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We Are Flying Solo

August 16, 2010

Blood And Guts

Waaaaaayyy back in May, Dr. Bob recommended we run a blood panel on Solo.  Well, it's halfway through August, so I figured I could finally get around to it & I ran Solo through the clinic's vampire services last Friday.

Dr. Bob's helpful associate, Dr. Brian, faxed me the results today & we had a short chat on the phone.

(Warning: science geek-out ahead)

Turns out overall that my horse is largely on the normal side (unlike his owner).  The only flag raised was a low hematocrit at 31% (normal levels are 32-52%).  Hematocrit is a measure of the percentage of red blood cells present in the blood sample.  Along with this, his levels of hemoglobin were right at the low end of borderline (11.2, when the normal range is 11-19 g/dL).

What The Heck Does That Mean?

Hemoglobin is rather important iron-containing stuff which resides tucked inside all our red blood cells. The iron binds to oxygen and allows the red blood cells to carry this life-sustaining gas all over your body. This process is especially important during exercise, even more so if you are an athlete (like a certain shiny red horse I know).

What this boils down to is that Solo's body is not as good as it should be at supplying oxygen to his tissues. Which doesn't exactly shock me as I have been feeling a little something missing. He is quicker to fatigue, slower to amp up, & has less pep during work than I would expect for a fit, well-fed horse.


Nutritional tweaking (no, not THAT kind of tweaking!). I don't really want to change his grain at present; overall, he seems to do well on it.  Dr. Brian recommended a multi-vitamin with emphasis on Vitamin B & a bit of iron. After much perusing of SmartPak & comparison to what the vet offered, I am going to try the SmartVite line of vitamin supplements, which seem to be the closest I can get to the balance of junk that I want.

With any luck, my exhaustive chart poring & ingredient comparing will result in some renewed vigor is Solo's near future. vLike he doesn't already enjoy XC at terminal velocity...


  1. Looks like a good balance, hopefully it'll give Solo the extra oomph he's missing! How I wish that the SmartPak people would decide Canada was worth their time, I mean, it's not like there's any people up here or any of them own horses or anything..... *sigh*

  2. Wow, something new to obsess over. I am almost tempted to have Pete's blood work run but you know how I thrive on going over numbers and statistics. I'm not sure I want anything else to worry about.

  3. Aw, sumaclab, that really stinks that they won't ship to you. You need an American buddy who lives near a post office near the border who can forward stuff to you!

    lh, there are two pages of little bar charts and's mesmerizing!

  4. Extra oomph is not only good for cross country, but dressage too. Fingers crossed for you.

  5. Thanks, kipp! That is where I most notice the lack of energy and where I am hoping to get the most bang for my buck!

  6. Obsessions are what we horse people live for! "Hhhmmm, what ELSE can I spend my nights tossing and turning worrying about?!" Lol. We're a crazy group for sure, but that's what makes us so much fun.
    I recall back in the day we would always use Red Cell for low iron; but I know SmartPak has lots of charts that you can compare/obsess over, so I'm sure you have chosen well!

  7. YES! Something else for me to worry about! My mare is on Platinum (I thought might as well go ALL the way lol.... going all the way ain't cheap, though) and that seems to be doing wonderful for her. Haven't ever done blood work on her while she's been in my care for the past year. Next annual BIG vet check that'll be something else to bug the doctor with!

    But really, lots of luck. SmartPak has really good supplements so I've always felt you can't go wrong with them. And SmartVite sounds like the right stuff Solo man needs.

  8. Yes, I am a big SmartPak lover, so I hope they will work things out for me again. We won't actually get the stuff until the beginning of Sept, but that's coming sooner than I am ready for!!

    Here's to obsessing!