
horse is used to it. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. Now, mine still follows the
brush hog and hoovers it up. So when we mow pastures, I
do have to take mine out, because he’s like, loose grass. SARAH: The work is already done. DR LYDIA GRAY: The work is done. And so I don’t want him
eating that much wet grass that quickly, so
I do remove him. SARAH: Well,
especially because you said it depends on
the individual horse and if you’re concerned. And in your case,
you’re concerned because of his behavior. But also, sweet Newman
has a history of colic. And so that’s
something that you’re particularly sensitive to. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. Now, he wears a grazing
muzzle, so it might be harder for him to pick it up. But knowing him, I
think he’s found a way– SARAH: Yeah, he’s
got a technique. DR LYDIA GRAY: –to do it. He’s got a technique. So I just don’t trust him. I pull him. SARAH: OK. Well, that’s all we
have for this month. Thank you guys so much for
submitting your questions. You can submit questions for the
September episode on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram,
the blog, Twitter, or the forum at You can ask your
questions anytime, but be sure to use
#AsktheVetVideo so we can keep track of
all those great questions. Anything we receive
before August 2 is eligible for the next video. And then you’ll be
able to vote on Twitter or YouTube or the blog. If your question was answered
in this or a previous video, like we mentioned
at the beginning– DR LYDIA GRAY: Please. SARAH: –email Customer Care. We would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to subscribe. And have a great ride.

12 Replies to “Ask the Vet – Bowed tendons, mares in heat, hay analysis and more! – August 2018”

  1. What is your recommendation I am a farrier for shoeing a horse with side bone and it's also fused what would your recommendation be love your show just kind of curious what your recommendation would be if you happen to have any other ideas besides the bar shoe

  2. We had an outbreak of grain weevils earlier this summer from some bad or old grain (purchased from a different retailer and unfortunately in bulk). After some research, we were able to get things back under control using food grade diatomaceous earth. While researching, I found that some people feed horses DE daily as parasite control. Is there any science behind this? Should I start adding it to my 24/7 pasture pony's supplements? #askthevetvideo

  3. I have a 28 year-old pony who is in full work, on low quality pasture 15 hours a day, gets a senior feed and Leg Up Joint supplement. She also gets a pound of beet pulp per day. She is not a hard keeper, but can’t chew all her hay. Is there anything else you would add to a senior horses diet? By the way, I love the Ask The Vet series!! #askthevetvideo

  4. Does poulticing a horse’s legs actually help? Should I put it on just by itself or should I do the traditional wet paper and standing wrap over it? Can I put it on my horse’s back or muscles when he’s sore? Is there anything else I should combine it with?

  5. My lease horse has really bad hooves. We put him on hoof supplements and he is no longer lame but they are still really dry and they crack. What are some other ways to make the hooves stronger and healthier? I heard that softer hooves are less likely to crack so should I try to harden or soften them? #AsktheVetVideo #askthevetvideo

  6. please talk about Sarcoids. are there any new studies out there that have come up with satisfactory results? especialy how to deal with sarcoids when they are close to mucosas like eyes or nose

  7. How do you determine a horse is uphill or downhill? I've heard the wither to butt line and elbow to stifle line aren't reliable. Is it even confirmation related?

  8. What are some natural oils that can help horses with hair growth or healing? How should I go about healing my horses spur rubs?

  9. What are common funguses that grow on horses legs? My horse has fungus on her cannon bones and I have done so much to try and get rid of it but it won’t go away! What should I do?

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