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Snake Bites in Horses: What You Need to Know

When your horse is bitten by a snake it is important to know what to do in order to be able to act quickly. Here is some important information that you need to know.

Snake bites most often occur on a horse’s:

  • Nose
  • Neck
  • Legs

Symptoms of a snake bite include:

  • Breathing difficulties or very fast breathing
  • Swelling
  • Fang marks at the center of the swollen area
  • Lameness
  • Pain
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle spasms
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excessive salivating
  • Paralysis
  • Tissue damage

What to DO if your horse gets bit:

  • Immediately contact your vet and seek medical help
  • Try to identify the snake so that you can provide your vet with this valuable information
  • Look for swelling and fangs marks that signify your horse has, in fact, been bit
  • Keep your horse calm to help slow the spread of the poison through his or her body
  • Slowly walk your horse back to its stable or trailer

What NOT to do if your horse gets bit:

  • Do not waste any time, even if you suspect your horse was bitten
  • Do not remount your horse and ride him or her back to the stable or trailer as this will only spread the poison more quickly through the body
  • Do not cut open the bite wound to suck out the poison, as this can make matters worse if it is not done properly
  • Do not apply ice or touch the affected area

While many snake bites are from non-venomous snakes, it is still important to contact your veterinarian immediately, as you do not want to waste valuable time.

Overall, it is important that you stay calm, have a plan and keep your vet’s number close at hand in the case your horse should ever experience a snake bite.

Image by Paul Kline

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Facts About Animals: Goats

Who knew that goats were such interesting animals? Check out these interesting facts about goats.

Did you know…

  • Goats were the first animals to be tamed by humans.
  • Humans began herding goats approximately 9000 years ago.
  • Goats are members of the cattle family. They are closely related to sheep, deer and bison. Distant relatives include giraffes, ibex, and antelopes.
  • There are over 210 breeds of goats.
  • The world population of goats is estimated to be 450 million.
  • Approximately 6 to 8 % of the world’s goat population can be found in North America. The majority of the world goat population however can be found in the Mideast and Asia.
  • Goats have no upper front teeth but instead a hard “gum pad”. A goat’s age can be determined by the configuration of and wear on their teeth.
  • A goat with parasites and worms that is left untreated will most likely suffer many negative health effects that may decrease production and even result in death.
  • Female goats can weigh between 22 to 220 pounds and male goats can weigh between 27 to 275 pounds.
  • Both male and female goats can have horns and beards.
  • A goat’s pupils are rectangular in shape.
  • Generally a goat lives 10 to 12 years however there have been cases of goats living up to the age of 15.
  • Goats are very intelligent and social creatures. They prefer to surround themselves with other goats of their same breed. Goats are able to recognize their mothers even if they have been separated for years.
  • Some breeds of goats are able to jump over 5 feet.
  • A male goat is known as a buck or billy and a female is known as a doe or nanny. Young goats are called kids and a castrated male is called a wether. Male goats under the age of 1 are referred to as bucklings and white female goats less than a year old are called doelings.
  • A group of goats may be called a herd, trip or tribe. Herds are generally led by a female called the “herd queen”.
  • Male goats can breed as young as 4 months old and females once they have reached the age of 7 months.
  • Pregnancy for a goat lasts approximately 150 days or 5 months.
  • A goat may have 1-6 kids per litter. Twins are most common.
  • The United States in the largest importer of goats, while Australia is the largest exporter.
  • It is estimated that more people eat goat meat and drink goat milk than that from any other animal. In fact, approximately 72% of the world’s milk consumption is goat milk.
  • Goat meat is referred to as Chevon or Cabrito. It is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, pork and even chicken.
  • Goats are often kept with racehorses as a companions to help keep the horse calm.
  • A goat has 4 stomachs.
  • Goats are often recognized as the founders of coffee. Ancient goat herders noticed that goats became much more energetic after consuming beans that later turned out to be those from a coffee plant, leading to the discovery of coffee.
  • Cashmere comes from the Cashmere goat. A Cashmere goat can produce about one pound of fleece per year.

Image by Andreas März

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Llamas and Alpacas: What Is the Difference?

Alpaca

There are many differences between llamas and alpacas, with their physical appearances being the most obvious.

Here are some of the main differences that exist between llamas and alpacas.

  • A llama is approximately twice the size of an alpaca. Most llamas weigh approximately 200 to 350 lbs while alpacas usually weigh between 100 and 175 pounds when they are fully grown.
  • A llama has long banana-shaped ears while alpacas have short spear-shaped ones.
  • A llama’s back is long and straight with a high-set tail on the other hand, an alpaca has a shorter back that tends to round at the rump with a low-set tail.
  • Llamas have a coarse outer coat and a soft inner coat while alpacas have a very fine single
    coat.
  • Alpacas produce much more fiber per animal than llamas (despite their smaller size). This is due to the fact that the alpaca has been bred specifically as a luxury fiber-producing animal while the llama has been bred as a pack-carrying animal.

