Smart Senior Strategies: Providing Care and Nutrtion for the Aging Horse
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Smart Senior Strategies: Providing Care and Nutrtion for the Aging Horse






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Smart Senior Strategies: Providing Care and Nutrtion for the Aging Horse Smart Senior Strategies: Providing Care and Nutrtion for the Aging Horse Presentation Transcript

  • Smart Senior Strategies:Providing Care and Nutrition for the Aging Horse Lydia F. Gray, DVM Medical Director/Staff Veterinarian Jessica Normand Senior Director – SmartSupplements™ June 14, 2012
  • Your Presenters 2
  • Agenda • When does a horse become “senior”? • How does the body change? • Which conditions are common in seniors? • What can senior horse owners do? • Questions & Answers3
  • When does a horse become “senior?” • Chronological age – actual number of years of life from birth • Physiological age – age at which physical functions begin to decline • Demographic age – survivorship of an age-group relative to the entire population4
  • How does the body change? • External changes • Internal changes Research: Brosnahan MM, Paradis MR. Assessment of clinical characteristics, management practices, and activities of geriatric horses. JAVMA, Vol 223, No 1, July 1, 2003, pp99-103.5
  • How does the body change? External changes – Lower Body Condition Score – Swayback/Sag – Hollow above eyes – Graying coat – Dental disease – Decreased capacity for exercise6
  • How does the body change? Body Condition Score (BCS): – System for estimating fat cover over six different body areas to develop a single score for overall condition; ranges from 1 to 97
  • How does the body change?Internal changes– Decreased digestion, absorption, metabolism– Loss of muscle mass– Loss of bone density– Lax connective tissue– Weakened immunity– Dental disease– Reduced cardiopulmonary function8
  • Which conditions are common in seniors? • Digestive (dental, colic, diarrhea, choke) • Metabolic (Cushing’s Disease) • Respiratory (“heaves” or RAO) • Lameness (arthritis, laminitis, abscesses) • Immune (increased infections, poor healing)9
  • What can senior horse owners do? 1. Diet 2. Preventive Care 3. Exercise 4. Observation10
  • What can senior horse owners do? Diet: Forage – Hay (grass vs. alfalfa) – Hay cubes, pellets and other forms – Beet Pulp – Pasture – Complete Feed Grazing Muzzle11 Freedom Feeder
  • What can senior horse owners do?Diet: Grain– Complete Feed (vitamins, minerals, protein, energy, fiber)– Fortified Grain (vitamins, minerals, protein, energy)– Ration Balancer (vitamins, minerals, protein)– Vitamin/Mineral Supplement aka “Multi-Vitamin” (vitamins, minerals)12
  • Understanding Commercial Feeds Vitamin/Mineral Supplement 13
  • What can senior horse owners do? Diet: Supplements for seniors – Multi-Vitamins – Vitamins B and C – Digestion – Amino Acids – Antioxidant – Weight Gain – Anti-Inflammatory – Joint Supplements14
  • Multi-Vitamins: Product Recommendations15
  • Vitamin B/C Supplements: Product Recommendations16
  • Digestion Supplements: Product Recommendations17
  • Amino Acid Supplements: Product Recommendations Research: Graham-Theirs PM, Kronfeld DS, Hatsell C et al. Amino acid supplementation improves muscle mass in aged horses. J Anim Sci. 2005 Dec;83(12): 2783-2788.18
  • Antioxidant Supplements: Product Recommendations19
  • Weight Gain Supplements: Product Recommendations20
  • Anti-Inflammatory Supplements: Product Recommendations21
  • Joint Supplements: Product Recommendations22
  • What can senior horse owners do? Preventive Care – Physical examination – Vaccinations – Parasite control – Hoof care – Dental work23
  • What can senior horse owners do?Exercise– Turnout– Controlled exercise • Warm up and cool down • Daily vs. randomly • Time offResearch: McKeever KH. Exercise physiologyof the older horse. Vet Clin North Am EquinePract. 2002 Dec;18(3):469-90.24
  • What can senior horse owners do? Observation: – Warm weather – Cold weather – Herd status – Bedding – Dehydration – Saddle Fitting – Ability to lie down/get up25
  • Questions & Answers 26
  • Questions1. Whats the best way to make sure your horse is getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals if they are easy keepers, on pasture 24-7, and only get a couple handfuls of senior feed once per day?2. What type of feed is recommended for a 30 year old horse without back molars and a severe swayback?3. What is the number one cause to look for in a senior horse that has started to lose weight that otherwise has never had any weight issues?4. What is the best way to keep weight on a horse during the winter who refuses to eat hay? I do have good pasture but he did drop some weight this winter. I am now feeding sweet feed combined with alfalfa and oats.5. What is the best joint supplement for our 40+ app mare that we have at our barn? She seems to be stiffer in movement with each day. It gets worse with the weather changes also, we dont want to keep her on an aspirin or bute regimen. 27
  • Questions1. What do you suggest to keep weight on a mid twenties retired thoroughbred, who doesnt seem to eat his hay very efficiently, without relying too heavily on grain for the calories he needs?2. Does driving a senior horse exacerbate arthritis? This horse is ridden regularly, but would like to drive as he is well trained to drive. Hasnt been driven in last 10 years. Is presently 30 with no health problems. Must eat 3rd cutting hay; poor teeth.3. Should you clip your older horse if he doesnt shed out completely? Or is there a reason he is keeping that longer hair? Note: this is not type of long hair associated w/Cushings, just normal winter coat that does not shed.4. Please provide tips for preventing or nipping in the bud "metabolic syndrome". Have had an older horse suddenly have laminitis and appear thin on spring grass.5. My horse is 28 years old and on Smart Digest. He has arthritis in his hocks, kissing spines, sesamoiditis. He is able to still walk and trot on the grass comfortably with me riding him. Playing he can act like a 2 year old. I am interested in Smart Flex 28
  • Questions1. My gelding is 19 years and retired to a retirement farm in Kentucky due to degenerative arthritis and stifle issues. Hes turned out 24/7 with 22 acres of grazing, water, salt blocks, a shallow pond and lots of hills and trees. Is that good enough?2. My daughters 20 year old Welsh pony has foundered before and he has dental issues from a previous mouth injury as a yearling. He struggles with digesting hay and spits out a lot of quids. I have him on a grass hay pellet and Im wondering if this is ok?3. My appx. 24 year old TB is hard to keep weight on he is currently on 4 Qt of Triple Crown Senior 3X per day along with Omegatin. I feel like that is too much grain for him to digest and it is also not really helping with the weight gain...ideas?4. Keeping weight on the active senior horse - especially when they are already being given all the hay they will eat. 29
  • Questions1. Is it true that alfalfa is bad for their kidneys?2. Is it safe/advisable for a horse who is losing his teeth to be allowed to "graze“? What are special hot weather needs of senior horses? What are special "hoof" health needs of senior horses? What "supplements" are recommended for senior horses?3. Increased immune deficiency in my older horse (Sweet Itch as a common term) has seemed to increase. Any ideas about how to support him nutritionally to help this condition?4. I would also be interested in information on behavior changes -- what changes might be common in older horses vs what changes might be signs of disease that can/should be addressed.5. I have an 19 year old Appendix who is not worked very hard but sweats a lot after a training session when he is standing in the cross ties. Not so much during the session, but afterwards. Should I supplement with B vitamins maybe? He gets SeniorFlex already . 30
  • Thank you for attending our Webinar! Please visit us at, email us at CustomerCare@SmartPak.comor call us at 1-800-461-8898 if we can answer any further questions. ~ Your Friends at SmartPak 31