Winter Laminitis

Dr. Sammy Pittman is a renowned farrier and veterinarian – and an expert in the field of equine podiatry. Here, he offers some of his best advice for navigating winter laminitis.

By Jenn Webster

Laminitis is considered one of the emergencies of the equine world. In serious situations, the condition observes the inflammation or tearing of the sensitive and insensitive laminae away from one another in the horse’s foot. Worst-case scenarios involve the displacement or rotation of the coffin bone in the foot. If the horse can move when it occurs, the horse’s movement will be stiff and stilted, a higher digital pulse can be felt in its feet and the feet may be hot to the touch. The horse’s heart rate may also be elevated and the same with its respiratory rate. It’s an urgent situation that requires immediate attention and whatever care the horse receives in the beginning stages can determine how well the horse recovers from the condition.

Laminitis can be caused by retained placentas, hoof concussion or too much grain or lush grass. Other factors may include colitis or colic, or long term weight-bearing on a single leg. Commonly, laminitis is observed in warmer months when the horse is at full use, however laminitis may also be seen in winter months when horses are turned out to pasture or are on a break from their regular schedule.

“Laminitis can occur in the winter months for all the same reasons it does at other times of the year, but there may be additional risk factors contributing to it during colder weather,” says Sammy Pitman, DVM and owner of Innovative Equine Podiatry (IEPVS) in Collinsville, Texas.

When laminitis strikes to the point of coffin bone rotation, the coffin bone is no longer securely anchored within the hoof. In this x-ray, you can see the angle of the coffin bone is no longer parallel to the angle of the hoof wall. CREDIT: Moore Equine.

Dr. Pittman has been a farrier for 20 years and a veterinarian for 17 years. His passion is all about equine podiatry, with a large focus on laminitis, founder, thin soles, navicular, foal limb development, angular limb deformities and more. His business is concentrated 100 per cent on equine lower limb and hoof problems and he has proven to be an invaluable resource for horse owners, and other veterinarians and farriers across the globe. As Dr. Pittman is based in Texas, one might wonder how knowledgeable this vet/farrier would be about equine podiatry in colder climates. Having lived near Anchorage, Alaska, for over two years, Dr. Pittman fully understands the effects an extremely cold climate can have on horses.

With his years of experience underneath the horse as a farrier and working as a veterinarian, Dr. Pittman gives us a better understanding of winter laminitis so we may be able to prevent this debilitating disease during cold weather. Read on for his thoughts and advice for keeping your horse comfortable this winter.

Winter laminitis is by definition, the same as regular laminitis – however, there may be other contributing factors leading to its occurrence in colder weather.

“It shapes up the same ways it does during other times of the year,” says Dr. Pittman. “But, going into the fall and winter months, there is a natural rise in the cortisol levels of the horse that creates more insulin resistance. Add that to decreased activity and the fact that the horse is not engaging its muscles and glucose levels as well, there are more stressors that can lead to laminitic changes.”

Dr. Pittman believes that the changes in cortisol levels are relative to seasonal and daylight changes. “In my mind, it’s something that changes the horse’s metabolism in the winter and helps them to grow hair and is a natural thing that happens to them. But for horses that are already high in cortisol and when they get a little more stimulation – then it’s problematic. It all depends on how high that horse is in cortisol before the seasonal rise occurs.”

Decreased activity, which usually happens when horses are turned out for the winter season, or if the owners are just not working their horses as often, means the horse’s muscles are not engaging glucose levels as well as they usually do.

“Exercise is important, especially as the muscles are the organs that play the very important role in managing insulin and glucose levels,” says Dr. Pittman. “So if those levels tend to creep up a bit and the horse is overweight, then add in the stress of winter and the natural changes in cortisol levels – combined with owners not decreasing feed relative to the decreased exercise – and it’s a perfect storm.”

With all these things going on, it’s easy to understand how laminitis can occur in the horse in wintertime. Although, Dr. Pittman explains that the condition is not specific to a time frame or season or the role the weather plays.

