N.I. Shetland Pony Group

Established in 1991 

EQUINE WELFARE

HYPERLIPELIA SYNDRONE - 15:9:16

Hyperlipaemia is a metabolic disorder which predominately affects pony breeds, although larger breeds of horses can also be susceptible. Studies have indicated that up to 5% of ponies on studs in Victoria develop the condition each year. 


Hyperlipaemia is a life threatening metabolic condition with an inherited risk in certain bloodlines of ponies. However, the main trigger for onset is rapid reduction of feed intake in heavily conditioned ponies, with heavily pregnant and lactating mares requiring a high energy demand being the most susceptible. It has also been reported in fasting or starved donkeys. 


Another condition with a similar sounding name is hyperlipidaemia, which relates to excess blood levels of lipids or fats. It is a common finding in horses and ponies following exercise or reduced energy intake due to colic, surgery and short periods without regular feed. 


Hyperlipaempia is caused by the body’s natural reaction to mobilise fat reserves for energy, thereby increasing circulating lipids (fats) in the blood. It is not life-threatening and is a transient normal reaction, except in ponies and donkeys where it can be a predisposing cause of hyperlipaemia. 


Hyperlipaemia in susceptible ponies on the other hand is a complex metabolic condition which can invariably result in death within 10 days if the symptoms are not recognized early and expert veterinary intervention and nutritional management is not carried out. 


Metabolic Changes 

In a normal healthy horse, most of the fat or lipids circulating in the blood to provide energy and omega fatty acids to the cells is in the form of a very low density lipo-protein (fat-protein complexes), produced in the liver. 


Although some fatty acids can be used to provide energy to maintain body functions, when higher levels are released and form longer chain lipo-protein complexes in the liver, they are unable to be metabolised and begin to accumulate in the liver and blood. 


It is most common in overweight middle-aged and aged ponies, especially those that have developed insulin resistance and a ‘cresty’ neck, which is the underlying trigger for insulin induced laminitis and metabolical Cushing’s Disease and associated laminitis. 


The insulin hormone, which controls blood sugar levels, is also required for the activation of a lipo-protein enzyme, lipoprotein lipase, which breaks down these fat reserves as they pass through the liver. In a pony at risk of mobilising lipoprotein complexes which are unable to be broken down due to associated insulin resistance, the complexes accumulate in the blood and metabolic function is interrupted, with increased risk of high blood lipo-protein levels, culminating in liver and kidney failure. Both these organs develop a fatty infiltration which makes them appear and feel greasy on post mortem. 


Predisposing Causes 

Obese, overweight ponies, especially heavily pregnant and lactating mares, have the highest risk of developing hyperlipaemia when there is a sudden shortage of food, requiring them to revert to use stored fat as an energy source. 


As little as 12-24 hours of negative energy balance without hard feed or ability to graze can trigger the dangerous and potentially fatal lipo-protein build-up. 


Hyperlipaemia is linked to snow falls, heavy, flooding rain and bushfires where food supply is interrupted or grazing is severely restricted, rather than a slow onset of food reduction, such as occurs in a drought or drying off of summer pasture. 


The condition is most common in cold, wintery conditions, or ponies grazing poor quality feed when the demand for energy is increased and fat reserves are mobilised to fuel metabolism, superimposed by the higher demands of pregnancy or lactation in pony mares. Long distance transport and severe sickness, such as colic, immobility and lameness (laminitis, bone fracture, hoof infections), tooth problems, heavy worm burdens and viral disease (such as Equine Herpes and Equine Influenza) can all reduce a pony’s ability to graze and maintain a regular uptake of sugars and insulin activity, which also regulates the lipo-protein enzyme. 


Typical Signs 

Early warning signs include a history of severe stress, food restriction or inability to graze due to weather, lameness or severe disease which triggers the onset of metabolically induced hyperlipaemia. 


Signs include a loss of appetite even when food is offered after the cascade of liver and blood lipo-protein accumulation occurs, depression, diarrhoea, drowsiness, weakness and reduced vitality and well being. 


