Gifts That Keep On Giving
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Posted by Kim Miller
An Early Christmas gift brings Georgia veterinarian’s advice full circle, while ComfortStall flooring keeps giving comfort to her equine patients.
“Merry Christmas” cards came in a rush to Georgia Equine Veterinary Services and Hospital in Canton, Georgia. It was not the recent holiday season, but July of last year in the heat of the Southeast summer. “What’s going on with all these cards in July?” wondered Laura DuVall Molony, DVM, who owns the practice with her husband and fellow horseman Tim Molony.
To the equine veterinarian’s delight, the cards announced the pending arrival of a Haygain HG One Hay Steamer, an early Christmas present from several clients. “Several of my clients have Hay Steamers,” she explains. “I am always applauding them and telling them how happy I am that they provide High Temperature Steamed Hay for their horses.”
The Haygain was a token of clients’ appreciation for Dr. Molony, especially her emphasis on education. Time to talk and explain conditions and procedures to owners and provide advice on care questions big and small is a tenet of Dr. Molony’s philosophy. In the pre-COVID era, Georgia Equine regularly hosted educational events that drew horse owners from throughout the region.
Dr. Molony was thrilled with the gift. If appetite is an indicator of happiness in horses, Dr. Molony and Tim’s two Quarter Horses were even happier. Tim’s horse was diagnosed with lower airway disease three years ago. The Molonys buy top quality hay, but they know that even hay of excellent nutritional content can have respirable irritants including dust, mold, bacteria and other allergens. Because respiratory irritants are the main cause of respiratory problems in horses, Haygain’s ability to reduce them by up to 99% is a huge help in management.
Ease of use is a bonus for the busy couple. “We have the Haygain on a timer: set it in the morning and the hay is ready when we get back to our personal barn in the afternoon,” Dr. Molony explains. She and Tim enjoy foxhunting when time allows, and Haygain’s efficiency and ease of use helps them eek out a little more time to enjoy their horses from the saddle.
Insulin Resistance Applications
Dr. Molony estimates that 60% of the horses she cares for in her practice have insulin resistance issues. Reducing the sugar/carbohydrate content in forage is key to managing horses with these conditions. Several of her clients use Haygain Steamers for their IR horses. Although nutrient retention is a benefit of High Temperature Hay Steaming, the process does slightly reduce sugars.
One client owns Fjords, a breed that is especially susceptible to IR issues. The client has 7 or 8 confirmed insulin resistant horses, and two with PPID, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, aka “Cushings Disease.” They tried using muzzles to limit forage consumption and various diet changes, Dr. Molony relays. “After they got a Hay Steamer, the weight on those horses was so good I had to ask them, ‘What have you done differently?’ And the only thing they were doing differently was steaming their hay.”
In the past, soaking hay was a common way to reduce sugars, but it’s a messy hassle with many downsides for the horse’s health. Even a 10-minute soak has been proven to increase bacteria content by 150 percent, for example. Scientific and anecdotal evidence also establishes that most horses find Haygain Steamed Hay more appealing than soaked or dry hay.
“The steamer just makes life so much easier,” Dr. Molony explains.
“ComfortStall” Name Says It All
The July Hay Steamer arrival was 2021’s second Haygain experience for the Molonys. That January, they swapped out mats in their four patient stalls at Georgie Equine Veterinary Hospital to install ComfortStall Sealed Orthopedic Flooring. Since finishing the hospital construction in 2015, the Molonys and, perhaps more so, their staff, were fed up with the laborious and time-consuming process of pulling out the stall mats to deep clean them and the stall base below.
Even with well fitted mats, fluids, bedding and manure bits can seep through to the stall floor, Dr. Molony explains. Bacterial growth and build-up of harmful ammonia off-gas, urea, are likely without vigilant, frequent maintenance. The veterinarian had seen Haygain’s ComfortStall in several clients’ stables and spoke with a fellow veterinarian who’d been happy with the flooring at his facility.
“It’s like night and day since we put them in,” says Tim, the hospital’s operations manager. “Our staff is beyond thrilled because of the ease of cleaning.” The regular mat haul-outs are a thing of the past and sanitization between patients is easy.
ComfortStall consists of a layer of high-density foam covered by a single-piece, durable rubber TopCover™. Sealed to the stall wall with anchor strips, the TopCover™ creates an impermeable surface that can be disinfected.
A logistics guy, Tim was especially impressed with the ordering process, delivery and ease of install. While it can be done as a DIY project, the Molonys hired a professional installer and saw the four-stall assignment completed in less than half a day. “I deal with logistics all the time, and this was easy, painless and the flooring has been fabulous.”
Dr. Molony recognized her patients’ settling in immediately on the ComfortStall. “The name says it all: it’s comfortable.” Lameness brings many of Dr. Molony’s patents in for brief stays. “They just look more comfortable standing on it. They are quieter and happier and have a softer look in their eyes while on it.” None of which surprises her. “We all like to go in those stalls and stand on it ourselves!”
Because ComfortStall’s orthopedic foam eliminates the need of bedding to provide cushion, shavings savings are a typical benefit. As a veterinary hospital, Georgia Equine uses minimal bedding to begin with, but Tim estimates the savings would be substantial for individual horse owners. Only enough bedding to absorb urine is required and that soiled bedding is easily pitched out. Second to hay, bedding is the biggest source of inhalable irritants in the horse’s breathing zone. Using less of it helps maintain healthy barn air quality.
Gifts That Keep On Giving
Well before receiving last summer’s Hay Steamer gift, Dr. Molony held her clients in highest regard. “They are very well educated and up on current things,” she notes. “It’s a great group of people who want to be up to speed and to do what’s in the best interest of their horses.” Their keen interest in their horses’ respiratory health is part of that bigger picture, she notes, especially since COVID made the entire world more diligent about preventing respiratory risks for people.
As gifts go, Haygain ranks highly on the Molonys’ wish list for all horse owners. The Hay Steamer and ComfortStall have helped their horses in many ways while simplifying the barn management routine for their staff. “We sing Haygain’s praises from the highest mountain!” Dr. Molony concludes.