Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Vet, Blood Work and Chia Seeds

The vet was out Monday to see a bunch of the horses, Mikey included.

Mikey got acupuncture, an ulcer test, and the vet checked his hock. The ulcer test came back negative (yay!), and he enjoyed his acupuncture. He was sound for the vet, but had some residual swelling on the inside of the upper hock joint so she did a laser treatment on it. It's a new thing she has, so we'll see how it looks today when I go out.

One thing she noticed was a slight muscle wasting, the biggest spot you can tell is under his tail where his butt cheeks don't actually meet. I noticed that in the last couple months, but he's always been slim, and they've barely met in the past, so I didn't think too much of it because he's dropped a little weight. She pulled blood to send off and have blood work done, so I'll have that result today or tomorrow. He works so hard and he's got rock hard butt muscles, but he can't be muscle wasting away.

My trainer and I think that if his blood work comes back normal, that he's worrying off his weight. He's done it before. He shows no outward worrywart symptoms except chewing his stall down. He's always easy to handle and cooperative riding no matter how he feels. He internalizes his worry. How human of him!

Cha, cha, cha, chia! Anyone else remember those commercials?
I also ordered him a 24 day supply of chia seeds. My trainer has a student who uses them, who suggested them to my trainer, who in turn suggested it to me as a possible replacement for the fat food he eats (the idea being to cut down on the grain he eats). There's apparently a lot of good to them, and the worst they would do is not work. Click here to go to US Chia and here to go to Equine Chia to read about the benefits in more depth. I didn't buy from either place, too expensive per pound and I think it's probably all about the same quality (sorry Mikey, I'm not buying you organic Chia). Instead I bought from Get Chia at $5 a pound for the 6 pounds of chia to do the 24 day test that Equine Chia does, but at the 4oz per day level instead of the 2oz level that is in their test. If it works I'll buy the 60 lb sack that ends up at $4.49 a pound. He works hard enough that the higher dose would be appropriate I think. Plus if that works, I can always try cutting it down later for even greater savings.

That's a whole lot of chia, in lots of tiny bags!
Though that's probably best so they aren't all exposed to the air at the same time.
An overview of the benefits of Chia Seeds:

  • Lower the chance of sand colic
  • Improves gut health
  • Helps prevent stomach ulcers
  • Helps with allergies due to the high levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Some calming properties
  • High fat, protein, and fiber content

The sand colic isn't really applicable to me since I live in PA and the only sand we have is in our arenas. Improved gut health just sounds like a bonus if it actually works. He's colicked a couple times before, and I don't want to repeat it. If it helps prevent stomach ulcers, I won't get ompraozle for when he travels. He could use the allergy help since he's a sensitive redhead that gets hives every spring and fall. I tried Smart Shine Ultra on him to great success, but it put his supplement cost at over $3 a day, so I stopped after 90 days when his hives cleared up. That combined with the supposed anti-inflammatory properties makes it more helpful than Smart Shine Ultra, so I might be able to stop his MSM and his hock injections might last longer. I'm not sold on the calming properties, the reasoning they gave didn't impress me, but if it can quiet his mind, I won't do 3-4 days of Robaxim the week before a horse show. I use Robaxim outside the withdrawal period before shows because I spend so much time schooling and primping him the week or so before that I want him to associate it all with being chill, and then the chill feeling carries over when we're competing. He got to the point that when I brought out the clippers and trimmed up his face, bridle path and fetlocks that he'd start his nervous twitching and pooping since he knew he was going to be traveling. Just want to calm the mind a little. High fat, protein and fiber content sounds like a good way to help his hard-keeper feed put weight on him.

Basically for $30, I'll see what happens. It certainly won't hurt him. If I can cut out some other costs by not having him on fat food or the drugs, I'm saving money even though the Chia seeds will run about $34 a month. I'll make sure I get someone to hold him against a plain wall so I can take a before picture.

I also ordered myself some chia seeds, via this drink product. I too have worrywart symptoms, nervous energy, allergies and sinus problems. The US Chia website's page, Chia for People, mentioned it helps with sinus swelling, a major problem of mine. If shipping is already free, why not give it a whirl.

I think it looks tasty!

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