Articles, Blog

Ask the Vet – Oversupplementing, windpuffs, 24/7 turnout, and more! – September 2016

October 20, 2019

SARAH: Hi, guys. Welcome back. This is September’s
Ask the Vet video. I’m SmartPaker
Sarah, and this is Dr. Lydia Gray, SmartPak’s
Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director. DR. LYDIA GRAY:
Correct, a mouthful. SARAH: I know. It’s a good title. And we are back once again
to answer the questions that were submitted by viewers like
you and voted on by you guys as well. So thank you so much for voting. Thank you so much for
the great questions. Today, we will once again be
tackling the top five most popular, based on your votes. And we actually have a secret
question to start things off. DR. LYDIA GRAY: You
know I love those. SARAH: I know you
love surprises. This one, fortunately,
is not for you. I will be tackling the
answer to this one. Sammy, on YouTube, asked,
“Why is SmartPak so awesome? That is my question.” And first off, I’d like to
say, we did not ask Sammy. We did not pay Sammy
to ask this question. DR. LYDIA GRAY: It
was unsolicited. SARAH: It was. It was. And the answer is really easy. SmartPak is awesome because
we have awesome customers like you guys. And so we get to serve
an awesome audience full of enthusiastic,
passionate, caring horse owners. And it makes it so easy
for us to do things like this, where we
get to help people take great care of their horses. It’s a really rewarding job. So thank you, guys, for being
so awesome and inspiring us to keep pushing the boundaries. If you guys have
submitted a question, and it’s been answered,
remember that you are eligible for a
SmartPak gift certificate. DR. LYDIA GRAY: That’s right. SARAH: If you haven’t
gotten it, email [email protected],
and we’ll hook you up. Our first question for
this month is submitted– DR. LYDIA GRAY: This is
the first real question. SARAH: The first real
question, this one’s for you, submitted by Meghan, on YouTube. And Meghan asks,
“What do you think everyone should know before
owning a horse, medically, that is?” DR. LYDIA GRAY: Right,
right, because it covers a lot of ground. So this question was
music to my ears. It also made me
think of a saying that my old riding
teacher used to say. “You never learn out.” He was German, so the
English was challenging. But what he meant was you’re
always, always learning. So there is a
baseline of knowledge that you should probably have. It’s just right
before owning a horse, before assuming
that responsibility. But you keep learning,
which is why we do videos, and we do articles
and blogs and stories, and all kinds of things. SARAH: I learn
something every month. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Me, too. Me, too. So I think that
nutrition is first, with forage being
first, understanding the importance of
foraging the horse’s diet and how to complete
and balance the diet. And certainly, you
work with people to help you do these things. You just don’t learn them
yourself and do them yourself. It takes a village. I’m quoting everyone here. I think you should learn the
most common horse conditions, like colic, like
ulcers, like Cushing’s and metabolic syndrome,
that they injure themselves frequently, those
kind of things. You have to learn what’s
normal for your horse. So I like the vital signs,
body condition scoring, all those tests that you record
in a journal on your horse. You want to pick up your
favorite journal book diary, those kind of things. And then when to call the vet,
which includes getting a vet. Make sure you have a vet
before you get the horse. Have all your
professionals lined up– your veterinarian, your
farrier, your trainer. Have those. Don’t get the horse
and then go, I wonder who I call when
I need such and such. So knowing your support group,
having the access to a trailer, where you’re going
to board, and then the nutrition and the
medical information, I think probably
that’s the baseline. But that was a
really good question. SARAH: And it’s a
good place to start, and it illustrates how
much there is to know. DR. LYDIA GRAY:
There’s a lot to know. SARAH: It’s not something
to take lightly. DR. LYDIA GRAY: But it’s good. It’s fun learning. SARAH: Yeah. Yeah. All right, second question,
submitted by Faith, also on YouTube, Faith is asking,
“When does supplementing become too much? I’ve talked to vets, and they
have said different things. What’s your opinion, and when
does it become too much?” DR. LYDIA GRAY:
Granted, I’m going to have a little bit of bias,
because I work for SmartPak. But the confusion that I see
with this kind of question and thinking is that
certainly, if you’re giving three joint
supplements, we would all consider that
to be oversupplementing. But then if I see a person
whose SmartPak strip has a joint supplement,
a stomach support supplement, a product
for hindgut health, maybe an electrolyte, something
for skin and coat and hooves, to me, that’s not
