types of dog ears

Dog Ear Types

When looking at the world of dogs, one will notice that dog ears are all different shapes, sizes, and types. It is not that surprising when you think about it, considering the world of genetics.  It’s interesting to see how the best attributes of dogs have been used to create various breeds.  This has led to dogs with unique coats, personalities, and of course, ears. While many people are used to seeing erect or pendulous ears, there are many other types of ears in the dog world. Today, we are going to be looking at the wide world of dog ears as well as some of the terms that are used by dog clubs and fanciers to help decipher them. Here are just a few of them, but there are many more! 

Erect Ears 

Erect dog earsAs the name states, these types of ears are upright and point in an upwards direction. 

This is the typical ear position on many wolfish looking dogs such as Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, Belgian Malinois, and Samoyed. 

Smaller dog breeds that also feature upright ears include West Highland Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, and Norwich Terriers.

Many people have become fond of erect ears as they feel it gives the dog an intelligent yet alert look as well as bringing back the wolf look.

However, not all dog breeds feature naturally rigid ears. In many cases, breeders and owners have resorted to cosmetic surgery, called ear cropping. 

Great Danes, Boxers, and Dobermans that have erect ears were typically not born with those manufactured alert ears.  But, were instead generally born with floppy or semi-stiff ears; however, surgery has used to make them upright.

Drop Ears 

neosporin as a dog wound care productAs this name implies, drop ears are pendulous and hang down. Oddly enough, these types of ears are often most associated with the domestication of dogs. 

Back in 1923, Max V. Stephanitz, a famed German shepherd breeder, said that floppy ears are the sure sign of domesticated dogs (note: since wolves do NOT have floppy ears)

He believed that any dog that has lived in captivity has no need for ears that are going to provide extra security for protection against predators and to aid in the hunt. Eventually, he surmises, the ears lost their muscle and use and subsequently dropped down to the point where they are now. 

His thoughts were indeed proven when wild foxes were brought into captivity and bred for specific qualities and temperaments. Eventually, their erect ears began to flop, and their color began to change to something that would not easily camouflage in the wild.

Many people tend to gravitate towards dogs with drop ears because this gives the dogs a constant puppy-like look. Some typical breeds with drop ears include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

These specific breeds were built for swimming, and the drop ears help to prevent water from entering the ears. However, this look is not limited to these breeds and is quite common among most mixed breeds.

Bat Ears 

a dog with pointy earsAs we all know, bats have large ears for their size, which is where the name comes from for dogs with erect ears that are too big for their bodies.

The French bulldog is one breed that has bat ears, being wide at the base and much smaller at the top with a rounded edge.

Bat ears are one of the most distinguishing features of the French bulldog, and anything other than bat ears requires disqualification for the breed.

Rose Ears 

Rose dog earsIn essence, this is an erect ear; however, the skin does fold backward, which leads to the end part of the pinna to fall over to the side.

The name for this specific ear type is solely due to the shape of the ear, which resembles the petal of a rose.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that whippets must have ears shaped as roses that are small and fine in texture during a dog’s relaxed period.

In these specific breeds, moreover, erect ears are penalized by the AKC. Other breeds that feature rose ears are Italian Greyhounds and Greyhounds that have ears that are fine in texture and thrown back unless they are alert or excited.

Semi-Pricked Ears 

semi pricked ears on a border collieThese can also be found under semi-erect ears. This is for those dogs whose ears are in between erect and floppy. Dogs born with semi pricked ears have ears that are generally erect but tend to fold over at the tip. 

Dogs with these ears include Fox Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Collies. 

The American Kennel Club states that Border Collies can, in fact, have ears that can be either erect or semi-erect. Moreover, if they are semi-erect, the tips of the ears must fold either outward to the side of the ear or forwards.

Button Ears 

dog with button earsThese ears are literally as cute as a button. At first glance, these ears may look semi-pricked.  But, as opposed to bending at the tip of the ear, the skin fold is generally longer and covers more of the ear.

The name button ears come from the fact that the ear appears to slightly resemble a buttoned fold, as seen in the pocket of shirts. 

This ear type can be found on several breeds of dogs, such as the standard Pug.  The American Kennel Club states that the ears should be soft and look like black velvet. Two types are accepted, including button and rose, with the button being the most acceptable.

Other breeds that sport this type of ear include the Fox Terrier and Jack Parson Terrier. This style of ear was more than likely chosen when breeding since these dogs are used as tunnel hunters, and it helps to protect them.

Butterfly Ears 

Butterfly dog ear type

This ear type is typical with the Papillion breed. The butterfly ear is erect in nature and tends to move like that of the spread wings of a butterfly. However, you will not find every type of Papillion dog with this confirmation.

A typical litter will not show butterfly ears; many will have dropped ears. In this case, those born with dropped ears are known to have ears, which translates to moth-eared in French. While the phalene ear is in full flight,  it often appears as a moth fluttering in the air.

Candle-Flame Ears 

candle flame dog earsThis is a type of ear is only seen in the English Toy Terrier. As the name  implies, the ear looks similar to the flame of a candle. These are generally narrow and long erect ears.

The Kennel Club of the United Club states that this breed features candle flame ears that are erect and situated at the back of the head with pointed tips. 

Filbert Ears 

The Filbert Ear is another ear found only in one breed, and that is found on the Bedlington terrier. 

Filbert dog ears

This ear is triangular in shape and features rounded tips that feel like velvet. The most common trait of these ears is the small silky tassel found on the tip of the ear.

The name of this ear is derived from the word filbert, which generally means a nut in the hazel tree family.

Folded Ears 

folded ears on a dogThis is an extreme version of the drop-ear where the ears are long and have deep folds. These are ears that touch the ground, typically associated with Basset Hounds and Bloodhounds. These ears are generally found on those dogs that have been bred for tracking.

Their ears drag the ground, which helps to stir up scents and molecules, which are essential for tracking and picking up the right scent. These types of dogs were explicitly built for one task, and that is one in which they excel to this very day. In time, however, they have made the transition to being excellent home dogs for companionship and love.

Banixx Pet Care

No matter what type of ear your dog may have, Banixx is perfect for treating dog ear infections, hot spots, cuts, abrasions and more. Learn where you can find Banixx on our Where To Buy Banixx page.

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dog go without peeing

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Peeing?

One of the most common questions dog owners have is, “How long can a dog go without peeing?” As a dog owner who travels a lot with their pet, it is vital to determine when your dog needs a potty stop to relieve himself. It’s essential to be able to spot some of the signs that indicate potential health issues if your dog seems to pee more or less frequently than usual. This assumes that your dog is on a healthy diet and drinking enough water. So, is your dog’s peeing frequency average or irregular? Read on to find out.

How Often Should a Dog Pee?

Typically, canines pee about three to five times a day or every six to eight hours. Moreover, vets recommend taking your pup out to pee every six to eight hours to keep indoor ‘accidents’ from happening. However, several factors could affect a dog’s peeing habits. Diet, what your dog drinks, size, breed, and age are some of the things that will determine your dog’s peeing frequency.

