Texas Vet News - Hosted by Don Kyser and Dr. Bob Judd
A three-minute program that deals with the everyday care of horses and other animals in urban and rural Texas.
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One of the most common skin tumors in adult horses is a melanoma, second only in occurrence to a sarcoid.
One of the major causes of sickness and death in baby pigs is the bacteria E. Coli,. The present treatment for E. Coli, infection in all animals is antibiotics. Unfortunately, there are disadvantages of using antibiotics as bacteria become resistant after a period of time.
In 1991, a report was published associating dog owners' use of 2,4-D and an increased risk of malignant lymphoma cancer in their pet dogs. In this study, dog owners who treated their yards more than four times per year with 2,4-D had twice the risk of developing lymphoma compared to dogs not exposed to the chemical.
If you notice your horse limping, pick up the foot and find a nail, what should you do? Most people would just pull the nail out and not worry about it. Well, both of those answers are wrong.
Now is the time for all of the people that were so actively involved in supporting legislation closing the slaughter plants to start adopting horses.
When abnormal behaviors occur regardless of the situation, then the behavior becomes a compulsive disorder.
A common infectious process is called an abscess. If the abscess has not ruptured, it can be surgically lanced by your vet.
A common injury in performance horses is ligament or tendon damage of the lower legs. Another new treatment has just become available for treatment of ligament and tendon injuries. This new treatment is called UBM and is made by a company called ACell Vet.
All of the drugs that are approved for use in animals are approved by the FDA. The FDAs center for veterinary medicine monitors all reports of adverse drug events with any drug, medicated feed, or veterinary device used on animals. Adverse drug events are not only undesired effects such as reactions, but also lack of a desired effect.
Today I am going to provide some tips for those of you new to the horse business or those of you considering purchasing a horse.
Because ruminants have unique digestion, they are able to use a non-protein nitrogen feed for part of their protein requirements. This is important as non-protein nitrogen, or NPN, is much less expensive than actual protein. The most common source of NPN used in cattle feeding is urea.
These deformities can either be evident immediately after birth when they are called perinatal abnormalities, or they can develop as the horse ages when they are called acquired abnormalities.
One of the most important areas to examine after a new foal is born is their legs. This is especially important if a foal is born prematurely as some of the bones in their joints may not be formed completely.
In hot and humid weather, a serious problem in horses can develop called anhidrosis. Anhidrosis is a lack of sweating, and sweating is required to aid in cooling the horse.
For uterine infections, it is common to infuse antibiotics in the uterus. A lot of these mares have material in their uterus that will inactivate the antibiotics, so it is always a good idea to flush the uterus with large volumes of sterile solutions before infusing.
Due to a lack of knowledge of these commercial products in horses, a study was done that analyzed 11 different random equine joint health products sold at a feed store. This study found that the amounts of glucosamine varied from 63% of the amount claimed to 112% of the amount claimed.
When natural breeding was compared to AI, there was no difference in pregnancy rates when breeding fertile mares, so breeding mares by AI is very effective.
Artificial lighting has been used to stimulate the hormonal system of mares earlier than normal and allow earlier breeding to occur. Because a lighting program requires 8 to 10 weeks to be effective, it is recommended to start the exposure to artificial lighting December 1st to have a response by February 15th.
A major cause of abortions and the birth of premature foals is ascending placentitis. Our ability to evaluate fetal viability is only fair.
The most common heart arrythmia in horses is atrial fibrillation. Young adult standardbreds and thoroughbreds appear to be affected more than other breeds.
In general, heart problems in horses are not as common as in small animals. However, atrial fibrillation is an arrythmia that does occur in quite a few horses.
These aural plaques are painful, raised small lesions on the inside of the horse’s ear that may not even cause a problem but many times can cause horses to be ear shy due to the pain.
The AVMA and AAEP statement indicates they support a ban on the use of action devices and performance packages in the training and showing of Tennessee Walking Horses.
The AVMA Animal Welfare Committee has recently developed some guidelines including recommendations for transporting horses.
Low back pain is a suspected cause of lameness and poor performance in the sport horse. Many horses exhibit stiff gaits and reduced ability to push off with the rear legs. However, it is very difficult to diagnose the problem as it is difficult to perform radiographs of this area and symptoms are sometimes vague.
Many horses come to veterinarians for back problems. Primary back problems are fairly rare. The diagnosis of back problems can be challenging as many horses react differently to examination of the back.
One of the most common causes of infertility in mares is uterine infection due to bacteria. In one study, one third of all barren mares were found to be infected.
If a horse can perform the job required without shoes, then they are not needed. However, if hoof wear exceeds hoof growth, then the hoof needs to be protected.
If you had mares bred and they were confirmed pregnant in the spring, it is a good idea to have your vet recheck them in the fall to make sure they are still pregnant.
Many horses that are stabled or stalled for extended periods will develop some behavior problems including weaving, stall walking, and cribbing.
Another abnormal behavior called cribbing in which the horse grabs a fixed object with its upper incisors and pulls back while appearing to suck air into the esophagus.
True head shaking is the syndrome in which a horse has recurrent, intermittent, involuntary, and sudden bouts of tossing of the head.
Routine equine dentistry is now recommended by most equine practitioners. Two reported benefits of routine dentistry include preventing weight loss and colic.
Blister beetles are insects that are commonly found in alfalfa hay. The severity of the illness depends on the number of beetles ingested by the horse with 100 to 150 beetles considered to be deadly. The signs can vary from mild lethargy and inappetence to severe colic, shock, and death.
Blister beetles cause severe gastrointestinal irritation and colic in horses and in many cases can lead to death.
