Laminitis is a disease in horses which can lead to a crippling lameness. To best understand it, we must first have knowledge of what is normal, and then how it changes to abnormal. The lamina suspends the coffin bone within the hoof capsule. The lamina is the connecting structure between the hoof [which contacts the ground] and the coffin bone [where the weight of the horse comes down]. By definition laminitis is inflammation of the lamina.
Article by Lucas Lentsch, Secretary of Agriculture, SDDA. Life and death are intertwined with animal agriculture. It’s a harsh reality, but as the old saying goes, “those who do not lose any livestock are the ones who do not have any livestock.” Our farmers and ranchers are prepared for that reality, but nothing could prepare us – or our livestock – for the devastating early season blizzard of Oct. 4 – 7, now called “Winter Storm Atlas.”
The high death loss from the early October blizzard in South Dakota has producers and the public wondering “How could this happen?” We tend to think about winter storms, extreme cold and other stressful conditions that cattle, horses and sheep on western range often successfully cope with and ask “Why was this storm so much worse?”
South Dakota weather poses challenges to animal owners in every season of the year. Following the substantial weekend snowfall on the western half of the state, animal owners are rising to the challenge to provide proper care and relief to the weather-stressed animals. Those of us not directly affected by the snow empathize with those affected by the snow and the hard truth of the losses sustained.
As horse owners it is our responsibility to provide optimal standards of care for them. An effective health management plan will involve proper nutrition, parasite management, and routine hoof and dental care. Vaccinations are also a valuable tool for protecting our horses from diseases. Vaccinating a horse prepares its immune system to recognize and diminish the effects of a specific disease.
Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a neurologic disease in horses caused by the protozoan Sarcocystis neurona. Clinical signs include abnormal gaits, incoordination, loss of sensation to face, muscle weakness and wasting. The neurological exam scale ranges from 0 to 5, where 0 represents a clinically normal horse and 5 represents a horse unable to move. S. neurona has a complex life cycle that requires two hosts.
Horses are susceptible to many bacterial infections. Streptococci are bacteria that can infect horses and cause various respiratory and reproductive tract diseases.
The horse has uniquely designed teeth that pulverize grass into small particle sizes which allow the bacteria in the hind gut to digest the grass efficiently. The horse then gets the nutrients he needs to survive, grow, and do all the athletic things that a horse does, from the bacteria and byproducts of this fermentation process.
Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO) is a chronic and incurable disease process of the lower respiratory tract that results from exposure to inhaled allergens. Although it is not identical, RAO shares a number of similarities to human asthma.
Stomach or gastric ulcers can cause your horse to have a poor appetite, have a poor hair coat, be listless, exhibit signs of colic, and have poor performance and/or weight-loss. Ulcers can be very common under certain conditions, especially when horses are confined and fed high grain rations and limited hay. Ulcers also cause behavioral and performance issues. So what is the deal with equine stomach ulcers?
Lameness can be attributed to many factors yet the physical response to favor a limb is likely related to the animal’s pain threshold. The presence of pain is a critical well-being concern, and can have many secondary impacts on the animal’s overall health, production, and functional lifetime. Some examples of secondary impacts known in livestock include: a decline in feed intake or grazing ability, loss of body condition, reduced reproduction rates, or chronic lameness.
The word ‘euthanasia’ musters different emotions and experiences for people. The term and the associated process means ‘good death’. It is the intentional causing of a painless and quick death. At first thought, the death of a horse is terrible. However, there may be reasons that euthanasia can be the right thing for a horse.
While mucking out stalls can be therapeutic, manure is also a valuable tool to observe the status of a horse’s gut and overall health. The average 1,000 pound horse produces around nine tons of manure every year. With so much manure being produced, there are ample opportunities to evaluate a horse’s manure in order to have an idea of the health status of the animal.
Rabies is a virus that can infect animals and people alike. The virus is fatal, yet preventable by vaccination. Horses become infected with rabies when an infected animal bites or scratches them. In South Dakota, skunks are the most common carrier of rabies and the most likely animal to infect a horse with the rabies virus.
Sodium chloride (NaCl), often provided to horses in the form of white salt, is an important source of electrolytes. These minerals are a critical part of the regulation of body fluids, nerve transmission, acid-base balance, muscle contractions, and even the health of cell membranes.