Puppies tend to pee more often than full-grown dogs. This is because they have smaller urinary bladders, which can only hold small amounts of urine. Conversely, senior or older dogs might also have to pee more often due to age and some health conditions that older dogs may have. Furthermore, factors like the level of hydration, type of breed, and physical activity can also determine how often a dog needs to relieve itself.

Exactly How Long Can A Dog Go Without Peeing?

how long can a dog go without peeing?If you’re unable to let your pup out to pee after every six to eight hours, then you’ll be glad to know that dogs can hold their pee for ten to fifteen hours. However, forcing some dogs to hold their pee may lead to bladder or kidney problems. Well-trained canines can hold their pee for extended periods without accidents, but, while they can, it’s uncomfortable for them and could be detrimental to their health.

What Causes Dogs to Urinate Frequently?

Several things could cause a dog to urinate more frequently. Fear or sudden excitement may cause a dog to urinate suddenly. If this is the case with your dog, consider taking him/her to a vet as this may be a simple health issue or a sign of behavioral problems. Health-related problems that could cause a dog to urinate more frequently include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Polyuria and Pollakiuria
  • Liver disease
  • Lack of steroid hormone production
  • Diabetes
  • Tumors
  • Age
  • Side effects of medication
  • Overproduction of steroid hormones
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Behavioral or psychological problems
  • Side effects of some drugs
  • Hormonal disorders

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Pees Less Frequently than Normal?

dog with diarrhea but acting fineYes! If your pup is peeing less frequently than usual, he could simply be dehydrated, or there could be moderate to severe health issues. Once hydrated, if this unusual behavior of infrequent peeing continues, consider scheduling an immediate appointment with your vet. It’s the old adage, “better safe than sorry.” He’s your best friend and relies 100% on you for his health!

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Peeing Summary

So, in summary, even though an adult dog can go for a maximum of 10 to 15 hours without urinating, it’s preferable that you allow them to relieve themselves  every 6 to 8 hours. This applies to most every dog, excluding young pups (who need more bathroom breaks) whether you have a senior dog, a little dog, or a very large dog.

We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or hot spots, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.

Banixx is the trusted solution for cuts and wounds on dogs

two horses drinking water

Do You Know What’s In Your Horse’s Water?

Did you think that only humans should be concerned with the quality of their drinking water? If you answered yes to that question, you may want to reconsider. Not only is good quality water important to humans, it is both the number one nutrient fed to any animal, as well as the most often overlooked nutrient in the nutritional program of ANY species, including horses.

While there are many studies, guidelines, environmental regulations, requirements, and laws surrounding human drinking water, horses and other livestock usually have access to water that contains excessive levels of contaminates such as minerals, bacteria, algae, fertilizer, protozoa, and viruses. All contaminates can be dangerous, but some contaminates, depending on their composition and levels, can be deadly to your horses and other livestock.

horse foragingHorses, by weight, consume two to three times the amount of water as they do food. It’s not hard, therefore, to understand how the ingestion of contaminated water might negatively affect the health of your horse. Generally, horses should consume enough clean water daily to replace what they lose through sweat, urine, and feces. To retain essential electrolyte and nutritional balance necessary in all horses, but especially in the performance horse, particular attention should be paid to the amount of water lost through sweat during exercise.

Not so different from humans, sweating is an important factor in how your horse maintains its core temperature. In high temperatures, horses tend to eat less and drink more, but if the environmental humidity is high (over 80 percent), sweating will not effectively cool the horse, putting him at risk for overheating. Horses can lose up to three gallons of sweat per hour during normal exercise, but that amount can increase significantly depending on the level of exercise and other environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.

But there are other factors that contribute to proper water consumption levels for your horse other than their ambient environment (temperature and humidity) such as the quality, type and amount of feed, overall health of the horse, and physical activity levels. For example, under normal activity and weather conditions, the daily base level for proper hydration of a horse weighing 1,100 pounds would be approximately one gallon of water per 100 pounds of body weight, or 11 gallons of water per day. If, however, that same horse was in training for or participating in a performance event, he could easily need to consume a whopping 33 gallons of water per day to remain sufficiently hydrated !

Most Common Water Sources For Horses

horse drinking from a streamLet’s face it, unlike us, bottled water is NOT a common source of water for our horses. And although water filtration systems are commercially available that can be added to a barn from complex systems connected to a farm’s main water supply to simple charcoal filters attached to a hose, they may not be a practical addition for some barns. And then there are the pastures, paddocks, and natural streams or other groundwater sources that fill the better part of our horse’s day. The fact is, although we think we are providing our horses with clean, fresh water, this just may not be the case!

What Are Water Contaminants?

It would be impossible to list all of the currently known water contaminants, let alone ponder all of the possible considerations that have yet to be identified. Contaminants have, however, been identified in many forms and through a wide variety of sources that appear both randomly through nature and as a consequence of human-introduction, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

For example, minerals (produced through nature) are present in all water, but high concentrations of some minerals can cause chronic or even toxic effects in animals. For example, water containing less than 400 mg/L of nitrite is generally safe, yet levels in excess of 1500 mg/L may be toxic. In horses, however, nitrite is 10 to 15 times more toxic making levels of nitrite that exceed 30 mg/L potentially hazardous to your horse’s health.

horse drinking dirty waterLikewise, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), found most often in groundwater contaminated by fertilizer, contains toxins that can cause liver damage to horses and other livestock. Groundwater is also a common source for a variety of viral, bacterial, and protozoal contaminates that may cause serious health issues for your livestock and horses. And don’t let the clarity of most groundwater fool you. Although most groundwater will normally look clear and clean, it can be hiding both natural and human-induced chemicals. The process is a simple one. As groundwater flows through the ground it picks up naturally-appearing minerals from the soil such as iron and manganese, as well as human-induced contaminants such as pesticides, fertilizers, or remnants from leaking fuel tanks or toxic chemical spills to name a few. And bacteria may have also been introduced into the groundwater from such sources as leaking septic tanks or waste disposal sites.

Did you know that the taste of water is often determined by its mineral content, most notably chlorine, potassium and sodium, or that taste influences water consumption? So when minerals in your horse’s water supply get out of balance, the horse may instinctively respond by decreasing its water intake, which may in turn negatively affect many of its physiological functions.

Other examples of potential water contaminants include herbicides, pesticides, nutrients such as Chloride, which is chemically the same as the possibly toxic chemical chlorine, and even drugs, just to name a few. And the reactions may not be a direct correlation, but rather they may be complex and diverted. For example, water that is too high in nitrates can affect vitamin A and selenium absorption, which in turn can affect your horse’s effective use of vitamins D, E, or B complex. Nitrites can also cause displacement of oxygen on the hemoglobin molecule. This reaction reduces the transport of vital oxygen to the horse’s tissues, which eventually results in respiratory distress. And where do nitrites come from? In groundwater, the most common source of nitrite contamination is runoff of fertilizer and manure from agricultural land.

Even the amount of dissolved salts in water can be a contaminant in excessive quantities. Water with a salinity level up to 4,000 mg/L should be no problem for your horses. Drinking water with levels between 4,000 – 6,000 mg/L may produce some hesitation to drink by the horse, and even some diarrhea, but they should eventually adjust without any serious health issues. However, drinking water with salinity levels above 6,000 mg/L will most likely cause problems.