As the condition progresses over 3-5 days, ponies stop drinking, become inco-ordinated, develop a fever, soft swelling in the lower limbs (oedema), muscle twitches, colicky signs, with collapse and death in 8-10 days from onset due to liver and kidney failure. Elevated blood levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, along with low insulin secretion, increases the risk of hyperlipaemia. 


The overall prognosis is poor in ponies and donkeys 4-5 days after onset, with between 45% and 85% of ponies dying despite extensive and expensive veterinary support and therapy. 


A blood sample will reveal a cloudy serum with triglyceride concentrations above 500mg/dl, or even up to 1500mg/dl in severe cases. If the serum triglyceride concentration remains below 500mg/dl as occurs with the hyperlipidaemia state, the clinical signs rarely develop into those typical of hyperlipaemia. Liver enzyme concentrations are also elevated as liver, kidney and organ failure develops. A liver biopsy will reveal fatty infiltration, which in severe cases, may rupture due to excess lipo-protein build-up, which then results in rapid collapse and death. 


 Management 

Whether hyperlipaemia is primarily due to a sudden food restriction or a disease process, once the serum triglyceride levels increase above 500mg/dl, it is difficult to manage and treat successfully in the short time of 5-7 days before liver and kidney failure develops. However, if the early warning signs are observed and nutritional support is provided with a low fat, high energy diet, then recovery is possible up to 4-5 days after onset of the condition. 


Management includes: Treat any primary disease process, such as investigating reasons for lameness, relieving colic and managing laminitis. 


1.Ensure that the pony is provided with a low-fat, highly digestible diet, split into a number of feeds per day, to help maintain a more constant blood sugar level to limit the mobilisation of fat and build-up of lipo-protein complexes in the liver and blood. A dampened feed made of 1kg millrun, 2kg crushed oats or boiled barley to encourage eating, 400g white chaff, 400g lucerne chaff, 200g Speedi-Beet (soaked in water for 10 minutes) sweetened to taste with 300g (1 cupful) of molasses and 30g of salt in 2 cupsful of warm water, provides a high energy, low fat, palatable feed to tempt ponies to eat. The addition of 100g glucose or dextrose boosts energy intake to help limit fat mobilisation and maintain insulin activity. This mix, with only half the chaff, can be mixed into a gruel in 3 times its volume of warm water and administered by stomach tube into a pony at the rate of 1 litre/100kg body weight 4 times per day until the animal starts to eat voluntarily once again. 

2. Veterinary treatment includes injections of Heparin, an anticlotting agent which helps to reduce plasma triglyceride levels, along with glucose drips and insulin injections, have been found to be helpful in minimising the build-up of harmful long chain lipo-protein complexes in the liver. Consult your own vet for advice. 


Preventative Management 

The risk of hyperlipaemia can be minimised by ensuring that susceptible, overweight ponies (and donkeys) are provided with good quality feeds, preferably fed twice per day, especially when heavily pregnant or lactating under adverse cold, very wet conditions, or during long distance transport. One report of hyperlipaemia in a donkey treated at the Werribee University Clinic linked relocation of a heavily pregnant jenny with grass hay she would not eat over a 3 week period in a paddock she shared with 2 gelding donkeys which ate the hay and did not develop hyperlipaemia. Maintaining ponies in moderate condition by carefully limiting feed intake to avoid excess body weight, particularly as they age and are prone to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance is also an important preventative means of management. Consult your vet for advice 

EQINE ATYPICAL MYOPATHY - 27:5:15

Links on Equine Atypical Myopathy have now been added to our website, this includes information on The Disease, The Cause, Clinical Signs, Treatment, & Prevention.

This information is provided by The British Horse Society  

Please enter the Links page and follow the links provided...

FIREWORKS AND EQUINES - TOP TIPS - 21:10:13

It's that time of year again, Hallowe'en sees our skies spectacularly lit up with shooting colours and loud bangs from fireworks and, while these are enjoyed by most of us, our pets do not particularly enjoy the bright lights and loud noises, which bring about a sense of fear and unknown, so it is important that we prepare and manage animal accommodation to prevent injury and to make the situation as least distressing as possible for the animals...

