Keep Horses Safe from Toxic Plants


Keeping your pet—large or small—safe from harmful food or plants is an important part in every owner’s routine. That’s why Leslie Easterwood, MA, DVM, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, recommended all horse owners keep their fields clear of plants that can be toxic to horses.

Some of the most toxic plants that grow in Texas and can be dangerous for horses include oleander, hemlock, bracken fern, johnsongrass, and locoweed. Although having no poisonous plants in the pasture is ideal for horse owners, Easterwood said horses typically do not eat toxic plants because they are not as appealing as forage.

“Toxic plants are generally not eaten by horses if there is other forage available,” she said. “There are some toxic plants that can seem particularly appealing to horses, but generally they will avoid toxic plants.”

This might be good news for horse owners, but it does not necessarily mean unkempt pastures are safe. “Generally, it is never good to allow toxic plants to be where horses have access to them,” Easterwood said. “There are always a few plants out there that could cause a problem if eaten by a horse.” read more…


It’s National Cat Day

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It just happens. Somehow, through no fault of your own and despite a mountain of work, you tap into Instagram and find yourself lost in a sea of never-ending cat photos. For this National Cat Day, we spoke to the “moms” and “dads” of some of our favorite cats to learn what’s behind that addictive adorableness. read more…


We are spending more on pampering our pets

imagesThe American Pet Products Association, a trade organization that, among other things, tracks spending on pet products, estimates that Americans will spend $62.75 billion on their pets in 2016.

In 2015, Americans spent $60.28 billion, according to the association. That’s up sharply from the $17 billion that households spent on pets in 1994, the earliest year for which figures were available. The dollar amounts include food, supplies, medicine, vet care, animals, grooming, and boarding.

Boarding has become increasingly popular as families work more and are home less.

“We can’t keep up because we work such long hours,” said Brenda Langley, owner of Lucky Puppy, a doggy daycare in Maybee, Mich. “We’re such a busy society.”

On any given day at Lucky Puppy, Mrs. Langley and her employees have about 50 dogs in their care. The dogs spend their days outside running, digging, jumping, and doing other dog things on the facility’s 13 acres. There’s a bone-shaped pool and pond for swimming, a supervised playground, and nature trails to explore. For the dogs who board at the daycare, they get to camp out in the Langley’s basement, in a custom-built Western-style town.

The daycare, which has been open for 10 years, will soon be featured on a show on Animal Planet, Mrs. Langley said. She suspected the daycare was found and courted for the show after videos of their dogs swimming in the bone-shaped pool went viral.

Daycare for pups is $24 per day or $60 for three days, Mrs. Langley said.

“They get to be like family,” she said.

“We get to know them and all of their unique personalities. It’s really fun.” read more…read more…

Goat milk to raise platelet count?

Several doctors recommend goat milk to dengue patients to increase blood platelets. What’s in it that enhance their count? This is the subject of study of scientists at National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) here.

They are working on a project “Profiling of milk proteome in different species of farm animals and comparative evaluation of host defence proteins”, said Dr AK Srivastava, Director, NDRI. “It is yet to be determined which factors of goat milk are responsible for enhancing platelets. Soon, we will have evidence to prove goat milk is beneficial to dengue patients,” he told The Tribune.

A three-month experiment on rats showed goat milk significantly decreased triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), known as “bad” cholesterol, and increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), known as “good” cholesterol, Srivastava said.

The research brought out that goat milk decreased cholesterol in liver and increased cholesterol excretion in faeces. read more…


Weaning management

If the spring-born calves aren’t weaned yet, then the time isn’t far away now that fall is here. This month we’ll look at recent research from Philipe Moriel and others at North Carolina State University on the role of maternal nutrition in calf performance and health.

Veterinarians and ranchers know healthy weaned calves begin with a well-vaccinated cowherd long before calving, because high-quality colostrum minimizes disease exposure for nursing calves. All true, yes, but even the best established herd immunity can fall short if nutrition falls short in the days before calving.

Work from the 1970s told us calves born to nutrient-restricted cows were more likely to be treated for bovine respiratory disease with greater death loss than calves from cows with adequate nutrition. More recent Nebraska field trials suggest protein supplementation to pregnant cows during the last trimester of gestation improves carcass quality grade and weights in steer progeny while decreasing puberty age and improving pregnancy rates in heifer calves compared to those from unsupplemented dams. These studies demonstrated the potential impact of extended nutrient restriction in late gestation. read more…

What do dogs experience when they dream?

Mesmerized by dreams at an early age, Dr. Barrett pursued a career where she could study these nightly phenomenons in humans, and she has learned quite a bit about animals along the way.

How are animal dreams different from human dreams? 

Anything about what animals dream, or even if they dream, is speculative. The only two animals even suggested to have ever told their dreams to a human are the signing gorillas Koko and Michael. Researcher Penny Patterson reports that Koko occasionally signs about fantastic events, people and places she has not seen recently only upon awakening. Michael, who is known to have been captured when poachers killed his entire family, sometimes wakes up and signs “Bad people kill gorillas.” 

What we do know for sure is that most mammals have a similar sleep cycle to humans, going into a deep sleep stage, in which the brain is much less active, and then into periods of activity called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, in which dreams occur for humans. That certainly makes it the best guess that other mammals are dreaming, too. read more…

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How to keep your older horse active and healthy


    • If you are training your senior horse for something specific, build up your workouts slowly and methodically.
    • Be aware that high intensity exercise will fatigue an older horse more quickly; therefore, avoid prolonged periods of such exercise to prevent excessive stress.
    • Establish a baseline heart rate for your senior horse and frequently take his heart rate after a workout to see how long it takes for him to cool down. Adjust workouts accordingly if it is suddenly taking longer than normal for his heart rate to return to his pre-determined resting heart rate.
    • Strenuous riding should be avoided with older horses when it is excessively hot and/or humid outside. All horses should have immediate access to clean water after a work out.
    • Closely monitor your senior horse for signs of dehydration when weather conditions are hot/humid. Signs of a dehydrated horse include skin tenting, dry gums, and dry manure.
    • If your horse is arthritic, remember to take extra time during warm ups, especially in colder weather or if you horse has been stalled for long periods.
    • If possible, maintain your senior horse on pasture as much as possible instead of in a stall. The walking done during grazing is excellent low impact exercise that helps prevent stiffness.
    • As with warming up, take extra time to make sure your senior horse is cooled down properly.

read more…