Management Tips For Healthy Horses and Clean Water

Water Test

horse water testingDrinking water for your horses and other livestock should be tested periodically for toxins, chloride, bacteria, and high levels of minerals.

A typical water analyses should include the following tests:

  • Total coliform bacteria
  • pH (acid or alkaline level)
  • Total dissolved solids
  • Total soluble salt
  • Salinity
  • Hardness
  • Nitrates
  • Sulfate
  • Other factors such as toxicity problems with specific minerals or pesticides, or occasionally, heavy algae growth

Commercial Filtration Systems

As mentioned earlier, there are numerous water filtration systems that are commercially available, but we all know that this solution may not be neither viable nor practical to many a horse owner. So what are some more practical steps you can take to help protect the integrity of your horse’s water quality?

Supplements and Treatments

Minerals can be fed individually or mineral supplements can be balanced to counteract imbalances in excessively mineralized drinking water. Homeopathic treatments, as well as herbal and nutritional supplements are available to aid in the detoxification process.

Pastures and Paddocks

Just remember that what’s good for the horse is good for the water. Maintaining an un-grazed vegetated border around streams will help protect the water from excessive heating, reduces trampling to help stabilize banks, and protects against manure polluting the water. The added vegetation will also serve as a filter strip for possible contaminants lurking in run-off.

Ways To Keep Your Water Clean

Erect fences to keep horses out of canals and ditches to protect the cleanliness of irrigation water that might drain into a nearby stream. Consider a hose pump or water trough to provide a safer source of drinking water for your horses.

Allow Grazing Between 8″ and 4″

horses eating grassGraze at 8, no more at 4….graze your horses in pastures when the grass is about 8” tall and remove them at 4” to allow the grass to re-grow. Over-grazed pastures contribute significantly to surface water run-off, soil erosion, and less forage. Instead of one large pasture, consider cross-fencing your pasture into smaller pastures so that you can rotate your horses, allowing each pasture some rest that allows not only the re-growth of grass, but also to allow any parasite larvae to die in the sun.

Harrow Your Pasture

Fifty pounds of manure! Yikes! That’s what an average 1000-pound horse produces PER DAY! That’s roughly 9 tons, or 6 pick-up loads per year. Harrow your pastures regularly to incorporate manure into the soil. This is important pasture management to help expose parasite larvae to sunlight and preventing bacteria and nutrients from seeping into groundwater. Without proper harrowing, horses tend to designate one area of the pasture as their “bathroom” and understandably under-graze it, while over-grazing others. Harrowing tends to promote more uniform grazing.

Provide Sufficient Drainage

To reduce mud and dust in your pastures, use sand, wood chips, or other acceptable fillers to provide sufficient drainage. Consider using gutters and downspouts on buildings to divert snowmelt and rainwater around your paddock while any run-off should be diverted toward vegetative filter strips if possible. A well-maintained paddock will have little to no contaminated run-off or groundwater.

Professional Assistance

horse stableRemember that water quality can be affected by conditions or events that occur far away from your farm, so be alert to your animals’ behavior. If you suspect that the water source for your horses or other livestock is causing health problems for the animals, seek veterinary assistance. Diagnostic testing may be necessary of the animals, as well as the water supply to properly evaluate the problem.

Summary

The BOTTOM LINE is that although the U.S. Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) provides recommendation regarding safe standards for livestock drinking water, there are no current regulations governing those recommendations. As of now, the quality of your horse’s drinking water is entirely in your hands.

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dog diarrhea

What To Do If Your Dog Has Diarrhea But Acts Fine

Diarrhea is never fun, and it’s always a symptom of something that’s not quite right with the intestinal tract. Your pup may or may not be bothered by it – many times, a dog will have diarrhea but act fine, as if nothing is abnormal. But when your dog has a bout of diarrhea, your antenna should go up and you should watch him closely to see if it’s a one-off or something that continues for days.

Is Your Dog Suffering From Chronic or Acute Diarrhea?

dog with diarrhea but acting fine

Chronic diarrhea is a condition that occurs regularly. If your dog experiences frequent bouts of diarrhea – even though you’ve tried various remedies – he may have an underlying medical problem that will need a veterinarian’s expertise to diagnose.

Acute diarrhea happens “out of the blue.” It’s a fairly common occurrence, usually caused by something introduced into your dog’s intestinal tract. Just think about how often your pooch eats or tastes something he finds outside – it’s not unusual for him to ingest something that will cause a gastrointestinal upset. Most of the time, the symptoms will go away on their own and the stool will return to normal without you having to do anything. But sometimes it’s necessary to get a vet’s input.

Dog Diarrhea Symptoms

Well, you THINK you know what diarrhea is, but it’s not always as obvious as you imagine:

  • Explosive, frequent, loose, watery stools are the most common signs for your dog.
  • Straining can be a sign, too. It’s not constipation, though it may look like it as he continues to try to defecate after the initial flow of diarrhea. Diarrhea disrupts your dog’s gastrointestinal system, so he may feel like he needs to constantly go, even when there’s nothing left in the system to eliminate. And straining is the result.
  • Other symptoms that can accompany diarrhea include fever, loss of appetite, dehydration and lethargy.

Dog Diarrhea Causes

Here are some of the possible culprits:

  • Your dog eats something she shouldn’t and it upsets her small or large intestines.
  • Parasites can easily get into your dog’s intestinal tract
  • Food allergies can cause stomach aches and other problems for your dog, even developing into inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • A bad reaction to a particular food item – especially a new food that has been introduced suddenly into his diet
  • Accidental poisoning can occur when your dog gets into chemicals or foods that are poisonous to canines.
  • Bacterial or viral infections can invade your dog’s system and keep him from absorbing nutrients properly
  • A blockage can happen if your dog eats something that gets lodged in her intestinal tract and causes diarrhea
  • Chronic illness, such as issues with the kidneys or liver, stomach or intestinal ulcers, colitis or hormonal imbalance
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Drug side effects from some canine medications
  • Stress. Just think about what happens to YOU when you have to speak in front of an audience! ‘Nuff said.

When To Start Worrying About Your Dog’s Diarrhea

cure for dog diarrheaIn most cases, a healthy dog that has diarrhea will have one “event” and then be done with it. If your dog seems fine afterward, simply keep a close watch to make sure the diarrhea goes away without any issues.

But if it goes on for longer, your dog may start showing other signs that things are not right. If your dog is small in size, old or a puppy, he is more at risk of becoming dehydrated after several bouts of diarrhea. If your dog acts fine but the diarrhea continues in recurrent bouts, see the vet about it. Take along a fecal sample so the vet doesn’t have to extract it; the sample is needed in order to determine if there is a bacterial or viral infection involved.

Even if he acts normally and doesn’t seem bothered by it, he may have an underlying condition that you should get checked out by your veterinarian.

And if your dog is passing blood in the stool, the stool is yellow or green, or if you notice weakness or lethargy along with the diarrhea, it’s time to go to the vet immediately.

What Can I Give My Dog For Diarrhea?

There are a few things you can do help your dog get back to normal. Make sure you consult with your vet before making major changes to your dog’s diet, and if your dog has a medical condition that’s causing the diarrhea, he/she may have some specific treatments to recommend.