Developmental orthopedic disease is a term used to describe problems that develop in the bones of growing horses, and there are several different syndromes.
Botulism can affect all warm blooded animals, but horses are particularly sensitive. Type B botulism is the most common and is related to decaying vegetable matter in forage.
If frozen semen is used, it is important to know the quality of the semen after it is thawed, as some semen does not freeze well and this semen is not a good choice if you have a mare that is a difficult breeder.
If you plan to breed your mare, it is important to determine that she is a good candidate for breeding. This requires a breeding soundness exam by your veterinarian. Your vet will do a complete physical exam to check for any overall health problems that your mare has that could affect a successful breeding.
If you have a stallion you want to stand at stud, you certainly want to make sure he is fertile. The exam will be done after the stallion has had 1 week of sexual rest and will begin by your veterinarian doing a complete physical exam that will focus not only on reproductive areas but also other areas such as lameness.
Vaccines should be given 4 to 6 weeks prior to foaling so as to increase the antibodies in the colostrum for the new foal. Nutrition of brood mares is important. During the last trimester, energy requirements gradually increase approximately 20% at foaling over the requirements of non-pregnant mares.
Decide where you would like the mare to foal and place her in this area at least 30 days prior to foaling so she can become accustomed to the new area as well as become exposed to organisms in the environment and have time to build immunity before the foal is born. The mare’s vulva should also be examined for a Caslick’s.
Bacterial infection of the placenta, called placentitis, is a common cause of late term abortion in mares. Another problem in pregnancy is mares that have been grazing on tall fescue, as a fungal endophyte grows in the fescue plant.
A uterine infection is a common condition that causes infertility. Veterinarians and breeding farm personnel may be involved either directly or indirectly as the cause of this problem.
A common bone problem that occurs in young horses during the first few months in training is dorsal metacarpal disease, commonly called bucked shins. This syndrome is characterized by microfractures with swelling and pain on the front of the cannon bones on the forelegs that cause lameness.
A study was recently published concerning the best body position for the calf, as far as the respiratory and metabolic systems, immediately after the surgical delivery.
Canker results from a bacterium that causes the tissue in the frog and heel bulb region of a horse's foot. Thrush is a bacterial infection that usually affects the frog and causes a dark discharge on the foot that has a foul smell.
The feeding of carbohydrates has been linked to many diseases in horses. Many horse owners believe carbohydrates are only a concern when feeding grain. However, fresh grass as well as hay can be a source of excessive carbohydrates.
Over the last few years a syndrome has been identified in horses that gain weight easily regardless of diet and have a tendency to founder or develop laminitis for no apparent reason. This syndrome is called peripheral Cushing’s syndrome or metabolic syndrome.
Some silent carriers of strangles do not test positive for the organisms until 3 months after their illness.
One disease transmitted from cats to humans is called cat scratch disease, or cat scratch fever. This disease is caused by a bacterial infection of the species Bartonella that can also cause other infections in people.
A cataract is a cloudy lesion that develops in the lens of the horse’s eye. It is important to realize the difference between a cataract, which involves the lens, versus a white or opaque coloring in the cornea.
The most common neurological disease of horses is equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, or EPM. Possums serve as the definitive host for the parasite called sarcocystis neuroma, which cause the disease. Possums are responsible for shedding the infective parasite. The cysts of the organism have been identified in the muscles of cats, raccoons, armadillos, sea otters, and skunks.
Texas cattle lost their class free tuberculosis status in 2002. To regain this class free status, Texas implemented a plan to find any remaining infected herds. The plan is to test all of the stat’s 850 dairies and 2,500 of the registered beef herds by the end of August of 2004.
CEM is a venereal disease of horses caused by the bacterium Taylorella equigenitalis. This disease causes infertility in mares, abortion in mares, and infertility in stallions. If introduced into a susceptible group of breeding horses, this disease can cause a severe economic loss.
The problem is that many of the parasites have become resistant to deworming medication and the reason they are resistant is overuse of the drugs over the last 50 years.
Another cause of colic unrelated to the gastrointestinal tract is cholangiohepatitis. This is inflammation and infection of the bile duct that also extends into liver tissue. This infection usually develops from bacteria that enter the bile duct from the small intestine.
Many horses can develop inflammation of the skin around the pastern, called pastern dermatitis or scratches. This area is itchy to the horse and thus hair loss occurs. Eventually, the area becomes infected and the skin becomes thickened. The cause of this condition is often unknown, but one known cause is a mite called Chorioptes equi and infestation with this mite is called chorioptic mange.
Chronic fatigue syndrome has been suspected in pets and horses, although there are few reports of the disease. Some pets and horses with neurological and muscular disorders have been believed to have chronic fatigue syndrome.
Tying up is a muscle condition that is somewhat different depending on the type of horse, as tying up is different in quarter horses than thoroughbreds.
Chronic wasting disease is an infectious neurological disease affecting North American deer and elk. This disease is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep.
Horses should be injected only with disposable syringes and needles, and new disposable syringes and needles should be used for every injection.
Most of you with horses have probably heard of a Coggins test, but many new horse owners may be unfamiliar with this test. First of all, Coggins is not a disease, but simply the name of the test. The disease we are testing for is equine infectious anemia, commonly called swamp fever.
One of the most common equine conditions we see in the fall is colic. As the weather changes, the number of horses with colic seems to increase.
Colic is probably the most common cause of death in horses. Although colic means abdominal pain from any source, most cases of colic involve the gastrointestinal tract. A study was done several years ago at Texas A&M by Dr. Noah Cohen and others to determine the factors that occurred in management to predispose horses to colic.
