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Emergency kit must-haves: Flunixin

Emergency kit must-haves: Flunixin

This is the first part of a new topic/series that we at BRD wanted to share with our readers:  emergency kit must-haves. We understand that part of the huge problem with emergencies is that they’re unpredictable, and we therefore wanted to start sharing information on how to build a kit that helps you be prepared for anything.

This month, we will be covering flunixin.

Flunixin, sometimes branded as “Banamine” or “Prevail” is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is often sold in injectable or oral paste solutions. NSAIDs work to reduce pain, inflammation, and fever. Flunixin can be used on horses, cattle, pigs, and other animals. Flunixin has a similar relationship with horses and ibuprofen does with humans.

Flunixin treats pain because it is an NSAID, and is therefore great to have around when your horse has any sort of emergency or pain, from colic to general minor injuries. Other NSAIDs that are safe for horses include phenylbutazone, and firocoxib.

Flunixin can help reduce a fever. A normal body temperature for a horse is between 98.5- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. Because flunixin reduces a fever, it is important to take the temperature of your horse before giving them the medicine, to get an accurate analysis of the horse’s overall wellbeing.

Flunixin Application Dos:

  • Give it to your horse in a paste or liquid form
  • If you have the injectable solution, it is still safest and best practice to administer the drug orally
    • In rare cases, a veterinarian may administer an injection or through an IV. However, because of the risks of a potentially lethal condition called Clostridial myositis, it is best to avoid injecting it altogether. Leave injecting this drug up to the discretion of your veterinarian.
  • Flunixin can be administered at 0.5mg per pound, or 125mg of for flunixin for each 250 lbs.  

Flunixin Application Don’ts:

  • Inject directly into the muscle of your horse
  • Administer more than once every 12 hours
  • Use on pregnant horses – the effect of flunixin on pregnancy has not yet been determined
  • Use on horses intended for human consumption (we assume this probably doesn’t apply to our readers, but it is an important cautionary note)

General Cautionary Notes:

  • Flunixin last 12 hours and should not be given more frequently than that. It may take up to 30 minutes for your horse to start feeling the benefits of Flunixin
  • Flunixin does not cause sedation – however, if a horse is in pain and given flunixin, it may calm down simply because the pain is mitigated. If your horse loses consciousness, it may be time to call your vet
  • Like any NSAID, Flunixin can cause kidney and GI problems if given too frequently
  • Flunixin can be safely administered to foals, but it is advised to use particular caution and be extra conscientious of proper dosage
  • While flunixin is regularly used to treat the pain associated with colic, please be aware that it does not actually treat the colic itself

When used properly, flunixin can provide quick relief for horses that may be injured, in pain from colic, or other conditions. Because of this, it is great to have on hand when things go wrong.

For more information on emergency kit must-haves, horse news, or horse health information, subscribe to our newsletter!

Veterinarians in Worcester, MA.  (April 3, 2020). “Five Things To Know About Flunixin (Banamine).” EquidDoc Veterinary Services. https://www.equiddocvet.com/five-things-to-know-about-flunixin-banamine/

DeLoache, P. (February 13, 2019) “10 Things Your Vet Wants You to Know about Banamine.” Southern Equine Service. https://www.southernequineservice.com/doctors-say/2019/2/13/10-things-your-vet-wants-you-to-know-about-banamine

Teixera, R. (n.d). “Risks of giving intramuscular banamine to horses.” University of Minnesota Extension. https://extension.umn.edu/horse-health/risks-giving-intramuscular-banamine-horses#:~:text=Banamine%20is%20a%20nonsteroidal%20anti,on%20hand%20to%20relieve%20pain.

Five Time-Saving Horse Stall Cleaning Tips For Spring 2021

Five Time-Saving Horse Stall Cleaning Tips For Spring 2021

Spring cleaning. Whether those words are music to your ears or make you shudder with fear, it’s that time of year. Keeping your horse happy and healthy is a priority all year long, but Spring is the perfect time to take a closer look at where your horse is living (and look into deworming). To make this process easy and helpful, we have collected some horse stall cleaning tips for you.

Why Is Horse Stall Cleaning Important?

Since your horse spends a decent amount of time in its stall, it understandably gets dirty. Although smelly smells and wetness are unpleasant, they can also indicate that there are some more potentially harmful issues going on. Routine checkups on the stall can catch these issues before they cause any harm or become a bigger beast to deal with.

Build A Routine

When you go into a task with a thought-out plan, you work more efficiently. It can be intimidating when there’s a lot of work to do, so pick apart every step of the process. Horse stall cleaning is much more manageable when you know what you have to do, and in what order it makes sense. 

This way, you’ll hit the ground running (or scooping) and you’ll spend less time trying to figure out the best way to go about it. Deciding which direction you want to work (front to back, side to side, etc) will also make things easier.