  • Fast for 12-24 hours. If your dog got diarrhea from something she ate, this treatment gives your dog’s stomach a chance to rest and eliminate whatever bad stuff she ingested. Make sure you provide plenty of fresh water to prevent dehydration.
  • Bland diet. After that brief fasting period, feed your dog foods that don’t have any upsetting ingredients, such as commercially available bland dog foods, or your own concoction of boiled chicken, beef or turkey with white or brown rice. (Note that a change in diet can sometimes make the diarrhea come back, especially if a food allergy caused it in the first place). Offer the food slowly – divide the meal into four parts and feed your dog every 4-6 hours to avoid stomach upsets. If your dog’s stool improves, you can feed him two meals a day; keep that up until the stools are back to normal, then transition back to normal food.
  • Introduce probiotics and fiber. Talk to your vet about supplements that help generate healthy bacteria in your dog’s gut to promote good digestion. And there are good high-fiber supplements that can help regulate your dog’s system.

To conclude, diarrhea is a common problem but not one that you should ignore. If it doesn’t go away quickly by itself and persists more than a few days – even if your dog “acts fine’ – get to the vet. And don’t wait around to go to the doc if you start to notice other symptoms, such as loss of appetite, energy or other “sick” behavior. Your dog’s health and life could be at stake!

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Dog Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis In Dogs: Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?

Pink eye, or “conjunctivitis,” as it is medically referred to, is an eye condition that affects the conjunctiva and can be quite painful. The condition is a result of the conjunctiva becoming inflamed. The conjunctiva is the thin and transparent tissue that lines the inside part of the eyelid and lies over the white part of the eye. A lot of people, especially dog owners, wonder if canines can get pink eye. The answer is YES; they can!

There are several reasons why a dog’s eye(s) can become infected, and some of them include allergies, parasites, a foreign body entering the eye, bacteria, or even a virus. Since there are so many ways your dog’s eye(s) can become infected, there are several options when it comes to treating pink eye in dogs.

Dog Pink Eye Signs

As mentioned earlier, conjunctivitis, in both canines and humans, is when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed or irritated. The most common indicator of the condition is redness in one or both eyes, which is why it is called pinkeye. However, a canine’s eye is different from that of a human, in that the conjunctiva in dogs is a bit hidden. As a result, the telltale sign, which is redness of the eye, can easily be missed despite spending hours staring into your pup’s eyes. Nevertheless, several symptoms will let you know that your dog is suffering from conjunctivitis.

Dog Conjunctivitis Symptoms

Apart from bloodshot eyes or redness, other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Crustiness
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Unusual discharge from the eye (it can either be clear or might contain pus or mucous)
  • Squinting or excessive blinking
  • Swelling around the eye
  • Eyelids sticking together

If you see your pup consistently fussing with his eye(s), then consider taking him or her to the vet for a quick checkup. If you think that your dog has pinkeye but aren’t sure, make a point of taking him or her to a vet for a complete eye exam. That way, it will be easier to tell if he has conjunctivitis or any other eye disease. As a dog owner, there is one symptom that should always warrant a visit to the vet – and that is any behavior that is unusual of your dog, especially when it comes to his eyes. You know how your pup behaves when he is healthy and in good moods, so any strange behavior should not be ignored. It is a sign that something is not right with him.

What Causes Conjunctivitis in Dogs?

Conjunctivitis CausesConjunctivitis in dogs can be as a result of many things including:

  • Allergies
  • Injury to the eye
  • Parasites
  • A virus
  • Cancer
  • Bacteria like Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Haemophilus influenzae, or Staphylococcus aureus
  • KCS (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca), commonly referred to as canine dry eye. Just like our eyes, this problem impairs a pup’s natural ability to make tears, which are needed to keep the eyes lubricated.

Is Dog Pink Eye Contagious?

One of the most commonly asked questions concerning pink eye and dogs is if the condition is contagious and if a human can contract it from their canine friends and vice versa. After all, the condition is known for being extremely infectious. While there’s a lot of debate concerning these queries, like with most diseases, prevention is better than cure.

Dog conjunctivitis can either be non-contagious or contagious. The contagious kind is typically caused by a virus, parasite, or bacteria, while eye injury or allergies cause the non-contagious type. It is worth noting the infectious version of conjunctivitis is quite rare in dogs. Nevertheless, it is still highly contagious and can be spread through contact with an infected eye or discharge from an infected eye. Even less clear is if the disease is specific to certain dog species.

Can You Get Pink Eye From A Dog?

Can dogs contract pinkeye from humans? According to some veterinarians, humans can transmit pinkeye to dogs. As such, if you are currently suffering from conjunctivitis, make sure you keep your infected eye or its discharge away from your pet and wash your hands regularly! However, they aren’t that sure if humans can contract the condition from dogs, which means that they do not see “eye to eye” on this matter. When it comes to the transfer of pink eye from dog to dog, it is believed that the condition (especially if it caused by viruses, bacteria, and such) is highly contagious. Dogs, just like humans, spread the disease when they come into contact with eye secretions containing the pinkeye-causing virus or bacteria.

Routine Grooming and Care Can Help Keep Eye Infections at Bay

Proper grooming and care will lessen the possibility of your canine friend contracting conjunctivitis and other canine diseases. Proper care includes exercise, regular grooming, a good diet, and routine vaccinations. Also, neutering or spaying your pup will present him or her with plenty of benefits. As a pet owner, taking up routine care coverage provided by pet insurance will help keep the costs of regular checkups low. Another habit you should consider taking up is washing your pup’s face regularly to remove things that might lead to infections. Always make sure that you wash your hands after coming into contact with your pup’s food, water bowl, toys, and face.

Bacterial Versus Vital Pink Eye

Just like human conjunctivitis, bacterial pink eye in dogs can be hard to prevent, considering that bacteria are everywhere, and our eyes are bacteria magnets. Always make sure that the area around your pup’s eyes is clean. Also, make sure that you always remove any crusting around or discharge from his or her eyes. Most canines will have some crusting or discharge, so pay close attention to how your pup’s body works and be on the lookout for any unusual discharge.  You should also check to see if the color of your dog’s discharge has a different color from the normal discharge or if the discharge is more than usual.

Dog With Pink Eye

If your pup’s conjunctivitis is as a result of a bacterial infection, treatment will most likely include an antibiotic ointment or eye drops prescribed by his or her veterinarian. Administering your dog any type of medication, especially eye drops, can be quite challenging. To have an easier time administering eye drops to your dog, seek advice and tips from your vet. Also, remember to discuss treatment options since your vet can identify the best medication for your pup. Most antibiotic medicines can be administered in various forms, including pills, eye drops, and ointments.

Just like bacterial conjunctivitis, viral pink eye can be hard to prevent and could be the result of a respiratory infection or cold. The best protection against eye infections caused by viruses is ensuring that your pup stays healthy. Exercise and a proper diet will ensure that your pup’s natural immune, which is essential to their wellbeing, remains strong. However, if your pet is diagnosed with the condition, treatment will most likely involve the use of steroid eye drops and, in some cases, artificial tears to help keep his or her eyes clear of crusting or discharge. These medications will also go a long way in easing his or her discomfort as they kick in.

