The Last Ride

Large Animal Removal and Disposal


Does Your Horse Need Horseshoes?

Just as shoes are designed to protect our feet, horseshoes are meant to help protect the hooves of your horses. Yet, whether or not your horse actually needs to wear these shoes is a subject of great debate.

Keeping the Hooves Protected

Horseshoes originally became popular as a way to protect the hooves of domesticated horses in inhospitable climates. They were also thought to be beneficial for certain breeds of horses, as some have a tendency to have weaker hooves. Yet, while the center of a horse’s hoof is very sensitive, the outside does not feel pain. In fact, it is much like the nails that humans have on their fingers and toes, but the material on the horse’s hoof is much thicker. 

To Shoe or Not to Shoe

Under normal conditions, most horses do not need to wear shoes. In this case, the horse is referred to as “barefooting”. Some do believe, however, that shoes should be in place if the horse participates in certain activities that can put their hooves at risk. Those who are against using horseshoes, however, maintain that even serious hoof problems can be treated with the proper trimming of the hoof and without the need for shoes. 

The bottom line is that the decision should be based on the needs of the individual horse, so discuss it with your vet and your farrier to determine whether or not horseshoes are needed.

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Finding Companionship for Your Horse

As herd animals, horses naturally prefer to be around other animals. Not only does it help them to feel safer, but it also prevents them from getting bored and developing destructive habits such as chewing on wood or engaging in abnormal repetitive behaviors. Of course, owning and caring for an additional horse can be costly, so here are some ideas that you might want to consider in order to provide your horse with some companionship.

Offer Boarding

If you have the space available, you can generate a little extra income while also providing your horse with some companionship by offering boarding. It is important to remember, however, that not all horses get along. Therefore, you will want to give it a test run with a new horse before making any long-term commitments. In addition, you will need to create and sign contracts to ensure everyone knows exactly what the expectations will be.

Find Other Friends

If caring for another horse is too costly or if you don’t have the space, maybe consider other friends for your horse that are not quite so large or costly to care for. A miniature horse, for example, can make for a great companion with fewer upkeep demands. Goats, donkeys, alpacas, pot-bellied pigs and llamas are other alternatives that often pair nicely with horses. Of course, whether or not a friendship will develop is largely dependent upon the personality of your horse.

Consider a Companion Horse

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Monitoring Your Horse’s Health with Regular Temperature, Pulse and Respiration Readings

Knowing your horse’s normal body temperature, respiration rate and pulse is important in helping to determine whether or not your horse is experiencing health issues. While there is a normal range of values for these bodily functions, you should check your horse over several days and at different times of the day in order to determine what is normal for your particular horse. 

Generally speaking, the normal ranges for each are as follows:

  • Pulse: 28 to 45 beats per minute, with the double “lub dub” counted as one full beat.
  • Respiration: 8 to 20 breaths per minute
  • Temperature: 98.5 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (36.9 to 38.3 degrees Celsius)

Keep in mind that outside factors can affect these readings. For example, you may see a slight increase in your horse’s internal temperature if it is a very hot day. Similarly, if your horse is anticipating a treat or if it is near mealtime, you may see a slight increase in respiration and pulse. Your horse’s level of stress at the time can also affect these readings. This is why getting several readings over a period of time is the best way to get a true idea of what is “normal” for your horse.

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Dealing with Eye Issues with Cattle

Many people fail to realize that eye infections and eye cancer can be a serious issue when raising cattle. While cattle are considered to be relatively easy to care for, eye infections and eye cancer can both be very serious conditions that require proper care and treatment.

Eye Infections

Pinkeye is a very serious condition that can affect cattle. If left untreated or if treated too late, it can lead to blindness. Signs of pinkeye including discolored or cloudy eyes, swelling and unusual discharge. You should check your cattle daily for eye infections and you should contact your veterinarian immediately if you see any signs of infection, as early treatment is essential. It should also be noted that pinkeye vaccines are available and should be used if pinkeye is a common issue in the area where you are raising your cattle.

Eye Cancers

Cattle are very prone to eye cancers, especially lighter-skinned breeds such as Hereford. If detected early, however, eye cancers in cattle are usually fairly easy to treat. If left untreated, on the other hand, the cancer can spread rapidly and can become quite costly to treat. The cancer may also be fatal if not properly treated, so be sure to contact your veterinarian if you suspect eye cancer may be an issue for your cattle.

