5 Tips For Addressing Weight Loss In The Horse

Nothing is more worrisome than watching your horse day after day slowly lose weight and not knowing the reason why. Despite making sure they have plenty of access to good quality feed and mineral/vitamin supplements they continue to lose weight. Here are 5 tips that may get you started on the right track to addressing unexpected weight loss in the horse.

Veterinary Evaluation

First and foremost, ALWAYS have your horse evaluated by your veterinarian if they are encountering any kind of health challenge! I cannot stress that enough. There are so many things that may be affecting your horse’s ability to absorb nutrients, from parasites to cancer. Your veterinarian can rule things out for you and make a proper diagnosis if there is a serious medical condition that’s contributing to a weight loss issue in your horse. I’ve seen too many times people take a wait and see attitude to the detriment of the horse.

Intestinal Parasites

A very common reason for horses to lose weight is due to a heavy parasite load. As parasites develop resistance to many of the commercial dewormers available on the market, you may find that your deworming protocols are no longer effective. Your veterinary clinic can do a fecal egg count for you and let you know what kinds of intestinal parasites (if any) your horse may be harboring. From this information, you can then make more targeted decisions as to what deworming protocols might be most effective for your situation.

There are also alternative protocols that are becoming more and more popular among horse caretakers. Many of these are safe to use in conjunction with traditional dewormers and may help increase the effectiveness of your deworming program.

Some of these include:

    • Food-grade diatomaceous earth – it is thought that the diatomaceous earth works similarly as it moves through the animal’s digestive tract as it does when applied externally to insects. The microscopic silica-based diatom fossils that make up the fine powder penetrate the exoskeleton of the insects, causing them to dehydrate and die.
    • Essential oils – Animals in the wild will hunt out and eat certain types of plants not normally in their everyday diet to help clear their bodies of parasites. Certain medicinal-grade essential oils are thought to help rid the body of internal parasites based on the historical use of these plants by both ancient cultures and wild animals. Whether these help by boosting the host’s natural immune system or acting directly against the parasite is unclear. Oils that may help most are – Tarragon, Ocotea, Di-Gize and Longevity.

 

    • Immune System Supplementation – an organism that has a compromised immune system is going to be more susceptible to all types of infection, including that of internal and external parasites. Adding supplements that are high in antioxidants may help your horse’s ability to deal with these attacks naturally. Immune support is very important for maintaining the geriatric horse.

Equine Dentistry

I’ve been surprised at the number of people that I’ve encountered over the years that are unaware that horses need routine dentistry. There are many factors that play into the function of the horse’s jaw and how the horse’s teeth erupt and wear continually. The way a horse moves, position it eats, what it eats, etc. all contribute to whether a horse will develop dental imbalance. If the teeth are out of balance and the horse cannot effectively masticate his food, they are less likely to be able to absorb the necessary nutrients from that food. Older horses may have worn out the life of their teeth or have missing teeth, also contributing to problems with properly processing their food. Having your horse checked by a reputable equine dentist at least once or twice per year may save your horse some grief down the road.

Adding Calories

Your horse’s weight loss may just be a simple matter of math… they are burning more calories than they are taking in. Upping your horse’s hay and/or feed may be necessary, particularly for horses in heavy training or working horses. However, adding a high-quality high-calorie fat source may be all that is necessary to turn the corner. Traditionally people have added corn oil to their horses feed as a top dress. However, since corn oil is not fully digestible, you have to give large quantities for it to be effective and many horses don’t find that much oil on their feed palatable. The most popular oils that are highly digestible, palatable and provide added benefits to skin and hair coat are – flax seed, soybean, and wheat germ oils.

Alternative Forages

When dealing with geriatric horses, the ability to chew becomes increasingly problematic, not to mention the aging digestive tract becomes less efficient and able to pull the necessary nutrients from what they can chew. Adding some more easily chewed and digestible forages may help. You will want to make sure and consult with your veterinarian before changing your horse’s diet though. Certain conditions, like liver and kidney dysfunction, require special dietary consideration.