TOP TIPS FOR HORSES & PONIES:

- Check with your local council to see if there are any organised displays near where your animals are kept, so you can prepare to reduce anxiety and stress of the animals

-Where possible keep horses & ponies in stables to reduce risk of escape or injury. If they do have to be kept outside, ensure fields are secure, so if frightened the animals cannot escape. It's also a good idea to ensure there is nothing that the animals can injure themselves on, such as misplaced fencing or large stones, should they be spooked.

-Try to plan to bring animals in during daylight hours before fireworks are set off, especially if the animals are kept a slight distance away from the stables. This is to ensure the handler is not left in a dangerous situation if the animal is spooked by fireworks whilst leading.

-If you are aware of organised displays nearby, try to plan your riding around this to reduce the risk of riders being injured should a horse & pony be spooked by a large fireworks display whilst out riding.

REMEMBER TO TRY AND KEEP THINGS AS NORMAL AS POSSIBLE FOR YOUR HORSE OR PONY, WHILST MAINTAINING EXTRA COMFORT AND SECURITY... 

TAPEWORM-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS - 24:9:13

When do I need to worm my horse for tapeworms and do I need to double dose?

Treatment for tapeworm is recommended every 6 months (Proudman C, 1994). As exposure to tapeworm is greatest during periods of prolonged grazing, treatment should be undertaken in the autumn following summer turnout, and thereafter 6 months later in the spring. Tapeworm can be controlled by a single dose of a praziquantel-based wormer or (e.g. EQUEST PRAMOX) or by a double dose of a pyrantel-based wormer.

Besides causing colic, equine tapeworms are also responsible for a number of health problems in horses ranging from loss of performance and hair loss to diarrhoea and painful, potentially fatal perforation of the intestine.
So what about colic, what are the risks to a horse infected with tapeworm? Research has shown that 81% of ileal impaction cases and 22% of spasmodic colic cases can be tapeworm related2.
So what are the actual risks of a horse-developing tapeworm-associated colic? The startling facts are that a horse infected with tapeworm is 26 times more likely to develop ileal impaction colic than a non-infected horse, and 8 times more likely to experience spasmodic colic3.

TRANSPORTING HORSES & PONIES - 14:6:13

Horses need to be transported for a variety of reasons, from occasional journeys such as moving home, changing owner or visiting the vet, to more frequent travelling to attend shows or events. Whatever the reason or frequency of the journey, it is important that the horse is safe and comfortable in order to minimise stress.

The process of transporting horses involves several stages:

-Preparing: planning the route and preparing the horse, vehicle and driver.

-Loading: positioning the vehicle, handling the horse and ensuring the safety of all involved.

-Travelling: ensuring the horse is comfortable, taking breaks, providing feed & water.

-Unloading: deciding where to unload, unloading safely and securely and completing any paperwork.

 

PLANNING THE ROUTE

Good planning will help the journey to go smoothly. Horses use up energy keeping their balance, so choose the smoothest route where possible. Stopping for breaks will give both you and the horse a rest and allow you to check how it is doing. If a journey is under a couple of hours, you may not need a break but on longer journeys allow time for them. Check the weather forecast and try to avoid travelling on very hot days.

DISTANCE AND TIME

The distance and time of the journey will affect your plans. Extended travel times can be stressful for animals:

-Horses can lose 2-3kg of weight every hour during transport. Most of this is fluid, so it is vital to provide drinking water at regular intervals to prevent dehydration, which can increase the risk of colic or respiratory disease.

-During very long journeys (over 10 hours) there is a risk of 'shipping fever', a form of pneumonia caused by dehydration, dust and poor air quality.