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Keeping Your Cattle Free from Bacterial Infections

While cows are relatively easy to care for in terms of keeping them healthy, there are a few conditions that you need to watch out for to ensure your cows stay healthy. Two such conditions include mastitis and foot rot.

What is Mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands that is caused by bacteria. It generally affects cows that have been lactating, but even those that are not lactating can contract mastitis. 

Symptoms of acute mastitis include elevated temperature and the udder becoming hot, hard and swollen. Treatment with antibiotics is crucial in recovering from mastitis. 

Foot Rot

Foot rot is also a bacterial infection, but rather than affecting the mammary glands, it affects the hoof. One or more hooves may be affected by foot rot at the same time, with the first symptom typically being general lameness. Other symptoms may include odor, swelling and pus or discharge 

You can greatly minimize the risk of foot root by providing proper hoof care and by maintaining all of the cow’s living areas. This includes keeping your cattle off of muddy pastures as well as rough walking surfaces, as these surfaces can injure the hoof. You should contact your veterinarian immediately if hoof rot is suspected.

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How to Prevent Bloat in Cattle

Caring for cows is relatively easy, but there are a few health problems from which cows can suffer. One of the most common of these conditions is bloat.

What is Bloat?

Bloat is a serious condition that is usually caused by overeating grain or grazing from a particularly lush pasture. The first obvious sign of bloat is a distension of the area beside the hip bone on the left side of the cow, an area known as the rumen. The cow may also experience labored breathing and may exhibit signs of discomfort, including grinding teeth, kicking, bawling, groaning and salivating profusely. 

How Can I Avoid Bloat?

To avoid bloat, you should acclimate your cows to a new pasture slowly. First, you should bring some of the pasture to them for a few days. Then, turn them out to the new pasture for only a few hours per day during the first week. In most cases, you should be able to set your cows out to pasture fully the following week. You should keep this same advice in mind any time you are starting a new diet with your cows.

If you see any evidence of bloat in your cows, you should consider it to be an emergency situation and you should contact your vet immediately.

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The Importance of Providing Your Horse with Grazing Time

As a horse owner, one of the most important things you can do to keep your horse healthy and happy is to give it ample time and opportunity to graze. Not only does grazing provide your horse with a more balanced diet, but it also helps your horse get the exercise that it needs to stay healthy.

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Keeping Your Horse Happy with Ample Social Time

As we continue to deal with the pandemic and stay at home orders, many are fully realizing just how important it is to be able to maintain a social life. Just as with humans, the same is true for your horse! In fact, if you want your horse to stay happy and healthy, it is absolutely essential that you find opportunity for it to enjoy a social life.

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Exploring the Importance of Movement for Your Horse

When caring for a horse, there are several steps you need to take to ensure it remains healthy. While most horse owners are fully aware that they need to make sure their horse eats properly, gets fresh water and stays safe from nasty weather elements, some may fail to recognize the importance of providing for opportunities for movement.

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Recognizing Heat Stress in Beef Cattle: Part 3 of 3

In addition to the many visible signs associated with heat stress in beef cattle, there are also several invisible signs and effects of heat stress. While they are not visible to the eye, wellness checks may show these signs through various forms of testing.

Some of the invisible signs of heat stress in beef cattle include:

  • Indigestibility of feed
  • Increased peripheral blood flow
  • Increased respiratory infections
  • Increased susceptibility to parasitic and non-parasitic diseases
  • Loss of bicarbonates
  • Loss of electrolytes
  • Lower ruminal pH
  • Reduced response to intercurrent diseases or pathogens
  • Slowed gut and ruminal motility rates, resulting in slow passage of feed through the digestive tract
  • Slowed recovery from environmental stresses
  • Stress hormones in the blood

Heat stress can also affect the reproduction of beef cattle. Not only can it alter the production of the reproductive hormones that are essential for pregnancy, but it can also change the balance of developing follicles in the ovary. Embryonic development can also be affected while gene function is disturbed. Lower conception rates and lower fertility in bulls is also associated with heat stress, as are increased foetal and postnatal mortality rates. 

By closely monitoring the health and the activity of your cattle, you can better ensure they are not suffering from heat stress and its negative – even possibly fatal – effects.

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