Dog Conjunctivitis Treatment

Your dog’s conjunctivitis is determined by how he or she developed the problem. If your vet prescribes eye drops, there are a couple of ways you can administer the medicine correctly and safely.

  1. Start by cleaning the area around your pup’s eyes.
  2. With a firm grip, hold your dog close to your body to restrict movement. You might need some help restraining him. Someone familiar, like a friend or family member, is ideal. Proper restraint shouldn’t harm your pup; in fact, it’ll help keep your dog from getting injured.
  3. Once you have restrained your dog, wrap an arm around the shoulder and use the other arm to lift his chin up so his eyes look upwards. With that hand, gently open the infected eye by pulling the lower eyelid downwards. This will create a pouch or “shelf” below his eyeball.
  4. Put the prescribed number of drops into the pouch while being careful not to touch the pup’s eye with the tip of the bottle.

Home Treatment For Dog ConjunctivitisOnce you are done administering the drops, let your pup go. His natural blinking and eye movement will spread the medication evenly over his eye(s.) Do not forget to wash your hands before and after you have administered the drug. Stay calm throughout the entire process. Canines are known to react to their owner’s moods. So, remember to approach the task with the right frame of mind, and your pup will automatically follow your lead.

Well, this might require a bit of practice as both you and your dog become used to the process. Remember to ask your vet for advice and always consider your dog’s size, age, overall demeanor, and health when administering medication. Do not let the challenges administering eye medication or drops present get in the way of you providing your dog the treatment he needs. Always make sure that you are administering the right dosage, so be attentive!

Allergy-Induced Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Some dogs will develop conjunctivitis due to an allergy. Ensure that you’re taking the right steps to keep your home free of pollen, dander, mold, dust, and any other thing that can trigger allergies. As a pet owner, identify things that trigger allergic reactions in your dog, such as smoke, plants, grass, foods, and perfumes. Also, do your best to keep your pup’s eyes free of dirt, dust, or any other thing that could irritate his eyes. If your dog’s pink eye is a result of an allergy, your vet will likely prescribe an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine drug plus artificial tears and steroid drops. A cold compress could also help relieve the irritation, especially if your dog’s pink eye caused by an allergy.

Eye Injuries

If your dog’s pink eye is the result of an injury, debris, or a foreign object affecting the eye, make sure you take him to a vet for examination to ensure that there’s no damage to his cornea. Cornea injuries are quite severe and can be cured with medication; however, if the case is quite severe, surgery might be required. It’s worth noting that pink eye medication could worsen corneal injuries and could lead to blindness. It is, therefore, essential that you consult your vet before administering any eye medication.

You should never diagnose and treat your pup unless you are qualified. It is also worth noting that human medication, and that includes eye drops, is not the same as medication for canines. Never treat your pup with medicine intended for humans without consulting your vet first. Using the wrong medication could cause significant damage, pain, and even blindness.

Chronic Conjunctivitis

Pink Eye Treatment For DogsAfter the problem has been diagnosed and a treatment plan has been laid out, make sure that you follow the instructions provided by your vet to the letter. Also, do your best to make sure your dog does not scratch, paw, or rub the affected eye. Since your dog will naturally want to do this, consider using a cone to keep him from injuring himself. Chronic conjunctivitis will, in some cases, require additional diagnosis by a vet, especially if there’s no apparent cause for the flare-up. In order to determine what is causing the problem, a bit of investigation will be required on your part – this may include recording day-to-day information and trying to find out what could have caused the infection. This information can help your vet identify the right treatment plan. Chronic conjunctivitis can lead to more severe problems as deeper layers of your dog’s eyes are affected. Recurring chronic pinkeye could also damage other parts of your dog’s eye(s), not to mention the discomfort your dog experiences every time a bout of pink eye sets in.

How Long Does Pink Eye Last For Dogs?

Regrettably, conjunctivitis in dogs is quite common. Furthermore, your pup might be suffering from conjunctivitis in one or both eyes; so, do not be fooled if the symptoms only appear in one eye. In most of the cases where the condition affects both of your dog’s eyes, the cause is often a viral infection. When the problem only affects one eye, the cause is most likely a dry eye, an infected tear duct, or an irritation. In most cases, once treatment commences, improvements will be seen within a matter of days; however, for some cases, it could take up to three weeks for your pup to recover fully. The good thing, though, is that your dog will experience some relief almost immediately after the medication has been administered.

Vulnerable Dog Breeds

It is worth noting that some dog breeds are more susceptible to contracting pink eye than others due to their physicality or hereditary factors. Cocker Spaniels and Poodles are congenitally predisposed to pink eye and should, therefore, be tested for the condition early, even before the symptoms start to appear. Other breeds such as Pekingese and Pugs are susceptible to contracting pink eye due to how their faces are structured. Their facial features leave their eyes vulnerable to irritants and foreign bodies in the air. Such breeds require closer and specialized attention just to keep them from contracting conjunctivitis and other eye diseases.

Fortunately, most breeds will completely recover as long as they are diagnosed and treated before the disease advances. In severe cases, affected dogs might be left with scars, permanent eye damage, and may even lose their eye(s.) Like with all pet diseases, early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential. As a pet owner, do not let an easily treatable condition go unchecked, or your pup will, soon, be saying “eye told you so.”

 

Banixx is the trusted solution for cuts and wounds on dogs

monistat for dogs

How To Use Monistat as a Dog Ear Yeast Infection Treatment

dog ear mites vs yeast infectionWhen a dog continues to scratch at its ears for extended periods, it is quite possibly because your pet has an ear infection. Different infections can occur inside the ears, causing discomfort for dogs. Some of these infections are caused by ear mites, while others are caused by bacteria or fungus. Dogs with large, floppy ears have a diminished airflow as compared with their short-eared counterparts that can lead to excess moisture in their ears. If there is a lot of moisture present, fungus may begin growing and, this may lead to an ear yeast infection.

If your dog does have a yeast infection in its ears, you could take your pet to the veterinarian to get a prescription cream.  Alternatively, or you could use Banixx, which is readily available at most local feed stores.  If you cannot find Banixx locally, it is readily available via online retailers such as Chewy, Amazon, Jeffers Pet or Valley Vet. While we feel these types of treatments are the best solution, there are a lot of people online that wonder if you can also use Monistat for treating the yeast infection in your dog’s ears. Monistat is a product that is commonly used by women with yeast infections, but is it a product that you can safely use on your dog?

What You Need to Know About Dog Ear Yeast Infections

Dogs can get yeast infections in their ears as well as other parts of their bodies, including their paws and toes. Yeast can develop here because these spots on a dog’s body provide the perfect amount of warmth and moisture. Some yeast infections in dogs are more evident than others. Your dog’s skin could start to look slightly pinkish. Your dog might even have an odor that resembles the smell of a tortilla chip. If the yeast is present inside the ears, you will usually notice your dog scratching at the ears and rubbing the ears against objects inside your home to obtain relief. Although it is uncomfortable for your dog, a yeast infection is generally pretty easy to treat in the early stages.

