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Helpful  tips for  animal comfort and well-being

Year 2014                   Click Here for Horses Prayer

Zinc !  Good idea to remember this needs to be applied over our products, particularly during hot weather on unprotected white markings or bald areas - it isn't optional

  • Those bighting flies are more than just a nuisance

March flies, buffalo flies and other nasties that draw blood can actually be the cause of leg infections.  Whilst it may seem that the only problem is major discomfort for your horse/s the fact is that when legs are bleeding from bites, they are also vulnerable to infection.  Sometimes your horse/s may want to wade into a dam for relief & to muddy their legs in an effort to protect themselves (that is if they are lucky enough to have that option). Just like flies that swarm around their eyes can spread infection, so can biting flies and using an oil-based spray which can ward them off will keep their legs healthy.  Remember to use a surface spray a couple of times a week in the stables too - it will deter not only flies but those pesky mozzies!

  • Keeping  'em  dry  after  events

It can be quite distressing during cooler weather when having to compete for the hosing facilities after your day's events - everyone wants to hose off their "salty" horse.  Unfortunately, the competition for water is usually  in the afternoon and your horse may have cooled down. So, have you thought about training your horse to adapt to a hair dryer so you can avoid a nasty chill or worse.  Expecting your horse to just "magically" adapt to feeling comfortable with one is a bit of a stretch - like everything else, it needs to be a training process just so it's stress free going "live" . The benefits are that you can buy battery operated hair dryers & ones that work from a car cigarette lighter connection and a battery power pack has a number of cigarette lighter fittings. Okay, so you may need to extend the power lead on the hair dryer if using a power pack but that isn't rocket science either. So now that you're in the know, all you have to do is use your hair dryer instead of a hose and then put a nice warm blanket & rug on your happy steed - no sniffles, no coug!

  • Be  very  aware  of  "exposure"     
Whilst we are very much aware of the prevailing skin issues for outdoor animals during changeable stormy & windy weather conditions, a lot of folks are not prepared for life-threatening "exposure" (hypothermia).  Not protecting animals with effective shelter from these tempests may result in animals collapsing & ultimately dying.  Recovery is not just a matter of putting a warm rug on them, leaving them and  thinking, after a while the animal will magically recover.  The internal "core" temperature has dropped to such a degree that the organs begin to close down. It is an emergency situation and the temperature may need to be raised by warm enemas & intravenous drips which may come too late.  Shivering and cold to the touch are some of the symptoms.  Anaesthesia may also cause hypothermia. Animals without sufficient food and body weight are the ones which will succumb more easily as there is insufficient "fuel" to convert into energy which provides heating for the body. Older animals are also at higher risk for this problem.  Want to know more - go here http://tinyurl.com/kguuh7o 
  • Very Wet Winter Woes - tips for toes

Our horses & other outside animals may have some major problems with  our excessively rainy winter. Mud everywhere and keeping stables clean and healthy may be causing some hoof & leg problems. Seedy toe, thrush, spongy soul, greasy heel and mud fever may be causing a few headaches.  To help stop down the bacterial problems associated with these fungal issues try the following.

For stables - when cleaning out manure & urine throw liberal amounts of agricultural lime (NOT building lime) onto the soiled areas. If replacing the straw or sawdust, dust over with the ag lime. This will help absorb some moisture & also sanitise the environment. It will also dust the hooves and help stop down some of the above leg problems.

For muddy yards - after clearing out the manure, broadcast a good quantity of the ag lime onto the mud. Even though the ag lime will disappear into the mud, it will still have a positive effect on the hooves.

  • Autumn & Winter Worries

    Animals are really in trouble this year so maybe checking horses, other large animals and domestic pets thoroughly twice weekly for treatments will help keep on top of those bites, lumps and ticks.  If you're fungal / bacterial problems are already causing problems then unless treated vigorously they will become worse with heavy dews, rain and general humidity. If you don't have these problems now then a twice weekly application with EquITCH Salve or Spray/Wipe-On will keep areas healthy.

    It seems that the feed problems aren't the only concern this year.  It has been tough with all the rain and would suspect that for a lot of animals they didn't have the body condition that they needed going into autumn and winter.   Combined with weight loss and weather making it almost impossible for some owners to remove rugs we are unsuspecting of some of the problems that lurk thereunder.  Rugs can start off fitting perfectly and very comfortably but it doesn't take a huge amount of weight loss to start causing seam lines on neck area to end up resting on withers - very uncomfortable and big problems can occur.  Fistulaes on the wither can be very difficult to deal with.  If you're able to pad up seams that are likely to rub with real woolly sheepskin it can be an enormous help in prevention.  Making the rug fit more snugly by punching extra holes in chest fittings & straps which raise the seam line more onto the neck will also help although this needs to not cause the animal restriction near the windpipe.  Sores and galls can cause major riding problems - be good, take care of them.

