A graceful horse finds her health


If you want to understand how animals flow in and out of the place where I live, you have to pay close attention.

In the past few months, our entourage has expanded, which puts us up to nine four-footed beings under the care of four humans, not always a great ratio.

The newest addition is a matronly Tennessee walking horse named Anna Grace.

She’s tall and proud and moves with that elegant gait that sets apart her breed. She is almost entirely black, with some small white spots on her back that I wouldn’t swear aren’t age-generated rather than genetics.

She is, after all, about 26 years old — or pretty darned old in human years.

When she arrived at Little Bit O’ Farm this spring, Anna Grace didn’t seem so tall and proud.

She was emaciated, her ribs showing in that manner that indicates sad neglect, and she seemed to drag along with a sadness that made you wonder if her next step might be into a grave.

Anna Grace was placed with us by those kind miracle workers at Red Dog Farm in Summerfield. They had rescued her from the neglectful owners, and she needed to be nursed to health.

Where better than at a home where adopted animals roam?

So she arrived with a regimen. We put her in a 2-acre paddock that gave her lots of grass and room to roam, and she was put on a diet that contained enough vitamins and calories to propel a race horse or an Olympic weight lifter.

Twice a day, in addition to all she grass she wanted to eat, Anna Grace was served a concoction of high-protein grain geared for senior horses mixed with something called beet pulp, about 5 pounds in all, and then that was saturated with fresh water before being served to her.

And she quickly became used to that diet.

Each morning and evening she made it a habit when she saw humans around to jog up the fence along the driveway to just across from the garage. She would neigh loudly and sometimes even sprint back and forth like a dog wanting his bowl refilled.

When she saw the mixing bucket come out and her personal caterer headed for the hose and feed bucket, she would sprint back in that direction, then spin and sprint back and forth a couple of times, again bucking and sometimes expelling some gas. Did I say she acted like a dog?

Now Anna Grace is a sweet and lovable horse who is used to being around humans, but don’t you go trying to pet her head while she is starting to eat. She wants to concentrate on her primary role in life, and if you touch her, she yanks up her head as if to rid it of marauding horse flies. Read more…

Shop your Horse Health Supplies here.


Quick and Easy Health Checks for Your Pets

Swamp Yankee Style

With three cats, two horses, one pup and six chickens, making sure everyone is healthy on the farm is always a concern. Doing regular health checks can help you catch symptoms early and avoid unnecessary illnesses and vet bills. Here are some simple things you can do to keep an eye on your pet’s health and stay in tune to what is normal for them. By becoming familiar with you pets normal health, it will be easier to identify when something isn’t right and they need some medical attention.

How to give your cats and dogs a quick health check:

  1. When you are petting your pets, take a few minutes to check out their skin and fur. Does their coat feel greasy? Do they have dry dandruff? Any sign of fleas or flea dirt? Is the skin healthy gray color or does it look pink and inflammed?
  2. Smell your fingers…

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Drought conditions & #health issues in #livestock


Extremely dry conditions can lead to more respiratory problems in livestock, according to the state veterinarian.

“Respiratory illnesses are a concern especially if you’re in an area that’s not getting rainfall,” Dustin Oedekoven said in a phone interview this week.

Russ Daly, South Dakota State University Extension veterinarian, said dusty conditions can compromise a calf’s immune system and lead to problems like “dust pneumonia.”

“The main problems you worry about with drought conditions is dust and dust doesn’t cause pneumonia by itself, but it really stirs up all the mechanisms all the calves and other animals need to keep out of the respiratory tract,” Daly said by phone.

“I’ve heard some stories of some dust issues in calves that people are perceiving.”

Water conditions when it’s dry can also cause health problems in livestock and lead to poor performance in cattle, he said.

“Poor water quality can contribute to their general unthriftiness, especially with cows and their ability to nurse their calf,” Daly said.

“Lack of water and lack of feed — those would be the two things that would make cows dry up and stop producing much milk. Then the calves pretty much have to wean themselves. Most area producers are doing the best they can to take care of what cattle they have left.”

Daly said symptoms of respiratory issues in livestock might not be overt at first and can include fever, slowness in calves and droopy ears.

“But it will progress to the hard breathing and coughing,” he said. “The first thing people will see is the calves won’t appear to be as thrifty and active.”

No problems with neglect

Oedekoven said he hasn’t heard of an uptick in complaint or neglect cases due to the drought.

While there is a shortage of grass and water in some areas, ranchers are coping by selling cattle when necessary, as opposed to not taking care of them, Oedekoven said.

“I think most ranchers are managing appropriately and if they don’t have the grass or feed available they are making those marketing decisions,” he said. read more…

Shop all your Livestock Supplies here…

Do Probiotics Affect Digestibility and Immunity in Infants?


A study in China is attempting to answer this question by collected data from 200 infants aged 4-6 months.

There is mounting evidence that probiotics confer a number of health benefits. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria and yeasts found in some yogurts and cheese, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented soy products. The microorganisms used most commonly in dietary supplements include Lactobacillus species, Bifidobacteria, Saccharomyces boulardii and Bacillus coagulans. These microbes are either naturally found in the human gut or are very similar those found in the gut. Studies have shown that probiotics improve health outcomes in cases of gastrointestinal and recurrent urogenital infections, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease conditions (pouchitis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease), and allergies.

