About Jaime Thomas, B.Sc.

Jaime Thomas is a graduate of the University of Calgary and has extensive experience working in the nutraceutical industry as a researcher and writer. She is a dedicated horse owner who enjoys staying current with advances in the equine health and nutrition field to better serve the horses she cares for and interacts with.

How to Feed a Horse with PPID (Cushing’s Disease) [10-Step Guide]

By |2023-06-07T12:21:02-04:00June 7th, 2023|Conditions, Nutrition|

Feeding horses with pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), previously referred to as Equine Cushing’s disease, can be a challenge. Horses affected by PPID are typically older and may have other health issues including equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). This condition can involve insulin dysregulation (ID), recurring laminitis, and abnormal fat deposits.

Narcolepsy in Horses – Sleep Disorder Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

By |2023-06-06T13:39:13-04:00June 6th, 2023|Conditions|

Equine Narcolepsy Causes of Narcolepsy Signs Treatment Other Sleep Disorders Normal Equine Sleep Narcolepsy is a neurological and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep disorder. It involves the sudden onset of [...]

Hypothyroidism in Horses: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

By |2023-05-25T14:02:43-04:00May 25th, 2023|Conditions|

Hypothyroidism refers to inadequate production of thyroid hormones, primarily thyroxine and (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are produced by the thyroid gland and play a role in regulating your horse's metabolism. Hypothyroidism most commonly occurs in neonatal foals and is rarely observed in adult horses. In foals, the condition results in musculoskeletal deformities and, in some cases, thyroid gland enlargement. When hypothyroidism occurs in adult horses, typical signs include dull coat, lethargy, and poor performance.

13 Signs of PPID in Horses: Long Hair Coat, Muscle Loss & More

By |2023-05-02T11:21:24-04:00May 2nd, 2023|Conditions|

Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID), previously referred to as Cushing’s Disease, is an endocrine-related disease that affects approximately 20-25% of senior horses, ponies, and donkeys. Signs of PPID in horses include abnormal hair coats, muscle atrophy, loss of topline, poor performance, regional fat deposits, and weight loss. Horses may also experience infertility, abnormal sweating, increased thirst and urination, and immune dysfunction. Horses affected by PPID also have a higher risk of laminitis and may experience symptoms related to insulin resistance due to concurrent Equine Metabolic Syndrome.

Hair Loss (Alopecia) in Horses – Signs, Causes & Treatment

By |2023-03-20T10:17:54-04:00March 20th, 2023|Conditions|

Alopecia or hair loss in horses can occur for several different reasons and may be temporary or permanent. Alopecia refers to the partial or complete absence of hair that occurs in any area of the body where hair is normally present. Congenital alopecia is a condition that is present at the time of birth. This form of alopecia is non-inflammatory and may occur due to genetic factors, resulting in damage to the hair follicles. Acquired alopecia refers to a partial or complete loss of hair that occurs at any stage of life. It is the most common form of hair loss that affects horses.

Chia Seeds for Horses – Nutrition, Benefits & Feeding Guide

By |2023-03-17T15:18:23-04:00March 17th, 2023|Nutrition|

Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant and are fed to horses to support gut health and provide nutrients. A member of the mint family, chia has been cultivated for over 5,000 years in Central America. The seeds of the chia plant are rich in nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Chia is also a source of amino acids and beneficial plant chemicals (phytochemicals). Chia is included in the equine diet as a source of cool calories with digestible energy primarily supplied from fat. Feeding chia is also purported to support gut motility, possibly reducing the risk of sand colic, among other purported benefits.

Myosin Heavy Chain Myopathy (MYHM) in Horses: Signs, Causes & Treatment

By |2023-02-17T14:49:56-05:00February 17th, 2023|Conditions|

Myosin Heavy Chain Myopathy (MYHM) is a muscle disease that can affect Quarter Horses and related breeds with the associated mutation in the MYH1 gene. MYH1, also called myosin heavy chain 1, is a gene that encodes a type of myosin found in fast-twitch muscle. Myosin is a protein responsible for muscle contraction and other motor functions. Horses with the MYH1 mutation have myosin with an altered amino acid sequence which interferes with the function of myosin in muscle tissue.