    Uncertain Spring & Summer Seasons

    It seems that we no sooner have the sun & wind around to mop up some of the soggy paddocks than we're having another downpour or six.  Of course, if it was only that issue which our outdoor animals had to cope with then it would be great but it isn't. 

    "Insect explosion" causes an enormous amount of discomfort for animals and people alike - animals need to be treated and protected from the damage insects cause and people are in a management struggle to keep coping with the routine.   How do you win ?

    In lots of instances on the coast, the intensity of biting insects is worse in the daytime.  Poor immunity to the bites can result in major "damage control" responses with intense self-mutilation as the results.  A dark, cool stable/kennel can be the answer for daytimes with treatments, rugging and release into paddocks at night time for horses.  This may reduce the intensity of insect bites helping your animals' comfort levels. 

    If your stable/kennel has an iron roof then a 90% shade cloth tied over the top can reduce the daytime heat.  A good through flow of air is important as it helps reduce the congregation of  mozzies who love still air.  Spraying the inside walls with lime sulphur diluted in water or  a cheap surface spray early in the mornings  is a great deterrent . 

    There is also a product known as BTI which is doing great things to reduce mosquitoes in Brisbane and you could go to this website to learn more:-

    http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/natural-mosquito-control-products or

    contact the Call Centre on 07-3403 8888.

    Keeping them cool and comfortable.

    Winter

    Can it be happening ??  Here on the mid north coast of N.S.W. spring seems to be emerging in a pretty peculiar way.  Despite the rain, wind and some cold nights a paralysis tick was happily treating itself to an early feed on my pony.  It really is a case of prevention being better than a cure when it comes down to the new foals.  Be careful to check them and cut the tick body off the youngster or it could spell trouble.  If you can do any treatments for prevention early in the day too then  they will have a chance to dry off in (hopefully) a nice warm sunny spot before nightfall.  Stay vigilant - it really pays off !

    Wind, rain and cold

    It's a pretty mixed up climatic time right now.  More rain with intermittent really cold nights and the windy season has already begun.  The amount of lost condition an animal sustains, living without protection or feed supplements, can be enormous.  For older, weaker  and sickly animals it can spell the end.  What a terrible way to die.  Those that don't succumb can sustain organ damage which creates major health problems.  The naturally grown winter woollies are not enough protection in such climatic chaos.  People sometimes also do not recognize that not all plants in the paddocks are food sources.  The flooded grasses with animal droppings contribute contamination to pasture which is already sour and unpalatable.  To the new, or uneducated owner, animals can be starving when feed looks abundant .  Mature grasses such as whisky,  and carpet with their abundant seed heads are wiry,  lacking in nutrition and are just plain tough and inedible to horses.  Blady grass is just plain useless in any form. Animals then try to find feed underneath these grasses which is not bountiful as winter is not the growing season.  The animals do it really tough and we need to see the reality of their plight.

    When animals have already been through an horrendously insect prone spring, summer & autumn swishing, stamping, rubbing and biting themselves 24/7 they've hardly had time for peace and sometimes not even being able to sustain their normal body weight then, let alone for the winter punishment ahead.  Some poor animals  work so very hard to gain some feed in the paddock that they begin digging for roots to eat to try to survive which ultimately causes not only worn down teeth but gastric problems which sometimes cannot be cured.  Exposure to the elements hardly allows for them to have any measure of comfort.   Ignorance, unfortunately, does not help anyone or solve problems.  Learning to recognize the hardships of animals, being prepared to effect changes that are meaningful are really the only answers that matter.  

    Let's do our best today to improve the animals' lives and it will keep us "soft hearted", unselfish and balanced.

