Thursday, November 21, 2013

Purina® Hydration Hay® Blocks Improved Hydration Levels During High-Heat Transport

Since we launched Purina® Hydration Hay® in early 2013, we have had numerous reports of horses benefiting from the combination of quality hay immersed in water for an all-in-one meal. Horses during transport, at horse shows, in the veterinary clinic, during cold snaps and more were staying hydrated and healthy from this innovative product. But with most things at Purina, we love to rely on hard numbers and scientific experiments. We had completed a lot of manufacturing trials and field study work with this product, but wanted to follow it up with a controlled experiment looking at hydration in horses, especially during transport, comparing Hydration Hay® to long-stem hay. I am happy to report, the data are now in! And it’s very “cool”:

  • Horses eating Hydration Hay® before, during and after transport averaged a 3.3L higher water intake than horses eating long-stem hay
  • Horses in the Hydration Hay® group during the first (higher ambient temperature) haul had lower rectal temperatures during transport
  • Horses in the Hydration Hay® group had lower respiratory rates by the end of the trailer ride compared to horses eating long-stem hay
  • Horses in the Hydration Hay® group had a trend for lower packed cell volumes during transport

What does this mean? Horses that received Hydration Hay® during transport demonstrated multiple improvements in hydration status compared to horses with access to long-stem hay. Overall, these horses arrived back at the university cooler and less stressed than their hay-eating counterparts.  These are very exciting results with implications for helping horses to remain hydrated and healthy on the road, especially during long trips under high temperatures. 

In conducting the study, we collaborated with a colleague of Dr. Vineyard’s at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Dr. Jackie Wahrmund. We felt the high Texas heat was a perfect place to test Hydration Hay® in action.  Next, we designed a cross-over study looking at feeding Hydration Hay® before, during and after trailering, compared to feeding typical long stem hay. Then we measured many variables related to hydration status before, during and after long transport of approximately 9 hours.  Some of those measurements included body weight, water intake, heart rate, rectal temperature, respiratory rate, blood urea nitrogen, creatine, packed cell volume, skin turgor and capillary refill time.   As predicted, it was hot and humid during our two hauls. The ambient temperature for the first haul was 105º F with a heat index of 109º F!  The second haul a week later was thankfully about 10 degrees cooler.

Visit for a $10-off coupon on Hydration Hay® and get your horse ready to roll for his next trip!

H.N. Graham, J.L. Wahrmund, M. E. Gordon, K.R. Vineyard, K.L. Dowdle, and L.L. Walton. Effect of Hydration Hay™ on blood metabolites, vital signs, and bodyweight change of horses transported long distances during summer conditions. American Society of Animal Science Meeting (Southern section).
 H.M. Huff, J.L. Wahrmund, H.N. Graham, M.E. Gordon, K.R. Vineyard, and K.L. Dowdle. Effect of Hydration Hay™ on Water Intake, Blood Urea Nitrogen to Creatinine Ratio and Vital Signs of Horses Transported Long Distances During the Summer.  American Society of Animal Science Meeting (Southern section).

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