Killing With Kindness Encore

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What was a great article by Beth Bernard on controlling laminitis with diet (see January 2009). I went through almost the same thing over the last two years. I worked with two vets, an equine nutritionist and a farrier on the problem. No one mentioned iron levels or magnesium.

After a few months, they decided the problem was carbohydrates/sugars. I had our hay tested by Dairy One, but there was no measurement of iron in the results. I later discovered magnesium, which helped both horses out of laminitis. The vets still don’t believe me that magnesium was the solution. A follow-up article to give us more advice on these issues would be great.

Sue Severson
Minnesota

Editor’s Note: A follow-up series on nutritional analysis is in the works.

Fellow Morgan Lover

I’m a long-time subscriber to Horse Journal. Beth Benard’s article ”Killing With Kindness” made a good point for using science rather than falling prey to sales pitches. Best of all she had me laughing (at myself) while reading it. As a fellow Morgan and ”fat boy” owner, I’m going to have my hay tested this week.

Hila Wever
Virginia

Show And Event Planning

I read Margaret Freeman’s editorial (January 2009) about saving show money by competing locally, and I agree totally. One thing that didn’t get said, though, was that if you put on local shows/events, let people know about it. I used to write a local column about horse topics and listed upcoming events. I received information from many different horse groups, as well as complaints about no publicity from those who didn’t send me information. If you have an event, it’s up to you to get the word out.

Ruth Tuft
Tennessee

Colonic Ulcers

I was pleased to see the February 2009 article on colonic ulcers. I am a subscriber to many horse magazines, and this is the first complete article I’ve seen. It only further solidifies my support of your magazine.

I purchased a Thoroughbred gelding, Mack, from the track four years ago. He began to show symptoms within the first six weeks of purchase. He was extremely gas distended, lethargic and had recurrent bouts of colic.

I saw five different vets and spent over $8,000 within two years and nothing was resolved. I had his stomach scoped (clean), an ultrasound to look for enteroliths (clean), blood work done (nothing exceptional), put him on daily dewormer, put him on an alfalfa hay diet, put him on a bermuda hay diet and, finally, I put him on turn-out for a month. Nothing gave us any improvement.

I eventually found a presentation on colonic ulcers, which fit Mack’s symptoms and then talked with Dr. Jennifer Miller, who agreed with my assessment and told me to put him on a straight pelleted diet for at least eight months. She said that he may recover completely or may always have issues with colonic ulcers; only time would tell.

After only three days on a pelleted diet, my previous lethargic horse was galloping around the arena full of life. After one year without hay, it was reintroduced back into his diet and he has not had any returning symptoms.

My experience shows not only how important it is for vets to stay up-to-date but also that owners must be diligent and take the research upon his/herself if necessary. I am glad that information about colonic ulcers is being shared, so that fewer horse owners will have to go through the frustration and heartache that I did.

Amzie Cox
Arizona

Liniments On The Money

The information that you provide has been valuable to me on so many occasions, including, most recently, the article on liniments and how to properly use them (January 2009).

When my 15-year-old Standardbred came up lame on New Year’s Day, I knew liniment and wrapping were the way to go, I just was concerned about soring him. Your article provided me with the info I needed about the best product for my needs.

I keep Sore No-More and Absorbine on hand at all times, and used Sore No-More under the wraps. Now that the swelling is gone, I am using Absorbine without wraps. He is now out romping in the pasture like a two-year-old.

I was also pleased to see your positive reviews of pelleted bedding (November 2008). I’ve been using the product for over two years. I pick out the wet areas and cover them with dry pellets/dry bedding. This doesn’t significantly increase my usage of pellets, but it does reduce ammonia odors. I also find that adding dry pellets periodically to the stalls eliminates the need to strip stalls, add pellets and wet them down, which helps in the winter.

Cindae Wilson
Pennsylvania

MSM Study Correction

Although I do not have access to the published study referenced in the February article on MSM, there appears to be a gross inaccuracy for the MSM and vitamin C dosages.

If horses in the study were MSM-supplemented at 8 mg/kg of bodyweight or same-dose MSM and vitamin C at 5 mg/kg bodyweight, then a 500 kg horse (1,100 lbs.) would have received 4,000 mg MSM (8 mg x 500 kg) and 2,500 mg vitamin C (5 mg x 500 kg) or 4 g MSM and 2.5 g vitamin C.

Keith A. Bryan, Ph.D.
Kauffman’s Animal Health, Inc. Pennsylvania

Veterinary Editor’s Reply: You are correct that there is a math error here, and the doses are actually within more commonly used ranges.

However, we still believe the level of oxidative stress documented in these horses is higher than that found in other studies. We would want to know if there were deficiencies in the diet before assuming performance horses ”need” these supplements.