 

The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 2006 states that anyone who transports horses for over 65km 'in connection with an economic activity' (eg a riding school, livery yard, horse transporter or racing trainer) needs a certificate of competence awarded by DEFRA approved awarding body. The horse should be accompanied by an attendant and both the driver and the attendant need certificate. Although the Order does not apply to someone taking their own privately owned horse in their own horsebox to an event, they must meet certain basic standards. They must make sure the horse is fit to travel, use a vehicle that is fit for the purpose and treat the horse humanely throughout the journey. Also, anyone who has passed his or her car-driving test on or after January 1, 1997 is required to pass an additional test in order to tow a trailer of over 750kg. Deciding between a lorry or towed trailer depends on personal choice, finances and requirments, but the vehicle must be appropriate for the horses you are transporting and in good working order, with appropriate:

-Space: horses need adequate space to stand in their natural position, but if there is too much space, the horse will get more tired and may even fall. The law states that an adult horse must have at least 1.75m2 of floor space.

-Ventilation: horses need clean air during the journey.

-Headroom: 1.98m is the minimum, but larger horses may need more.

-Ramps: with matting or a rubber surface. The law states that the slope should not be greater than 20o, or 36.4%.

-Partitions: you may need to use partitions if transporting more than one horse, or if the vehicle is too large for one horse - these should be strong enough to stand the horses weight, and padded to avoid injury.

-Flooring: Double wooden floors are safer than single skin floors. Aluminium plank floors are safer than wooden ones, though it is important to have an isolated membrane between the aluminium floor and the steel chassis. A good quality, non-slip rubber surface will help make the journey more comfortable for the horse. Check the floor regularly for signs of mould, damp or softness, and lift mats regularly to give them a chance to dry thoroughly

 

VEHICLE CHECKS

Ensure that the vehicle has the correct tax and insurance and is registered to carry the weight when loaded. Before each journey, carry out vehicle checks including tyre pressure, lights, brakes, floor and hitch (for trailer).

 

CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT

Horses will need appropriate clothing for the journey. This may include:

-Head collar.

-Poll guards to protect the horse's head from injury.

-Tail guards and/or bandages to prevent damage to or rubbing of the tail.

-Leg protection boots or bandages.

-Rugs may be needed for sweating or to stop a horse getting cold. However, take care not to over-rug a horse, as this can cause sweating and overheating. Check the temperature and weather forecast to make sure you have the right equipment.

The horse may need to get used to wearing this equipment, so try it out over time before you travel. Always travel with a first-aid kit. 

NEW LEAFLET AIMING TO MAKE ROADS SAFER - 11:3:13

The British Horse Society has joined forces with road safety organisation, GEM Motoring Assist, to take a new approach to horse, pony & rider safety on the roads.

With almost 10% of reported incidents in 2012 resulting in a horse/pony fatality and 7% causing serious injury to the rider, GEM,road safety organisation and breakdown cover company and The British Horse Society have come together to create a 'Horse Rider Safety' leaflet to promote road safety and drivers alike.

Cleverly laid out, the leaflet features advice from the viewpoint of the horse rider on one side and, when turned over, from the driver's point of view. For horse riders, the leaflet includes issues, such as hand signals and the importance of fluorescent leg wraps for the most visible parts of a horse. For motorists, the leaflet advises on appropriate speed, the nature of horses as 'flight' animals, and the dangers of sudden movement and noise

The leaflet, 'Horse Rider Safety' will shortly be available on The British Horse Society website..

www.bhs.org.uk    or by e-mail,  r.lucas@bhs.org.uk.

MUD FEVER - 2:2:13

MUD MUD EVERYWHERE!!! Some Mud Fever Advice:
With the UK having just experienced it's wettest year on record combined with the recent snow melting, it's proving to be a muddy old time for horse owners! Our long-term supporter and colleagues at The Horse Trust have an abundance of ground but even they can't escape the inevitable mucky pastures our weather has produced. They're doing a great job pro...viding a dry area for their horses as this picture shows - Well Done Guys! We've also benefitted greatly from our dry covered in paddocks and barn area, that still allow our horses to exercise even on the wettest of days - but a lot of our land has been badly cut up due to the wet conditions. Luckily, we haven't had a single case of Mud Fever - which is mainly down to the dedication of our volunteers who make sure the horses and ponies legs are well washed down and dried when they've come in from the fields. IF you've had problems with Mud Fever, please consult with your vet and also open this link for some further reading on the condition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mud_fever