By far, the most common cause of death in horses is colic. Colic simply means abdominal pain, and although this pain can come from any source in the abdomen including kidneys, liver, or reproductive tract, most cases of colic are of gastrointestinal origin. There are many different kinds of colic from mild gas colic to severe causes such as twisting or torsion of the intestine.
In the 70s, horses that required colic surgery did not have a very good prognosis as many new anesthetic and surgical techniques for treating colics were just being developed. Today, the success rate of colic surgery is tremendously better.
Colitis in horses can be caused by many different things, but the most common are abrupt food changes, bacterial infection, use of antibiotics, and stress.
The most common cause of death in baby dairy calves is failure of antibodies to transfer from the cow to the calf after birth. If dairy farms could collect colostrum immediately after calving, the incidence of death in baby dairy calves may decrease.
However, there is a concern with using any compounded product especially when an FDA-approved product is available. First of all, it is illegal for a pharmacy to compound a product that is available commercially.
Congenital hypothyroidism in foals was reported in increasing numbers in 2004 in western Canada. Foals that have these low thyroid hormone levels may develop contracted tendons, protruding lower jaws, and the inability to stand.
Generally, mares are on a 21-day cycle with mares being in heat about 5 to 7 days of this period. Some mares show no abnormal symptoms as far as performance while others are very difficult to train or show when in heat due to behavioral changes. However, it is important to make sure the changes are due to estrus and not another problem, and this can be difficult to determine in some cases.
To get mares cycling as soon as possible in the spring, it is imperative all mares that are to be bred in the spring be placed under lights beginning around the first of December. This includes pregnant mares that are supposed to foal early in the year.
If you are going to breed artificially with cool shipped or frozen semen, you must not only get them in heat at the appropriate time but also determine when they are going to ovulate. The drug most commonly used to induce ovulation in mares is human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG.
Normal doses of cortisone have been used routinely with no side effects and most horses that have developed laminitis and foundered have been given large doses.
CPR is indicated in any case in which the foal stops breathing or does not have a heartbeat.
A large percentage of foals that die shortly after birth do so because of a lack of oxygen; more foals die from respiratory problems than heart problems.
A specific cause of colic is called epiploic foramen entrapment. The epiploic foramen is a potential space between the liver and pancreas in the horse and it is possible for a portion of the small intestine to get trapped in this space. If the small intestine gets trapped, it is cut off from its blood supply and will die, causing death if not repaired surgically.
Laminitis is a condition in horses that causes severe lameness and sometimes death. Probably more research money has been spent on laminitis than any other equine disease and yet much of the actual process is not understood.
A fairly common problem in stallions is cases in which one testicle does not descend down into the scrotum, and the horse is called a cryptorchid.
Because horses are now living longer than ever before, we are seeing many horses with a hormonal condition called equine Cushing’s disease. One of the most common symptoms of equine Cushing’s disease is a long hair coat that does not shed out after the winter.
Almost 5% of the foals born alive die in the first 30 days. I recommend a veterinary exam at the age of 12 hours to prevent problems.
There are many horse diets on the market that have very high levels of dietary protein and many horse owners believe the higher the protein, the better the feed. In most circumstances, I believe these protein levels are too high even for horses undergoing intense exercise.
Equine sporting events such as endurance riding, rodeo events, and other competitive activities can predispose horses to many metabolic problems; one of the most common problems is dehydration.
When horses consume regular water that has low sodium content, and they lose sodium and other electrolytes in sweat, the sodium content in the horse’s body decreases and they are not stimulated to drink. To avoid this problem, electrolytes must be administered to horses orally.
Two major factors cause dehydration: One is not drinking enough water, and second is loosing fluids faster than they are being replaced.
One of the common reasons these problem mares do not get pregnant is delayed uterine clearance. Delayed uterine clearance is the term used for mares that do not have normal uterine activity that is required to clear the uterus of excessive fluid after breeding.
Horse’s teeth are classified as hypsodont, meaning they continually erupt throughout the horse’s life. Since the horse’s upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw, sharp points routinely form on the outside of the upper cheek teeth and the inside of the lower cheek teeth.
Cryptorchidism is diagnosed when one or both testicles are not in the scrotum but are still either in the horse’s abdomen or in the inguinal or flank area.
A diastema is a condition in which there is an abnormal space between adjacent teeth, and the veterinarians at the University of Edinburgh have recently reviewed the condition in horses.
Some horses are more hyperactive than others. Researchers at Virginia Tech University took a group of thoroughbreds classified as hot blooded and divided them into two groups.
Horses can eat grass or hay, but they were designed to eat native grass by grazing on thousands of acres.
The reason we see so many colic and founder cases is because horses are being fed in a manner that their body was not designed to support.
Prevent contagious diseases from infecting your horses both at your stable and when hauling your horse to other facilities.
Many drugs are used on horses that are obtained from vets as well as other sources in which the vet has not examined the horse and does not have what is called a valid client/patient relationship.
The FDA is concerned about disposal of sharp objects due to other possible transmission of disease to humans and they have developed a new website to guide folks on disposing of sharp medical objects.
Many of you may have dogs and also want a well manicured lawn. Urine and feces in small amounts can cause a green up or fertilizer effect. However, dog urine in large amounts can cause dead brown patches surrounded by a green outside ring called lawn burn.
Unfortunately, many people and vets tend to treat donkeys as horses, and they are very different in many aspects. A recent report in a veterinary journal discusses the differences in the pharmacology, or response to drugs, between donkeys and horses.
If we do not change the old practices of deworming all horses every 8 weeks, we will soon not have any dewormers that are effective and this will be a real problem for the horses.