Bird Lovers Should Add Native Plants for Their Feathered Friends

Birds add natural beauty to gardens, parks and other landscapes with their gorgeous colorations, happy chirps, and graceful flight. These feathered creatures also assist in plant pollination (i.e., hummingbirds) and in pest control by eating slugs, snails and wireworms (i.e., purple martins). It then comes as little surprise then that professional gardeners and landscapers plan outdoor spaces with the goal of attracting beneficial bird species.

The best way to attract birds into the garden is to concentrate on the cultivation of native plants including shrubs, vines and trees. Doing so is beneficial for several reasons:

1. Indigenous plants have evolved alongside the local wildlife and, thus, are most likely to provide the right attributes for birds to co-exist with. For example, hummingbirds drink the nectar from plants and, in the process, assist in the pollination of the species to form a mutually beneficial relationship.

2. Native plants create natural corridors where birds can fly back and forth in their natural habitats. In contrast, non-native plants can disrupt the flow, so to speak. Such aspect of plant cultivation is of particular importance to areas impacted by manmade development projects.

3. Indigenous plants will not crowd out other plant species, thus, ensuring diversity of plant life beneficial for the attraction of the local wildlife including birds. In contrast, non-native plants may provide abundant food for birds but are more likely to invade the entire area; examples include Japanese honeysuckle and buckthorn.

4. Of course, the definition of native plants will vary from one location to the next, which is also compounded by the fact that many plants are considered indigenous to several zones. The best way to determine whether a plant is indigenous to the area is to ask the experienced staff of your local plant nursery for more information.

5. When selecting native plants for your bird-friendly garden, consider the following factors:

6. Choose plants that provide food for birds in various ways such as from buds, flowers and nectar aside from the usual fruits.

7. Select species that provide food the whole year-round or for the most parts of the year so that the birds will keep coming even in winter. For example, serviceberries, mulberries and wild cherries provide fruits for the spring; magnolia, spicebush and flowering dogwood have ripening fruits in the fall; and nannyberry, crabapple and hawthorn provide winter sustenance.

The more diverse your choices in native plants, the more diverse the bird life in your garden!

Basics About Bearded Dragon Facts

Bearded dragons make very interesting pets. There is a lot to learn about bearded dragon facts and how to care for them. Pogona is the actual real scientific name for them. The lizards usually live in arid warm deserts with little moisture in regions of Australia. They can usually be found in the wild spending quite a bit of their time playing on branches and in the sun in the early morning and late afternoon. They are also good little climbers and enjoy basking on rocks in the heat.

The genus originates from the sub family Agaminae and is from the family called Agamidae. They are naturally cold blooded being reptiles. They posses spiny scales all around their bodies. Whenever they may feel they are being threatened they are able to expand out their spiny scales around the throat to show their aggression. The also can move around their head in an up and down motion to show dominance amongst males.

There are many color combinations. A lot of times they are dark golden brown and also can come in tan and brown. Occasionally they also have black markings. They have the ability to change their color on their scales during a rivalry or when the temperatures rise or drop. Fully grown they are around thirteen to twenty-four inches long on average.

People usually keep them as pets. One of the most common varieties is the Pogona viticeps or more commonly known as the Central Inland Bearded Dragons. Pogona is also a term that can cover other species too. They are quite popular pets because of how easy it is to maintain and care for them as well as their calm nature. They are probably one of the most popular lizards kept among reptile pets. They can be quite interesting. They are happy when they have a properly maintained enclosure to live and play in and make wonderful pets.

They are naturally omnivorous and they consume both plants and animals. When in the wild they eat a large variety of foods. Ones kept as pets most of the time eat green leafy vegetables as well as insects coated with a powder supplement. Crickets are a very common and popular choice for them. They can also consume flies, butter worms, silk worms and one their favorites super worms.