Using Monistat as a Dog Ear Yeast Infection Treatment

dog ear yeast infection treatment monistatMonistat is an over the counter (OTC) product that you can easily find at most drugstores. The product is known for being a yeast infection cream that you can purchase without a prescription. It effectively eliminates yeast infections because of its active ingredient, miconazole. Women can buy this product when they have a yeast infection to clear it up in several days. Although it is commonly used by women, the active ingredient in Monistat is also safe for dogs. When used correctly, you can often clear the yeast infection from your dog’s ears by using this topical cream.

Before using Monistat, contact your veterinarian to ask questions about using this product to treat the yeast infection. If you decide that you are unable to visit the veterinarian for treatment, you can follow these simple directions to treat your dog with the Monistat cream safely. Make sure you are mixing the cream with hydrocortisone cream. You should use the same amount of both creams. The reason you want to add hydrocortisone cream to the Monistat cream is that it will help relieve your dog’s excessive itchiness.

miconazole for dogs earsAfter combining the two creams, you will notice it has a thick consistency. Add several drops of water to the blend of these two creams to make it slightly thinner, add it to a dropper, and then carefully squirt the mixture into your dog’s ears. Use this home remedy treatment for a week to get rid of the yeast infection for good. If the problem does not subside despite the constant use of both the Monistat and hydrocortisone cream, you will need to bring your dog to the veterinarian’s office.

Make sure you are using Monistat when selecting an over-the-counter cream to treat your dog’s yeast infection. Do not mistake this product for another product on the market, such as Vagisil. While Vagisil can relieve itching, it is not formulated to eliminate fungus (yeast is a fungus), so it’s not useful for your dog’s yeast infection.

Is There Anything Better Than Monistat For a Dog Ear Yeast Infection?

Banixx Anti-Fungal Anti-Bacterial SprayIf you are trying to avoid a visit to your veterinarian, there is an over-the-counter treatment that we highly recommend.  It may be time for you to give Banixx Pet Care a try. Banixx is available from most local pet stores or on-line and can be used to treat much more than ear infections. Banixx is an effective treatment for dog ear infections, hotspots, ringworm, yeast infections, wounds, itchy skin, and more because it’s not only anti-fungal (think..Yeast) but also anti-bacterial. 

Banixx is a topical solution that works by controlling the pH level of the infection; its presence creates an environment that is totally hostile to the growth of bacteria or fungus. Unlike other medicinal products available, Banixx has absolutely no smell.  Your dog will significantly appreciate this factor, considering their nose is 1,000 times more sensitive than our own.

Banixx also doesn’t burn or sting your dog when you apply it, so they don’t fear the application. This is so important when one considers that a dog will do anything they can to avoid a medicine that stings and burns when you put it on him.

Find a store near you that carries Banixx by visiting our Where To Buy Banixx page.

treatment for dog ear infections

horse trailer safety tips

Horse Trailer Safety Checklist

Equine Trailer Safety Checklist

  • You should always assess your horse for its health and fitness prior to trailering.
  • Only trailer a fully healthy horse, unless it’s going to a vet hospital to get treatment.
  • Be sure your trailer is of proper size for the horse in question in terms of both height and width.
  • Learn how to haul the trailers safely prior to loading your horse. Also, inspect the whole trailer prior to each trip.
  • Avoid traveling alone anytime that you can do so.
  • If you’re hauling somebody else’s horse inside your trailer, then make arrangements in advance to determine who is going to be held responsible should the trailer get damaged or the horse injured.
  • Train the horse to both load and unload safely and calmly ahead of time.
  • Use a helmet, boots, and gloves whenever you load or unload horses.
  • Be sure that there aren’t any hazards near your horse trailer, such as ditches, fencing, or farm machinery, whenever you load or unload horses.
  • Apply both a head bumper and leg wraps prior to the horse getting into the trailer.
  • Never put your horse into an unhitched trailer. Also avoid unhitching a trailer that still has a horse remaining inside it.
  • Should the trailer be dark inside, first open the doors and then turn lights on in order to increase the visibility.
  • Never start loading a horse into a trailer if you’re missing an easy potential escape route.
  • Anytime you are loading a single horse, do so on the left side. Alternatively, tie on the trailer’s left side for slant loads, since roads get ‘crowned’ in the middle.
  • If you are unloading multiple horses from your trailer, be sure that least one of the horses is in sight of the last horse until they are all unloaded safely.
  • Never open the trailer door or get into the trailer when the horse is spooked or panicked. You should get assistance instead.
  • Be sure that you are carrying all the right certificates and you have all the current inoculations.
  • Include a comprehensive emergency first aid kit, one that works for both humans and horses. Also, know how to use it.
  • Be sure your trailer has snug-fitting and proper mats, as well as good ventilation.
  • Verify that all trailer doors have been locked and secured before you set out. Also, check them again after every stop.
  • Make sure that your trailer has sufficient reflective tape on the sides, top, and bottom.
  • Always drive defensively. Leave at least twice the normal braking distance, and always travel at slower than normal speeds.

horse trailer

Safe Trailering Checklist

You should do a good walk around of your trailer prior to any trip to ensure everything is in proper working order.

Your horse trailer should have the following:

  • Two flashlights. One should be a portable spotlight or large Maglite. The other one should be a headband flashlight.
  • Two spare tires.
  • Disposal bags, broom, and shovel.
  • Sponges and buckets.
  • Electrical and duct tape.
  • Emergency flares or triangles.
  • First aid kit for both human and equine needs.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • A hydraulic jack capable of jacking the whole trailer when loaded.
  • Knife.
  • Lug wrench.
  • Portable fencing, or just a roll of construction fencing.
  • Spare bulbs for any of your lights.
  • Spare lead ropes and halters.
  • Water.
  • WD-40.
  • Wheel chocks, which are wedges to keep accidental movements from happening.

The following are needed for your tow vehicle:

  • Trailer and vehicle registration.
  • Roadside assistance membership and proof of insurance.
  • Gloves.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Spare tire, tire iron, and jack.
  • Tool kit which includes spare hoses, belts, fuses, and wiring.
  • Tow chain.
  • Map book or GPS device.

horse trailer walkaround

Doing A Horse Trailer Walkaround

  • Be sure you’re within your gross vehicle rated capacity.
  • Your tires are in great shape.
    • This includes wheel bearings serviced in the last 12 months.
    • You lug nuts are good and tight.
  • Verify the tire pressure of all of your tires, which includes the inside ones.
  • Be sure that your trailer hitch has been secured to the vehicle frame, rather than the bumper.
  • Be sure your ball size is proper and that the ball has been secured tightly to the ball mount.
  • Make sure your hitch is lubricated and in sound condition without showing any obvious signs of wear and tear.
  • Verify the hitch has been properly seated onto the ball and also locked. You should be able to feel the clamp that’s around the ball bottom if the coupler is properly connected.
  • Confirm that any safety chains are connected appropriately underneath the hitch.
  • Your trailer jack should be fully removed or retracted.
  • The electrical connection is both the correct one and connected properly.
  • Make sure that the emergency breakaway system has also been connected right.
  • Verify that the breakaway battery has been charged.
  • Be sure that all the trailer rights are functional, including turn signals, running lights, brake lights, and perimeter lights.
  • Your interior lights should have safety cages around them to give them protection from the heads of the horses.
  • Be sure your brake controller is functional.
  • Your trailer should be sitting level.
  • Make sure you have tight-fitting mats on the floor and that they’re in good condition.
  • Check out the trailer for hazards like rough edges, loose wiring, butt bars/chains which don’t close right, door locks that won’t lock or are hard to open, or chains which don’t open properly.
  • Every horse gets a head bumper and leg wraps.