“It’s more the fact that there are all these added stressors during the fall and winter. It would be hard to pinpoint laminitis on any one thing. If it happens, it’s likely a combination of all those factors involved,” he states.

Moisture can be a problem for horses in the winter, Dr. Pittman explains. “In Alaska, it’s a big problem. The excessive moisture from snow in the winter can break down the sole of the horse’s foot and make the wall less durable. The wall and sole become ‘flexible’ and are not quite as supportive for the weight of the horse, as we would like.”

In these cases, Dr. Pittman says the horses present as though they do have laminitis – but not entirely.

“In Alaska, we saw a lot of horses where we weren’t sure if they were experiencing inflammation of the laminae or breakdown of the laminar bond. But the moisture was causing more of a weakening of the hoof capsule. So the hoof capsule became more bendable – not a rigid structure – and that would allow the weight of the horse to smash the sole of the foot,” he explains. “But the horse wouldn’t have any physical rotation of the bones of the hoof that would usually occur with laminitis. Once we got the feet dried out, the horse would return to normal without long-term complications.”

Another consideration to keep in mind is the type of ground the horse is standing on when winter weather – specifically, snow and moisture – occurs. Moisture creates mud, which is not always a healthy environment for hooves, as it can cause painful abscesses in the horse’s foot. However, moisture on top of an abrasive paddock surface is not good either as it can lead to the degradation of the hoof wall.

When it comes to the cold and snow, there is also another theory that involves the horse intermittently shunting its blood supply away from one foot to another, to regulate its body temperature. Some experts have wondered if this is another reason laminitis may occur in cold weather.

“There have been some studies in regards to what happens to the blood supply of horses in colder environments. It’s true they do regulate their temperatures away from each foot – shunt it away from one foot and into another, when standing in snow. Then one leg begins to warm up again, while another starts to cool down,” says Dr. Pittman. “But by the same token, we’re using ice to manage laminitis too… So I don’t think there’s been enough research work to directly link standing in the cold and snow with causing laminitis.”

When laminitis occurs to the point of coffin bone rotation, the hoof wall separates from the plantar cushion and can cause separation of the white line – or a condition known as “seedy toe.” The hoof in this picture has additionally experienced sole abscesses, also caused by the rotation. CREDIT: Doug Sapergia

Although laminitis can be a problem in the winter, Dr. Pittman says there are ways to avoid it – and prevention of this horrible equine disease is always best.

“Keep your horse’s feet as dry as possible and if you can’t do that because of environmental factors, keep them dry with Keratex Hoof Hardener,” he advises. “Apply it once or more a week, (just follow the label instructions). On top of that, good farrier maintenance will help you maximize healthy foot care. Trimming and shoeing relative to the biomechanics of the horse’s foot will help maintain the integrity of the hoof.”

He also says that managing weight and the horse’s diet is important, going into winter. “You don’t want your horse to go into the colder months obese – obesity at any time of the year is not good. With the fall increase of cortisol, plus stressors of cold weather and other things that are happening during this time, it all plays a major factor. My advice is that we should reduce the caloric intake of these animals, as compared to their exercise levels at this time. If their shoes get pulled and the horse goes on a reduced activity, then their caloric intake must be reduced as well.”

Additionally, aged horses or those with Cushing’s disease or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) are more at risk for developing laminitis (at any time of the year). Familiarize yourself with the warning signs of these diseases and keep a close eye on your horses as they age. Make sure you’re checking on them closely throughout the winter. Things that may be subclinical in the early fall, might become clinical by winter due to being exacerbated by cold weather conditions.

Dr. Sammy Pittman – Sammy L. Pittman, DVM is a veterinarian, farrier and horsemen with a great interest in the field of equine podiatry. Along with his wife, Kellee, Sammy owns and operates Innovative Equine Podiatry and Veterinary Services, a podiatry exclusive practice, in Collinsville, TX.

Working Against Time

Dr. Jordan Cook of Moore Equine examines a mare’s mouth.

An equine vet takes us through the diagnosis and treatment of a horse with a metal sliver in its tongue.