Some popular choices in green leafy vegetables include collard greens, parsley, carrot tops, and turnips. Some orange colored vegetables can also be eaten including squash, carrots, pumpkins, and beets. Other favorites include celery, rosemary, basil, hibiscus, rose petals and oregano. They need a bit of variety in their diets but they are very easy to keep healthy and happy.

Fruits including apples, pears, strawberries, grapes, melons, mangoes and papayas are good too. Owners are discouraged from feeding wild insects because it exposes them to viruses and parasites among other dangers. Some bugs including fire flies contain a fatal ingredient known as bioluminescent chemicals which can kill lizards when consumed. Depending on their environment and health level they easily can live about five to ten years on average inside captivity.

For additional information about bearded dragon facts you can quickly find out more online. Also pet stores have great information on the topic you may want to check out. There are so many different sources you can find on this topic. They usually make great pets and do not grow very big. They usually are friendly and easy to handle even for children since they are tame.

4 Common Health Issues of Tokay Geckos and How to Deal With Them

As the pet owner, you need to make sure that your gecko is healthy all the time. It’s not enough that you give them food and keep their tanks well. There are many other factors that affect the physical condition of geckos. The good thing about them though is that they don’t require too much attention like most domesticated animals. You can leave them for a day all alone without having to worry about their welfare. But then again, you need to make sure that all their needs are met in order to keep your geckos healthy and happy.

If you’re new to raising geckos, particularly Tokay geckos, below are some of the most common health issues they may encounter. Let’s discuss each one of them thoroughly so you will know what to do when confronted with such issues.

1.Parasitism
Geckos can tolerate a few internal parasites just like humans do. But if they’re injured, stressed, or ill, these parasites can easily propagate until such time that they are already absorbing all the nutrients that the gecko needs to survive. Parasites can also live on the external body of the gecko. If you notice some crust-like areas on the skin of your pet, it’s an indication of parasitism. Treatment of this condition includes administering anti-parasite medications and keeping their environment clean and well-sanitized to avoid re-infection.

2.Stress
This condition is usually a result of moving to another environment. During the first days of your gecko in its new tank, expect that the gecko will experience some sort of stress. Don’t take this issue lightly because stress often leads to a lot more health problems such as poor shedding, malnourishment, and more. Giving your gecko some time to adjust in its new environment is essential. Don’t hold it too much especially if it’s not used to it. Handling geckos need time and patience. You should not hold it anytime you want to. Proper timing is very much important.

3.Wounds
Normally, geckos that are living together in the same tank would fight and bite each other. This can lead to wounds. Even those that are living alone can injure themselves from scratching their bodies to rigid surfaces and pointed objects. Wounds can get infected which can lead to more serious health problems on your Tokay. So be careful.

4.Metabolic Bone Disease
All geckos are prone to this health problem. To prevent the onset of metabolic bone disease, they should be given with calcium and vitamin D3. These vitamins come in supplement forms which you can mix with their food. Geckos that do not receive sufficient amount of calcium may experience in a loss of bone density. This condition can result to crippling deformities.

Keeping your gecko healthy can be fun and at the same time challenging. There are a few things that you also need to consider. These include the food, shelter, and vitamins. Your gecko must be well-fed and given attention to so it grows healthy, alert, and beautiful.

5 Things to Expect From Your First Tokay Gecko

Tokay geckos are such amazing creatures. Their natural appeal and charisma is the reason why more and more people are becoming interested in making this particular type of reptile as pet. They may not have colors that are as glowing and beautiful as leopard geckos but there’s something about them that really make them extremely special.

However, Tokays have characteristics and personalities that you may not like. And if you don’t handle it right, you can get disappointed in your pet. So if this is your first time to own this kind of pet, there are some things you should be ready for.

1. Tokays can be very aggressive.
Many people end up selling their Tokays or passing them over to friends and relatives because they found out that this reptile is not sweet and can even hurt them. Unlike leopard geckos, Tokays are more of a fighter. They don’t want to be touched or held often especially if they’re new to the environment. So during your first encounter with your Tokay, don’t forget to put in your gloves. And also, don’t hold it without asking an expert to teach you how. When it bites, it bites hard! So be very careful.