The main intestinal parasites in horses are bots, large strongyles, small strongyles, pin worms, and tapeworms. Although there are over 100 species of parasites that affect horses, about 50% of them belong to the small strongyle group.
Although there are some drugs that may be beneficial, the most important part of horse behavior is training and handling, not the use of drugs.
HIE is the cause of so-called dummy or wandering foals. HIE is believed to be due to lack of oxygen to the foal before or at the time of birth.
Dust can cause lot of problems for the rider and the horse, including increasing allergies and causing inflammation in the eyes and respiratory tract.
The term used to describe difficulty in giving birth is called dystocia. Dystocia in mares is considered a true emergency where minutes can make a difference in the survival of the foal. Dystocia should be handled as quickly as possible to decrease trauma to the reproductive tract.
There are many different hoof trimming and shoeing techniques for treatment of different conditions in horses. However, there have been few studies verifying the effects of these different methods.
Most people that ride endurance horses give them oral electrolyte supplements before and during events, which is really a good idea.
Aggressive behavior by one horse toward others can cause injuries to the horses as well as causing a management problem when stabling or feeding. An electronic collar is not the same as those for dogs, and the advantage of the collar is the horse can be corrected up to a half mile away at the time the undesirable behavior is occurring.
In embryo transfer, the mare is bred and in about 7 to 8 days, the resultant embryo is flushed from the mare’s uterus and placed into another mare to carry the pregnancy.
Fire departments and rescue personnel are fine tuning their equine emergency skills. The Felton Fire Department in California has been working with local equine veterinarians on handling horses in emergency situations. The emergency teams have regular training and practices in equine handling techniques. In the event of a 911 call with an equine emergency, the fire department responds and a vet is also called.
The best method to prevent bleeding is direct pressure on the bleeding area. This can initially be done with your hand, and then a cotton and vet wrap pressure bandage can be applied if the wound is on the leg.
It's important to not use any medications on the wound if there is a possibility the wound can be sutured. Many medications on a wound can cause damage to the tissue and make suturing difficult. Never use medication on a wound to stop bleeding, especially if suturing is possible as this medication actually kills the tissue.
Mares can also develop endometritis after foaling due to contamination during the process, damage to the reproductive tract during foaling, or a delay in passing the fetal membranes.
Endurance riding is a very popular equine sport around the world. At these rides, veterinarians are present not only before and after competition but also during the event at veterinary check points.
When rectal temperatures are found close to the 106 degree range, horses should stop exercising, and methods of cooling should be introduced. Sweating to promote cooling is the most important mechanism of temperature regulation in horses.
Cooling can be accomplished by pouring or sponging large volumes of ice water over the horse’s body and then removing the water with a scraper to remove heat. If the horse is down, ice can be packed on the horse concentrating on the jugular vein area in the neck. Large volume intravenous fluids can help lower temperature and improve circulation and organ function.
Enterolithiasis is the presence of a calculus, or stone, in the intestinal tract of the horse. When the enterolith becomes lodged in the colon, it prevents movement of ingesta and as gas accumulates, severe colic develops.
A specific cause of colic called an enterolith causes an intestinal obstruction.
Back pain is a difficult diagnosis in horses as the signs are vague and horses that appear sensitive to palpation or pressure over the back may not necessarily be painful in this area. Many times back pain is secondary to other problems causing the horse to travel incorrectly and creating stress on the back. Also, back pain can be caused by external factors such as a poor fitting saddle.
The most common mode of botulism poisoning is called forage poisoning and is due to decaying vegetable matter in the hay or small animals like dead mice that were accidentally trapped in the hay when it was baled.
Canker is a disease of the frog in the horse’s hoof that appears initially as a white or yellow growth at the frog.
The interest in animal chiropractic seems to be increasing in the United States especially in equine practice.
Have a veterinarian do your horse's dental - performing these procedures on a horse without drugs is painful for the horse and dangerous for the horse and people performing the procedures.
Right now, the most common method of detecting early pregnancy in mares is rectal palpation and an ultrasound. With ultrasound examination, pregnancy can be detected by 14 days after breeding, and sometimes as early as 12 days. However, this requires a veterinarian to perform a rectal exam which can be difficult in some situations, especially if there is a lack of proper facilities on a farm or with a mare that is not easily handled.
Embryo transfer has become fairly common in the horse business due to the increasing success of the procedure. One of the advantages of embryo transfer is that you can get several foals every year from just one mare by breeding her several times, removing the embryos, and transferring them to other mares called recipients.
If you have horses, at some point you will be faced with an emergency. The first thing to do, of course, is to call your vet. But until your vet arrives, there are some things you can do to help your horse.
When wrapping a horse’s leg, a mistake many people make is not using enough padding and getting the wrap too tight. Also, in my experience, for snake bites antivenom is not necessary in most cases.
Most viruses in people and animals are generally host specific. One exception we are dealing with currently is vesicular stomatitis virus that infects horses, cattle, sheep, swine, and deer. However, with few exceptions, viruses that infect horses, for instance, generally do not infect cattle or dogs.
Stomach ulceration in horses has generally been believed to occur mostly in horses during race training or other strenuous training. However, a recent study indicates otherwise.
Most horses are commonly fed grain to provide energy for work and performance, and improved performance does occur up to a point with grain feeding. However, a group of conditions called equine grain associated disorders can occur with excessive grain feeding.
Today we will continue our discussion on equine grain associated disorders by looking more at the problems with feeding grain and advantages of feeding fat.
Equine herpes virus causes three different syndromes: respiratory disease, abortion, and neurological disease.
The old saying "no hoof, no horse" is really true. If your horses feet have problems, then the horse is basically unusable. Hoof care is critical to prevent lameness problems, and the environment has a major effect on the horses hoof.