Watch Out For Ammonia 

As you may know, ammonia is a noxious gas that can be released through urination. When humans, horses, and other animals are exposed to high levels of the non-visible gas, it can start to negatively affect your body. Your eyes, lungs, and throat may feel a burning sensation, and it can lead to harmful respiratory issues for all parties. If you experience this, urine for a bad time.

Luckily, there are many ways to keep ammonia levels low in your horse’s stall. Cleaning on a regular basis, setting up proper ventilation, drainage options, and monitoring protein intake in your horse’s diet are just a few ways to help. If you’re concerned about ammonia at any time, don’t hesitate to reach out to your trusted horse health care professional.

Get the Right Horse Stall Cleaning Tools

Getting the right tools for the job will ensure that you’re working smarter, not harder. Getting a pitchfork that is lightweight and built for cleaning stalls will save you time and energy, for example. You can try different methods of cleaning, de-scenting, and mat types to find what you like best. 

Keep Up With Maintenance

When you clean the stall, it might also be a good time to make sure that everything else is in working order. Water pipers, floor level, mat condition, protruding nails or other possible threats, dust, feeders, etc. need care too. Checking these regularly will help you avoid issues, or even a costly disaster. Keep a checklist of these items to make the process efficient and easy to track.

Make It Fun

Now that you’re ready to master your 2021 spring cleaning, you can personalize your experience. Do you prefer an empty stall, or a cute companion to be there while you clean? Maybe even make it fun with some music and reward yourself with a tasty treat afterwards. 

However you prefer to clean your horse’s stall, we hope that these tips help you out. BRD Vet Rx has been helping horses live their happiest and healthiest lives for almost 100 years, and we will always be here for your horse health needs. View our products or give us a call today, we’d love to hear from you.

The Best Ways to Take Care of Your New Foal

The Best Ways to Take Care of Your New Foal

So, your mare successfully delivered a new foal. Congratulations! As this adorable animal opens its eyes for the first time, it’s beautiful to think of all the wonderful things it will experience during its lifetime. Young foals need appropriate care to grow up happy and strong, so we collected some tips to get you started.

What to Expect During the First Months

After birth, make sure that the new foal is breathing. They will need iodine solution on their umbilical stump (don’t cut it immediately), and colostrum to  avoid disease transfer. After this, observe the foal from a distance and let the mare bond with her offspring. 

They will usually attempt (and eventually succeed) to stand up within the first 30 minutes. 

Defecation of meconium also usually happens during the first half-hour. Within the next hour, instinct will kick in and it will likely seek to nurse from its mother and start to vocalize. Have a vet or horse health care professional examine your new foal within 12-24 hours post-birth.

The new foal will continue to nurse for the next few weeks, once or twice per hour. As they age, they will slowly wean off their mother’s milk and eat other horse feed. It’s recommended that the foal is weaned 5-7 months after birth.

New Foal Behavior

As the foal matures, it will spend the majority of its time napping, exploring, nursing, and playing. Socialization with other foals and mares is encouraged, as it stimulates them and gets them used to new surroundings and other people and animals.

Foals will be naturally curious about their surroundings, and often a bit awkward in their movements until they get the whole walking thing mastered. Allow them to explore safe environments with supervision.

Discourage potentially harmful behaviors such as biting and kicking, as these behaviors will not age well. It may be small and cute now, but a full grown horse is very strong and can do some real damage to itself and others if you aren’t careful. A gentle bop on the nose paired with stern vocalization will let the foal know not to do that action. Be consistent with your reprimanding, and not too harsh.

How to Train Your Foal

Exposure, in various aspects, are very important in the early stages of a horse’s life. As I mentioned earlier, having your new foal interact with people, objects, and other animals will discourage fear and aggression. There are many opportunities to train and get them used to their environment – let’s go through a few.

Picking up the new foal’s hoof will get them used to future horseshoe fittings, filing, and other important grooming practices. You can also fit a halter on the foal to get it used to the feel of it, but make sure you are always supervising your foal when it has this on so they do not get tangled or injure themselves by mistake. 

Attaching a lead to the halter and practicing walking can also be done, but take your time with this. You can continue to train them as they age, so try not to over-work your new foal. Work in short sessions, pay attention to their body language, and remember to have fun! 

Things to Keep in Mind

Phew, that was a lot of information. I know that caring for a foal may seem intimidating because of their fragile nature, but with the correct knowledge and preparation, you’ll have a handle on it in no time.

 If you ever have any questions about training or anything related to horse health care, contact the team at BRD Vet Rx. We care for every horse and want to give them the best life that they can have (and have been for almost 100 years!).

Is Horse Night Vision Any Good? Let’s Look Into It!

Is Horse Night Vision Any Good? Let’s Look Into It!

Your horse’s eyes serve many purposes beyond giving you that look that says “one more treat, please!”. As a prey animal, the eyes are on the side of their head, giving them close to a 360 degree field of vision. Their eyes are also sensitive to movement, thanks to being a prey animal. You may wonder if horse night vision plays a part in their biology – keep reading to find out!

