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Ask the Vet – Sidebones, steaming vs soaking hay, alfalfa cubes vs pellets, & more! – December 2019

Posted on: November 29, 2019 by SmartPak

Watch our video for an update on our holiday schedule.

You asked, we answered! In this episode of our monthly series, Ask the Vet, Dr. Lydia Gray and SmartPaker Dan answer 5 new questions on topics like steaming vs soaking hay, the benefits of alfalfa cubes vs alfalfa pellets, flax seeds and chia seeds for horses, sidebone in horses, whether or not Coastal Bermuda hay causes colic, and so much more!

If your question was answered in this video, reach out to us at and let us know! We’ll get your gift card out to you as soon as we can! Have some of your own questions? Ask away using #AsktheVetVideo! If your question gets selected to be in one of our Ask the Vet videos, you win a SmartPak gift card! How awesome is that!?

Additional reading/watching material mentioned in the video:
Ask the Vet individual topics playlist
Ask the Vet blogs
Horse Health Library videos
Ask the Vet form
Ask the Vet – When to wean a foal
Ask the Equine Nutritionist – Alfalfa and the calcium-to-phosphorous ratio
How much sugar are you feeding your horse?
Ask the Vet – Detection and treatment for ulcers in horses
Ask the Vet – Interpreting the guaranteed analysis on a feed label
Ask the Vet – Choke in horses
Ask the Vet – How to interpret hay analysis
Ask the Vet – Sweet itch vs neck threadworms:
Ask the Vet – What are pre-purchase exams?
Equine Pre-Purchase Exams featuring Dr. Kaneps

Questions answered in this episode:
1. What is the difference between feeding alfalfa pellets vs alfalfa cubes? Is there a better option between the two? Noted my horses are getting free choice hay and have good teeth, I just wanted to add some alfalfa in the diet for the winter months for more calories.
2. What is the difference between steaming and soaking hay? What is the benefit for both?
3. Is there any benefit to feeding horses flax seeds or chia seeds in their grain. If so, how much should you feed?
4. Can you discuss the presence of side bones in horses? Is it normal or an area of concern? Would a horse with side bones “fail” a PPE in your opinion?
5. Does coastal hay actually increase risk of colic? If so, why?