Hay questions - Soaking and fermentation in the hot/humid summer


Diana RL
 

A few questions for the group.  Could you point me to the hay resources in terms of ideal NFC, ESC, WSC and Starch levels for an IR pony?  I got my soaked and non-soaked results back yesterday. 

Also, should I be concerned with wet hay "fermenting" during the hot/humid summer months?  We had one warm (80ish high humidity) day and the soaked hay started to get a fermented smell to it.  I typically soak four hay bags in the evening, let them sit overnight and then put them out the following morning. Do I have anything to be worried about?  Is the hay actually fermenting?  It is dangerous for the horses? 

Thanks in advance!


--
Diana and Scooter
Jan 2019
PA

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Scooter%20-%20Case%20History


Candice Piraino
 

Hello Diana!

Welcome to the group! 

I noticed this is your first post and want to ensure you have a warm welcome as well as some vital information. I will try to answer your immediate questions while the other administrators will chime in. 
The only real downside to soaking overnight is the possibility of making hay beer in very warm weather; driving iron into the hay if your water is high in iron and/or below 7.0 pH and/or your hay is dusty. Like everything else, soaking hay is a balancing act. If you can get by with soaking for 30  minutes in hot water, then do so; otherwise, soaking overnight is, in my opinion, better than not soaking at all. Does that make sense? 

Also, please feel free to use the search option at the top of the page. Many of your questions have been answered as well as backed up by related scientific articles. For instance, there are many files on hay soaking which can be found here:

https://ecir.groups.io/g/main/files/5%20Core%20Diet/1.%20Hay%20Information/Hay%20Soaking

Hoping this helps you in the meantime while others respond. 

The ECIR provides the best, most up to date information on Cushing's (PPID) and Insulin Resistance (IR). Please explore our website where you'll find tons of great information that will help you to quickly understand the main things you need to know to start helping your horse. Also open any of the links below (in blue font) for more information/instructions that will save you time.

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Below is a general summary of our DDT/E philosophy which is short for Diagnosis, Diet, Trim and Exercise.

 

DIAGNOSIS: There are two conditions dealt with here: Cushings (PPID) and Insulin Resistance (IR). These are two separate issues that share some overlapping symptoms. An equine may be either PPID or IR, neither or both. While increasing age is the greatest risk factor for developing PPID, IR can appear at any age and may have a genetic component. Blood work is used for diagnosis as well as monitoring the level of control of each.

PPID is diagnosed using the Endogenous ACTH test, while IR is diagnosed by testing non-fasting insulin, glucose and Leptin. Leptin is the hormone that says "stop eating". Knowing this helps to differentiate if a horse is IR "at baseline" or if an elevated ACTH is "driving" the insulin up. In Europe, substitute adiponectin for the leptin test.

*Before calling your vet to draw blood for tests, we suggest saving time and wasted money by reading these details and then sharing them with your vet so that everyone is on the same page regarding correct testing and protocols.

*Please remember to request copies of the results of all the tests done rather than just relying on verbal information. Your vet should be able to email these to you. If you have previous test results, please include those as well. All should go in your CH, but if you are having any trouble with the CH, just post in the messages for now. 

Treatment: IR is a metabolic type - not a disease - that is managed with a low sugar+starch diet and exercise (as able). The super-efficient easy keeper type breeds such as minis, ponies, Morgans, Arabs, Rockies are some of the classic examples. PPID is a progressive disease that is treated with the medication pergolide. Some, but not all, individuals may experience a temporary loss of appetite, lethargy and/or depression when first starting the medication. To avoid this "pergolide veil" (scroll down for side effects), we recommend weaning onto the drug slowly and the use of the product APF. The best long term results are seen when the ACTH is maintained in the middle of the normal range at all times, including during the annual seasonal rise. To accomplish this, the amount of medication may need to increase over time. Neither condition is ever "cured", only properly controlled for the remainder of the equine's life. If your partner is both PPID and IR then both medication and diet management will be needed. 

 

DIET: Almost all commercial feeds are not suitable - no matter what it says on the bag. Please see the International Safe Feeds List for the safest suggestions.

No hay is "safe" until proven so by chemical analysis. The diet that works for IR is:

  • low carb (less than 10% sugar+starch)
  • low fat (4% or less) 
  • mineral balanced  

We use grass hay, tested to be under 10% ESC + starch, with minerals added to balance the excesses and deficiencies in the hay, plus salt, and to replace the fragile ingredients that are lost when grass is cured into hay, we add ground flax seed and Vitamin E. This diet is crucial for an IR horse, but also supports the delicate immune system of a PPID horse. 