INFORMATION ON GRASS SICKNESS - 1:2:13

A vaccine against grass sickness, has been developed in Scotland. It has started field trials and will be most welcomed by pony owners whose ponies have ever been afflicted by this insidious killer. The following fwd by Lorna Jamieson, who thought this might be of interest.
Thank you very much for your registering your interest concerning the proposed vaccine trial. This is an exciting development, and marks years of hard work on the part of The Animal Health Trust, and their collaborative partners at the Equine Grass Sickness Fund, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, and the School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool.
As you know The Animal Health Trust has recently been granted an Animal Test Certificate by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to undertake a vaccine trial pilot study. 100 horses and ponies have been enrolled, of which 50 horses will receive the vaccination, and 50 controls will receive an inactive placebo injection. Neither vet nor owner will know which horse or pony is receiving the true vaccination and which is receiving the placebo.This pilot study will test the practicality of the proposed full vaccine trial, which will involve at least 1000 horses and ponies, and which should commence 2013-2014 subject to the relevant agreements and sufficient funding being secured.
As you will appreciate, it is extremely difficult to predict where and when grass sickness might occur. Horses will be enrolled for the trial from yards with a high incidence of the disease, based on data collected via the Equine Grass Sickness Surveillance Scheme. Thank you for registering your interest in participating, which will be placed on our database, and you will receive an owners’ pack once we are ready to start recruiting. Reporting cases is extremely important in connection with the trial, and we urge you to encourage other owners to report their cases as far back as 2000. The link for reporting cases is: http://www.equinegrasssickness.co.uk/
In the meantime The Animal Health Trust and the Equine Grass Sickness Fund are mounting a campaign to raise funds to enable the trial to go ahead. We need every horse owner in the country to be aware of the trial, and to consider making a donation. Grass Sickness is perceived as being a disease which ‘happens to someone else’ – yet many of us know from bitter experience that the disease can strike any horse or pony at any time, and how powerless we are to do anything to prevent a swift and untimely death in the majority of cases. The vaccine trial is the closest we have yet come to finding a method of prevention, and it is time to put an end to the annual death toll.
You can help by making all your equine related contacts aware of the disease and the vaccine trial, and perhaps persuade them to run a fundraiser or make a donation. Leaflets and newsletters are available from the Equine Grass Sickness Fund, and we can also help publicise events. Fundraising merchandise is available from our online shop, where it is also easy to make a donation. The link for this is www.grasssickness.org.uk.
Thank you once more for registering your interest, and we will be in touch as soon as we have more news to share.
Yours Sincerely, Kate Thomson

The Equine Grass Sickness Fund. In conjunction with: The Animal Health Trust. The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh

The School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool. Kate Thomson. Administrator. Equine Grass Sickness Fund 0131 445 6257 www.grasssickness.org.uk

EQUINE INFECTIOUS ANAEMIA - 4:10:12

THE FOLLOWING DISEASE HAS BEEN CONFIRMED IN CORNWALL:

Equine Infectious Anaemia

Animal Health investigates all incidents of suspected notifiable disease. If you suspect signs of a notifiable disease, you must immediately notify your local Animal Health office.

THE RISK TO YOUR ANIMALS

Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) is a viral disease that affects horses, mules and donkeys, spread by biting flies.

Horses are most likely to become infected when travelling abroad to countries, or areas of countries, where the disease is endemic, or from the use of biological products infected with the EIA virus.

EIA is often fatal to horses. If the affected animal recovers it remains a lifelong carrier of the disease and will thereby be infectious to other animals, therefore all infected animals must be humanely destroyed to control the spread of disease.

HOW TO RECOGNISE THE DISEASE

What to look for

Animals may be affected acutely, chronically, or sub-clinically. The incubation period is variable, from a matter of days to a few months, but is generally one to three weeks.

All infected animals become carriers of the disease and are infectious for life.

The disease is characterised by:

  • a recurring fever
  • anaemia
  • oedema
  • emaciation and death.