Although several vaccines are available to protect horses from influenza, the effectiveness and length of protection provided by these vaccines is questionable.
Do you have a horse that will not allow injections to be given or is afraid of other veterinary procedures? Horses can also learn to tolerate or even like most procedures.
You may not realize that jet lag also occurs in horses. All life on earth is influenced by the daily cycles of light and dark, and mammals organize their lives into 24-hour cycles. Jet lag occurs due to an abrupt change in the light dark cycle resulting from travel across multiple time zones.
One of the new therapies in horses is equine massage. A recent study was performed at the University of Wales to determine the effect of massage on decreasing stress in horses. Results indicated that the largest drop in heart rate was in the horses massaged in the withers and neck areas.
The horse’s digestive tract can be basically divided into the foregut and hindgut. The differences in the digestion that takes place in these two areas is critical to understanding how to feed horses.
Water is the most important nutrient in a horse’s diet. Normal water intake is required for normal function of all organs, especially the GI tract.
The most important part of the horse's ration is the energy, not the percentage of protein.
Although all the advertisements in the horse magazines try to convince you otherwise, most of our horses do not need supplements.
The only method of determining which supplements to use is to have a ration analysis performed. The ration is not only the grain or concentrate you are feeding, but also the pasture grass and hay.
In horses, just like humans, obesity is an unhealthy condition.
It is possible that the deworming medication you are giving your horse may not be effective in killing parasites.
97% of the farms' worms were resistant to Safeguard or Panacur, 53% showed resistance to Anthelcide EQ, and 40% were resistant to Strongid T. Only ivermectin products did not have any resistance in this study.
Some horses have good resistance to parasites and do not require treating while others need frequent treatment. Fecal testing is the only method to determine this.
We are continuing to see increased numbers of cases of pastern dermatitis in horses that I suspect are related to wet conditions.
Equine pastern dermatitis is a condition of irritated skin that occurs on the horse’s lower leg between the hoof and fetlock but can sometimes extend above the fetlock.
Some new products called appeasing pheromones have become available to affect animal behavior. A study revealed that the pheromones are not effective as a training aid although they may be effective in other stressful situations.
Regardless of the amount of money you pay for a horse, a pre-purchase exam is always worth the money.
Diagnosis of EPM is difficult and can be very confusing due to lack of a definitive test. Horses that have a positive Western Blot test on spinal fluid that is not contaminated with blood and have clinical symptoms, are treated with antiprotozoal drugs.
When working with horses, the less they are frightened they are, the less innate behavioral response will occur.
A horse should get a minimum of 1% of the horse’s body weight per day in long stem hay. For a 1000 lb horse, this would be a minimum of 10 lbs hay per day. You should use a good quality hay that provides adequate nutrients. So how do you know the actual amounts of nutrients in the ration you are feeding and if the ration is adequate for your horse?
Most melanomas occur in gray horses. Treatment of horses with generalized lymphoma is usually not successful.
Equine viral arteritis, or EVA, is a contagious disease. Stallions shed it in their semen.
Equine arteritis virus, or EVA, is a viral disease. Quarter horse breeders are concerned about this disease because it can cause abortions in pregnant mares, deaths in young foals, and most importantly can cause breeding stallions to become permanent carriers of the virus.
If you are planning on breeding your quarter horse mare or stud in spring, you need to contact your vet about equine viral arteritis, or EVA.
Horses have a wide and panoramic view of their surroundings, as you might expect from looking at the placement of the horse’s eyes. With the head pointed forward, horses have a visual field of nearly 350 degrees out of the total 360 degrees of a circle.
Today we are going to talk about vision in horses and what a horse sees and doesn’t see compared to humans.
When people ask their veterinarians to give their horses the dog medicine Previcox instead of the horse medicine called Equioxx, they are asking those veterinarians to break the law and put their license in jeopardy.
Cattle growth promotant implants have shown to be ineffective in preventing heat in mares. The oral progesterone Regu-Mate is somewhat effective but is expensive and must be given every day. Other long-acting progesterone products such as Depo-Provera, which is used in humans, are ineffective in the mare as they do not bind to the equine progesterone receptors.
Although there are many protocols for estrus synchronization in mares, almost all of them use a prostaglandin at some point. However, it’s not as easy at it sounds.
A common behavioral problem can occur in performance mares when these mares exhibit heat or estrus. Mares begin periods of heat due to increasing day length in February or March and this continues through September or October.
It is difficult to completely prevent influenza because there are many strains of the disease and these strains can mutate quickly and as these strains change, the vaccine may not prevent the disease.
Killed vaccines for equine herpes virus 1 are commonly used to control herpes virus abortion and several studies have revealed these vaccines are effective at least at reducing the number of abortions.
After a foal is born, immediately check for these parameters to see if the foal is healthy or needs to see the vet.
Learn what to look for when checking a horses feet that may give you an idea that there is a problem with a hoof.
Exercising horses produce a tremendous amount of heat and sweat, especially in the Texas heat and humidity. This sweat is important as it allows the horse’s body to dissipate the heat produced by evaporation. Dr. Ken Marcella indicates 65% of the heat produced by a horse is dissipated by evaporation of sweat, and the horse has a lot of wasted heat to get rid of as only about 25% of the fuel taken in by the horse is used for work.
If your horse has been performing at a certain level and that level has decreased, then a vet exam is indicated. Some horse owners may believe their horse is just getting older when actually there may be a problem that can be treated. The first place to look is the heart.
External parasites such as flies, mosquitoes, ticks, and lice can cause decreased performance as well as transmit disease to horses. In some cases, treating the source of the problem, such as eliminating standing water with mosquitoes, can be effective in controlling the problem.