Recognizing the signs of a horse with metal embedded in its tongue can be the difference between life and death. Acting quickly in this situation is vital to ruling out other ailments with similar symptoms and ensure the problem doesn’t escalate.

“It’s what we would consider an emergency,” says Dr. Jordan Cook of Moore Equine Veterinary Centre in southern Alberta.

“Anytime you have a horse that is either drooling, has a lot of discharge coming from its mouth or its nose, they’re not wanting to eat, or they seem to be having difficulties eating or swallowing, definitely you want to get that horse checked out right away.”

One of these things does not belong here. An X-ray of the mare who was recently discovered with a metal piece stuck in her tongue. Courtesy of Moore Equine.

Horses can get small pieces of metal stuck inside their mouths if it’s in their feed by accident, which may occur if little bits of wire or debris in a hayfield are picked up and baled. Another common way this can happen is when giant tires are used as hay feeders. “There’s little pieces of wire or metal inside the actual tire that’s being used as a feeder itself, and those can break down and then… work their way into the hay, and the horse takes a mouthful and doesn’t realize that there’s a small little piece of metal inside of it,” says Cook.

While metal slivers in horses’ mouths aren’t a frequent occurrence, it shows up enough that it’s something to be on the lookout for. “We see it a couple times a year,” she says. “It’s common enough that it’s something that we’re always have in the back of our mind if we’re seeing a patient that might be drooling or having some difficulty eating.”

Due to these symptoms, it’s often mistaken for choke, colic or a broken tooth. “We’ll have people call in thinking their horse is choking or maybe thinking that their horse might be colicking a little bit because all of a sudden they don’t want to eat,” says Cook.

After ruling out those issues, veterinarians will then look to see if there is a foreign object stuck inside the horse’s mouth. Metal or other objects are more likely to get lodged inside the tongue than embedded elsewhere in the mouth because it’s used to push the food back into their throat when swallowing.

If caught early enough, it’s somewhat easier to remove the metal from the tongue, though it will still require surgery to do so. Under anesthetic, the horse lays on the surgery table and has its mouth opened with a speculum so the surgeon can access the tongue. The surgeon will use the x-rays to guide them in carefully removing the metal from inside the tongue. If metal is left in the tongue too long, however, it can begin to migrate and cause more dangerous problems. The body, Cook explains, tries to dislodge the foreign object itself, but it’s not always able to move it out through the same place that it entered.

“It can actually start to migrate deeper into the throat or actually into all of that tissue that’s under the tongue, in and around the throat, and we can start to see it progress from just difficulties chewing and swallowing and drooling, to all of a sudden that horse is going to have some swelling associated with it. They can actually get an abscess or an infection around something that’s in there, and it may actually obstruct their ability to breathe,” she says.

“There’s lots of really important structures in that area, and so (it’s) a lot more difficult for us to remove or potentially have a higher risk of bleeding during surgery or a higher risk of complications after surgery if we wait too long.”

This is why calling your vet immediately after seeing these symptoms is so important, she states. “Any horse that is drooling, maybe has some nasal discharge, is having difficulty eating or swallowing or isn’t interested in eating, that to me is considered an emergency and should be checked out so that if we do identify that there’s a wire or some other foreign body inside their mouth or their throat, we can try and take it our as soon as possible.”

The culprit. Foreign bodies inside a horse’s mouth can lead to life threatening situations. Here is the metal sliver, after it was removed in surgery.

CASE STUDY: Early Detection for Successful Treatment
Recently, Cook was called to assist a mare that was suspected to be choking. “She was drooling quite a bit, she seemed to want to eat but was unable to do so and so it didn’t seem to resolve,” she says, adding that most mild chokes will resolve on their own within 15 to 20 minutes.

“It was identified very quickly at feed time, so when I came and took a look at her, she didn’t have any discharge from her nose, which is more common that we’ll see that with choke,” she explains. “She had manure in her stall, she was otherwise really bright and when I offered her food, she really, really wanted to eat it, but she’d take it in her mouth and immediately spit it out and drop it, and for her it was because there was a bit of a pain response.”