oversupplementing, because each product
is supporting a different area of the body. It’s when you double
up or triple up on a product for each
specific category that you’re overdoing your–
and many times, not even adding too much of something. You’re just not getting
additional benefit. That’s the issue. So if I’m giving three times as
much glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate, I might not be
adding any more benefit than if I’m just giving the
usual maintenance serving. So that’s what you want to be
careful of, that your diet is completely balanced and that
your supplement program is well thought out, and
you’re supporting, you’re providing solutions,
for the different areas that your horse needs. Like I don’t give my
horse a hoof supplement, because he has great feet. That’s one thing he
has is great feet. SARAH: Newman. DR. LYDIA GRAY: But
he has a large strip, because he gets a
lot of other things, because I’ve figured out
that he needs support in many different
areas, just not feet. SARAH: So like most
things with horses, it’s not black and white. And it is more of a
balance, being thoughtful about what’s unique
about your horse and having a balanced approach,
rather than just going whole hog in a bunch of
different directions. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Yeah,
being thoughtful, and then there might be
some seasonal changes that you have to do based on
what your horse’s workload is and where he lives, if he moves
or he shows, doesn’t show. So ‘thoughtful’ is a really,
really good word with it. SARAH: And you guys,
because this stuff can be kind of
challenging, we know horse owners have questions. That’s one of the
reasons we’re here. And that’s one of the reasons
we think SmartPak is so awesome. We have a team of experts, and
we also have our Supplement Wizard on the website. So if you guys need help
picking supplements, you’ve come to the right place. Our third question is submitted
by Rebecca, also on YouTube. And Rebecca is wondering
what the pros and cons are of 24/7 turnout. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Oh,
another good question, very practical
questions this time. So we’ll do pros first. And when I think of the pros,
the good reasons, for turnout, I think of horse health. I mean, horses are
supposed to be turned out. We keep them inside
for convenience. So movement is huge, right? Movement helps your
joints not be stiff. It helps your hooves
with the circulation. It even helps your
digestive system. You need movement to get
things working and flowing. And you can jump
in here any time that you can give something. SARAH: As a runner, I can relate
to movement helping things in a lot of those areas. You know, I think with the
joint one, a lot of people think, if my horse is sore,
I should probably keep him inside so that he rests. But I think what
most people actually see is exactly as you
described, that the horse does better and is more
comfortable if he’s not standing and getting stiff
and getting stocked up. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Correct, yeah. Other pros are if they’re
turned out together, it could be socializing. They really like other horses. SARAH: For the most part. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Horses
think horses are cool. Yeah, and they have
to know each other. It’s healthier as
far as fresh air. It’s well ventilated
in the outdoors. SARAH: Not a lot of cobwebs
trapping a lot of dust. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Dust and
urine doesn’t build up. And speaking of manure,
it could be easier to clean up if you’re turned
out on a limestone paddock or something. So any pros I’m missing? SARAH: Is there, in
terms of the movement, not just being good
for things like hooves, joints, circulation, is it
also beneficial for weight maintenance? DR. LYDIA GRAY: It can be. I mean, if you’re creative in
how you set up a food station, if you ask them, use a small
hole hay net or something, and put them in different
places on their turnout and put a flake in
each one, they’re going to have to walk to graze. So you’re simulating grazing,
unless your 24/7 turnout is grazing. And then that’s awesome, because
horses are designed to meander, to wander, and also
to trickle feed, to eat small amounts frequently. So all those are good things. I thought of another one. If you’re not keeping
a horse in a stall, it’s a money savings, because
you’re using less bedding. You’re not using bedding. SARAH: You’re not
using any bedding. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. So shall we move to cons? SARAH: Sure. What’s the downside? DR. LYDIA GRAY:
You have to catch them, which, for some
horses, can be a problem. So if they’re outside,
they might be dirtier. So you have to catch
and then clean them. If they’re outside,
they’re probably not going to be supervised 24/7. So depending on
