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COLIC - SIGNS & PREVENTION

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Understanding what colic is and knowing what strategies we can implement to help prevent it are critical aspects of horse management. So what is colic? Colic is a broad term that describes abdominal pain in horses and is something no horse owner wants to experience because of the extreme distress, discomfort and pain horses can experience.            

Colic can be potentially fatal for horses, however the good news is that the majority of colic cases are mild and resolve on their own or with medical treatment. Although there are many types of colic, common types include gas colic, spasmodic colic and impaction colic. There are also countless reasons as to why horses get colic and common causes include a rapid change in diet, excessive grain intake, sand consumption, spoiled feed, insufficient water consumption, stress, infection and parasite burden.
Image obtained from: http://horse-rehab.com/the-signs-of-colic-in-horses
It is important horse owners are aware of the signs of colic, as early intervention and treatment will successfully resolve most colic cases. Symptoms can range in severity from mild to extreme pain and discomfort. Common signs include repeatedly lying down and getting up, rolling, kicking or biting at the abdomen, pawing, sweating, rapid respiration, stretching out as if to urinate and sitting in a dog like position.

                             Tips to help reduce the incidence of colic:                          
Minimise stress
Feed quality feed
Reduce grain intake
Regular dental checks
Regular parasite control  
Feed at regular times each day
Feed a minimum of 1% BW in fibre 
Introduce new feed into the diet slowly over a 10-14 day period 

Any horse could go down with colic, regardless of how well managed they are because of their complex digestive anatomy and they way their gut works. By following some simple procedures and ensuring proper feeding management we can help reduce the incidence of colic. It is also important to remember if your horse ever does go down with colic, early detection and treatment may help save your horses life!





                                                                               


STRANGLES- IS YOUR HORSE PROTECTED??

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

With many riders travelling around the country side to various events with their horses, it is important you are aware of strangles and take preventative measures to help ensure your horse does not contract the highly infectious disease- The last thing you want is to return home with is the dreaded strangles!

So what is strangles and how is it spread? Strangles is a highly contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract that is cause by a bacterium, Streptococcus equi. Infection can occur via direct contact or indirect contact through contaminated feed bins, water troughs, stables, rugs, equipment and also through carrier horses (horses that do not show any signs of the disease). 

Signs of Strangles:

* Rapid onset of a high temperature 

* Loss of appetite

 * Enlarged lymph nodes under the jaw (can form into an abscess)

 * Yellow nasal discharge                       

* Coughing                                    

* Difficulty swallowing        

(The following image is an example of the typical yellow nasal discharge commonly observed in an infected horse)                          Image obtained from: http://www.sporthorsecm.com/05vetcorner/vc_id008.htm

Preventative measures such as taking your own feed bins, water buckets and equipment to competitions will help reduce the risk of infection. It is also recommended that high risk horses such as broodmares, stallions, pony club horses and performance/race horses that are regularly out competing should be vaccinated to reduce the incidence and severity of strangles. Horses will need 3 initial injections given 2 weeks apart from each other followed by a booster injection every 12 months.   

If you think your horse has strangles, immediately isolate it away from other horses and call your veterinarian. It is also important to remember that strict hygiene is necessary to prevent spreading the disease to other horses!           

MANAGING HORSES DURING COLD WEATHER

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

With the cold weather approaching, now is the time to prepare your horse for winter. Some horses loose weight over winter, so it is important to provide your horse with adequate calories in order to maintain an ideal body weight. 

In colder weather a horse a will burn more calories to generate body heat and keep warm. A high calorie supplement such as WeightGain is ideal for the winter months as it will provide the horse with the extra calories needed to maintain or increase body weight. For all those people out there who have said I have tried this and tried that, you are yet to try the best- The results seen from WeightGain speak for themselves!

Reasons why WeightGain works:

* High calorie content for rapid weight gain 

* Quality protein for muscle growth and topline

* Highly digestible & well balanced 

* Contains a customised blend of vitamins and minerals for optimum health 

* Blend of quality ingredients, which achieves brilliant results.

There are lots of important things to consider during winter and I cannot stress enough the importance of adequate water consumption throughout the colder months. In cold conditions some horses will not consume enough water, making them susceptible to impaction colic and dehydration. Maximum water consumption is crucial in reducing the risk of impaction colic, as water plays an essential role in keeping the horses digestive tract moving and functioning properly. 