Some of the horses in the study could be caught and others could not, and eye contact had no effect so eye contact may not be a big factor in human-horse interaction.
A horse’s eyes seem to be more sensitive to injury than many other domestic animals. Or at least it seems the same injuries cause more problems in a horse than many other animals.
Multiple conditions can affect the horse’s eye, including trauma, infection, and tumors, but the most common eye problem seen in horses is a corneal ulcer.
Most ranchers gather and work their cattle at some point in the fall of the year. Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas State Veterinarian, says September is a good time for tuberculosis testing.
When foals are born, they have a very small amount of fat soluble vitamins in their system. This is because the equine placenta prevents most fat soluble vitamins from crossing to the fetus during pregnancy. The source these vitamins must then be the first milk, or colostrum.
Feed-associated poisonings can occur in horses and although fairly rare, when poisonings do occur they are usually serious.
Feeding wheat bran daily could cause a significant detrimental effect on your horse’s health because it is not a balanced diet and is not effective at preventing colic.
For various reasons, baby dairy calves have a high rate of death. In fact, a national study in 1992 indicated that almost 9% of the baby heifer dairy calves died before weaning. This number is about the same as it was 10 years earlier, despite increased knowledge of nutrition and disease.
Oats can be a good ingredient and are palatable but should not be used as a stand-alone ration.
Sperm from all species contain high levels of DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid, and DPA, an omega 6 fatty acid. Studies in boars and other species have indicated that a high ratio of DHA to DPA resulted in enhanced fertility. Animals are unable to make these fatty acids in their bodies and therefore must acquire them from their diet.
Determining the amount to feed miniature horses can be difficult because tapes and formulas used for weight estimation are for larger horses and may not be accurate in miniatures.
Many studies have been performed that indicate feeding yearlings 40% of the ration as concentrates had optimal growth rates; there are also less problems feeding lower concentrate rations.
Fire ants normally do not cause a lot of problems for adult animals that are mobile, but animals who are down and cannot rise on their own can have major damage inflicted by fire ants.
There is now a vaccine available for feline immunodeficiency virus, commonly called feline AIDS or FIV. However, there are some concerns about its use.
There are some major problems with this drug in horses. It is illegal by most drug and medication rules, and event horses are now being tested for it by most commercial horse drug testing labs. Also, it can cause nervous system side effects.
This spring we have seen a large number of horses with small scabs on their lower legs. These scabs are from fly bites as there are a large number of biting flies in the pastures.
Now that the foal is here, there are several things that need to be done. First of all, it is important to determine if the foal is normal. We recommend applying a solution of chlorhexiderm to the umbilicus to prevent infection instead of iodine.
One of the most common causes of sickness and death of young foals is sepsis, or an infection in the blood. Until recently, most vets felt that this infection was acquired through the umbilicus at birth.
Foals derive all of their antibodies to fight infection from the mare’s first milk, or colostrum. Absorption can occur only in the first 24 hours after birth. For this reason, it is imperative to know that the transfer of antibodies from the mare to foal occurred. Even if the foal is nursing that does not guarantee sufficient transfer of antibodies. Failure of passive transfer can occur for several reasons.
There are some factors to consider when making the decision to breed during foal heat.
For vaccine to be effective, it must be administered correctly and at the proper time. Vaccination is important in foals as they are very susceptible to many diseases.
Rotavirus is the most common viral disease causing diarrhea in foals less than 2 months of age as rotaviral particles have been found in 30% of young foals with diarrhea. Rota virus is very contagious and difficult to control as the virus can remain in the ground for 9 months.
We are going to review the foaling process and some things to watch concerning possible problems with foaling. By late gestation, the fetus should be facing toward the rear of the mare with the body right side up.
The most commonly used deworming compound in horses today is ivermectin. Ivermectin is very effective in treatment of most equine parasites and resistance is uncommon. However, there have been some concerns over the efficacy of ivermectin against the equine roundworm.
Horses with food allergies can have gastrointestinal symptoms, skin symptoms, or both.
Another source of infection in horses are hoof injuries from penetrating objects such as when the horse steps on a nail.
There are many horses that need to be fed a low carbohydrate ration. Specifically, the type of carbohydrate to be restricted is nonstructural carbohydrates, or NSC, and includes sugar, starch, and fructans.
During the part of the cool season, grasses that are still green can have the highest concentration of carbohydrates in the fall. Also weeds that were thought to have no nutritional value can be high in NSCs and can cause a horse to founder in a pasture with nothing else than weeds.
It has been stated that breeding with frozen semen causes a greater increase in post-breeding uterine fluid accumulation than breeding with cooled semen or natural service. Post-breeding uterine fluid is a normal characteristic of all breedings in horses and has been documented by ultrasound exam.
The use of frozen semen is becoming more common in horses due to better freezing techniques and therefore more successful breedings. However, breeding with frozen semen in horses is still very labor intensive compared to live cover or even cooled transported semen.
The combination of intense training, high concentrate rations, small amounts of hay, and stalling all add up to causing the ulcers. If ulcers develop, the most common treatments in horses involve decreasing acid production.
Recent information has revealed that stomach ulcers are much more common in horses that we previously thought.
Effective treatment of gastric ulcers in horses focuses on increasing the pH of the stomach contents by decreasing the production of gastric acid. The most effective approved product to decrease acid production is the drug omeprazole, produced under the trade name Gastroguard.
This new test, called a sucrose permeability test, is performed on the horse’s urine. This test is fairly simple and inexpensive as a pound of sucrose in water is given to the horse by nasogastric tube.
