Gross Detox


Horse Liver

Horse liver (Photo credit onemedicine.tuskegee.edu)

Horse liver (Photo credit onemedicine.tuskegee.edu)

Sorry that I have not posted for a little while, but things have been pretty hectic lately. Today, I will tell you about the functions of a horse liver.  The liver plays an important role in digestion.  It secretes salty bile to help change the acidity of the food as it enters the gut from the strongly acidic stomach.  If bile ever runs low, digestion will be altered.  Especially the breaking down of fats.  And as a horse has no gall bladder and bile is discharged in response to eating,  a horse that is starved for 12-24 hours can accumulate the bile pigments in the blood, giving a false impression of jaundice.  The liver also acts as a detoxifier.  Poisons absorbed from the gut are removed from the blood by the liver before they can affect the rest of the body. Even naturally produced poisons such as ammonia are converted into safe chemicals that can be excreted. Example:  Ammonia is converted into urea for excretion by the kidneys.  The liver also manufactures many essential micro-chemicals, such as clotting factors and vitamins.  Iron and other essential vitamins and minerals are also stored in the liver until they are required; vitamin and mineral deficiency diseases are a common reflection of liver failure, and when these functional reserves of the liver are exhausted the horse may bleed from the nose,  into the gut, or urine. The liver is essential to the horse’s survival.  Even though it can look pretty gross.

To see where the liver is located and some more pictures, click here to watch my video.

 

Ultimate Bones


Mounted skeleton of an Arabian horse

Mounted skeleton of an Arabian horse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regarding the Horse’s Axial Skeleton

The axial skeleton is the part of the horse’s endoskeleton* that contains the skull, vertebrae column, sternum, and ribs.  If you are not familiar with the skull, ribs, ect, this is what they are composed of.  The skull has 34 bones and 4 cavities, the cranial cavity, the orbital cavity, the nasal cavity, and the oral cavity.  The cranial cavity encloses and protects the brain. While the Orbital cavity surrounds and protects the eye, the oral cavity is a passage to the respiratory system and the digestive system, and finally, the nasal cavity leads to the respiratory system and also includes the extensive pericardial sinus.  Moving along, the vertebral column has about 54 bones including 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae, the atlas and axis which support and move the skull, 18-19 thoracic (the vertebrae that the spine is mostly made from) vertebrae, 5-6 lumbar (lower back)  vertebrae, and 15-16 caudal (tail) vertebrae.  Although, the number can be different according to different breeds of horses.  The Arabian for example only has 5 lumbar vertebrae, and 16 cervical vertebrae.  The sternum is located on the back of the pelvis and is the part that the backbone attaches to, usually having one or two of the lumbar vertebrae fused to it.  And ultimately, the ribs,  horses usually have 18 pairs of ribs but the Arabian has 17 pairs.  The ribs are used to enclose and protect the vital organs such as the heart and lungs.  So the next time you see a horse, think about all the interesting things I have told you today and make sure to check out next week’s blog about the horse’s Appendicular skeleton.

*A skeleton on the inside of a creature’s body.

Rude smell


Olfactory Bulbs

Olfactory Lobes (Photo credit: pinkcigarette)

English: "Golden girl" – Horses (unk...

English: “Golden girl” – Horses (unknown breed, Isabelle or Palomino coloured): Mare with a foal, somewhere in Surrey, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Concerning horses sense of smell.

Horses have an acute sense of smell.  Along with hearing this is one of the main ways that horses take in information about their surroundings.  There are a number of different and important ways a horse uses its sense of smell.  Since horses are equipped with a strong olfactory lobe, (the lobe that controls hearing in the brain) their sense of smell (though no one is sure) is said to be hundreds of times better than a human’s sense of smell.  Because of their strong sense of smell, horses can sense predators from miles away.  The sense of smell also plays a big role in the horse’s complicated social structure.  When horses greet each other they touch noses to take in each others scent, and horses can also learn to recognize each other by scent alone.  In a herd of horses, mares and foals learn to find each other by smell even in a large group.  When you are first introduced to a horse, the most polite thing to do is let the horse sniff the back of your hand.  This tells the horse that you are not a predator and will make the horse more agreeable to being handled.  So the next time you are with a horse, put out your hand and don’t be rude!

Fortunate Eyesight


Eye of a Horse (Andalusian)

Horse’s eyes are very complex.  Although they have a wider field of vision than humans do, horses cannot see very much detail and have a hard time seeing depth and sensing how far an object is from their bodies.  Consequently horses also have many blind spots in which they cannot see at all.  Directly behind and in front of a horse are the biggest blind spots. Which is why you should never walk up behind a horse unless you want to get kicked and why a horse might lift it’s head when you try to pet it’s muzzle.  The horse does not want to get away from you, on the contrary it just wants to see you better!  Most blind spots are determined by the shape of the Horse’s head.  Horses with broad heads decrease the blind spot directly in front while a horse with a thinner head decreases the blind spots on either side.  A horse’s eyes are very sensitive to movement which is why they get spooked so easily.  This is because in the wild, horses have to be on guard all the time for mountain lions, bears, and wolves.  Concerning horses and guarding, a horse’s night vision is superb.  This is so that the horse can see any predators trying to sneak up on them at all times.  Considering color, scientists have not proven whether horses see color or not, but most believe that horses see a few shades of green and/or blue.  Horses may have great night vision and movement detection, but all the blind spots and lack of depth perception really makes me feel fortunate to have human eyesight.