Looking out for barn cats on National Feral Cat Day

Got barn kitties? October 16 is National Feral Cat Day in the United States. This animal welfare awareness day, established in 2001 by Alley Cat Allies, aims at promoting feline population control nationwide. The group urges veterinary professionals to participate in low-cost feral cat sterilization programs, in the hope of preventing undomesticated cats from overbreeding. 

 “The veterinary community plays an essential role in the humane treatment of community cats both by serving as a resource for the public, and also by providing direct veterinary care and spay/neuter services through Trap-Neuter-Return programs,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “This National Feral Cat Day, we encourage veterinarians to mobilize their communities with the knowledge and resources to help save cats’ lives.”

National Feral Cat Day organizers encourage local individuals and groups to practice Trap-Neuter-Return or Shelter-Neuter-Return programs. So far, hundreds of American communities reportedly participate in such efforts. Annual events include volunteer-led spay/neuter clinics, educational workshops, official governmental proclamations, and fundraising to support local Trap-Neuter-Return and Shelter-Neuter-Return programs.

“Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane, effective approach to care for community cats. Cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped and then returned to their outdoor home,” reads a National Feral Cat Day statement.

“These major programs would not be possible without the veterinarians and veterinary technicians who work or volunteer in spay/neuter clinics or accept community cats into their practices,” Robinson added. “But we can still do more to enlist the support of vets nationwide, and that is why Alley Cat Allies is calling on the veterinary community to get involved this National Feral Cat Day and help increase awareness and education about community cats.”

National Feral Cat Day promotional artwork / logo and coloring page – fair use

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50 primo dollar store finds for horse lovers

Horse ownership can be quite expensive. Horse care, horse feed and supplements, horse tack, and horse supply expenditures add up fast. Toss in some everyday riding and show apparel for the human, and the bottom-line grows.

Fortunately, thrifty-minded horse owners learn quickly how to cut costs.

An equestrian who might spend plenty of a quality saddle, a beautiful bridle, or a smashing show outfit may still seek savings on other purchases.

Equestrians and horsey gift shoppers can save plenty on gifts and supplies by picking up plenty of practical items at dollar stores and discount centers. Check out these 50 fine bargains for horse lovers at any local dollar store or discount center. 

Graphic created by this user. All rights reserved.

Listed alphabetically, these items may often be found for just a buck or two at a local dollar store.

50 dollar and discount items for horse lovers and their horses:

  1. Artificial flowers (for horse jumps and horse show decorating)
  2. Baby wipes (for quick cleanups of horses, humans, and tack)
  3. Bandages (including adhesive bandaids, first aid tape, and gauzes)
  4. Batteries (for flashlights, cameras and other devices)
  5. Bicycle hooks (for hanging bridles and other tack room items)
  6. Brooms (for barn and horse trailer cleanups)
  7. Buckets (for grain, water, and tack cleaning)
  8. Bungee cords (for hanging stall fans
  9. Candy canes (for favorite horse treats, even after Christmas)
  10. Car wash mitts (for horse bathing)
  11. Christmas stockings (for horse friends)
  12. Combs (for horses and humans)
  13. Dry erase markers (for barn boards and stall front messages)
  14. Duct tape (for quick repairs and horse poultices)
  15. Dust pans (for swift cleanups)
  16. First aid supplies (antibacterial creams or ointments, wound cleansers, tweezers, and more)
  17. Flashlights (outdoor-quality)
  18. Furniture polish wipes (for wooden tack trunks)
  19. Garbage bags (for trash pickup, emergency rain wear, and perhaps horse bombproofing exercises)
  20. Gift bags (for holiday horse presents)
  21. Ginger snaps (for horses and humans)
  22. Gloves (for warmth, work, schooling or showing)
  23. Hair clips (for humans and for horse mane and tail braiding)
  24. Hairbrushes (for manes and tails)
  25. Hammers (for barn tool kit)
  26. Hand sanitizer gel (or baby wipes)
  27. Ibuprofen (for human aches and pains)
  28. Laundry baskets (for barn clothes, polo wraps, saddle pads, and tack towels)
  29. Leather wipes (for cleaning tack)
  30. Pantiliners (for dressing horse wounds)
  31. Paper towels (for innumerable uses)
  32. Peppermints (for horse treats)
  33. Picture frames (for the horse gallery)
  34. Plastic bags (for storage and supplements)
  35. Plastic baskets (for organizing tack closets and trunks)
  36. Plastic storage containers (for storing feed supplement portions)
  37. Plastic gloves (for messy or medical tasks)
  38. Plastic wrap (for poultices and wound wrapping)
  39. Pliers (for barn tool kit)
  40. Reusable shopping bags (for toting stuff back and forth from barn to home)
  41. Scissors (for horse grooming)
  42. Screwdrivers (for barn tool kit)
  43. Shampoo (for horse bathing)
  44. Socks (for tack wiping)
  45. Sponges (for horse bathing and tack cleaning)
  46. Stain removal sticks (for stable stains)
  47. Super glue (for quick repairs)
  48. Tape measures (for barn tool kit)
  49. Towels (for horse bathing and tack cleaning)
  50. Whisk brooms (for tack room and trailer cleanups)