There are many products on the market for arthritis in horses as this is such a common problem in performance horses. Some of these products are FDA-approved and most are not. One of these FDA-approved drugs for arthritis is Adequan.
One of the most effective methods of decreasing drug cost is by using generic drugs, and most veterinarians use generic drugs whenever possible. Generic drugs are generally anywhere from 30% to 75% less than the trade name product.
Genetic diseases inherited from the parents are hereditary and those that are caused by acquired changes or mutations in a pre-existing gene or group of genes are genetic but not hereditary.
Glaucoma is a condition in which the intraocular pressure is increased above normal. It can lead to blindness.
Glaucoma is common in humans and dogs but in them the disease is much more of an acute problem in which vision loss can occur within just a few hours. In horses, glaucoma usually progresses slowly with gradually increasing pain and vision loss.
Glue-on shoes are not recommended for long-term treatment but usually for short-term use for a specific problem.
More horses develop laminitis and founder on pasture grass due to the high concentration of carbohydrates in the grass than those eating grain.
There is a special type of head shaking that is triggered by light called photic head shaking.
All horses shake their heads to some extent, but horses with headshaking shake so severely that they may not be able to be ridden or can be dangerous to handle
Most of the cases of heatstroke seen at our practice are older dogs that have been outside year after year. As these dogs age, their sensitivity to heat, and for that matter cold, increases. Many older dogs have arthritis and have difficulty rising. They also sleep very soundly. If these dogs sleep in an area of the yard without shade, or if they are unable to get up well enough to get out of the sun, heat stroke can develop quickly.
In late winter, a lot of horses are kept in the barn due to the bad weather. However, many of these horses may be better off being outside rather than in the barn because of the poor airflow and increased amount of allergens.
Symptoms of heaves are difficulty breathing, coughing, exercise intolerance, and abnormal lung sounds. A characteristic sign of heaves is the horse has more difficulty exhaling than inhaling.
If a joint or tendon sheath is involved and it is not treated quickly, many of these infections will require a horse to be euthanized from joint infection.
Potential problems can develop in mares in late pregnancy. One of the things that can develop in late pregnancy and can cause a problem is an excessively long umbilical cord.
Placentitis, or infection of the placenta, usually develops from organisms that migrate from the vulvar area through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus. The most common sign noted is premature development of the udder or less commonly vaginal discharge.
Results of a study that consisted of 92 horses with only suspensory ligament disease that were treated with neurectomy and fasciotomy indicated 78% of them returned to the same level of work they were at before the injury for at least one year.
If your horse is not performing up to potential, the problem may be the hock joints. The hock joint is on the lower rear leg just below the stifle. Inflammation in this joint can cause a prolonged time in speed events, reduced stopping or turning abilities, knocking down rails, refusing jumps, or trouble picking up different leads.
Hog rings cause significant visible damage to the tissue surrounding the teeth and thus can lead to pain and disease of the teeth.
A common cause of equine lameness is hoof balance. Dr. Gayle Trotter from Colorado State indicates that the frog and bars of the horses hoof may play a more important role in weight bearing than was previously thought.
Large unstable cracks can cause lameness and become infected, and these cracks can be serious.
One of the most important routine horse maintenance procedures is hoof trimming and shoeing. The goal of trimming and shoeing the equine foot is to facilitate breakover, protect the sole, and provide support for the heels. In my opinion, breakover is a very important concept for horse owners to understand.
The function of the sole is to support and protect the underlying structures and to bear some weight around the hoof wall. The sole should be firm and convex.
Cracks in the horses hoof wall can be minor but many can also be severe and need veterinary intervention.
Choose flooring materials that keep the floor dry, durable, provides good traction and is easy to clean. Roughened concrete fits these criteria better than most other materials.
Recently some information on the Indiana Horse Rescue website has many horse owners unnecessarily worried about their horse’s health.
There are two basic options for stall flooring, those impervious to liquids and those porous. Which is best?
Horses commonly suffer lacerations that may be very deep and, especially on the lower legs, may expose a large area of bone. All horses with lacerations involving exposed bone should be seen by a vet as soon as possible.
A horse can lose up to 4 gallons of fluid in just one hour of sweating during hard work.
March is the time of the year in Texas when most of the foals are born and the people caring for these foals at birth should be knowledgeable about delivery and abnormalities. Today we will discuss a method of CPR in foals that also works in newborn calves.
Breathing of the foal should be assessed immediately after birth. Most normal foals will begin breathing within 30 seconds after birth and should breathe 60 to 70 breaths per minute. Normal foals will develop a suckle reflex in 5 minutes and normal heart rate should be 60 to 120 beats per minute.
Several abnormalities can be found in foals the first 30 days of age. All foals should be checked for fractured ribs at the first exam. The foal’s eyes should also be examined at the first exam as many foals can have a condition in which the eyelids are rolled in toward the cornea that will cause corneal damage if not repaired.
All foals should have their legs examined at birth and any abnormalities noted. Some foals, especially those that are premature, can have collapse of the bones in the knees and hocks. Another leg condition is the windswept foal. These foals have a conformational defect in which both fore legs or hind legs are slanted in the same direction.
Early intensive handling of domestic animals involves a program of handling very young animals and introducing them to various procedures and stimuli. Early intensive handling in horses is called imprint training.
The most common cause of joint infection is bacteria that gets in the blood stream and ends up in the joints. Treatment of these joint infections must be aggressive.
Although vaccines are available for many diseases, they are not 100% effective and there are some diseases for which vaccines are not available to protect the horses. Consequently, it is important to use some management techniques to prevent spread of contagious disease.