Clinical signs of the disease are however often not apparent, and keepers of such animals are unlikely to realise that they are infected unless blood testing is carried out.

REDUCING THE RISK OF DISEASE

This virus is normally transmitted through large biting flies such as horseflies (tabanid species) or stable flies (Stomoxys calcitrans). Transmission of the disease may occur where there are adult flies of this type in proximity to infected horses. The adult flies are only active between May and September, with activity peaking in July-August. The flies overwinter as larvae and the larvae cannot transmit the disease. In addition, the flies normally travel no more than 200m to feed and are not likely to be moved long distances by wind, therefore infected flies do not spread far from the point of an infected horse. EIA is not spread by smaller flying insects such as midges and mosquitoes under normal conditions.

It is possible for disease to be transmitted by equipment that is contaminated, especially if this contamination is with blood, mile or maternal/placental fluid. Relevant equipment could include veterinary instruments, e.g. needles and scalpels, dental, obstetric grooming, tattooing, farriery and tack such as bridles. Good hygiene practices will reduced the risk of transmission by these routes to negligible.

EIA may also be spread by saliva, nasal secretions, faeces, semen, ova and embryos. However, the risk from these routes is low and can be mitigated by good hygiene measures.

Pregnant mares may pass the disease to their foals in the womb.

See our page on biosecurity for advice on how to help prevention of disease.

REDUCING THE IMPACT OF DISEASE

As a disease control measure, animals testing positive for EIA must be humanely destroyed. This is necessary for the welfare of the affected horse, but also to protect other horses from infection, as once infected, horses are infected for life and continue to pose a risk to other horses in close proximity.

Only animals that have tested positive for EIA will be destroyed; animals are not culled on suspicion. In addition, each animal that has been traced as a contact with infected animals will be kept under restrictions and tested until we are satisfied that it is not affected by the disease. Restrictions will be lifted when a veterinary risk assessment advises that the risk is low.

Further information

Code of Practice for Equine Infectious Anaemia (PDF 267KB) -on the Horserace Betting Levy Board website.

COLIC - 18:9:12

COLIC - learn what to do if it happens and how to take measures to avoid it.