Horse Night Vision – Fact or Fake?

Take your guess. Ok, got it? And the winner is…fact! Horse night vision is indeed better than human night vision. Your equine companion has eyes that contain more rods to cones 20:1 compared to humans, which allows them to see better (the rod cells specialize in light sensitivity, the cones are more sensitive to color).

Horse vision is also built better for nighttime because their eyes have a secret weapon: the tapetum lucidum. This is a layer of tissue behind their retina that reflects light, allowing them to see better in the dark. But be wary – horses take longer than humans to adjust to changes in light. Let your companion acclimate to changes in light before making them move around too much.

Why Is Horse Night Vision Useful?

Horses have the same level of vision under full moonlight as they do during the middle of a sunny day, isn’t that neat? So, what’s the purpose of this? As I touched on earlier, horses are prey animals. In the wild, it’s important that a horse can better sense its surroundings at night to detect possible predators.

Now, pretend you’re on a nighttime trail ride. The moon illuminates the path in front of you, but you cannot see past its cute little ears. A large tree stump sits on the path ahead, and you have no idea it’s there. Your horse may not know what that large object blocking your trail is, but they will know to trot around it. 

Can All Horses See Well in the Dark?

Generally speaking, yes. Some breeds (primarily Appaloosas) experience genetic Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB), but it is pretty rare. Other horse vision issues can interfere with their eyesight as well, but as long as you’re investing in good horse health care, you’ll avoid most issues. Make sure to take your horse in for routine checkups, and call a professional if you’re concerned about their vision.

Other Horse Vision Facts

One of my favorite bits of information is that horses can switch between monocular and binocular vision – meaning they have the option to see different things with each eye. It’s also worthy to note that horses have a blind spot directly in front of and behind them when they are looking straight ahead with their neck straight. Horses can see colors, but in a much more muted palette than humans do. 

According to Equisearch.com, researchers have also tested how sharp a horse’s vision is with an experiment. Trained horses were shown images of vertical black and white stripes, and the widths narrowed until the horses could no longer tell a difference. They scored a 20/30, meaning your horse could probably pass a drivers’ license eye exam.

And, there you have it – your horse can see better than you at night. Pretty amazing, right? If you have any questions about your horse’s vision, feel free to contact the horse health care experts at BRD Vet Rx.

Horse Training Tips to Help You Reach Your Goals in 2021

Horse Training Tips to Help You Reach Your Goals in 2021

Finally, it’s a new year. We can leave the struggles of 2020 behind us, and look forward to what 2021 has to offer! As you set your own goals, I’m sure that you are also making some goals for your equine companion. Let’s go over some horse training tips to guide you as you smash your milestones along the way.

Horse Training Tips – Building Trust Through the Basics

Any good relationship or skill starts with a strong foundation. Before you start making commands, take some time to check in with your horse. How have you two been connecting lately? Do they physically or behaviorally seem off? 

Involved horse health care is important for your companion to be in the right mindset to learn. If you’re looking for ways to strengthen trust, try some bonding activities such as massaging while grooming, going for a walk, reading to them, etc.. They will feel safer around you, and more open to learning.

Patience is Key

We all know the saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. Well, make sure you’re not yelling at your horse, pushing it’s head down towards the water, or yanking it away when it won’t take a drink. This won’t help anyone, but it may destroy trust and give your horse a fear of water.

Forcing your horse to do things they aren’t ready for will only slow progress and hurt your relationship in the long run. Take your time – don’t put yourself (or your horse) on too strict of a timeline for learning something. 

It’s all about working smarter, not harder. Come up with a plan, take breaks when you both need it, and let your horse take its time. You will thank yourself in the future.

Make A Plan

As I said earlier in this article – work smarter, not harder. You probably have some goals in mind, but looking into them further will make your horse training process more efficient. Start by looking at the big picture, then picking it apart. 

For example, let’s say you want your horse to perform better. Performance could mean speed, agility, reaction time, listening skills, etc. Make each of these a separate goal. 

If you want to increase agility, think of different tasks that could help your horse with this, such as practicing different heights of jumps or dodging objects in a course. Work down your list, and you will waste less time practicing without intention.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

Ok, you’re probably thinking “Duh, thank you captain obvious”, but it can be really easy to get wrapped up in expectations. Horses are such kind, loving, and smart creatures. So are you. 

Having fun is one of the most important horse training tips you can remember – it’s about the journey, not the destination. 

As you’re grinning at the finish line, prize medal in hand, you’re going to want to remember all the good times that you and your horse had along the way – not the frustrated screams and exhausted give-ups. With a thought-out plan and an even better attitude, you and your horse will go far in 2021!

The horse health care team at BRD Vet Rx hopes that you hit the ground running in 2021 with motivated minds and healthy horses. We have been helping horses feel their best for almost 100 years, feel free to contact us or view our products anytime.