Beet pulp is the fibrous material left over once the sugar has been extracted from sugar beets. There are small amounts of B vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and D within beet pulp. However, beet pulp is relatively high in calcium and low in phosphorus. The main benefit of beet pulp has been found to be its digestible ease and added fiber to the horse’s diet.
There are many types of tack/equipment that are used on horses. The type of tack used depends on what kind of discipline the horse is used for. When searching for tack, three considerations should come to mind: safety, convenience, and comfort.
As we start the summer activities of rodeo, trail riding and horse shows we should take a few minutes to make sure we are prepared to adequately transport our horse to and from these events.
More Wormwood Sage has been showing up around the countryside this spring. Noxious weed reports show that it is on the increase. The silver color makes it stand out easy to spot. Wormwood Sage is a local noxious weed in most eastern South Dakota counties. Infestations are limited to pasture and grass areas. However, no-till farming has contributed to it spreading into crop ground.
A critical factor in the success of a breeding operation is determining the correct time to breed a mare. Mares have reproductive cycles that average 21 days in length. The adjective estrous is used to describe these cycles. The length of the estrous cycle in a mare is 21 days. As the mare develops a large dominant follicle she will exhibit signs of “heat”, or “estrus” which is when she is receptive to being bred by a stallion.
College is a time for learning, meeting great people, and getting involved. Tishawnna Carpenter, SDSU Senior and Honors Student, is making the most of her experience. A native of Pipestone, MN, Tishawnna grew up around animals and plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
Congratulations to Raven and Shannon from Clay County for winning Buckle Challenge 1! Raven and Shannon credit 4-H Advisor, Andy Jensen for access to resources used in this challenge.
Nicole is from Lakeville, MN and is an Athletic Training & Sociology Major and she expects to graduate in 2016. One of the driving forces of Nicole coming to SDSU was the Equestrian Team as well as the location of Brookings from home. While at SDSU Nicole competes in Hunt Seat, Flat, and Fences.
Hannah Stone is a senior Human Development major with minors in Sociology and Equine Science who hails from Allen, TX. Hannah has been part of the SDSU Equestrian Team for three years and is currently beginning her fourth year on the team. She chose to attend SDSU because of the opportunity to be on the Equestrian Team.
Jana Basler is a senior Psychology major from Wentworth, South Dakota. She chose to go to SDSU because of the great opportunities available with the Equestrian Team. While at SDSU, Jana is active in Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society as well as the Equestrian Team.
Helen Lauth is a Park Management Major from Eyota, Minnesota. Helen is in her fourth year of competition on the South Dakota State University Equestrian Team. She has a minor in Business Management and Equine Management and is involved in a variety of other organizations. She competes in reining and is proud of showing as a youth competitor in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) and earning not only two saddles, but 800 youth points and three Top-Ten world titles on a horse that her family raised and bred.
English major, Jenna Boscardin, comes from North Kingstown, Rhode Island. She is working towards minors in Spanish and Journalism, and currently serves as Team Co-Captain on the South Dakota State University Equestrian Team. When she came to visit the campus, she fell in love with the atmosphere and friendliness of the team and school and decided to stay. Jenna currently competes in the “fences” competition, but used to compete in “flat” her freshman year on the team.
The 2011-2012 SDSU Rodeo Club Vice President, Meg McPadden, is an Agronomy major from Garretson, SD. She decided to attend South Dakota State University because she felt it is a prestigious school with a good reputation.
In the December of 2011 Rebecca Whitlock began her pursuit for a master’s degree in animal science. Rebecca chose to stay on for her master’s degree for the opportunity to work in equine research in a setting where she could gain experience with advanced laboratory techniques and hands-on work with the animals.
This month’s Student Spotlight is on Victoria Pecak. Victoria is from Traverse City, Missouri. Here at South Dakota State University Victoria is a Pre-Pharmacy major and expects to graduate in May 2012 as an undergraduate.
Its early march in South Dakota and winter hasn’t loosened its grip as this article is being written. We are used to working around the weather, but as we flip the calendar to March, we are forced to start planning for spring activities, regardless of spring’s travel plans. Along with calving and planting for many; at least for some spring planning also includes the use of fire.