With this information, Cook administered some sedation and conducted an oral exam, finding the mare’s teeth to be in good shape. There were no other signs of foreign bodies in the mouth, such as pieces of wood stuck between the teeth. The only thing that looked concerning was the mare’s tongue. “I could see that her tongue appeared a little bit swollen in the middle, and I could actually see a little bit of blood, a little nick on the one side of her tongue, and then there was a little bit of swelling on the other side,” she says.

It was painful for the mare when Cook carefully pressed on the swelling, and that resulted in some bloody discharge coming out of the cut on the other side of the tongue. “That made me pretty suspicious that she may have something inside of her tongue.”

Cook’s next step was to take x-rays of the mare’s head, which quickly revealed that there was, in fact, quite a large piece of metal inside her tongue. She gave the mare some anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling in her tongue and make her feel more comfortable. As they were unsure when the mare was last able to drink, she was tubed through her nose and given water and electrolytes to prevent dehydration before being referred to the clinic that evening.

Surgery was performed on the mare the next morning. “We got really lucky that that piece of wire hadn’t moved,” says Cook. “She was taken into the surgery suite, anesthetized, taken in, the speculum put back in her mouth again. Then thankfully our surgeon was able to go in and – using his hands and some instruments – was actually able to pull the piece of wire out of her tongue very successfully.”

Dr. Cook’s quick-thinking and thorough examination procedure led to the rather fast discovery of the metal piercing in the mare’s tongue.

Another round of x-rays confirmed that all the wire had been removed, and the mare went on to make a great recovery. “She was eating a little bit slower because her tongue was still a little bit painful but was able to happily eat and swallow with a few days of anti-inflammatories.” Back at home, the mare was carefully monitored to ensure she was able to chew and swallow properly as the swelling in her tongue went down.

Even though this situation isn’t a common occurrence in horses, Cook wants owners to be aware that this is something that could potentially happen. “Just because your horse has a little bit of drool or doesn’t seem to be eating, don’t necessarily panic right away that your horse has something stuck in its tongue, but be aware that that is an abnormal behaviour. Especially if the horse does seem bright and really wanting to eat but dropping food and unable to do so,” she says.

“Unfortunately, it can be life-threatening if left and not dealt with right away,” she continues. “If there’s any swelling around the throat or around the jaw, it’s definitely something you want to get checked out right away to make sure they haven’t eaten something, but also making sure that they’re able to eat and drink and breathe properly.”

Competitive Edge

Megan Resch with a Saffire Miniature.

Every successful nutrition program starts with science. And that science may translate to success in the barn. Such is the case for Saffire Miniatures.

Sandy Resch of Lousana, Alberta, is a busy lady. As the wife of professional pick-up man, Jeff Resch, and a mother, Sandy has a full schedule. However in addition to all that Sandy works alongside her mother, Verna Cundliffe, at Saffire Miniatures, a breeding / training / showing operation exclusive to Miniature Horses. Along with her daughters, Megan and Haley, Sandy can often be found throughout the year showing at national and international levels of Mini Horse competition.

Verna Cundliffe and granddaughters, Megan and Haley Resch with their numerous awards at the Canadian National Miniature Horse show.

When it comes to the health and nutrition of their Miniature Horses, Sandy says Praise™ hemp is giving them the competitive edge they need.

“We started using Praise™ hemp as a permanent part of our feeding program early in 2017,” says Sandy. “Since using the product we have seen a very noticeable difference in the shine, finish and bloom in all of our horses. They have a dappling throughout their coats which they never had prior to using Praise™ hemp and maintaining that perfect body condition is so much easier using this product!”


Imprint Phantom Eagle Heart – the 2017 WCMHA Hi Point Country Pleasure Driving horse and the 2018 Canadian National Reserve Grand Champion Country and the Western Regional Reserve Grand Champion 32″ & under Country Pleasure Driving horse. Owned by Saffire Miniatures.

Ribbons won by Saffiire Miniatures from the 2018 AMHA Canadian National Horse Show.