2. Male Tokays are better off alone.
The last thing you want to do is to put multiple male Tokay geckos in a single tank. These creatures are very territorial. Unless it’s a female, they would never want to share their territory with any other geckos.

3. Geckos love crickets.
Don’t make a pet out of Tokay gecko if you’re afraid of crickets! Geckos are not geckos when they don’t eat crickets. Anyway, this type of insect can be purchased from local pet stores. It’s important to feed your pet with live and full crickets so it gets the nutrition it needs.

4. They want warm places.
Tokays are mostly found in the tropical rainforests of Asia. To make your pet feel more comfortable in its new home, you want to make it feel as if it’s in the same place where they used to be. Keeping the humidity inside the tank or terrarium is a must. Ideally, the level of humidity should be between 40 and 80 percent. This can be easily achieved by placing moist (not wet) substrate inside the tank and proper misting. Failure to sustain such level of humidity can lead to various health problems.

5. Tokays want it clean.
Sanitation and maintenance are essential to keeping your pet healthy. In order to maintain a beautiful, hygienic, and attractive environment for your Tokay, make it a daily habit to clean its terrarium. Remove the feces from the walls or substrate, clean and refill the water dish, replace the substrate at least every three months, and take away any other clutter like dried plants, dead insects, etc.

When you know what to expect from your Tokay, you can become the best pet owner. Tokays are not really hard to deal with. You just have to know a little bit more about them so you can understand what they feel and provide what they need.

7 Most Common Birds That You Can Find In Singapore

If you live or work in Singapore, you may often have the urge to know more about the city. In this article, we are going to talk about some of the most common birds you can find in this city. We will share some common facts about these birds.

1) Javan Mynah

This bird is called the white-vented mynah as well. For the first time, in 1920, this bird was brought from other countries to be kept as a pet bird.

As far as breeding and food are concerned, mynah is quite adaptable. It leaves its nests before other birds in order to eat road kills, fruits, leftover human food, and insects.

2) Asian Glossy Starling

Often, these birds get together in big flocks consisting of 30 birds. You can find sitting on TV antennas and feeding on different types of fruits in gardens. At night, you can find them in big communal flocks and roosts. Their voice sounds like a whistle.

3) Pink-Necked Green Pigeon

The male pigeon is more colorful than the female. Often, their nests are in trees. Rarely they are found on the ground. Typically, they get down only when they have to drink water.

The pair helps each other incubate the eggs and the nest. Typically, the male rests in the nest throughout the day, and the female comes back in the evening. Unlike other birds, doves and pigeons don’t have oil-producing glands. So, their feathers are not waterproof.

4) Yellow-Vented Bulbul

You can find this bird in almost every park and garden. In gardens, they can be seen flying around flowering shrubs. Usually, it’s cup-like nest is made of plastic strips, raffia pieces, tissue paper, and plant stuff.

They feed on caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, and ants. After having their meal, they like to bathe and preen.

5) Whimbrel

You can find these birds breeding in the arctic and sub-arctic parts of the world. Usually, they fly to other countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, and Asia during the colder months of the year.

In Singapore, you can find them in September and November. Their long bills to feed on marine animals and crustaceans.

Whimbrel was seen at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve after a long time in 2014.

6) Pacific Golden Plover

In Singapore, you can find this beautiful bird on the shores. They feed on insects, spiders, worms, marine, and crabs, to name a few. This bird can fly thousands of miles without getting tired. They fly in flocks of hundreds of birds.

In Singapore, they arrive in late August. In April, they fly back to their original sites.

7) Common Redshank

You can identify the common redshank from its red legs. But the juveniles don’t have red legs. Their legs are greenish-yellow. These nervous birds are often seen flying around the sandy shores.

In the breeding season, the common redshank feast on worms, insects, and spiders. Before or after the breeding season, they eat tadpoles, small fish, crustaceans and mollusks.