It is also important to feed plenty of fibrous feeds such as No-Grain Gold because the fermentation of fibre produces some heat, which will help provide internal warmth during the cold weather. Lastly, if horses are not rugged during the colder months, they must have shelter from wind and rain and also have room to self exercise in order to keep warm.

Happy Riding!




WHAT IS FIBRE & WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOUR HORSE?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

So you may be wondering what is fibre and why is it important? This weeks blog will help define why fibre should form the foundation of your horses diet and why our focus is on producing fibre based feeds.

So what is fibre? Fibre is also known as a structural carbohydrate and refers to the structural portions in a plant that gives it support. Horses have evolved on high fibre diets and have a specialised hindgut (cecum & colon) capable of fermenting large amounts of fibre. Fibre has many important roles in horse health, so it is vital a horse consumes adequate amounts to ensure optimum health and performance, which is why the team at Omega Feeds have been working hard to formulate well balanced fibre based feeds to ensure your horse is healthy inside and out!

Here are just a few benefits of fibre:
1. Horses spend more time chewing fibrous feeds, which increases saliva production and in turn will help buffer the stomach and protect it from ulceration.

2. Fibre is a cool source of energy. 

3. Fibre provides the all important bulk in the diet. The bulk keeps the horses digestive track functioning smoothly, decreasing the incidence of colic. 

4. The fermentation of fibre produces B Vitamins.

5. Fibre acts as a water reservoir, which can be used to replace fluids from sweat loss.
 
It has come to my attention that modern feeding practices involve feeding horses a high grain diet with minimal amounts of fibre, which may predispose horses to a range of problems such as colic, tying up, stereotypic behaviours, weight loss, laminitis and scouring. It is well documented that horses have a limited ability to efficiently digest the large amounts of starch present in grain based diets, so it is important to limit the amount of grain fed and supply plenty of fibrous feeds such as No-Grain GoldNo-Grain Platinum or PonyPlus in your horses diet. 

So to finish up, I cannot stress enough the importance of fibre! If a horse isn't consuming adequate fibre the digestive system will not function properly, resulting in poor health and performance. 

Happy Riding! 



NUTRITIONAL MANAGEMENT OF HORSES THAT TIE UP

Friday, February 22, 2013
I received some great feedback from a very happy customer who is feeding PonyPlus & MaxiCoat to her PSSM affected horse, which sparked me to write a blog about feeding horses with chronic tying up!

Tying up occurs in many different breeds, including Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Draft Breeds, Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Arabians, Morgans and many more. Horses can tie up sporadically or it can be a chronic problem. Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM) will be my focus for this blog, as it is a common form of chronic tying up.  

PSSM is typically diagnosed in quarter horses and draft related breeds and is characterised by an excessive buildup of glycogen in the muscle, which leads to severe muscle cramps and weakness.  Scientific research has shown that diet manipulation and exercise is an effective way of controlling the symptoms of PSSM. Affected horses should be fed a diet that is low in starch and sugar and high in fat in order to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. 

Our PonyPlus is ideal for these horses because it is a grain free, molasses free feed that is very low in starch and sugar! It will provide horses with good quality protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6) and bulk without oversupplying calories, starch or sugars (I must note that PonyPlus currently has the lowest starch content of any complete feed on the market!). We have also enhanced the Vitamin E and Organic Selenium levels of the feed, so the extra Vitamin E will assist in repairing damaged muscle tissue resulting from general muscle fatigue, as well as from episodes of tying-up. 

Because PonyPlus is a low energy feed, performance horses in medium to heavy work will also benefit from MaxiCoat supplementation. MaxiCoat is a safe energy source that will increase the digestible energy content of the overall ration whilst giving your horse that Omega Glow! 

Happy Riding!

Danielle Boland BESc

Head Nutritionist 

MaxiCoat now contains added Biotin & Organic minerals!!

Monday, January 21, 2013
Are you looking for the ultimate coat and hoof supplement but are unsure which product to choose?? MaxiCoat is an ideal choice because it actually works and it is economical!!

The results speak for themselves....

