Another good indication for pain or discomfort in the horse is sudden changes in behaviour, or expressing abnormal behaviour. There are some abnormal behaviours that are commonly seen in horses that suffer from gastric ulcers, listed in the table below.
Does your horse display sudden changes in behaviour, such as nervous or aggressive behaviours?
Behaviours are very useful to assess pain and discomfort in the horse. Different behaviours which are often seen in horses suffering from gastric ulcers are, when the horse is…:
Eating (much) less than usual
Refusing to eat at all
Spilling of concentrates or even roughage
Moving a lot with lips and tongue
Yawning more often than usual
Reacting painfully, aggressively or grumpily when touching the area around the belly, or tightening the girth
Looking remarkably sleepy, not alert, with a decreased reactivity
Suddenly not keeping up with the work and needs a longer retention time after training
Crib biting: Grasping of a surface with the teeth, extending the neck and pulling back while contracting the ventral neck muscles, often producing a burp like sound
Colic: different forms of colic
Colics is a collective term for abdominal pain in the horse, which can be very dangerous for the horse, sometimes even resulting in death. This is often a result from an impaired functioning in the digestive tract. In the horse, constipation, cramps, (gas)accumulation or displacements can occur at various sites within the digestive tract, often resulting in colic. There are different forms of colic:
Gas colic: When gases formed in the digestive tract of the horse can not leave the body, then there is an increased risk for gas colic.
Congestive colic: This form of colic arises when the intestines are congested with feed. This can be causes by eating too much straw, not grinding the feed properly of not drinking enough water.
Sand colic: When the horse is ingesting too much sand, this sand can build up in the intestine and resulting in sand colic.
Cramp colic: Stress or rapid changes (for example in the feed or environment) can cause cramps in the intestines.
Gas accumulation (bloated belly)
In severe cases metabolic problems may arise, such as EMS or laminitis for example
The GI tract of the horse consists out of different bacteria, fungi and protozoa, also called the intestinal microflora. Like previously mentioned, the microflora in the hindgut is really important for fermentation of enzymatically indigestible fibres, thereby generating the daily required energy for the horse. But, besides the extremely important fermentation process, the microflora has an interplay with the immune system.
Approximately 80% of the equine immune system interacts with the GIT. Through this interaction, the microflora protects the horse by eliminating the pathogens Therefore, a healthy digestive system can help to reduce the risk of getting other health problems. A healthy and balanced microflora will modulate and support the immune response.
Coat quality reflects the overall health status of the horse. A declining coat quality is already one of the first signs of health-related problems, improper nutrition or poor maintenance. A shiny coat reflects good health in horses and an unattractive coat is more often seen in horses that suffer from an impaired health.
Please be aware, that you should take this sign serious and not just try to make the coat shine again by using care products or feeding more oil.
Different coat quality's with first a dull or dry coat then a sleek, glossy, nice coat.
The quality of the manure of your horse is a very good measurement for (intestinal) health of your horse. A healthy horse with healthy intestinal microflora will produce good quality manure in general.
Good quality, healthy manure will consist out of firm, shiny balls of manure that fall apart somewhat when these land on the ground. There is some variation in (healthy) manure depending on the situation and ration. Normally, manure should have a brown colour, but during the pasture season it can look a little more (dark) green and become a bit wetter, and when feeding more straw or dry hay, the colour can also be a little more yellowish-brown and become more dry. You will also see more fibre in the manure balls.
Adult horses (600 kg) produce about 17,5 kg of manure per day. If a horse suddenly produces much more or less manure than usual, this can amongst others reflect sudden changes in the ration or stress.
Is my horse at a goodweight?
The body condition of the horse is another good health indication in the horse.
If your horse is al of a sudden losing a lot of weight, without changing the diet or exercise,, it should ring your alarm clocks. It is very important to always keep an eye on your horses weight and body condition.
When determining the body condition score (BCS), we look at six different areas: the neck, withers, back, base of the tail, ribs and the area just behind the shoulder of your horse.
On the illustration on the left, the points you need to look at are clearly indicated. These are important to read a good BCS of your horse.
By using the illustrations and description below, you can see which score your horse has for each area. The average of these scores determines the final body condition score. Be honest when filling this in, even though it can sometimes be quite confronting.
“We recommend to check your horses weight on a regular basis. The BCS is a helpful tool for this. If you want to measure the weight without a scale, you can also use the Pavo measurement tape.”
Pleun Broeren, nutritionist
The bone structure at the neck, shoulder and withers can be easily felt. On the back, the spinous processes are visible, as are the ribs. The base of the tail protrudes clearly. No fatty tissue can be felt.
The bone structures at the neck, shoulder and withers are vaguely discernible. The spinous processes can be felt, as can the base of the tail. The ribs are visible.
The bones in the neck, shoulder and withers are accentuated, but no bone structure can be discerned. The transverse processes can no longer be felt. The base of the tail can be felt, but individual vertebrae are no longer visible. The ribs can still be seen, but are lightly covered with fat.
The neck, shoulder and withers are not excessively thin. A slight ridge is visible along the spine. The degree to which the base of the tail protrudes depends on the body's build, and some fatty tissue can be felt. You can see a vague outline of the ribs.
When you recognize your horse needs to gain more weight, Pavo FibreBeet can support your horse.
The prebiotic effect of the pectins supports the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. This makes the beet pulp easily digestible and particularly suitable for horses with a sensitive intestinal flora and for horses that have problems with diarrea, faecal water or colic
The neck and shoulder flow into the body. The withers are rounded. The fatty tissue around the tail insertion begins to feel spongy. The ribs cannot be distinguished with the naked eye, but can easily be felt.