    How To Remove Salve Build-up From Rugs

    Are you still needing to apply salve to your animal but also need to use your winter rugs ? Sometimes the salve is used as prevention to habitual rubbing and can start to cake on the woolly lining, particularly on the neck.  You may not have had time to clean the rug up from last year or perhaps your new to using the product and tend to apply it quite thickly.  Whatever the reason, to remove build up, just take an ice cube, or even something like frozen peas, wrap them in plastic and rub for a few minutes over the affected area on your rug.  This will solidify the salve and you can then bend and rub the material so that it cracks off - the bonus of course is that you don't  wet or need to wash the rug which is difficult in winter

    Looking After Your  Salve  Throughout The Colder Months

    EquITCH & Itch NO-More salves require an ambient temperature during colder months to
    help keep them soft and easy to handle.  Keeping them in polystyrene foam containers can
    help as can leaving in a warm spot during the day if you will be working with the product in the late afternoon.  It is always good to thoroughly stir / mix up  the salves until you can dip your fingers in and the products stick readily to the tips.  Sometimes decanting into a smaller container can help with the processes.

    LET THE HORSES DO THE TALKING

    Are you experiencing some behavioural / resistance problems riding your steed      You need to read this yesterday- all 178 pages of feedback http://www.bitlessbridle.com/Comments06toNow.pdf

    AND  this     http://tinyurl.com/95bwhy2
     

    Are Your  Animals  Still   Itchy ?

    Do you have animals which are still continuing to itch but not all the time?  There could be a couple of causes.  Animals may still be shedding their summer coats and sprouting their winter woolies. 
    The seasons have been erratic all over the country and continue to be so .  It becomes difficult to identify exactly what the cause of itchiness is. Grooming is a great way of relieving the discomfort and feeling what is happening with the skin.   Are there patches of hair falling out leaving completely bald spots.  Is your animal trying to go under the rug / coat to chew itself?  Is the condition worse when there is a hot spell or when the animal is generally feeling hot during or after exercise? What about scabbing?  Are there pin prick size scabs and a red rash on the stomach (small animals). And that flaky, dandruff type skin, is it moist or very dry  - is there something that you have done with the animal recently which could have caused it ?
    It pays to be vigilant  - the answers to the  above will present information to help you to identify what type of skin condition you are dealing with. 
    Answers to the above are also important to decide whether you should be using our Mite Itch NO-More (spray / wipe-on), Itch NO-More (salve) - both for small animals - or EquITCH salve & spray / wipe-on for large animals.  Thicker, longer coats may make application with salve more time consuming so perhaps the liquid would be a better solution.  Or maybe the skin condition and hair has recovered by using the salve but you'd like to maintain the comfort for your animal and need to switch  to  the liquid.
    Fortunately, our products are not shampoos or washes, so you can happily just go ahead and start treating without the risk of your animal catching a chill or pneumonia.  They're labour saving too, so you're not spending hours out in the dark, cold and wet when there are still feeds to prepare and things to manage.  Make life easier for happy wintering.

    What To Do for Greasy Heel & Rainscald whilst Waiting for Your Products

    So your horse is in trouble and lame - you've already ordered your EquITCH products but don't know what to do in the meantime.  Obtain a cheap 250gm jar of  cream (sorbolene, vit E cream etc - NOT Vaseline) and a couple of tubes of "White Zinc Cream" (navy and white tube from chemists). Preferably at night time, smear on cream liberally and leave to soak in.  In the morning before sun becomes hot, smear on a good cover of zinc cream and let the horse roam as it wants.  This will also help to repel rain. Repeat until you can start treatment with EquITCH products.  It is tempting to want to wash and pick off scabs because they cosmetically are repulsive but it can cause major problems, so good idea to resist.
    It is good practice when you receive your products  to not over-treat by applying EquITCH products more than once a day as the EquITCH Spray / Wipe-On is designed to cure the fungal environment which creates rotting of the flesh and the greasy scabbing.  Applying products more often than required can increase drying effects and lead to cracking which may lead to lameness.  It is vitally important to ensure that the scabs be kept as soft as possible to prevent this.

    Year 2009

    Tick  Explosion

    Here we are again and it's almost Summer and not that many weeks from Christmas.  Our weather conditions throughout are erratic to say the least.  Most of us are so  time poor that we probably aren't even thinking about doing a thorough check on our equines, although at this time of the year it really is necessary if you live anywhere east of the great dividing range.  Yes, ticks are raging all down the coastline from northern tip of Queensland to well below Sydney.  It is hell for our outdoor animals suffering all manner of complaints with itch caused by the midge, biting flies, mozzies and then ticks with the possibility of fevers.  It makes rainscald, greasy heel, mud fever and  fungal infections seem mild in comparison - of course, we know that the latter complaints can also render animals extremely lame and cause extreme pain and swelling . 