where you live, there could be predator-type dangers. Or there just could
be– horses, like we talked with the first question,
they’re accident prone. They see a fence, and they
feel compelled to run into it. SARAH: I think on the
flip side of horses being social animals, too,
is sometimes they choose who they like and don’t like. And so managing a herd and
introducing a new horse is more challenging than just
throwing a horse in a stall. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. And that liking and not liking
does change from day to day sometimes, it seems like. We talked about the
manure management. It can be easier or
harder in a stall. SARAH: Certainly, it’s less
space to cover and to clean up. DR. LYDIA GRAY:
It’s a smaller area, but depending on how deep
you bed, it can be trickier. And then you have
the added cost of it. SARAH: Plus, if your
horse keeps a messy stall, and he’s one of those ones
who as soon as he poops, he spreads it all over– DR. LYDIA GRAY:
Walks around in it. SARAH: –and then
everything gets dirty. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Or poops
in the water, one of those. They’re less inclined to do
that when they’re outside. So bedding. The ventilation,
that’s a huge con for horses that have a
respiratory sensitivity, because it’s enclosed. And so the ammonia builds
up, and the dust builds up, and it’s harder
for them to breathe because of all the
small particles that are going down their lungs. SARAH: Aside from the danger,
either from potential predators or from each other,
due to mood swings, it doesn’t sound like
there’s a lot of cons in terms of the horse’s health. It seems like a lot of
the cons we’re focusing on are on the convenience side. DR. LYDIA GRAY: They are. SARAH: So it seems like
you’re landing on if you can, turnout’s– DR. LYDIA GRAY: I’m
definitely landing on– SARAH: –the best. DR. LYDIA GRAY: if you can. I understand that– SARAH: I know you to be– DR. LYDIA GRAY: –space– SARAH: –for the turnout. DR. LYDIA GRAY:
Yeah, well, my horse has not been in a stall for
three, going on three years now. So I’m a firm believer in that. SARAH: And it’s not because
he’s not a fancy dressage horse, because he is. DR. LYDIA GRAY: We do a lot
of cleaning and catching. But yeah, I think turnout
is the way to go if you can. Realize that not every place
in the country and every barn allows it or has room for it. So you are limited by
geography at times. SARAH: But there
are things you can do to mimic it if you
can’t provide turnout all the time, like
you were saying, providing the small hole
hay net in the stall to make it more like– DR. LYDIA GRAY:
To mimic grazing. SARAH: The small
intake of grazing, making sure that your horse is
exercised, especially if he’s a horse that tends
to get stiff, making sure he gets out every day. So I think provide the
turnout if you can. If you can’t, do
your best to fake it. DR. LYDIA GRAY:
Even if you can’t do 24/7 turnout, as much turnout
as you can is great, yeah. SARAH: All right. And I will say on the hard to
catch note, on the flip side, that can be a pro– DR. LYDIA GRAY: Exercise. SARAH: –because if you–
exercise for humans, I like where you’re going. But if you go out to
the field and your horse comes up to you, what a feeling. That’s love. All right. Question four, this is submitted
by Jesseanne And Jesseanne on YouTube, is
wondering, “My horse has developed gigantic
windpuffs in both legs.” First of all, I
just want to picture how gigantic these must be. “My vet assures me
they’re only cosmetic, but I’m concerned this may
indicate joint discomfort and/or weakness,
and want to know if there’s anything I should
be doing to help combat it.” So I think we should probably
start with, what are windpuffs? DR. LYDIA GRAY: Yes, because
they sound exciting, right? Windpuffs. SARAH: Sounds like a Pokemon. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Oh
no, don’t go there. They’re just swellings. And your vet’s right, usually
cosmetic and harmless swellings in the lower legs
behind the cannon bone, behind the suspensory ligament
and digital flexor tendons also. And they’re just a stretching
of the tendon sheath, the lining of the tendons. Sometimes it’s a stretching
of the fetlock joint capsule itself. But you see them as outpockets. Is that a word? Outswellings of puffs– SARAH: Puffs. Puffs, windpuffs I don’t know
why they’re called windpuffs, but of the lower leg. They’re usually not hot. They’re not painful. They’re not active. They’re just a result of
a lifetime of use, and not even really hard use. It has to do with
conformation, size of the horse and the way he’s built, and
the footing and the shoeing and a whole range of components. SARAH: You can say no. Is it like when the tops of your
socks lose their elasticity? Because it sounds like you’re
talking about over time, they become less likely
to snap back into– DR. LYDIA GRAY: Can I say I