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Dollar store product inventories vary greatly, especially with holidays and changing seasons. Even so, a well-stocked bargain store is likely to offer plenty of low-priced picks for horse lovers.

Public domain photo

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Equine care question: Can horses sunburn?

Should horse owners take precautions to prevent equine sunburn?

Sunny days bring welcome outdoor excursions for equestrians and their horses. What could be more appealing to an equine than the great out of doors? However, for many horses, this bright blessing of nature may come with an increased risk – a sore sunburn.

Is sunburn a danger for horses?

Sunburn can certainly be a threat to horses, causing discomfort and even skin cancer (in the most serious cases). Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer found in horses, and this may frequently be traced to severe sunburns from ultraviolet (UV) exposure in sunlight.

Cremello Horse - public domain photo

What sorts of horses are most likely to experience sunburn?

Usually, light-colored horses are most susceptible to sunburn. Appaloosas, Cremello Horses, Paint Horses, Perlino Horses, Pinto Horses and other pale horses can burn easily in the sun.

Any horse with white markings or patches may be at risk of sunburn, particularly with lengthy sun exposure. Horses may have white markings (with pink skin underneath their hair) on their faces, legs, backs, bellies or anywhere on their bodies. These light-colored regions are most susceptible to sun damage, as they carry minimal skin pigmentation.

Dark-haired horses (and dark patches on multi-hued horses) carry considerably more skin pigmentation, which protects them from the sunlight far more than their lighter-colored equine counterparts. However, horses with dark hair (such as bay horses, black horses and chestnut horses) may experience some fading or dappling of their coats with lengthy exposure to the sun. This is not physiologically harmful, but it can change the appearance of these equines.

Graphic created by this user. All rights reserved.

What additional risk factors may increase sunburn in horses?

Extended exposure to sunlight is the most prominent risk factor, leading to a horse’s vulnerability to sunburn. An equine that spends many hours (or all day) in a bright and sunny pasture without shade options may be most likely to experience sunburn – particularly if he or she has light coloring.

Additionally, some weeds can increase a horse’s risk of developing sunburn by raising his or her photosensitivity (or sensitivity to the sun’s ultraviolet rays), if the horse ingests these weeds. These plants include bindweed, buckwheat, certain clovers, ragwort, rye, St. John’s Wort and more.

Equines suffering from liver disease (or those taking antibiotic and certain other medications) may also be extra photosensitive, putting them at increased risk of sunburn.

What are the symptoms of sunburn in horses?

Sunburned horses will usually have pink or reddish skin, which may be peeling, blistering or even oozing. A horse with sunburn may also have flaking or cracking skin, scabs or swollen areas.

If a horse becomes sunburned on his or her back or withers, the horse may not be able to carry a saddle or rider comfortably until the sunburned area has healed.

Of course, horses can be protected from sunburn by the use of sunscreen products, summer horse garments (such as fly masks and light sheets) and strategic use of pasturing (including shade offerings).

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