Weaning a Foal: How and When to Wean and Introduce Creep Feeds

By |2023-02-14T10:47:50-05:00February 14th, 2023|Care & Management|

Weaning foals refers to separating the foal from their mother so they no longer consume milk by nursing. Once weaned, foals must obtain nutrients from forage and other feeds. Domesticated foals are typically weaned four to seven months after birth. Various weaning strategies can be used, including progressive and abrupt separation of the foal and dam. Progressive separation is believed to be less stressful for foals. Housing newly weaned foals in a natural environment and with unrelated adult horses and or their peers may also reduce stress. Introducing foals to creep feeding (eating small amounts of concentrates) before weaning provides a range of benefits. Creep feeds provide additional nutrients to nursing foals, reduce weaning stress, and enable the developing foal to gradually become accustomed to eating solid foods.

Retained Fetal Membranes (Placenta) in Mares: Signs, Causes & Treatment

By |2023-02-13T14:10:08-05:00February 13th, 2023|Conditions, Horse Health|

Retained fetal membranes (RFM), also referred to as retained placenta, is a condition that affects a small percentage of broodmares. RFM can lead to serious medical complications in affected mares and requires prompt treatment. Potential complications of RFM include laminitis, the accumulation of toxins in the bloodstream (toxemia), and an enlarged uterus (metritis). RFM can also lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition that results when the body's response to an infection damages its own tissues. Proposed causes of retained fetal membranes are associated with hormonal and nutrient imbalances in the mare, abnormal adhesions between the placenta and the tissue that lines the uterus, foaling complications, abortion, and infections.

Preparing Broodmares for Breeding and Care During Pregnancy

By |2023-01-26T14:01:42-05:00January 26th, 2023|Care & Management|

Preparing your broodmare for breeding and pregnancy requires careful planning to ensure she is in optimal condition to carry and deliver a healthy foal. A Breeding Soundness Exam (BSE) provides a health assessment of mares being considered for breeding. Some mares may require advanced reproductive testing to ensure they can conceive and carry a healthy foal to term. Before breeding, your broodmare should have a healthy body condition score (BCS) of between 5 and 6 on the 9-point Henneke scale. Ensure your horse is up to date on deworming and vaccinations, and have your veterinarian perform a comprehensive exam to identify metabolic conditions. Work with a nutritionist to formulate a feeding plan to support your broodmare and the developing foal. After the fifth month of gestation, nutrient requirements for energy and protein increase, and by the seventh month, mineral needs also increase.

Feeding Canola Oil to Horses: Benefits for Weight Gain

By |2023-01-26T14:47:06-05:00January 26th, 2023|Nutrition|

A variety of supplemental oils including camelina, flax, soy, corn, fish, and canola are commonly used in equine diets. Although every oil provides the same amount of energy, each one has a different fatty acid profile which can influence the horse's health. Dense in calories, canola oil is a source of fat that can be used to replace grain in the horse’s diet. It provides cool energy for performance horses and supports weight gain in hard keepers. Canola oil is primarily comprised of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and contains more than twice the amount of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids.

Rice Bran Oil for Horses: Benefits of Feeding for Weight Gain

By |2023-01-13T15:44:50-05:00January 13th, 2023|Nutrition|

Rice bran oil (RBO) is an increasingly popular fat supplement fed to horses for weight management, cool energy, and coat quality. The oil is derived from the germ and bran of brown rice grains and contains essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Rice bran oil is palatable and provides a dense source of calories for horses. RBO is primarily composed of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It contains 42.6% oleic acid (an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid) and 28% linoleic acid (an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid).

Coconut Oil for Horses: Nutrition, Benefits & How to Feed [Review]

By |2022-11-30T13:47:07-05:00November 30th, 2022|Horse Health|

Coconut oil is a popular fat supplement for horses used to promote weight gain, skin health and a shiny coat. It is also used as a cool energy source for exercising horses to add calories to the diet without relying on sugars and starches. Coconut oil is derived from the kernel of mature coconuts that are harvested from the coconut palm tree. The two main types of oil obtained from coconuts are copra oil and virgin coconut oil. High-fat equine feeds are typically made with vegetable fats derived from canola, rice bran, soybean, and flax, but a growing number of products are now using coconut oil as an ingredient.