Sandy’s daughter, Megan won a large number of championships in a number of disciplines with Candylands Pattoned Payday this year. This included the 2018 Canadian Grand Champion Classic Pleasure Driving Championship. They also won AMHA Honor Role Championship buckles in 2017 for Showmanship and Youth Classic Pleasure Driving and they won the 2017 WCMHA Hi Point Performance Horse, High Point Youth, and AMHA Superior Gelding Performance Champion as well as numerous other high point awards last year.

Megan Resch and Candylands Pattoned Payday t won a large number of Championships in a number of disciplines with their Garland for winning the 2018 Canadian Grand Champion Classic Pleasure Driving Championship.

“We have had long time, prominent Miniature horse people comment on the condition and coats of our horses. All of us here at Saffire Miniatures are very strong believers in this product and will never go without using Praise™ hemp  in our feeding program,” Sandy declares.

This buckskin gelding from Saffire Miniatures has won numerous Classic Pleasure Driving Championships and was the 2017 WCMHA Hi Point Classic Pleasure Driving Champion. He was also  the 2018 WCMHA Hi Point Hunter Horse.

For more information on Praise™ hemp, please check out their website here.

Managing PPID

An estimated 1 in 7 horses over 15 years of age, has PPID.

Cushings Disease has a new name. Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), also known as Equine Cushing’s Disease, is an endocrine disease. An endocrine disease affects the production of the hormones that regulate your horse’s body. Hormones interact with each other and have many effects on the body so disruption to normal hormone production and activity can have many effects. Some of these become more and more noticeable with time.

In the past, some middle-aged horses (15–20 years) were not diagnosed as having PPID because it was assumed the symptoms were simply a consequence of ageing. Knowledge among owners is now increasing, and more and more horses are being properly diagnosed, treated and are returning to good health. These horses can then have a richer, more productive, and interactive middle age.

The hypothalmus gland and anterior pituitary in the horse.


The hypothalamus and pituitary glands, located at the base of your horse’s brain, are the command and control centre for the production of its hormones. These chemical messengers are distributed around your horse’s body to all
other tissues via the bloodstream. In a normal horse, these hormones exist in a fine balance, and play an important role in maintaining and controlling bodily functions.

In some older horses and ponies, neurons (nerves) in the hypothalamus undergo progressive degeneration, and produce insufficient quantities of a nerve transmitter substance (neurotransmitter) called dopamine. Dopamine is important in controlling the secretions of a part of the pituitary gland called the pars intermedia, which in turn is responsible for controlling the secretion of hormones including the important ACTH hormone. When the pars intermedia does not receive enough dopamine from the hypothalamus, the ultimate outcome is the production of abnormally high levels of these hormones, resulting in disease symptoms.


The three most obvious symptoms are:

This is a common, painful and potentially devastating condition affecting the hooves of horses and ponies. Growth rings are often visible (as shown here), indicating repeated episodes of laminitis.

In the foot of the normal horse or pony, the hoof wall and the pedal bone (the lowest bone in the foot) are joined together by finely structured tissues called the laminae. Despite the large weights being borne by the laminae, they are relatively delicate, and easily damaged. In laminitis, the laminae become inflamed and extremely painful, making weight-bearing very difficult for affected horses.

Horses and ponies with laminitis will find it difficult to put their feet down, and will often adopt a ‘rocked back’ stance to take weight away from the painful tissues. If the condition goes on for some time, or there are repeated occurrences in a horse, the damage can become irreversible, leading to rotation of the pedal bone and permanent foot pain. In many cases of this severity, euthanasia becomes the only option.

Laminitis is a key warning sign, especially if it is recurrent, chronic, or of insidious onset; up to 70% of mature horses seen for laminitis have been found to have PPID. In fact, all laminitic horses should be tested for PPID


This ranges from mild changes in coat shedding, right through to a full, long, curly, overgrown coat (‘hirsutism’). The presence of hirsutism is thought by some experts to be the most reliable single indicator of underlying PPID,
although not all horses with PPID develop this symptom, especially in the early stages of PPID.




– Fatty deposits above the eyes.

– Muscle wasting leading to ‘pot belly’ appearance.