Omega Feeds has added biotin and organic (chelated) minerals into the MaxiCoat to ensure horses owners are seeing the best results possible! So your probably wondering what are the benefits of  organic (chelated) minerals?? The reason for adding organic minerals into the product is because scientific studies have shown that organic copper and zinc are more bioavailable to the horse and have a higher rate of absorption, which means the horse can better absorb and utilise these minerals. 

MaxiCoat Features:

  • MaxiCoat is based on sunflower kernel which is high in Omega Oils and naturally occurring methionine (essential amino acid for hoof growth) for excellent coat shine and hoof condition.
  • Contains organic copper for glowing coats, healthy skin and strong bone formation 
  • Contains organic zinc & biotin for optimal hoof growth and strength
  • Includes a balanced blend of vitamins and trace minerals for optimum health and vitality 
To give your horse the best & to get the best from your horse - Try an Omega Feeds diet today!

THE IMPORTANCE OF WEIGHING FEED

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It is important to feed by WEIGHT not by volume as all feeds have different densities and do not weigh the same! Because Omega Feeds have fibre based feeds, they are very lightweight when compared to grain and pelleted feed! 

Failing to feed the correct weight of feed can result in overfeeding or underfeeding your horse. Overfeeding can result in weight gain and hyperactive behaviour and underfeeding can result in poor performance, nutrient deficiencies and weight loss. 


Feed intake calculations are based on body weight, level of activity, reproductive status and growth stage. Obviously, the most accurate method to measure a horse’s body weight is to weigh it on a set of scales, however many horse owners don’t have access to scales so it is therefore necessary to estimate the horse’s body weight. Girth and Body Length Measurements will give you the closest estimate to your horses actual bodyweight. The formula is as follows:

BW = [ girth (cm)2 x length (cm) ] ÷ 11,877

                  

EQUITANA 2012 - 15th - 18th November

Thursday, November 08, 2012
The Omega Team are heading to Melbourne for Equitana 2012 & we are very excited!!

We would like to invite you to visit our stand. We will be located at: Epsom Pavilion on Stand 430.

This year at Equitana we will be officially launching our new product 'PonyPlus'. If you haven't already heard about PonyPlus or with to learn more about it then here is your chance. Come along, see it, smell it & touch it!! See for yourself why our customers are raving about it! 

We will be showcasing our complete range of Equistrian Feeds along with the newly named No-Grain Platinum!

Come along, meet the Omega Team & learn about our product range and how Omega Feeds can help you.
 
Other exciting news & offers for Equitana 2012
  • We will be officially unveiling our new look packaging!
  • Our Nutritionist, Danielle Boland will be available to answer any questions you might have and will be giving short 10 minute talks on new products and the benefits of using Omega Feeds.
  • Grab FREE product samples!
  • Enter our Equitana draws for your chance to win giveaways & prizes!
  • Prizes drawn daily!
  • Horse Rugs, Scoops, Caps, Gift packs & more.....
  • Major Draw - $750 worth of Omega Feeds products!!
Hope to see you there!

WE ARE LIVE!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We are very pleased to welcome you to our new website!

We have been working very hard to bring you an interactive site packed with added extras and features you can all benefit from.

Some of these features include:
  • Stockist Search - This feature enables you to find your nearest stockist. You can browse our custom google map to view & find all stockists Australia wide or if you prefer, search using your postcode.
  • Become A Stockist - Keen to stock our products? You can contact us about becoming a stockist with our new e-form & we will be in touch with you asap - easy!
  • EQ Health Hub - Do you need expert advice about how our feeds can help your horse? Then you will love our new EQ Health Hub. This hub allows you to contact our Nutritionist directly with your horses individual needs.
  • Blog - Yes, we are bringing you much more news, info and offers right here on our new blog! We will be posting articles, how to's and tips to make your horse's life easier (& yours!) Subscribe to our RSS so you don't miss a thing!
Last but by no means least... for all our distributors and stockists you can now ORDER ON LINE!!

We have developed a secure members only section for ease and convenience. More information about how to use this section will be coming to you shortly.

We hope you find our new site easy to navigate, informative and interactive. We would love to hear your feedback so contact us here!

There are many more exciting announcements which we will be blogging about this week so stay tuned!!

In the meantime SIGN UP TO OUR ENEWS - become an Omega Feeds subscriber! Be in the know! Learn first hand about tips, launches & exciting campaigns & giveaways!!

Till next time,

The Team at Omega Feeds!