During the extremely bitter temperatures that most of the upper Midwest has been experiencing recently, it is critically important that your horses are getting enough water of the proper temperature.
It may seem obvious to provide clean and abundant water to your livestock, especially on hot days. However, frequent attention to water sources is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. For horses, lack of water intake can cause a myriad of issues, the most common threat being impaction colic. When the weather is cold or extremely windy, livestock may not want to leave a shelter to go for a drink.
It is very critical for livestock owners to make certain that every last bit of feed that was purchased or raised is available to the animals. Fortunately for South Dakota landowners, the Game, Fish and Parks’ (GFP) Wildlife Damage Management Program (WDMP) is available to assist in protecting hay resources. Since 2005, GFP has worked with more than 800 individual producers.
A question that often arises for acreage owners is “Does this property qualify for ag status?” Designation as “ag status” or not may mean a significant difference in property taxes paid. All property is taxed on the assessed value, but agricultural and non-agricultural lands are assessed differently.
In the context of the catastrophic loss of livestock experienced during last weekend’s blizzard, questions arise about the public health risks due to the carcasses of animals that perished in the storm. Whenever possible, proper disposal methods of burying, burning or rendering should be employed.
As South Dakota livestock owners begin to dig out from one of the worst recorded blizzards to hit western South Dakota, reports of animal losses are just coming in. Producers and family members are busy trying to recover from the results of this terrible blizzard. At the present time, we don’t know what, if any governmental program will be available to assist ranchers.
Grassfed and grass- finished beef are enjoying an increasing share of the consumer beef market. While direct marketing to customers is the primary outlet for smaller grassfed producers, larger operations are finding success in marketing their product through more traditional chain grocery and restaurant outlets.
Fall is an excellent time to go after those perennial and biennial weed problems in pastures and grasslands. Most perennial weeds, such as Canada thistle and leafy spurge, are currently pulling down carbohydrates into their root systems for winter storage.
As our summer growing season progresses, we are receiving many calls regarding hay and forage harvest and management. On the heels of drought, many are surprised by the excellent growth year for grasses, especially in the east. Consequently, landowners are being approached by hay contractors interested in harvesting hay in various grasslands or pastures.
The South Dakota Horse Council, spokesman for the SD horse industry, welcomes nominations for their 2014 SD Horseperson of the Year Award. Submissions should be postmarked by Jan 31st.
Over time, the image of raising livestock has changed as new production technologies and management systems have been introduced. However, the foundation of animal husbandry remains the same. Caretakers seek to provide for the needs of the animals and in return, animals assist with work, provide pleasure, and can offer companionship.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 2013 South Dakota State Horse Show held in Huron, South Dakota on July 23-25! Results from the show will be posted daily as they are received. Check back for periodic updates.
The American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Show will be held August 2-10 at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There will be many events for the talented youth and their Quarter Horses to compete in such as Halter, Hunter Hack, Trail, Western Pleasure, and many more.
Participating in the South Dakota State 4-H Horse Judging competition enables youth to gain an understanding of not only horse conformation, but also the requirements of performance classes. This year the state competition will include two performance classes and four halter classes for senior contestants.
The Calgary Stampede will be July 5-14th in Calgary, AB Canada. The Calgary Stampede strives for the “preservation of the western heritage and the deep values it offers”. During this celebration there are many events for people to enjoy.
Are you passionate about horses and love to talk to people about them? Participate in the State 4-H Horse Public Presentation Contest at this year's South Dakota State 4-H Horse Show! Held at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds in Huron, South Dakota, the contest runs from Tuesday, July 23rd through Wednesday, July 24th.
Blog by Dr. Jay Merriam, DVM. Our other efforts at equine care seem to be bearing fruit. In the entire week we saw only 2 saddle sores and they required only discussion, not treatment and only 2 horses with a body score of less than 2/5 that couldn’t be allowed to work til better.
Blog by Dr. Jay Merriam, DVM. Rainy start, heavy air made my morning run more like a swim without the flippers. But it’s a necessary start to every day, especially in the heat when brain activity seems to be slogging along too slowly.
The 66th National Appaloosa Horse Show and World Championship Appaloosa Youth Show will be held June 24-July 6, 2013 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Competitors from across the nation and youth from across the world will travel to Fort Worth, Texas to compete for coveted titles within their respectable events.