The very word colic chills the heart of many horse owners. Find out more about this problem, learn what to do if it happens and how to take measures to avoid it.
The term 'colic' means a set of symptoms which indicate a degree of abdominal pain or 'pain in the belly'. There are many causes of such a pain and the result may be anything from a relatively mild attack to a very severe life-threatening attack, which may result in death.
Veterinary advice must always be sought as soon as any symptoms are observed; it is often difficult to diagnose the severity until a thorough examination has been carried out by a vet. Time is of the essence.
The passage of food through the gut
The horse's anatomy is a wonderful creation. However, although the gastro-intestinal tract or “guts” are similar to most other animals, the horse has a few unique design features which unfortunately predispose it to colic.
A horse's stomach is relatively small, in relation to the animal's overall size, and has a capacity of about 8-15 litres, which is well suited for an animal which grazes continuously in a natural environment. However for domesticated horses this can bring problems.
Following the initial digestion in the stomach, the matter passes through the small intestine: this is a long sausage-like organ, suspended from a membrane resembling a net-curtain, and the length is an incredible 22 meters with a circumference of a tea cup. It is in here that almost all absorption of the nutrients occurs.
At the entrance of the large intestine is the caecum, which is known as a “blind sac” and is rather like our own appendix - it is here where problems may occur. It only has one opening where the food is taken in, digested by microbes, then passed out of the same channel. Should any blockage occur in this opening the system gets backed up causing colic.
Under normal ie non-colic circumstances, once cleared of the caecum the matter enters the large intestine where further fermentation occurs and where wastes from the body are secreted in readiness for being passed from the body.
Below is a diagram to show the parts of the horse's disgestive tract
28b8f12309e9ac4afaade20e5d04ffc2 XL
1. Mouth
2. Pharynx
3. Oesophagus
4. Diaphragm
5. Spleen
6. Stomach
7. Duodenum
8. Liver(upper lobe)
9
.
Large colon
10. Caecum
11. Small intestine
12. Small colon
13. Rectum
14. Anus
15 Left kindney and ureter
16. Bladder
17. Uretha
Signs and symptoms of colic
* Lying down and getting up more frequently
* Rolling
* Thrashing about in the bedding and pacing the stable
* Pawing the ground – kicking at abdomen
* Turning head towards the flank
* Sweating, shivering and visible signs of anxiety in the eyes and face
* Increased heart rate (normal 36 – 42 per minute)
* Increased respiratory rate (normal 8-12 beats per second)
* Increased temperature (normal 99-101F)
* Straining to urinate or pass faeces
What to do
* Observe your horse for a few minutes and note all unusual physical and temperamental behaviour.
* If possible, and safe to do so, take their temperature, pulse and respiration.
* Are they eating and drinking and are there any recent droppings visible?
* Check that the gums are a normal colour and not pale, gently press on the gum to see if the colour comes back within two seconds.
* CALL for Veterinary assistance.
* If recommended by the vet, and it is safe and possible, walk the horse out onto a soft surface, if not ensure that the bedding is sufficiently deep to avoid any further injury to the horse whist rolling.
Ways in which to minimise the risk
* Always maintain a healthy mouth and teeth - the teeth are the primary start of the whole digestive process. The proper mastication of food and concurrent production of saliva assists the movement of the foodstuff along the tract and begins the carbohydrate digestion.
* Operate a regular and effective worming programme as parasite infestations can cause significant damage to the intestinal wall, ulcerations and perforations along the intestine, reducing its ability to act correctly.
* Maintain a well balanced and regular feeding schedule. Feed as good a quality food and forage as you can and do not over feed; small feeds fed regularly are more easily absorbed and dealt with by the gut than one or two big feeds.
* Allow as much turnout as possible to ensure a constant grazing culture, do not starve or over graze pastures as this may result in gorging when food becomes available.
* Ensure constant access to fresh clean water and monitor intake.
* Organise a routine for both the exercise and feeding of your horse. Sudden changes in diet or work load can upset the delicate balance of digestion.
* Observe your horse’s mannerisms, habits, visual persona and learn what suits them most, every horse is an individual and in order to do what is best for your horse learn to watch them at rest as much as you can.

RAGWORT WARNING - 14:8:12

PROPOSED HORSE BILL - 21:5:12

M.L.A. Sandra Overend intends to introduce a Private Members Bill in the Assembly later this year which will seek to reclassify the horse from a domestic to agricultural animal. This consultation stage is an opportunity for people with an interest in the sector to come forward and let their views be known.

To ensure the Bill is truly reflective of the desires from those involved in the industry, as well as those who are not, The M.L.A wants to open it up to as much discussion and wide a scrutiny as possible, Therefore, she would genuinely value your views.

To take part in the consultation please visit M.L.A Sandra Overend's website:   www.sandraoverend.co.uk or alternatively www.uup.org and click 'Policy Papers'.

ANIMAL WELFARE ACT CHANGES, in force from 2/4/2012

On Tuesday, March 20, the Northern Ireland Assembly approved the Permitted Procedures by Lay Persons Regulations (NI) 2012 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations (NI) 2012. These Regulations, made under the 2011 Welfare of Animals Act, will come in to operation on 2 April.

Codes of Practices for Dogs, Cats, Horses, Rabbits and non-human Primates have been prepared under powers in the Act and can be accessed at:

 http://www.dardni.gov.uk/codes-of-practice-for-non-farmed-animals

FULLdetails of the enforcement roles and repective contact points are set out at:

 http://www.dardni.gov.uk/welfare-of-animals-enforcement-roles   

Bonfire Night Advice from BHS

STEPS Booklet from BHS

The Scottish BHS & SPCA has kindly allowed us to make available to all users of the NISPG website their guide called STEPS (Strategy To Eradicate and Prevent Strangles).  To download the document please click on the link below:

STEPS

(The booklet is in a pdf format if you do not have Adobe Reader installed, it can be installed for free from:
ADOBE)


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