– Muscle wasting and persistent sinusitis.


• Lethargy, poor performance.
• Recurring infections (e.g. sinusitis) and impaired immune system.
• Excessive sweating.
• Changes in appetite.
• Increased drinking and urination.


PRASCEND® can help your horse look and feel healthy and happy again. Effectiveness studies showed improvement of signs within 3 months. And results were even better at 6 months of treatment. The treatment acts directly on the dopamine-producing neurons in the hypothalamus, helping to bring cortisol concentrations in the bloodstream back to normal levels. The medication is given once daily, and can be mixed with a small volume of molasses or food to ease administration; alternatively it can be dissolved in a small volume of water and administered directly into the mouth. Tablets should not be crushed.

Usually there is a short lag between the beginning of treatment, and seeing your horse return to normal in terms of clinical signs. Those will improve generally within 6–12 weeks after initiation of the treatment. However, it can take up to a year to see the full benefit of treatment.


Protecting Horses in Smoke-Filled Air

No filter. Smoke in the air lingers above a pasture. CREDIT: Jenn Webster

Though we may located be far away from the forest fire threats, the smoke here in Alberta is unbearable today. And there’s not much that can be done about it. I can’t even bring myself to send my kids outdoors on what should have been another beautiful summer day. So what can we do for the animals who must live outside in the current poor air quality conditions?

– Limit your horses’ activity outside when smoke is visible.
– Ensure your animals have plenty of fresh water.
– Monitor animals for coughing or an increased respiratory rate.
– If any horse is having trouble breathing, contact your vet immediately.

Smoke can cause respiratory issues in horses, just as it does in humans.  Take care out there.

Permanent Part of Our Program

Jeff Resch at the Festival Western in St. Tite, Quebec. Photo by BIRTZ Photography.

Jeff Resch is a professional pick-up man with many accolades, including the closing out of the final Canadian Finals Rodeo held in Edmonton last year. He has an identical twin (as he is brother to Jason Resch, also a professional pick-up man), and is highly respected by his peers at the highest levels of professional rodeo. The horses Jeff brings to work must be on their game because Resch’s job is often dangerous, and the lives of many cowboys depend on him.

Photo by SJ Originals.

When it comes to a feeding program for the horses Resch rides, Praise™ hemp superfood is a staple in his barn. “Never have our horses looked so great and felt so healthy and performed so well! Praise™ hemp is now a permanent part of our feeding program,” he says.

Praise™ hemp superfood is nutrient dense, all natural, low processed, easily digested form of healthy fats and an exceptional source of plant-based protein. EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) are essential to tissue growth and help regulate many internal functions. EFA’s are by definition, essential because they can’t be produced by the body and must be obtained through diet for proper growth and body functioning. EAA’s (Essential Amino Acids) are the building blocks found in protein and hemp offers an excellent protein quality which rivals many grains, as well as soy and whey. By supplementing hemp oil, topping, and protein fiber to an equine or canine’s diet, you may notice an improvement in: Immune System, Energy, Digestion, Skin and Coat, Mobility, Muscle Health and Cardiovascular Health.

“Our horses have never had the shine and bloom that they do now. Praise™ hemp is a very important part of our feeding program and after seeing the effects on our horses, I won’t go without it again. It is very simple to use both at home and on the road and all of our horses have loved the product from the beginning.” – Jeff Resch

For more information about Praise™ hemp, check out the website here.

Internal Parasites and Your Barn Cat

By Dr. Bronwyn Atkinson & Jennifer Council of Barrett Veterinary Practice

Barn cats are an integral part of a farm/acreage environment and play an important role in rodent population control. Hardworking barn cats can be very useful to keep rodent populations in check as well as a pleasure to have around. So, how can we keep these kitties healthy and best equipped to do their jobs? In this blog, we will go into more detail about diseases that commonly affect barn cats and the different ways we can keep them healthy and performing at their best.

Internal Parasites in Cats

Roundworms: Roundworms are the most common internal parasite found in cats – kittens often carry more due to their age and young immune systems.  Adult roundworms are about 3-5 inches in length, off-white in colour and live in the cat’s intestines.