don’t know, but I think so. I think that works. I’m always looking
for good analogies. I might. I have to think about
that one for a day or so. But it’s just a stretching. And then once they’re
stretched, they don’t go back. Yeah, yeah, OK. SARAH: And it’s very– it’s
cosmetically unappealing. It’s not a good look. DR. LYDIA GRAY:
Yeah, so you can ice. You can poultice. You can wrap. You can cold hose,
that kind of things. Turnout, turnout is
very good for windpuffs. SARAH: OK. Back to the last question. DR. LYDIA GRAY: If there’s a
lameness associated or any heat or whatever, then have
your veterinarian out to look at them, because maybe
there is something going on. But on the whole,
they’re not a problem. However, she was
very insightful. It makes you think, is there
something not quite right with the footing or the shoeing? Or is there lameness
trying to rear its ugly head, another reason
to have the veterinarian out? I don’t get terribly
excited about them, especially if they
are– I’m trying to think of a word to use
today that’s scientific that we can spell on the screen. Bilateral? Bilaterally symmetrical,
meaning that the left and right legs both have them? If only one leg has it, then
that’s probably something– SARAH: More concerning. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. But if both legs
have them, and they are mostly in the hind
legs, but sometimes horses have all four legs. So you’re not going
to like this advice, but sometimes, if
you’ve decided, and your vet’s looked
at them, and they’re not they’re just
windpuffs and they’re not indicating something
more serious, the best advice is don’t look. SARAH: I like it. Last but not least,
_equestrian_joy_ on Instagram is wondering, “What vaccines
should I be giving my horse?” DR. LYDIA GRAY: Ooh. SARAH: This is a good one. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. Where’s my 10-foot pole? Now, this one, this is
kind of straightforward, because the AAEP, which we
talk about almost every time, the American Association
of Equine Practitioners, has released a white paper,
or a guideline, something, about vaccines. And they separate them
into two categories. One they call core vaccines,
that every horse should have, no matter where you
live, or if you’re the only horse on the property
and you don’t even go anywhere. And then risk-based
vaccines, and those depend on where you
live in the country and if you do go somewhere
and expose to other horses. So in that group, you think
of things like influenza and Rhino or herpes virus,
because you’re being exposed to contagious diseases. And the core vaccines
would be things like tetanus, which
you get from the soil, rabies, which you get
from skunks and bats, and Eastern and Western
sleeping sickness, and West Nile virus, which
are from mosquitoes, so ubiquitous things. But the vaccine
choice is something that your veterinarian
helps you with. That’s why you have these
really good conversations with your vet, because he or
she will tell you, in your area and what you do with your horse,
which vaccines are appropriate and when and how
often and all that. So it’s really a conversation
that you have with your vet, but you can get a head
start by going to the AAEP and reading that
white paper about what they think about vaccines. Because it was put together
by a committee of experts in that field, and so there’s
some really good information there. It talks about young horses
and adults and older horses and pregnant mares
and just everybody. SARAH: All right. It’s always good when you get
a lot of really smart people thinking about the same
thing, and especially, if you can get
them all to agree. That’s pretty impressive. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. So vaccines are pretty
straightforward. SARAH: All right. Well, that’s all we
have for this month. Thank you, guys, so much for
submitting your questions. We will start accepting
questions for next month’s video right now. So you can submit
those on our blog, on Twitter, Instagram,
Facebook, using #askthevetvideo, so we make sure we don’t
miss your question. You can also ask in the
comments right here on YouTube, or you can e-mail
[email protected], and we will be sure to
pass your questions along to the right group. We’ll put them up on the blog. They’ll be open for
voting just like they are every other month,
and the top five will be answered
on air by Dr. Gray. DR. LYDIA GRAY: Plus maybe
a secret question by you. SARAH: Maybe. Keep those secret
questions coming. And we’ll look forward to
answering those questions. And you will be rewarded for
asking your very brilliant questions that get Dr. Gray
and I thinking and learning every month with a
SmartPak gift card. So what could be
better than that? You get to learn, and
you get to shop, which is what SmartPak is all about. All right. So that’s all we have
right now for this month. Thank you, guys, so
much for watching. And have a great ride.