When it comes to similarities, both animals are friendly, curious and easily trained and handled. They are both herd animals who prefer the company of their own species. They can be interbred to produce fertile offspring however these offspring will not be as strong as a llama nor have the beautiful fleece of an alpaca therefore most breeders do not see a point in interbreeding.

Image by Alpaca

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What Is Citric Acid?

Citric Acid is an organic acid naturally derived from organic plant matter.

Citric Acid is a common active ingredient found in pesticides, disinfectants, sanitizers and fungicides. It is also a safe and effective impediment to the formation of ammonia. Absorbent Products has, therefore, developed products that use Citric Acid to provide ammonia control for barns, stalls, poultry houses and chicken coops.

The Citric Acid in Absorbent Products’ Activated Barn Fresh (ABF) and Fresh Coop™ products does not contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and is classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the EPA.

Image by Citric Acid and Citrus fruit

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What Is Ammonia?

What is ammonia?

Ammonia is a gas that is a by-product of animal waste, produced from nitrogen in urine and animal feces. Some of the nitrogen in an animal’s diet is metabolized into animal protein, for example, milk, meat or eggs. However, excess nitrogen is excreted through urine and feces and during manure decomposition ammonia is produced and released into the air.

What factors can cause high ammonia levels?

Litter conditions and ventilation are two of the biggest factors affecting ammonia concentrations. Ammonia production is significantly impacted by moisture, pH and the temperature of the litter in your barn, poultry house and stables. Wet litter is particularly bad for ammonia production. Poor ventilation, a build-up of animal waste and faulty water distribution means can contribute to wet litter.

Is ammonia dangerous to my animals?

Ammonia gas often accumulates inside animal shelters, particularly those with reduced ventilation. This can result in an air quality hazard, as high levels of ammonia can negatively impact animal health and productivity. Concerns in chickens exposed to high levels of ammonia include reduced body weight and productivity, increased likelihood of respiratory disease, a weakened immune system and decreased welfare and overall comfort.

At high concentrations, ammonia can irritate an animal’s respiratory tract and can damage the corneas of the eyes. Damage to the respiratory system of a bird can lead to an increased susceptibility to bacterial respiratory infections, especially infections from E. coli.

Is ammonia dangerous to me?

Ammonia can also have a negative impact on human health. When exposed to even low levels of ammonia you may experience an irritation of the lungs and eyes.

The effect of ammonia on the environment

It is estimated that animal agriculture accounts for 50 – 85% of all man-made ammonia in the atmosphere in the US and, in recent years, ammonia emissions from animal agriculture have drastically increased.

Airborne ammonia can be very detrimental, as it can travel hundreds of miles from where it originated and may negatively impact water, plant, and soil systems. In fact, scientists in Europe have found that ammonia emissions in Northern Europe have made their way to the Mediterranean Sea, causing nitrogen pollution. The negative effects of ammonia have also impacted the Gulf of Mexico by way of ammonia emissions from the Midwest.

Ammonia emissions also contribute to the development of haze. Sources suggest that “In the United States, haze has reduced natural visibility from 90 miles to between 15 and 25 miles in the East and from 140 miles to between 35 and 90 miles in the West”.

How to control ammonia

Products with the ability to acidify poultry litter can help in reducing ammonia emissions from birds. This processes of acidifying the litter reduces ammonia emissions by minimizing the conversion of ammonium to ammonia.

Ammonia levels can also be decreased by improving ventilation within the enclosure and employing good litter management practices. By improving ventilation, and with the help of agricultural absorbents and deodorizers, litter and bedding will dry more quickly, decreasing ammonia levels.

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The Dangers of High Ammonia Levels in Barns, Stalls and Coops

cattle in barn

Ammonia emissions are a common by-product of animal waste.

These emissions can negatively impact your animal’s health and production. As well, you yourself can be harmed by high levels of ammonia and even low levels can irritate the eyes and lungs. The environment is another concern, as ammonia emissions affect air quality.

Ammonia is one of the most dangerous gases that is present in the air in barns and stables.

It is produced from the decomposition of manure. The protein in an animal’s diet contains nitrogen that is metabolized by their bodies into animal protein such as milk, meat or eggs however any nitrogen that is not metabolized is excreted in the animal’s urine or feces. It is the process of decomposition of the manure that emits ammonia into the air.

Ammonia has a very strong odor and often accumulates inside barns and stables.

The ammonia emitted into the air by agricultural operations can have a very harmful effect on air quality and the environment. It has been estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection that animal agriculture can be held accountable for fifty to eight-five percent of all man-made ammonia emissions in the US.

It is important to control ammonia in order to protect your animals, yourself and the environment.

Manure management and proper ventilation are two steps that you can take to control these emissions. You can also use stall deodorizers to neutralize ammonia and absorb odors and moisture. This will keep your barn fresh and protect you, your animals and the environment from the negative effects of ammonia emissions.

For more information on how to reduce ammonia in your barn and stalls, check out: Providing a Clean and Safe Environment for Your Animals: The Stall DRY Method