Probiotics have shown promising results in preventing diarrhea and allergies in children. In a previous study, a probiotic supplement containing Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus helveticus was shown to reduce respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections in school-age children aged 3-7 years during the winter months. These children had suffered three or more episodes of such infections in the previous winter but were otherwise healthy. However, the effects of probiotics on healthy infants have not been examined so far.

A new double-blind study being conducted at the Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital in China attempts to bridge this gap. This study attempts to examine the effects of probiotic supplementation in 100 randomly chosen healthy infants aged 4-6 months. Recruitment of participants, which started in March 2015, is currently in progress. To meet the study criteria, the infants need to be healthy, single birth, of normal gestational age (> 37 weeks) and birth weight (> 2500 grams), and not have suffered from gastrointestinal disease or have a record of antibiotic use in the previous month.

As part of the study, the infant is orally administered a probiotic supplement containing Bifidobacterium infantis R0033, Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071, and Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 dissolved in their first feed of the day for a period of 4 weeks. On the other hand, the control group, also comprised of 100 randomly chosen infants, receives a similar of 97% potato starch and 3% magnesium stearate without probiotic supplementation for 4 weeks.

The study intends to examine the populations of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the stools of the two groups of infants at the start and end of the 4-week period. read more…

Shop your Baby Probiotic Products here…

For all we give to our #pets, we get much in return


Owning a pet can make you healthier


As loving pet owners, we are rightly concerned about the health and well-being of our four-legged friends. In fact, we spend most of our time here helping as best we can to decipher some of the ailments pets may experience and how to make their environments better so that they may live a longer and, most importantly, a better life.

Zoetis, a major producer of pet medicines has teamed up with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute to remind us that for all we give to our pets, we get much in return. Here are just some of the reasons pet ownership is a two-way street to better health:

• Heart attack survival. Have a cat? You are 60 percent less likely to die from a heart attack than a non-cat owner. Dog owners experience lower blood pressure and walk more with increased physical activity; that’s a win-win.

• As we age, depression and loneliness have shown to be less prevalent among those who have had a close relationship over the years with pets than among those who never owned a pet.

• Children also have science to back up their request for a new puppy or kitten. Kids exposed to pets have fewer allergies and eczema, and those with autism have demonstrated better social interaction and feel less isolated.

• Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) affects too many service men and women as well as many others that have gone through stressful events in their lives. Pets have shown to lower anxiety and depression rates. Many sufferers find dealing with a pet easier than with people. Depression in general is lessened among many groups.
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• Owning a pet and increasing your activity helps not only the heart but the waistline as well. Obesity rates are lower among dog owners, and those that walk their dog are 69 percent more likely to keep up a long-term program to stay active. Read more…

Shop all your Zoetis Products here…

Seniors who own a #dog get more physical activity


Getting up off the couch can be a challenge regardless of your age, but new research shows that having a furry, four-legged reason to go for a walk can help seniors reach physical activity targets.

Seniors who own a dog spend an average of 22 more minutes per day staying active, a new study has found, and take an additional 2,760 steps per day.

Researchers tracked activity between two groups, comparing 43 people with dogs and 43 people without dogs. The subjects wore activity trackers during three, one-week periods over the span of a year.

All subjects were over the age of 65 and lived in the U.K., with gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status taken into consideration when comparing data.

“For good health WHO recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week,” said lead researcher Dr Philippa Dall, in a release. “Over the course of a week this additional 20 minutes walking each day may in itself be sufficient to meet these guidelines.

“Our findings represent a meaningful improvement in physical activity achieved through dog walking.”

“Our findings represent a meaningful improvement in physical activity achieved through dog walking.”

Canadian health guidelines also recommend that adults are active for at least 150 minutes a week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Reaching the activity goal helps reduce a whole host of issues including the risk of heart disease and stroke, certain types of cancer and weight control problems. read more…

Shop all your Dog supplies here…


Not a joke: Goats and humans do yoga together


We’re not sure how long this far-fetched fitness trend will last, but humans and goats got together Saturday morning for a yoga class.

No kidding.

Dave Mote with Grapevine Parks and Recreation Department heard about goat yoga on the radio and decided it was a perfect fit for Grapevine, where the first (sold out) classes were h

eld Saturday, despite the rainy weather.

While Nash Farms provided the location, Red Barn Feed Store in Kennedale ponied up the goats.

“We weren’t sure how many people would show up because of the weather but they were here at 6:30 ready to go,” Mote said.

Classes were held at 7 and 8 a.m., and the goats mostly wandered about and nibbled on corn while their human counterparts performed poses such as downward facing dog. The goats did not appear to be offended.

Goat yoga is just what is sounds like — a yoga class with goats. Participants go through yoga poses while baby goats snuggle with them.

Andrew Buckley Special to the Star-Telegram

At times a baby white goat stood happily on the backs of different participants, while other goats, well, did not.

“Everybody seemed comfortable with them and had a blast,” Mote said.

read more…