When we get ourselves an animal, we tend to worry about almost every tiny aspect that pertains to their health. Yet, very often we forget to think of the most important thing that stares us right in the face- their bedding. Believe it or not, bacteria can be present in their bedding and that is why, it is important to know how to prepare a safe bed for your horse.
Bedding and Bacteria- How?
One does not always realise that bacteria could be roosting in the bedding of your animal however, this happens more often than you would think, particularly when the bedding of the horse also plays the role of a toilet. Research was conducted to see which bedding was the safest for the animal and would not result in bacterial infections.
Wood shavings of pine was found to be the best option to prepare a safe bed. However, not all pine is safe. Shavings from just two trees showed less growth of bacteria, when tested in a lab. Hemp, straw, spruce shavings did not fare as well and were even found to be less absorbent, according to researcher of Nottingham Trent University, Kelly Yarnell.
Yarnell agrees that the results of the lab study will naturally vary from the actual situation in a stable. However, it is sufficient to notice how bacteria is likely to grow in different kinds of bedding. This can help horse owners choose the right kind of bedding to keep their horse safe and healthy.
Results of the Study
According to the study, Yarnell and fellow researchers, found that mud fever, thrush, uterine infections, hoof rot and inflammatory air diseases, increased when the bedding was made of Scott pine shavings, hemp, chopped wheat straw and Sitka spruce shavings.
The absorbency of these materials was also tested as the high levels of nitrogen present in horse urine can cause bacterial growth. If the bedding removed horse urine effectively, it would prepare a safe bed, creating a more ideal environment for the animal. The reduced growth of bacteria could be due to antibacterial properties of wood and the characteristics of shaving bedding.
For all of the strains tested, pine bedding showed the lowest bacterial growth. Thus, from the findings, she concluded that pine bedding is the most apt for horse owners as well as for equine hospitals. Although bacteria is just one of the things to protect against when it comes to the best bedding, it is a start at creating a bio-safe, eco-friendly bedding that the horse will like and that will not be a hassle cleaning.
Since horses tend to favour a certain kind of bedding over others, the study will continue to isolate the materials and chemicals that are responsible for creating an anti-microbial action and adding these chemicals to the right kind of bedding will result in all parties being happy.
Since we all know that prevention is better than cure, when preparing a safe bed for your horse, you need to make sure you don’t just look at the cost and disposal of it, but instead, reduce the risk of disease and help create better overall biosecurity for the animal, by paying attention to the type of bedding you buy.
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