Fatty tissue starts to develop around the neck, just behind the shoulder and on the side of the withers. A slight thickening is possible along the spine. The fatty tissue around the base of the tail feels soft. The fatty tissue over the ribs feels spongy, but you can still feel the ribs.
Fat deposits at the level of the neck, the withers and behind the shoulders. A slight thickening along the spine is possible. The fatty tissue around the base of the tail feels soft. Individual ribs can still be felt, but there is noticeable padding with fatty tissue between the ribs.
The neck is noticeably thickened. The withers and the area just behind the shoulder are filled with fatty tissue. There is a thickening along the spine. The fatty tissue around the base of the tail feels very soft. The ribs are difficult to feel due to fat.
At the neck, withers, at the base of the tail and just behind the shoulder, there is excessive, bulging fatty tissue. Fat along the inside of the buttocks can rub against each other and the flanks are filled to the same degree as the body, so that the body and the flanks run into each other. Along the spine, a very clear thickening can be seen. Over the ribs there is also generous fatty tissue, so that you cannot feel the ribs.
De krachtige opkikker voor ieder paard
Pavo HealthBoost contains a wide range of vitamins, antioxidants and prebiotics, making it a real boost for your horse. The natural vitamin E, in combination with the natural CellProtect antioxidants, provide an even better availability of vitamin E and the neutralisation of the free radicals. Immunity is closely related to a proper functioning of the digestive system. Live yeast is often used as a prebiotic that contributes to a healthy micro flora in the guts.
However, research has shown that live yeast loses much of its effectiveness by the processing into a product. This is why Pavo adds ‘Diamond V’ prebiotics to its HealthBoost. Diamond V contains nutrients that are required by healthy gut bacteria, allowing them to thrive.
No iron is added, as years of monitoring of the iron levels in roughage have shown that iron is available abundantly. Pavo HealthBoost does not contain wheat, so this supplement is also ideal for horses that are sensitive to gluten.
- Powerful boost after sickness or a difficult period
- Supports the immune system and the intestinal health
- Contains vitamins, prebiotics and natural antioxidants
- For horses that have been sick or have a weakened condition
- For horses that need support of their immune system
- For listless horses that could do with a bit of extra energy
- For horses that are for unknown reasons out of sorts
- Give Pavo HealthBoost as a treatment during two to three weeks after sickness, or for a longer period of time for horses that suffer from a weakened immunity.
- Horse (approx. 600 kg): 250 grams per day
- Pony (approx. 300 kg): 125 grams per day
Pavo FibreNuggets as an alternative to roughage
Sufficient, high-fibre and high-quality roughage is the staple for every horse’s diet, however, this is not always self-evident. In some cases, it might be necessary to supplement or even replace your hay or silage wholly or partially. For example, in case of a poor or mediocre quality of roughage, or horses that suffer from teeth problems and consequently have difficulty taking in roughage.
Pavo FibreNuggets can be used as a high-quality replacement of roughage. The large high-fibre pellets, made from 100% pasture grass from the Alpine foothills in Southern Germany, stimulate chewing and salivation in your horse. More chewing prevents boredom and saliva promotes a healthy digestion. The fragrant and tasty pasture grass consists of a variety of more than 60 different types of grasses and herbs. It is rich in fibres, natural vitamins and trace elements and completely free of molasses and cereals. Thanks to a controlled drying process, the FibreNuggets are of a very consistent quality without mould or dust. This also makes it the ideal replacement for horses that are sensitive to dust and/or mould.
- Top quality roughage replacement
- Tasty mixture of Alpine grasses and herbs
- Contains more than 60 different grasses and herbs
- Free of molasses and cereals
- Suitable for all horses and ponies
- Supplement or whole or partial replacement of roughage in case of poor or bad roughage quality
- Senior horses or horses that have a problem with roughage intake due to teeth issues
- For horses that are sensitive to dust/mould in roughage
- Pavo FibreNuggets can be fed dry, but for optimum safety we recommend soaking the pellets with sufficient water, in a ratio 1:2 (FibreNuggets : water). Soak the product for 30 minutes in hot water or 1 hour in cold water.
- Feed maximum 0.5 - 1 kg per 100 kg body weight per day.
1 full Pavo feed scoop FibreNuggets contains approximately 0.860 kg.
Pavo FibreNuggets as an alternative to roughage
Optimum movement requires healthy joints. The right nutrients can have a positive effect on the condition of the cartilage, synovial fluid and the joint capsule and ligaments that keep the joint together.
Supple joints with Pavo Mobility
Pavo Mobility contains glucosamine and hyaluronic acid that are components for healthy synovial fluid. Chondroitin and MSM (sulphur) have a positive effect on the cartilage. On the cartilage yet these substances alone are not enough to support healthy joints in horses. The most important component is the special collagen in Pavo Mobility that supports the collagen, bone and cartilage. Pavo Mobility also contains vitamin C and the micro-mineral silicon that plays a role in the development of bone tissue, cartilage, collagen and hyaluronic acid. Pavo Mobility does not contain wheat, so it is gluten-free.
- For supple joints
- Optimum nutrients for cartilage and joints
- Supports the creation of synovial fluid
- With collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, MSM and silicon
- For horses that need support for their joints
- For competition horses
- For young horses that have just started their training
- For older horses
Pavo Mobility can be administered as a preventative to competition horses when the joints are under a lot of strain. Additionally, Pavo Mobility can be given after an injury, if your horse had joint problems or upon indication of a veterinarian that your horse could benefit from it during a period of two to three months. Senior horses as well as horses with arthrosis may benefit from Pavo Mobility.
Horse (approx. 600 kg): 50 grams per day
Pony (approx. 300 kg): 25 grams per day
As a treatment and for senior horses:
Horse (approx. 600 kg): 100 grams per day
Pony (approx. 300 kg): 50 grams per day