Kittens often carry more round worms due to their age and young immune systems.

A mature worm lays its eggs in the intestines where they can be passed in the cats’ feces. Once out in the environment the eggs mature into larvae and infect new cats. Rodents also carry these larvae in their tissues – infecting cats, which are hunting. Roundworms can cause disease in people, especially those with weaker immune systems. It is rare, but if there are numbers of larvae in the environment and they are ingested, they can migrate around human tissues trying to find a good place to settle, causing serious health problems.

Hookworms: Cats can be infected with hookworm larvae when they burrow through their skin – usually the paw pads. Infestation also occurs when a cat eats a rodent that is carrying hookworms in its tissues. These worms are about 1/2-inch in length and live in the intestines. Young worms burrow into the lining of the intestine, whereas adult worms use their hooked mouthparts to anchor into the intestinal lining where they suck blood. Heavy hookworm infection can cause cats to have poor growth, poor hair coat, diarrhea, anemia and even death from blood loss. Hookworms can also migrate into human skin, causing irritation and need for medical attention – luckily, this is rare as humans are not the hookworm’s preferred hosts.

Tapeworms: These are long, ribbon-like worms with bodies made up of egg-containing segments. These worms live in the cat’s small intestine and use their heads to hook onto the lining of the gut. The segments at the worm’s tail end mature first, break off and are passed in the cat’s feces. These segments can also sometimes be seen around the cat’s anus or tail area and look like rice grains if they are fresh, or sesame seeds if they are dried. Cats can pick up tapeworms by eating rodents that carry them, or by ingesting fleas that can also carry tapeworms. Adult tapeworms in the gastrointestinal tract are usually harmless to the cats. However, the younger tapeworm life stages that is shed by cats can cause cysts in organs such as the liver of horses, cows and pigs.

Echinococcus multilocularis is one specific kind of tapeworm that lives like the others, spending part of their life cycle inside a rodent, often being eaten by carnivores along with its host. They mature to an adult tapeworm in the carnivore’s gut and if ingested by people can cause significant disease by causing cysts that multiply and damage internal human organs.

Combating Feline Parasites

If you’re concerned about parasites your barn cats may be carrying, here’s a list of things you can do:
• Wash your hands after touching barn cats.
• Clean up any feces as well as dead rodent carcasses, to keep the environment as clean as possible.
• De-worm your cats routinely.

There are 2 types of de-wormer that Barrett Veterinary Practice prescribes; Profender, and Advantage Multi. Both are liquids that are applied to the back of a cat’s neck. This application is much easier than trying to pill a shy, barn cat that may not be used to handling!

Profender works to kill roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
Advantage Multi kills hookworms, roundworms, fleas and ear mites.

As these products have action against different internal parasites, it is a really good idea to alternate using them. Cats that are actively mousing need to be dewormed every three months. Good parasite control is key to ensuring a healthy barn cat and preventing disease in other species as well.


Understanding Praise™ Hemp

If you are curious about the upward trend of Praise™ hemp products and their numerous benefits for horses on the equine nutrition front, it’s no illusion. Horse owners everywhere are discovering the healthy advantages Praise™ hemp can offer to equines at a rapid pace.

If however, you’re still on the fence about feeding hemp to your horses, let us help break it down. Western Horse Review recently had the opportunity to delve deeper into the many benefits of Praise™ hemp products and understand this nutritional superfood from the ground up.

Hemp seeds are categorized as an “achene” a one-seeded fruit with an inner “nut” protected by a hard outer shell.

Cannabis Sativa L. is the scientific name for hemp and it comes from the same family as sunflowers. It is a strong and fast growing, versatile plant that has been used by man for thousands of years and thousands of uses. It has been praised as the single greatest plant resource for human health and well-being as it provides food, clothing, shelter and medicine. Hemp plants are naturally found on all continents.