    Checking in ears, under jawlines, under "armpits", between thighs and down tailbones is essential to keep animals free from the "unwellness" of toxic shock from tick bites and, in small and young animals, even death.  You will be horror struck at the scabby sores and lumps the animals have in the worst kind of places.  If you have some of our queensland itch and fungal problem products then use them, sooner rather than later - your animals will thank you for it.  If it were us involved we'd be screaming like banshees with the unrelenting discomfort.  Is it any wonder that many poor animals just drop condition and go into depression.

    The dangerous weather pattern of lovely rain and then blistering sun shine is a great recipe for insect explosion - this, of course, includes all the other stinging and biting nasties, just to make life more challenging.  Our animals really can't look after themselves - we have them contained and, am sure if we didn't, their choice would be to live far, far away from the coastline because it's just pure hell during the warm seasons in the sub/tropics.  It's easy to be caught up in other things or be rushed into not wanting to listen to our conscience but we need to keep "soft hearted" and do the right thing.  If you were the animals and not the owners wouldn't you want someone to care about you ?  Try to love 'em right.

    Spring has sprung

    We are only just into Spring but, during Winter, the ticks - yes paralysis ones too - in our area (mid north coast NSW) exploded after the last rain fall about 4 weeks ago.  This year looks like it is going to be a hot and insect prone problem for all.  It isn't only the ticks coming out, the March flies are in there too already causing sores and the animals haven't even shed their old winter coats yet.  It is wise to be vigilant about what is happening because the 'critters' are getting under horse rugs, so we all really need to be doing thorough checks and treating to rid ticks and patch up the damaged skin.  It's still very cold at night which can take condition off animals if they are deprived of their warm rugs too soon.  Oil in the diet, if it isn't already incorporated as some as part of their rations can help to warm them up and help with dry skin problems too.  Time  to take them off the molasses though otherwise the biting critters will just think they are delicious and by the time the next rainfall comes they will be out in droves.  Good luck and keep your animals comfortable.

    Winter

    Start  Now  With  Supplements  To  Fortify  Immune  System   Against  Itchiness

    Although it may seem not to be the right time, such a long way to go before Spring, it is now  that the effort needs to be made to strengthen your animals' immune system.  This will reduce the "damage control" response your animal has to the biting insects which set off allergic reactions - itching, rubbing, biting and chewing through their flesh to gain some relief.  Raw (feed grade) Linseed Oil (administered at 175ml per day (for 15hh horse) or 1 tablespoon per day for a Labrador size dog) in the the main meal can work wonders providing sufficient time is allowed for it to work.  Usually anything from 6 weeks to 3 months is normal.  You need to keep your animals on it indefinitely.  The added bonus is that it's just great to improve the quality of skin and hair and helps reduce problems with eczema.   Just a warning though.  Not all itchiness is due to an allergical reaction.  Sometimes, and particularly with dogs, guinea pigs etc., the itchiness is caused by a mite infestations and you will need to cure this problem to solve your animals itchy  skin diseases. Sometimes just seasonal moulting can start off some itching - a good brush can do wonders too.

    Keeping Them Warm & Comfortable

    During this hard time of the year it can be difficult keeping condition on animals let alone trying to keep them looking like we knew them in summer.  No matter your animal / pet it is a good time to worm and arrange for some extra warmth, right now, particularly at night.   It is a good time to provide a good warm rug and in very wet conditions a shelter is handy too.  Depending on where you're living will dictate how cold it becomes during the day and whether the rug should be removed.  A lot of energy is expended trying to maintain bodily functions.  Combined with shortage of feed in paddocks and limits to budgets, the current high costs of feeds can make for an exceptionally tough time of the year for owners & animals alike.  The saying goes "a rug is as good as a feed" - not meaning that if you rug then you don't feed but rather that your animal is more likely to keep on its condition and cope with winter hardships.  Riding your horse early in the day and rubbing down so it has time to dry off properly before the icy nights will reduce chills and colds making for less problems.

    Older horses need more attention at this time of the year.  Their teeth may also need rasping to cope with harder feeding.  Sometimes making pellets into a mash by adding warm water and allowing to soak can help make eating and digestion easier reducing the chances of colic.  A good handful of salt added can also be beneficial as it will help them take up extra water  for digestion and hydration. The less energy expended the more condition will be kept on - its much like a bank account.  If you keep drawing out and not putting in then pretty soon the balance is very low - your animal has lost significant body weight and things can go very wrong, particularly if you're riding the animal.  Where competition for feed is strong, if possible move horses into separate holding pens at meal times or paddocks to reduce accidents  caused by fighting - it can significantly reduce your vet bills.  Your loving kindness will pay dividends.  Click to see Horses Prayer

    April

    The Autumn Moult (hair shedding)

    Most animals are well on their way to shedding their summer coats for winter woollies and for those already itchy characters can mean a continuation of their uncomfortable plight.   Dogs, cats and horses need special attention to relieve themselves. 

