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[RC] News from MSU Vet. Med.-- Part 1 - Judy Lessard

I have revised the "Attention Horse Owners" article with the addition of a footnote explaining what "Complete Pelleted Feeds" are, and also added a listing of related articles that can be found on the MSU-CVM website. 
Please share this information with equine friends, clubs, associations, etc.  Anyone who would like a PDF of this news release, please let me know.
thank you, Judy
News Release
College of Veterinary Medicine
Michigan State University

January 22, 2009

The 2008-2009 winter in Michigan has been unusually cold with temperatures well below freezing for many days in a row.  This extreme cold weather can be particularly dangerous to animals that live outdoors and the MSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital is reporting an increase in the number of animals presenting with starvation and exposure-related problems.
During the winter it is imperative that you monitor your horse’s body weight by putting your hand on them frequently! 
Furry coats make visual assessment of body condition impossible - the ONLY way you can assess your animals condition is by touch.
As temperatures continue to remain unusually cold, it is important to remember that your animals require MORE calories to maintain body temperature and body weight.  Once an animal’s body condition has deteriorated it may no longer be strong enough to eat enough food to survive.
Remember older animals with poor dentition and young animals may require more feed, and be fed separately from other horses to ensure adequate intake.
Points to remember!
1:  The average inactive horse needs to eat 1.5 to 2 percent of its body weight in food per day to just maintain weight without any other energy demands.  In the winter, the amount needed will increase as the demand to keep warm will increase the amount of energy the horse expends. 
This means that the average 1,000-pound horse in good condition needs at least 20 pounds of hay during normal weather and may need as much as 35 to 40 pounds of hay and grain products during cold weather. 
If your horse is considered underweight, the amount of feed needs to be calculated based on his ideal weight, NOT his current weight.  While hay diets are ideal, certain animals will require grain, complete feeds or fat supplements to maintain body weight.
2:  Separate young, old or debilitated horses as the dominant horse will frequently eat most of the food provided, resulting in some horses being healthy and others facing malnutrition.

Judy Lessard
Editorial Assistant
Publications and Media Relations
College of Veterinary Medicine
Michigan State University
F-130 Veterinary Medical Center
East Lansing, MI 48824

Telephone: 517-355-0001
CVM website: http://cvm.msu.edu