The origins and use of Diatomaceous Earth
One of the most interesting things about our planet is that it constantly gives us access to amazing resources, many of which we don’t really know about. Diatomaceous Earth is one of them. This is the fossilized remains of various small aquatic organisms that are called diatoms. These are harvested from the bottom of the oceans all over the globe. Diatoms are basically similar to grass on the ocean floor. They are eaten by water grazers. The skeleton of diatoms is made out of silica.
One thing to note about silica is that this is a substance which we commonly find in nature in a variety of forms. It actually takes around 26% of the planet’s crust when you take it by weight alone. However this is a compound that doesn’t really exist in its natural form. Most of the time it will react with water and oxygen and it will create silicone dioxide. This in turn can be either amorphous or crystalline. Diatomaceous Earth is made from amorphous silicone dioxide. You can use this for horses, which is actually very exciting and different.
You will notice that silica has all kinds of geometric shells, these are coming from Diatomaceous Earth deposits. It is mined and milled, then it will be processed into food or industrial DE! You can actually find lots of products with Diatomaceous Earth on the market, and many of them are suitable for pesticides. However, DE can also be used for a plethora of other things that are not related to pesticides.
Some of the more popular uses here include water filters, paints, medicines, beverages, foods, toothpaste, skin care products and many others. The Diatomaceous Earth used around animals is food grade DE, it’s not toxic and it can be crushed into fine powder.
One thing to keep in mind about the food grade DE is that most products that use it are USDA approved with organic food labels. You can use the food grade Diatomaceous Earth for anticaking materials. It can also be a mineral additive suitable for detoxification. If you magnify it, then you will notice the DE pieces seem like small broken glass bits, which is extremely important to keep in mind here.
Equine Nutrition value of Diatomaceous Earth
After the diatoms are all mined, you will have a talcum-like powder. The thing to notice here is that this is full of nutritive value that you really want for your horses. Diatomaceous Earth at its core is full of minerals and vitamins. It has 2% iron, 5% sodium, 19% calcium, 33% silicone and 3% magnesium. It also has a multitude of other compounds like copper, zirconium, manganese or even titanium. Using Diatomaceous Earth is great if you want to supplement their nutrition. But it can be great to boost the hoof and coat condition. One of the primary uses for DE is also parasite control as well. Parasites are extremely bad for your horse, they can lead to diarrhea, food absorption issues and so on. Thankfully Diatomaceous Earth helps with that.
If you want to deal with parasites, a good idea is to opt for a parasite management program that helps with both the inside and outside parasite handling. Diatomaceous Earth can help your horse improve food assimilation, it will even bring in better health and other amazing health benefits you can’t expect in a situation like this.
Thanks to Diatomaceous Earth you can really make quite the difference because it will help handle pesticides at a very professional level. There’s no chemical or even mechanical damage being done to the animal itself. As a result, you can control the parasites and deal with them efficiently without having to worry about major downsides. Things like this are very helpful and they really go to show the great benefits and tremendous value coming from this kind of product. There will always be challenges coming with the use of Diatomaceous Earth, but if you know how to use it right, nothing can really stand in your way. Plus, you can rub Diatomaceous Earth on the horse coat and this will prevent external parasites from coming too, which is a very important aspect to take into consideration here.
Of course, even if you can use it for external protection, that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you can rely on. You should always use medication and other products recommended by the vet. Covering the best management practices and making sure that you handle all of this with the right attention is what really makes all the difference, so try to keep that in mind.
We recommend things like doing manure management, knowing how to introduce new horses to the herd, doing pasture stocking rates, rotating the pastures and so on. These might sound a bit boring at first, but you really have to handle them in an efficient way and they will be able to make quite the difference all the time. as long as you commit to using this type of product wisely, results will be more than ok every time.
How does it work?
As we mentioned earlier, Diatomaceous Earth has silica in it and this is basically a semi-conductive material. Once the body heat warms it, this becomes full of a negative charges. And when that happens, it will start sharing electrons that absorb all the bad things that are rather small. These include free radicals, positively charged waste or microbes.
That’s the reason why a lot of people want to use Diatomaceous Earth for horses, because it helps eliminate bacteria and other compounds that can be very bad. Viruses are also included in that list. The Diatomaceous Earth will go through the intestine and stomach, and it will push all the unwanted substances out of the body. Which is great, because it will help your horse stay well all the time. It won’t kill the gut bacteria, so there’s no real need to worry about that to begin with.