    Cats may have a tendency to develop fur balls and may need oil added to their feeds to help cope with this type of problem whilst dogs and horses need grooming a couple of times a week at least to help remove their excess hair.

    Worming before winter is also another way to ensure comfort and that the animals obtain maximum nutrition from their feed during a tough time of the year particularly  for those that graze whilst a nice warm rug at night will help to maintain body condition.

    March

    Reduce Itching & Self Mutilation

    To help with itchiness ensure that you check and treat under the jawline between branches of jaw bones, inside ears, through the forelock and poll,  between the upper thighs, down the tail bone and around navel / sheath / udder.  Rugging can only do so much.

    Sometimes you may be surprised at what you find - lumps, scabs and swellings which indicate insect attack and all contributing to your animal's discomfort and continual itching.

    February

    Greasy  Heel  Lameness

    Sometimes after treating greasy heel a few times with only the EquITCH Spray/Wipe-On your horse may become lame.  Drying out of the scabs can sometimes cause cracking of the skin under scabs especially where they are very thick & crusty.  The treatment needs to include an application of EquITCH Salve,  with preferably zinc as a final coat to prevent photo-sensitivity and to help soften scabs.  

    If the scabs are detaching naturally then a good long  soak in warm soapy water (natural soap) followed by gentle washing will soften the scabs and in most instances help remove most of them.  Don't try to force scabs off !!       Gently dry part with towel, air dry then apply EquITCH Salve followed by white zinc cream.  Using a clean paint brush is the gentlest applicator if used in a stroking manner.

    January

    Product Melt-down

    If you find that your salve (cream) is liquifying because of the heat, applying it with a sponge can help.  You don't need to throw the sponge away after each use.  Just pop it in a re-sealable plastic bag and keep for next time.  Sponges can also be kept in a container in an old beer fridge and provide a more refreshing application for those really hot days. You can even pre-soak sponges in salve and be prepared for a quick but cool start to your treatment routine.

    Eye Protection

    Have you noticed the grass seeds beginning to appear in your paddocks?  Be alert for runny eyes caused by seeds and those rotten little black flies that carry eye infections from horse to horse.  Using a mesh fly mask instead of fly veils not only protects from flies but also prevents grass seeds from causing problems and the time and labour issues  involved with curing them.  

    Continual Itchy Problems

    Is your horse/pony continuing to scratch it's mane & tail out no matter what you're doing to try and help relieve the problem -  then it may be a worm problem?  Yes!  You've already been worming on a regular basis.  However, this could still be a contributing factor.   This may help. 

    • Use a "Plus" type of  wormer as it eliminates tape worms and "cutaneous onchocerciasis" (a worm that dwells in the neck area) and ensure you use the amount for about 50kg more than your horse's actual weight (assuming you're worming a 15.2hh animal that would probably be a 10% increase).
    • 21 days later (on that day and no later) repeat the worming.
    • Ensure that you examine the droppings between 24 & 48 hours after worming to identify which worms were prevalent and to gauge the effectiveness of your worming.  You may be very surprised at what you find!

    Temporary Relief for Itching - 27 NOV & 04DEC08

    • If you're struggling trying to keep your animal comfortable and you haven't received your EquITCH or MITE/Itch NO-More products from us and the itching and self-mutilation is driving you nuts then a good long shampoo with a selenium sulphide (1% or 2% strength) based anti-dandruff product can help in the short-term.  (Be really careful around the head area and use a baby tearless shampoo for that part).  After lathering up the body well, leave the suds on for 5-10 minutes and then rinse off well, towel dry.  This is not a long-term solution or cure for your animal skin problem s but it may help you for a day or so until you receive your order.

    Week 5 & 6 - 18 NOV 08

    LET THE HORSES DO THE TALKING - Bitless Bridle Research

    • Dr. Cook’s demonstration with the above title at the annual conference of the Certified Horsemanship Association at the Kentucky Horse Park in October 2008 was well received.  It provides a guide for the future evolution of horsemanship in all disciplines