Treating scratches with Banixx

dog ear mites vs yeast infection

6 Dog Ear Infection Home Remedy Tips

If you go on the internet and search for home remedies to take care of your dog’s ear infection, you’ll find all kinds of advice and recommendations – some good and some bad. We have seen everything from hydrogen peroxide, and apple cider vinegar to lemon juice and oatmeal proposed. Some suggestions can be beneficial – but you need to go slow before trying any of these remedies. The following are our Top 6 Tips for determining if you should try a home remedy or not.

6 Dog Ear Infection Home Remedy Tips

  1. Not all websites are alike. Many people who are proponents of homeopathic medicine are not really qualified to talk about the medical benefits of a remedy – they’re just enthusiastic “believers.” Go with websites like Pet MD, Banixx or Vet Info, who have the expertise and/or clinical backgrounds or contributors. Beware of websites whose main purpose is to sell homeopathic remedies for your pets.
  2. Benadryl For DogsWhile many products found in the home are benign, some may actually cause harm. For instance, did you know that the Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve you give your dog for pain can cause kidney or liver failure in your dog? (see here). Or that hydrogen peroxide is caustic and destroys the very cells (fibroblasts) that are needed to heal a wound (find out more here)? Make sure you do your research to find out about side effects in case of overdose or improper application.
  3. Don’t try it just because it’s “cheaper.” It’s natural to want to use something that’s already in your kitchen or medicine cabinet – but if it doesn’t work or it hurts your dog, you’ll be spending money on veterinary bills eventually. If you can’t afford a vet, here are some tips that should help.
  4. Many home remedies don’t work as well as proven drugs or pet products. There are very few clinical studies on homeopathic solutions in pets, and little scientific evidence of their efficacy. If you have a friend who tried something, and it worked for their dog’s ear infection, it might or might not work for your dog. Our recommendation is to temper your expectations.
  5. Using coconut oil to treat dog hot spotsHow messy do you want to get? Your dog might hate the smell/sting of a home remedy application (like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide); or she might LIKE it too much – like coconut oil, and lick it off immediately. With some remedies, the application might include drenching your pet in the stuff, enduring a shower as your dog shakes it off, or dealing with greasy ointments that collect dirt and rub off on furniture.
  6. ALWAYS be prepared to take your dog to the vet if the home remedy doesn’t work. And don’t wait too long to see if it works – if it hasn’t had a positive impact in a couple of days, it’s not working.

In other words, be CAUTIOUS and SMART when trying a home remedy on your dog’s ear infection.

Best Home Remedy For a Dog Ear Infection

And if you haven’t tried Banixx yet, we highly recommend you give it a go. You can buy it online or in local pet stores and use it at home whenever you need it. There are lots of uses for Banixx, but we feel its hands down the best dog ear infection treatment on the market.

treatment for dog ear infections

Other Home Remedies For Dog Ear Infections

We’ve done a little of the work for you in researching certain home remedies for ear infections, hot spots, pain, and more. Visit our blog to learn more about the following home remedies for dog ear infections:

Feeding Horse Grass Clippings

Can I Feed My Horse Lawn Mower Grass Clippings?

The short answer is: NO!

If you mow your pasture and leave behind grass clippings that dry in small, airy amounts, generally speaking, that is probably not a problem for your horse. But, gathering the clippings into piles, and feeding them to your horse in larger amounts will cause problems.

Why Lawn Mower Grass Clippings Are Bad For Horses

  • horse foragingAs we explained in a previous blog post on horse colic, your horse’s digestive system is sensitive. His stomach is relatively small, so he needs to eat small amounts over an extended period of time in order to digest properly. Your horse doesn’t know this, of course, so if he’s presented with a tempting pile of grass clippings, he will dig in and eat them quickly – clogging up his system and possibly resulting in a dangerous case of colic.
  • Also stated in our blog on colic, adding grass clippings to your horse’s diet can upset the delicate balance of microbes in your horse’s gut. Again, colic might rear its ugly head.
  • If you stick your hand in a pile of lawn clippings, you’ll notice how warm they are. That’s because they’re fermenting! Because the lawnmower has already chopped them up, your horse doesn’t need to chew them before swallowing them. This by-passes the important step where saliva gets mixed in with food. Saliva helps dilute acids created by the fermenting process. When a horse eats grass clippings, the grass arrives in the stomach already fermenting, and the gases that are given off can expand to the point where they result in a bad case of colic, or, even rupture the stomach.
  • Grass ClippingsA pile of mounded grass clippings can encourage mold to form – this is not good for your horse, it can lead to colic, and/or diarrhea.
    Horses are very sensitive to poisonous plants. When they are eating in a pasture situation, they naturally avoid the plants and any garden waste that are toxic. But lawn mowers have no such instincts – all the clippings get mixed in together. So your horse, in his haste to eat something that has already been chopped for him, is not able to discern whether there are any toxic weeds mixed in. Since horses do not have a mechanism for vomiting contents from their stomachs, he has no way to remove the toxins once they have been ingested. This can end up as a huge vet bill for you and/or the possible loss of your horse
  • In addition to all facts previously mentioned, there’s little air inside the warm piles of grass clippings; this potentially leads to botulism forming– and THAT can be deadly for your horse. Botulism is difficult to treat, and it can cost in excess of $3,000 per horse. This particular antitoxin is really most beneficial if you use it when your animals first start showing symptoms. The clinical signs of botulism are similar to other causes of central nervous infections (loss of coordination, tremors, inability to eat). Accordingly, the diagnosis is not clear-cut. With the right amount of care, a horse can recover from this but, if they happen to get exposed to a large amount of this toxin, there is a good chance that most will die despite treatment.
  • Lawn grass is not the same as pasture grass. It generally receives more chemical treatments such as fertilizers and weed killers. And, if you have other pets, there may be urine and feces intermingled. None of this is beneficial to your horse.
  • A horse that’s presented with a “treat” of grass clippings may gulp it down too quickly – and it may stick in his throat, causing “choke,” a condition that will require veterinarian care.

Are those enough reasons to persuade you from feeding grass and lawn clippings to your horse? Better safe (with a treat of carrot or apple) than sorry!