Hemp seeds are categorized as an “achene” a one-seeded fruit with an inner “nut” protected by a hard outer shell. It is one of the most essential nutrient dense and balanced foods available, and provides an excellent easily digestible source of protein and healthy fats for human and animal health. Once removed from the shell, the nut can be eaten raw or pressed to create hemp oil. Praise™ hemp uses a number of unique processes to ensure that the shelling, cleaning and pressing are done gently, thoroughly, and at a cool temperature to protect nutritional values. The result is an exceptionally clean, flavourful product with an optimum nutritional profile.

So why would a discerning horse owner decide to feed hemp to one’s equine?

By supplementing hemp oil, topping and protein fiber to your equine’s diets you may notice improvements in their immune system, energy, digestion, skin, coat, mobility, muscle health and cardiovascular health.

Hemp is considered to be a “Superfood” due to its digestibility, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), Essential Amino Acids (the building blocks of protein), vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients – especially terpenes and cannabidiols (CBD). All living things with a vertebrae have an “endocannabinoid system” and hemp has an unusually vast and plentiful array of the cannabinoids which mimic our own endocannabinoid system. When consumed, many health benefits are experienced in all areas of the human body. This rings true for many animals as well and especially in horses and dogs.

What separates hemp oil from the rest of the supplements currently on the market is that while Praise™ hemp’s Omega 6:3 ratio is 3:1, it also has GLA – Gamma Linolenic Acid which is actually an Omega 6 fatty acid but unlike other Omega 6s, it is known to reduce inflammation.

 This is akin to a secret weapon in the equine competition world because Praise™ hemp products can help reduce a wide array of inflammatory related diseases including skin conditions, allergies, degenerative joint disease, heart disease and reduce inflammation involved in mobility and digestion.

 That’s why we are seeing all kinds of competitive riders flocking to Praise™ hemp. These include rodeo athletes, endurance riders, dressage competitors, and western performance enthusiasts of various disciplines.

Angie Pierce, an endurance and competitive trail rider loves the benefits of Praise Hemp products that she regularly observes in her horses.

“Praise™ hemp oil helped my distance horse with stamina, recovery and lean muscle mass,” says Angie Pierce of Beaver County, AB. Pierce is the owner of Jenovation Farm and is an endurance and competitive trail rider.

“I am completely sold on the benefits that Praise products provide to my equines, whether it be my competing horses or the senior members of the herd.”

It may be a tiny seed, but it’s a nutritional giant.

Learn more about Praise Hemp products at:

Try a Bit Before You Buy It!

There’s no question – top riders across the globe favour Tom Balding’s handcrafted bits and spurs. With Balding’s meticulous attention to detail, knowledge of the horse and high quality materials used to create his bits and spurs, it’s no wonder Balding’s company is a leader in the field. Fans include the National Reining Horse Association $5 Million Rider Andrea Fappani, National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer Phil Rapp, and National Reined Cow Horse Association Million-Dollar Rider Zane Davis, to name a few.

If you’ve ever considered purchasing a high quality bit, Tom Balding Bits & Spurs offers a wide variety of custom bit combinations. No matter what you are looking to attain from your horse’s performance, there’s a bit that will offer customized assistance. Tom Balding Bits & Spurs knows a high quality bit purchase requires the best educated decision possible; as it is an investment that will often last a lifetime. Which is why the company created the Trial Bit Service, offered to those who would like to try a mouthpiece before purchasing – to ensure they are comfortable with the function in relation to their riding style.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Within the Trial Bit Service, clients are welcome to try up to three bits for two weeks. Additionally, the company tries to offer most combinations; however, because of the large number of possible combinations, clients may have to try a bit with a similar shank to the one requested. The only out of pocket expense you may incur are the shipping costs. For more information about this unique service, check out the Trial Bit website page here.

There are also multiple resources on the Tom Balding Bits & Spurs website available to help you select a mouthpiece and shank combination you might like to try. They include:

•  The Tom Balding blog.
•  The online catalog.
• The bit creator.
Sample buy-it-now-options.


When you are ready to request your trial bits give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call or message them with the desired mouthpiece and shank combinations. They look forward to getting you into the right bit for you and your horse. Request your trial bits today!

Give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call at 307.672.8459 or visit them online at: