another .02 on cold horse...

Susan Evans Garlinghouse (
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 20:56:19 -0800

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Hi again,

One more thing I was thinking about...since heat of digestion and thus a
warming effect is the result of structural carbohydrate digestion in the
cecum and hindgut, and since that digestion is carried out by the
microorganisms of the gut...then logically, it would make sense that
more digestion would be going on, and thus more heat produced per kg of
fiber, if the microbial population was maximized as well. Since the
rate of passage through the system is relatively constant, then more
bugs = more beta-glycosidic bonds being broken = more heat being
released. Hmmm...sounds like a research project to me! :-D

Anyway, back to reality (a difficult and arduous trip most days). If
your sister also handed her mare some probiotics every now and again, or
at least started her out with some Equine Bene-Bac, it might increase
the amount of heat the mare was getting out of the extra hay you're
feeding her in cold weather.

Just a thought. Geez, I gotta get a life.

Susan Garlinghouse

Susan Evans Garlinghouse wrote:
> Hi Linnea,
> If Centella's feeling bad due to post-chill infection or other disease,
> this won't help her, but if her problem is due to just being cold, then
> I'd suggest keeping her current ration as is, but adding about 7-8
> pounds of a medium to fairly poor quality grass hay or cereal grass
> hay---NOT poor quality as in dusty or moldy, what you want is something
> that is mature with alot of fiber to it. Good, clean straw or something
> close to it will work fine if she'll eat it. You might have or want to
> cut down her alfalfa ration by just a few pounds. The reason for this
> is because high fiber foods create a "heat of digestion" when being
> broken down in the cecum and hindgut---I don't have the references right
> here in front of me, but I think five pounds of hay will raise core
> temperature by about half a degree for several hours. Soluble
> carbohydrates, such as grain, or a portion of the more easily digested
> alfalfa (I'm assuming your alfalfa is good quality and relatively
> fine-stemmed), don't have this heating effect---either at all or to the
> same extent. Luckily, this is something you can do right away to help
> your mare heat herself up from the inside almost right away. For the
> best benefit, split the grass hay portion into at least two feedings so
> she has two daily periods of that extra warming effect. For that
> matter, free feeding the straw portion within reason isn't a bad idea,
> either---although they do tend to spread it around and make a mess
> searching for little tidbits. Or, in the infamous Spudnuts' case,
> because he's decided He's a Research Scientist Now and wants to know
> what will happen if he lovingly deposits twenty or thirty pounds of
> bermuda hay into the water trough. (anybody wanna buy a cute but
> mentally deranged colt for say, five or six bucks?)
> The other thing you might at least consider is letting her put on just a
> bit more weight during cold weather. While feeding her more calories
> won't help her warm herself right this minute, a little thicker fat
> layer will help insulate against the cold---ask any seal or whale. Even
> if your mare is just standing around in a field, having to maintain body
> temperature is still "doing work"---under calm conditions, horses will
> start losing significant body heat when the temp drops below about 14
> degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees C). If it's wet or windy, then heat
> loss is going to be greater and so more energy is going to be expended
> to maintain body temps.
> Somewhere around here, I have an estimate of the increase in energy
> requirements for every ten degrees below freezing---I'll see if I can't
> rummage around and find it. In the meantime, try increasing the fiber
> content of her diet to help her feed the furnace.
> Hope this helps,
> Susan Garlinghouse
> Linnea Skoglund wrote:
> >
> > Ridecampers, we need your help! Centella, a 14 yr old Paso Fino
> > mare, was really miserable in our recent blizzard--she got a bit wet,
> > the wind was from the south, and she had to be blanketed. (yes, there
> > is shelter when horses will use it!) Well, she has a good coat, is
> > carrying good weight, and the current weather is less wet. This am
> > Centella is in bad shape, lots of shivering and really miserable.
> > She gets a lb. of sweetfeed (12percent) and about 12 lbs of alfalfa.
> > She is on Clovite which contains A, D, and B12. I hate to put her on
> > more hay because her weight is really good and I don't want to take
> > weight off her next spring, but if the recommendation is more wt.
> > then I'll do it. Also she does not have a mineral block. ANy
> > thoughts from people on the net? I know my vet won't be any help.
> > All the other horses are fine.
> >
> > Thanks.
> >
> > Linnea & Pesadill ( If I shiver can I wear a pretty blanket too?)
> >
> > ****************************************************
> > Linnea G. Skoglund, Ph.D.
> > Dept. Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management
> > Colorado State University
> > Fort Collins, CO 80523
> > 970.491.6950
> > 970.491.3862 (fax)
> >
> > ****************************************************

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