Banixx For Horses

Learn more about Banixx and how it can be used to treat rain rot in horses.

horses

Caring For Your Horse: 9 Tips For Preventing Colic

Your beloved horse may be big, strong, and proud – but her digestive system is sensitive and requires tender loving care. A case of equine colic – or severe abdominal discomfort – could be just around the corner, as every horse is susceptible. Its effects range from merely passing gas to experiencing extreme pain and threatening her life. In fact…

Horse Colic Is the Number One Horse Killer

Horse ColicEquine colic takes many forms, but generally, you can tell if your horse might be on the road to colic if you observe any of these symptoms:

  • Frequently looking at, and/or biting or kicking her flank or belly
  • Pawing at the ground
  • Rolling or wanting to lie down continuously
  • Little or no evidence of manure having passed
  • Excessive sweating
  • Manure appears dry or mucous-covered
  • Lack of appetite
  • Change in drinking behavior
  • Frequent attempts to urinate
  • High pulse rate (over 50 beats per minute)
  • Off-color mucous membranes (evidenced by examining gum tissue)

If you suspect your horse has colic, get immediate help from a veterinarian. This is not something you want to fool around with – even if the signs are vague, call in the expert for diagnosis and treatment. Too many times, an owner decides to wait for more concrete proof of colic and loses valuable time. Your chances of saving your horse from death increase exponentially the quicker you are able to get a vet on site to treat her.

Prevention Is The Best Answer

Not all colic can be prevented – but you can take steps to decrease the chance your horse will have to suffer from it. Here are nine proven tips for keeping your horse healthy:

1. Let Him Forage

horse foragingThe stomach of the horse is small in relation to his size; it only takes up 10% of the capacity of the digestive system. Because of this relatively small stomach, a horse naturally eats small amounts of roughage – continuously. Just watch your horse out in the field – he seems to eat without stopping, but if you watch long enough, he will take breaks where he stands like a statue. Domestication has changed this for many horses, particularly if they are stall-kept.  

Your horse is designed to eat grass and hay as part of a high-fiber, low-starch diet. Try to make this type of natural roughage the bulk of his diet, limiting the grains and energy-dense supplements that can upset the gut’s delicate bacterial balance. For every pound of grain or corn, the colic risk increases by 70%. Think about that one! 

Of course, some horses are expected to eat large amounts of grain and are fed once or twice a day to suit our lifestyle along with some hay. This can cause “traffic jams” in his digestive system due to the lower roughage content that may lead to upset and then, potentially, colic. If you do need to enhance his diet with concentrates, feed them to him in small amounts and more frequently. This allows slow and steady digestive action and helps prevent overloading your horse’s digestive system.

Foraging behavior is also important for the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract. The chewing process itself produces large amounts of saliva that help to buffer the acid that is produced in the horse’s stomach. Excess stomach acid can lead to stomach ulcers that produce pain and discomfort. This discomfort/pain may lead to a sub-standard performance on his part and/or a hostile attitude from him to his owner.

2. Don’t change your feeding program frequently or quickly

As we noted, your horse’s stomach is sensitive. Not all horses are affected equally, but a sudden change in what you feed him could upset the microbes in his intestine – and result in colic. If a change is needed, convert him gradually to a different diet over 7-10 days. For example, if he is exposed to a new type of hay, try to mix it in gradually, over several days, with the hay he is used to eating. A consistent feeding program is very beneficial in avoiding equine colic.

3. Make sure your horse has access to fresh, clean water

two horses drinking waterHorses that don’t have access to water for 1-2 hours increase their risk of colic. In winter, horses naturally drink less (they don’t like ice cold water, or the water in the trough is frozen) – so we recommend that you make sure automatic waterers and other water sources have free flowing water. If possible, in colder climates, install heaters especially designed for horse water tanks/troughs, so that your horse has access to tepid temperature water. This will help to ensure he drinks adequately. 

4. In areas with sandy soil, avoid putting hay on the ground

barn fire orevention hayIn geographic areas where the soil is very sandy, it’s easy for horses to ingest sand along with hay. This can cause a problem since it does not move easily through the digestive tract and may end up ”sitting” in the horse’s large intestine. Large amounts of sand can cause impaction or blockage and lead to colic. 

If putting hay on sandy soil is unavoidable, institute a good sand-elimination program. Discuss this with your vet and do your own research. It’s not difficult or expensive to administer, but the alternative – a trip to an equine hospital for sand colic surgery – is certainly expensive. Although many horses recover well, there are no guarantees with surgery and no guarantees that your horse will return to his active life for quite a while after surgery.

5. Make sure your horse gets exercise every day

treating horse colicMoving around helps stimulate the digestive system; it’s how nature has designed the horse. Horses that stand in stalls run a higher risk of colic due to inactivity. It doesn’t have to be a lot of exercise – just a regular turn out for her out into the pasture, for as long as you are able, is often enough to keep things going in the digestive area. In addition, a longer warm up and cool down before and after work are beneficial. If your horse is stall-kept, try to get her out for some sort of exercise every day.

6. Control parasites

Horses that are on a regular de-worming program are less likely to colic. Worms attach themselves into the lining of your horse’s stomach or intestines and wreak havoc with your horse’s health. They may “steal” the food that your horse needs (for their own survival) and even attach to your horse’s blood flow, disturbing it and robbing your horse of essential nutrients that are carried by the blood system. 

Consult your vet with help in this area; there are many factors that may put your horse at even more risk. Many owners maintain a program of removing manure from fields several times a week, as horses graze near the piles and may ingest worms in the process. This is particularly important in restricted grazing areas. In general, horses are thought not to graze in heavy manure areas, but there are exceptions, and in small paddocks it’s impossible to avoid.

7. Provide routine dental care

Your horse should have regular dental check-ups and have his teeth “floated” (filing down any sharp points) to ensure he can grind his food properly along with making sure that he has no bad or infected teeth that may require removal. A horse with sharp points on his teeth (and this happens to every horse at one time or another!) will not forage or eat well due to the associated pain. Be sure to obtain the services of a highly recommended professional. Some horses need higher maintenance than others; some can be seen successfully just once a year. As your horse ages, the dental maintenance becomes particularly important, because if your horse has lost weight due to her inability to eat or chew well, it’s difficult to get the weight back on. 

8. Reduce your horse’s stress

If your horse has to deal with changes to her environment or workload, it can cause intestinal disturbances. This really comes into play if a lot of traveling is involved, as is the case with race or show horses. Stress varies from horse to horse or breed to breed. Keep your horse’s forage level high and check with your veterinarian regarding either supplements and/or medication that help with a high stress routine or life change.

9. Monitor your horse yourself as much as possible

Schedules and situations don’t always allow it – but the more you’re around your horse, the more you’ll be able to ensure these preventive tips are being followed. Let’s be honest: No one knows your horse like you do, and no one has a vested interest as deep as you do, so the better you know your horse, the quicker you’ll be able to recognize subtle differences in behavior and signs of impending colic. 

And now there’s one additional tip:

10. No matter how well you follow Tips 1-9, your horse may still get colic – every horse owner’s nightmare!

horse outsideIt is the experience and opinion of many veterinarians and horse professionals (who have all been there!): Get Help NOW!

The longer you wait, the less likely it is your horse will have a good outcome. Veterinary medicine has come a long way in treating colic, but once your horse has passed a certain point, it doesn’t matter if you have the best vet in the world – there just may be no good answer for you or your horse.

So if you see any symptoms or the thought “colic” crosses your mind when you observe your horse – bring in the vet immediately. 

Banixx For Horses

Learn more about Banixx and how it can be used in treating pigeon fever in horses.