*Until you can get your hay tested and balanced we recommend that you soak your hay and use the emergency diet (scroll down for it).  The emergency diet is not intended for long term use, but addresses some of the most common major deficiencies. Testing your hay and getting the minerals balanced to its excesses and deficiencies is the best way to feed any equine. If you absolutely cannot test your hay and balance the minerals to it, or would like to use a "stop gap" product until you get your hay balanced, here's a list of "acceptable" ration balancers

There is a lot of helpful information in the start here folder so it is important you read all the documents found there. The emergency diet involves soaking your untested hay for an hour in cold water or 30 minutes in hot water. This removes up to 30% of the sugar content, but no starch. Starch is worse than sugar since it converts 100% to glucose while sugar only converts 50%, so starch causes a bigger insulin spike. Make sure you dump the soaking water where the equine(s) can't get to it. 

What you don't feed on the IR diet is every bit as, if not more important than, what you do feed! No grass. No grain. No sugary treats, including apples and carrots. No brown/red salt blocks which contain iron (and sometimes molasses) which interferes with mineral balancing, so white salt blocks only. 

No products containing molasses. No bagged feeds with a combined sugar and starch of over 10% or starch over about 4%, or fat over about 4%. Unfortunately, even bagged feeds that say they are designed for IR and/or PPID equines are usually too high in sugar, starch and/or fat. It’s really important to know the actual analysis and not be fooled by a name that says it is suitable for IR/PPID individuals.

We do not recommend feeding alfalfa hay to IR/PPID equines as it makes many of them laminitic. Although it tends to be low in sugar, many times the starch is higher and does not soak out. Additionally, protein and calcium are quite high, which can contribute to sore footedness and make mineral balancing very difficult.

 

TRIM: A proper trim is toes backed and heels lowered so that the hoof capsule closely hugs and supports the internal structures of the foot. Though important for all equines, it's essential for IR and/or PPID equines to have a proper trim in place since they are at increased risk for laminitis. After any potential triggers are removed from the diet, and in PPID individuals, the ACTH is under control, the realigning trim is often the missing link in getting a laminitic equine comfortable. In general, laminitic hooves require more frequent trim adjustments to maintain the proper alignment so we recommend the use of padded boots rather than fixed appliances (i.e. shoes, clogs), at least during the initial phases of treatment.

Sometimes subclinical laminitis can be misdiagnosed as arthritis, navicular, or a host of other problems as the animal attempts to compensate for sore feet. 

You are encouraged to make an album and post hoof pictures and any radiographs you might have so we can to look to see if you have an optimal trim in place. Read this section of the wiki for how to get a hoof evaluation, what photos are needed, and how to get the best hoof shots and radiographs.

 

EXERCISEThe best IR buster there is, but only if the equine is comfortable and non-laminitic. An individual that has had laminitis needs 6-9 months of correct realigning trims before any serious exercise can begin. Once the equine is moving around comfortably at liberty, hand walking can begin in long straight lines with no tight turns. Do not force a laminitic individual to move, or allow its other companions to do so. It will begin to move once the pain begins to subside. Resting its fragile feet is needed for healing to take place so if the animal wants to lay down, do not encourage it to get up. Place feed and water where it can be reached easily without having to move any more than necessary. Be extremely careful about movement while using NSAIDs (bute, banamine, previcox, etc.) as it masks pain and encourages more movement than these fragile feet are actually able to withstand. Additionally, NSAIDs (and icing) do not work on metabolic laminitis and long term NSAID use interferes with healing. Therefore, we recommend tapering off NSAIDs after the first week or so of use. If after a week's time your equine's comfort level has not increased, then the cause of the laminitis has not been removed and keeping up the NSAIDs isn't the answer - you need to address the underlying cause.

 

There is lots more information in our files and archived messages and also on our website. It is a lot of information, so take some time to go over it and feel free to ask any questions. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don't worry, you will catch on, and we are always here to help you! Once you have your case history uploaded, we can help you help your equine partner even better.

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For members outside North America, there are country specific folders in the files and many international lists in the wiki to help you find local resources.
If you have any technical difficulties, please let us know so we can help you.

 

--

~ Candice 

Primary Response Team

September 2018, Summerfield, FL

Shark's Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Candice%20and%20Shark

Shark's Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=71507 

 


Candice Piraino
 

Diana,

I am so sorry, I did a little more digging and realized this is NOT your first post! Please find some of your questions answered at the top of my previous message.

My apologies and still A WARM WELCOME!
--

~ Candice 

Primary Response Team

September 2018, Summerfield, FL

Shark's Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Candice%20and%20Shark

Shark's Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=71507 

 


Diana RL
 

No worries.  Thanks for the quick response.  

I am sorry and realize I was not clear.  I soak for 20-30 mins, then let it drain/dry overnight.  I don't leave it in the water the whole time.  I will read through the info.  Thanks!


Also, here are the results of my hay analysis.  Which numbers should I be looking at and what are the ranges safe for an IR horse?

Sample 1 as sampled:
WSC: 2.3
ESC: .5
Starch:  .5
NFC: 8.9

Sample 2 as sampled:
WSC: 6.6
ESC: 5.4
Starch: .7
NFC: 16.3

Thanks again!

On Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 10:48 AM Candice via Groups.Io <Candicepiraino=mac.com@groups.io> wrote:
Diana,

I am so sorry, I did a little more digging and realized this is NOT your first post! Please find some of your questions answered at the top of my previous message.

My apologies and still A WARM WELCOME!
--

~ Candice 

Primary Response Team

September 2018, Summerfield, FL

Shark's Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Candice%20and%20Shark

Shark's Photo Album: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=71507 

 



Paula Hancock
 

On Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 04:47 AM, Diana RL wrote:
Also, here are the results of my hay analysis. 
Hi Diana,
ECIR recommends that ESC + starch equal less than 10%, although some horses need below 8% especially in crisis, and some horses need even lower.  Would you check the numbers for sample 1?  I have never seen ESC less than 5% and that one says 0.5%.
As for hay fermenting, yes it will.  I soak my hay for an hour in cold water in a 15 gallon tub, tip it to dump and let it drain for an hour or whatever time I have, and then shuffle through it to aerate it to prevent fermentation. I will shuffle the hay again at the next feeding and find it really helps avoid fermentation.  If you soak the hay in bags, it may be harder to shuffle, but you can see what you can do.  I found that heat was the main problem.  The high humidity didn't really make a difference.
 
--
Paula with Cory (IR & PPID?and Onyx (IR/PPID)

  and Remy (ir/PPID)

Bucks County, PA, USA

ECIR Primary Response

NRCplus 2011  ECIR 2014 

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Paula%20and%20Cory

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=1624

https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Paula%20and%20Onyx
https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Paula%20and%20Remy

 


Maria Duran
 

Hi Diana, 

Those numbers mean Sample 2 is the original hay and Sample 1 is the same hay soaked?

If this is right, do anyone know if beta glucans and pectin in NFC fraction can be diluted in water as well?

I also believe your hay might be fermenting. Soaking in hay nets is much more easy but I have found that need to take care of things like not putting too much hay on them because then the water doesn't reach the center of the hay and hay doesn't get as easily soaked and rinsed as when it is loose in the water. Also it will not get dried in the core as easily, running the risk of fermentation  in hot weather and another thing to take into account is that if holes of the hay nets are small it gets difficult for the horse to get the hay because stems and leaves don't slip over each other the same way they do when it is dry. It becames difficult to eat for some horses.

If those are your results after and before soaking, seems like you are doing a great job at reducing sugars.

--
María Durán Navarro 
Dec 2017
Madrid (Spain)

Plutón´s Case History
Plutón´s Photo Album

_._,_._,_


Diana RL
 

 Believe it or not,  the numbers are correct.  My big question is, is the dry hay OK to "serve" to my IR pony?  I have been trying to read eveything I can but am still confused by what number to truly go with.  Based on my reading, we want the NSC (WSC+starch) to be less than 10%.   Both the dry and soaked samples are below 10%.  

If the 10% threshold is true and my calculations are correct, then I don't even need to soak, which would avoid all other issues!  

Any guidance is appreciated!

Diana

On Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 3:43 AM Maria Duran <mariaduran@...> wrote:
Hi Diana, 

Those numbers mean Sample 2 is the original hay and Sample 1 is the same hay soaked?

If this is right, do anyone know if beta glucans and pectin in NFC fraction can be diluted in water as well?

I also believe your hay might be fermenting. Soaking in hay nets is much more easy but I have found that need to take care of things like not putting too much hay on them because then the water doesn't reach the center of the hay and hay doesn't get as easily soaked and rinsed as when it is loose in the water. Also it will not get dried in the core as easily, running the risk of fermentation  in hot weather and another thing to take into account is that if holes of the hay nets are small it gets difficult for the horse to get the hay because stems and leaves don't slip over each other the same way they do when it is dry. It becames difficult to eat for some horses.

If those are your results after and before soaking, seems like you are doing a great job at reducing sugars.

--
María Durán Navarro 
Dec 2017
Madrid (Spain)

Plutón´s Case History
Plutón´s Photo Album



Lavinia Fiscaletti
 

Hi Diana,

You need the ESC+Starch number to be less than 10% - which makes your pre-soaked sample 5.4 + .7 = 6.1%. No need to soak this for the vast majority of IR horses.

The term NSC is outdated, although you will still see it used in many places. Disregard WSC.

--
Lavinia and George Too
Nappi, George and Dante Over the Bridge
Jan 05, RI
ECIR Support Team


Diana RL
 

Thank you!  I also missed Paula's post which said the same thing.  You guys are so great and helpful with no judgement of stupidity!

No more soaking!  Yeah!


On Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 1:38 PM Lavinia Fiscaletti <shilohmom@...> wrote:
Hi Diana,

You need the ESC+Starch number to be less than 10% - which makes your pre-soaked sample 5.4 + .7 = 6.1%. No need to soak this for the vast majority of IR horses.

The term NSC is outdated, although you will still see it used in many places. Disregard WSC.

--
Lavinia and George Too
Nappi, George and Dante Over the Bridge
Jan 05, RI
ECIR Support Team