Feeding Flaxseed & Flax Oil to Horses

By |2022-11-18T13:24:52-05:00November 18th, 2022|Nutrition|

Also known as linseed, flaxseed is produced from the flax plant and can be used to provide fat, protein, and fibre in the equine diet. Flax products are cost-effective, calorie-dense and commonly fed to horses for weight gain or to support the energy requirements of high-performance exercise. Flax seeds and flax oil are also sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This essential fatty acid can be used to balance omega-6 intake and helps maintain skin and coat quality. While consuming omega-3s is generally associated with health benefits, not all omega-3 fatty acids have the same effects on the horse's body. Flax oil does not contain DHA or EPA, the two fatty acids associated with healthy inflammatory regulation and improved joint health.

Teff Hay for Horses: Nutrition Overview & Feeding Guide

By |2022-11-18T10:43:35-05:00November 18th, 2022|Nutrition|

An increasingly popular equine forage, teff grass is grown in warm geographic regions and is commonly cultivated in the Southern USA. Native to Africa, teff is a warm-season grass that is high in fibre and low in sugars and starch. The digestible energy content of teff hay varies from high to low, depending on growing conditions and crop management strategies. Because teff does not store fructans, a form of non-structural carbohydrate (NSC), it typically contains less energy than cool-season grasses. Due to the variable NSC content, obtaining a forage analysis is recommended before feeding teff hay to horses. Low-NSC teff provides a safe forage option for metabolic horses.

How to Choose the Best Mineral Supplement for Your Horse – [Buyer’s Guide]

By |2022-11-06T11:12:20-05:00November 4th, 2022|Nutrition|

Proper vitamin and mineral nutrition is critical to maintaining your horse's health and well-being. But how do you ensure that your horse gets everything they need to balance their diet? Horses on a forage-only diet universally have deficiencies in key minerals, including sodium, copper, and zinc. Even if you provide your horse with a salt or mineral lick, the chances are that their diets will under-supply nutrients required for optimal health. This is why a vitamin and mineral balancer is necessary for almost all horses. Feeding a concentrated mineral supplement can benefit your horse through improved coat condition, stronger hooves, improved stamina, mood regulation, and better performance.

Equine Biosecurity Measures: Tips for Horse Owners & Barn Managers

By |2022-10-24T14:27:42-04:00October 24th, 2022|Horse Health|

Whether you are a horse owner, handler or the manager of an equine facility, biosecurity plays an important role in keeping horses under your care safe and healthy. Horses can be affected by many different transmissible diseases, including equine infectious anemia, strangles, and equine influenza. Any time a horse comes into contact with new animals, people or environments, they may be exposed to novel pathogens. Biosecurity measures involve actions and protocols to protect livestock health by reducing disease transmission. Examples of biosecurity guidelines include controlling access at equine facilities, designating quarantine areas for newly arriving or ill horses, practicing good hygiene, and using pest control.

Hay Dunking in Horses: Causes of this Abnormal Eating Behavior

By |2023-05-01T13:17:34-04:00October 24th, 2022|Nutrition|

Hay dunking describes an abnormal equine feeding behaviour in which horses dunk their hay in water before chewing and swallowing it. This can be a messy habit and many horse owners want to know why it happens and how to stop it. While there is little research into why horses dunk their hay, several theories attempt to explain the behaviour. Anecdotal reports suggest some horses dunk their hay before eating it simply because they prefer it when it is dampened or because it helps them chew. It is also thought that underlying health issues can promote the behaviour, including gastrointestinal discomfort, allergies to dust, and dental issues.

Why is My Horse Eating Soil? – [Geophagia Causes & Prevention]

By |2023-05-01T13:16:36-04:00October 12th, 2022|Nutrition|

Has your horse started eating or licking the soil? The ingestion of soil in animals is referred to as geophagia. The reason some horses eat dirt is not fully understood. But the behavior is thought to serve a nutritional purpose by providing minerals and other nutrients that might be lacking in the diet. Geophagia may also be linked to boredom or stress. Horses may nibble on the soil to pass the time, relieve anxiety, or alleviate stomach pain. Geophagia can be harmful because the soil may contain parasites and other pathogens that cause illness. Excessive ingestion of dirt can also damage the intestines and lead to impaction colic.