  • Reply indianola594 August 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I liked this video before it even started! Sara and Dr. Gray rock!!! Loving this series 😀

  • Reply henriette oakheart August 25, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    i like the stuff that SmartPak sell, but i don't like that you cant send to England. all of these bridles and saddles that i know are amazing, because they're not cheap 😛 are amazing looking and are amazingly priced just wish there were in England to spoil my little pony 🙂

  • Reply Kelly Barry August 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    How will a grade one club foot affect an up and coming horse? What maintenance schedule would you recommend?

  • Reply olivia roos August 25, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Yes, 24/7 turn out is amazing! No stall cleaning and horses get to be horses in a heard!

  • Reply Olivia Equestrian August 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    This is so helpful! I agree with all of this!

  • Reply Ava Jackson August 25, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Any tips for keeping horses shoes on/ preventing them from pulling shoes? My mare does it frequently and it gets very annoying.

  • Reply Meghan Double August 25, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    #askthevetvideo what are those little things on the inside of the horse's front legs called? I asked someone and they tried explaining that they used to be a type of thumb, but over evolution they weren't used and don't have a purpose?

  • Reply Sarah August 26, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Bar the predator thing (freak accidents can still happen in a stall and the benefits of socialising with other horses far outweigh the injury risks), keeping horses indoors is really a convenience thing and it's actually so refreshing to see a vet recommending and practicing it. Horses are horses and they benefit from being allowed to act and interact like horses, thank you!

  • Reply Gray Noms August 26, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    #askthevetvideo I have a four month old colt who is going to be introduced to the show world at a young age, and I was wondering if there is anything I need to consider when starting him in shows (mainly halter, until he is broke to ride), if there is anything I would need to start with, and if you carry anything to help with this/have any advice for starting?

    – Gracie

  • Reply Faith Amundson August 27, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I died when I saw that mine was answered

  • Reply Alex Griffin August 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    #askthevetvideo after a ride on a hot day should my horse have unlimited access to water, or should I limit his intake to a few sips?

  • Reply Brakefield Equestrian August 28, 2016 at 12:26 am

    #askthevetvideo Dear Smartpak and Vet,
    My Thoroughbred is having some weight gaining issues. He has gained a significant about on beer pulp and cracked corn however the corn makes him hotter than I'd like and it seems he has stopped gaining and just remained a steady weight. He is almost to the ideal weight and I am desperately looking for some healthy supplements or feeds that can help his weight problem!

  • Reply Amber Langlands August 28, 2016 at 9:32 am

    #askthevetvideo my horse bites the fence and sucks in 1 what is it called, 2 he is not gaining weight is that because he does that and 3 what can I do?

  • Reply Carly Chandler August 28, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    #askthevetvideo Which hay, (oat, alfalfa, or grass hay) is best for weight gain and optimum results?

  • Reply Sullivan Skye August 30, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    #askthevetvideo What are some on hand first aid items that horse owners/barns should have to use for minor injuries/major injuries while waiting for the vet?

  • Reply caleigh alvarez September 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    #askthevetvideo Should you put boots on your horse every time you ride? If so what kind?

  • Reply Eleanor Ball September 5, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Will Smartpak ever go international? I'd love to get somethings over here in Australia!!

  • Reply Reagan Little September 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

    What do you think you should do first if your horse got a injury that is bleeding, and won't stop. Do we call the vet? What could you do in that time waiting.

  • Reply Reagan Little September 7, 2016 at 11:25 am


  • Reply Reagan Little September 7, 2016 at 11:27 am

    #ask the vet

  • Reply Rachel Brubaker September 7, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    #askthevetvideo with 24/7 turnout, what should you be concerned about as far as weather conditions go, and should you have a shelter that your horse can go in optionally whenever it wants to

  • Reply AutunmsDay September 9, 2016 at 5:54 am

    we call them parking lot starches when they come in with bites and rubs etcs

  • Reply Seda Nelle September 9, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Another turnout con is weather – particularly if you live in a place that is prone to extremes in temperature, big storms, etc. Obviously most horses are fairly hardy and capable of comfortably withstanding a greater range of temperatures than most humans, but it can create problems with safety (lightning strikes if the paddock has trees, heat exhaustion, muddy patches, ice, etc.) as well as maintenance/convenience things like stagnant water causing bug control issues, having to find and clean lost blankets, etc.

  • Reply Megan Hudspeth November 9, 2016 at 5:17 am

    can windy conditions cause bad eye infections?

  • Reply Melanie Dandeneau December 5, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Windpuffs are like cold rubber bands!

  • Reply Emily Champion May 10, 2017 at 2:57 am

    #askthevetvideo As you as know, many barns with the stall boarding have individual turnout. So I'm wondering is individual turnout bad for the horses health (physically and/or mentally)? Also many barns only do turnout for only 5-8 hours a day. For a horses health (physically and/or mentally) what should be the minimum hours for daily turnout? If your barn on cleans stalls 6 days a week, will the 1 day negatively effect your horses health? What do you recommend for: How many times should a stall and/or pasture be cleaned a week/daily? So my barn only gives hay 2x a day: Is that bad for a horse, since horses naturally graze all day? Will the 2x a day hay effect the horses teeth? Lastly, what vitamins does every horse need? Sorry for the long multiple questions, question 🙂 Love you SmartPak

  • Reply amelia August 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    #askthevetvideo Whats the best joint supplement for a heavy working barrel horse who is older?

  • Reply Becca’s Equine Life September 8, 2019 at 4:58 am

    What country and if in the USA want state. Sounds personal but I want to know.

  • Reply Becca’s Equine Life September 8, 2019 at 5:00 am

    I need tips about owning a horse because i will soon get one. I know some important things and I talk to my instructor about it to.

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