Keeping the healthy microbes are safe
The good thing about using Diatomaceous Earth is that all the bad stuff is basically removed from your body and just a tiny bit is absorbed. Small silica pieces will be found in the body tissues. You can find some silicone dioxide in urine, that’s normal for every horse with DE in his diet. But you don’t have to worry about eliminating the healthy microbes. That’s not going to happen, which is great, because things are a lot better this way and you can stay away from many issues that can and might arise from time to time. Knowing how to handle and tackle this in a proper manner might be a tad difficult at first, but if you pay attention to it, this will be very well worth the effort.
Adding Diatomaceous Earth to the horse diet
Finding the right way to add DE to the horse diet can be a bit tricky. Of course, you want to make sure that you acquired a medical or food grade Diatomaceous Earth product just to be safe that it has no additives or contaminants. You also want to avoid crystalline silica as it has unwanted chemicals. And if you want to feed Diatomaceous Earth to your horse, then you need to take his worm count and weight into consideration!
Dosages are extremely important here, as you want to stay away from a very high dosage just to be safe. Ideally it’s recommended to go with 1 cup of Diatomaceous Earth per day for a horse that has 1000 lb. But as we mentioned earlier, taking the worm count demands into account is mandatory, because a higher worm count brings a higher dosage, so try to consider that.
You will have to feed your horse the same amount of Diatomaceous Earth for around 60 days. Checking the fecal count after a month is important, in case that’s low you will need to make the dosage higher. As you can imagine, a low dose of Diatomaceous Earth will not give the results you want especially when something like that happens.
If you just want to offer a daily ration of Diatomaceous Earth, then you can keep giving only half a cup if needed. But in case the horse is worm free, you can have 2 cups per week. Talking with the vet is crucial if you want to find the right amount of DE you can feed. Thankfully DE doesn’t really have a bad taste or anything, so you can easily mix it with juice or water and feed it as a paste. Some consider it ok to feed the horse directly with it, but it doesn’t always work very well.
There are situations you want to combine Diatomaceous Earth with some other products just so you can get a very good result. It’s always coming in handy, and the idea is to opt for the best products out there. Bug Lyte is a good one because it has niacin, garlic, thiamine, grape seed extract, and Diatomaceous Earth. NHD Natural Wormer has DE as well as juniper berry, kelp, slippery elm, kelp and a plethora of other compounds. Knowing how to handle all of this can really make all the difference.
Are there any risks?
As we mentioned earlier, you need to make sure that you are using food grade DE, just to be safe. This is EPA approved and it’s great against insects and you can mix it with grades. It’s also known as a good anti-caking agent and can be suitable for external and internal use. All the agencies state that it’s not toxic, provided that you use it as requested.
Problems appear only when you are buying industrial grade Diatomaceous Earth. That one is good only for pool filtering. It dealt with heat, it was chemically processed, so obviously it can’t be ingested by your horse. If it is, then there will be problems and obviously it will be a major problem to deal with.
If the horse has a very high egg count or if there was no worming, you want to introduce Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth slowly to avoid any problems. It will help kill parasites naturally without bringing in any issues. Some believe that DE might lead to digestive problems or even ulcers. If you use it properly there are no issues. Of course some problems can appear if there are major digestive issues, but that’s not related to DE in any way.
That’s why we recommend you to talk with the vet before you choose any Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth program. Usually vets will be ok because this is a good system and they will also let you know what is the right dosage in a situation like this.
Some people say that it’s better to focus on using DE in the morning as it will help figure out the energy levels. Others keep it for later because it will make it easier to study the worming process. In case you want to apply Diatomaceous Earth externally, using a mask and puffer is pretty much mandatory.
Things to consider
While there are times when the Diatomaceous Earth might not sound the best idea, the reality is that it can help horses a lot. It helps dry out all those wet stalls. It will also help fight flies and other insects that attack your horse. Some people use Diatomaceous Earth as a dewormer and that can be a rather controversial use, albeit being quite a popular one. It’s actually safe and very helpful if you do it right.
You can start using Diatomaceous Earth as a great tool for deworming, but this is not the only defensive system that you can use. Taking all the best management practices listed in this article into account is just as important. It will help protect your horse and it can have some amazing results in the long run. It’s definitely not going to be an easy thing to achieve, but if you tackle it correctly this will be very well worth the effort!