Disposable clothing should be worn over regular clothes to prevent contamination by farm workers. Stall bedding that is removed from stalls housing sick horses should be removed from the property and not dumped in an area other horses can be exposed to. Another concern for disease control is rodent prevention.
Today we will look at problem mares, or those mares with chronic infection or inflammation, and what we can do to get them in foal. As with all brood mares, it is important to make sure to repair, if possible, any anatomical abnormalities that may be present.
Some mares, usually due to severe uterine damage, are unable to maintain a pregnancy. Many medications have been used in the mare’s uterus in an effort to cause a severe inflammatory response thereby sloughing the endometrium and allowing a healthy endometrium to regrow.
A common cause of infertility in the mare called infectious endometritis, or infection of the uterine lining. These infections can have many causes and some mares are more susceptible than others.
Diagnosis of these infections is done with a culture and sensitivity and cytology of the uterus. Common organisms found to cause endometritis are bacteria, yeast, and fungi. Because contaminants may be found on the uterine culture, it can be difficult to determine if an organism is actually causing a problem.
Many of you may have mares that you would like to breed but have been unable to get them pregnant. If this is the case, you will probably need to be more aggressive to determine the cause of infertility rather than just trying to breed them again and see what happens.
Although horses only breathe through their noses and the upper respiratory tract filters out a lot of inhaled material, it cannot filter out all of the very small particles.
In most cases with fertile stallions, recent studies have indicated that as few as 20 million sperm have achieved acceptable pregnancy rates using fresh semen.
Normally semen is deposited in the body of the uterus but a new technique involving placing semen deep in the uterine horn near the ovary has been used, especially with studs that have lower numbers of viable sperm.
More horses actually develop laminitis due to hormonal problems that any other reason.
If you have a horse with a cresty neck or other abnormal fat deposits, your horse may be insulin resistant. Insulin-resistant horses have been shown to be susceptible to laminitis so it is important to know which horses are insulin resistant and how to prevent problems.
Renal failure in horses is fairly uncommon but acute renal failure can develop as a complication of another disease that causes a decrease in circulation, like severe colic, or exposure to antibiotics or NSAIDs when dehydrated.
One of the most devastating conditions that affects horses is founder, also called laminitis. It is called laminitis because the disease is characterized by inflammation of the lamina in the horse’s foot, and the lamina is the tissue that attaches the bone in the foot to the hoof wall.
Founder is difficult to treat when the reason it occurs is unknown. By the time the horse is showing symptoms of laminitis, structural and vascular damage has already occurred in the foot and the disease has a head start on any treatment.
In cases of acute founder, support of the sole is the most important thing. This can be accomplished by standing the horse in deep sand. This is the easiest approach and works well.
The Laminitis Trust, a charity in the United Kingdom, has developed a set of criteria for horse feeds, and all companies that produce feeds that meet their criteria, may use the Laminitis Trust logo. Feeds that meet the criteria can be used in horses to aid in preventing laminitis and can be fed to horses already suffering from the syndrome.
A fairly rare but important condition of Arabian foals is called lavender foal syndrome. Lavender foal syndrome only occurs in newborn Egyptian Arabian foals and has been recognized for over 50 years.
One of the most common toxicants in cattle is lead poisoning. Lead has been recognized as toxic for over a thousand years and still causes poisoning in people, wildlife, and domestic animals.
Lightning strikes can injure horses. While 70% of humans that are struck by lightning survive, the injury is fatal in most horses, but not all. The reason may be that it is difficult to apply CPR to a horse, many horses are struck when no humans are around to observe the injury and seek help, and the larger body mass of the horse may provide greater tissue resistance leading to more heat buildup and tissue damage.
All foals should be examined by your veterinarian at 10 to 12 hours after foaling, even if the foals are normal.
Diseases of the liver can be acute or chronic. Liver disease can be caused by long-term exposure to poisons, cancer of the liver, or infections. Liver disease that affects foals from birth are usually related to an abnormality of the large blood vessels.
The most common liver disease found at their diagnostic lab is hepatitis. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and is commonly found in foals due to bacterial infections. There is also Tyzzer’s disease, equine herpes, serum sickness, hepatic lipidosis, and cancer.
Sometimes horses sweat in small patches on one side of the neck or shoulders and it looks unusual with no sweat anywhere on the horse except an area that is maybe 8 to 10 inches in diameter.
Low heels are common in the front legs but can also occur on the hind legs and can cause lameness due to heel bruising and heel damage.
Respiratory disease is fairly common in horses and can have a serious effect on a performance horse as well as a horse at pasture.
Symptoms of Lyme disease in horses are vague, such as low grade fever, stiffness and multiple leg lameness, muscle tenderness, swollen joints, and depression. Diagnosis is difficult because so many horses are already positive.
Turning out horses in a large pasture maintains fitness as well or better than stalling them half a day, turning out at night in a small paddock, and exercising 2 hours a day.
As stallions age, their breeding performance can decrease dramatically. Musculoskeletal and neurological disease can account for 50% of the breeding difficulties.
The first step is to provide good nutrition for the cows prior to calving. The immune system of the calf develops in the last portion of the pregnancy and protein is important for proper immune system development and good quality colostrum.
Heaves is a disease of horses in a dusty environment as the dust particles cause a reaction in the lungs of some horses.
Manure management is a necessary evil as about 12 tons of manure and soiled bedding have to be removed annually from each stall.
The first stool that is produced by a new born foal is made up of meconium. In foals who have not passed meconium by 12 hours, an enema is indicated to aid in passage.
Melanomas are commonly malignant tumors in people and non-grey horses but the type of melanoma that commonly occurs in grey horses are considered to be benign.
If you own a grey horse over the age of 15 years, it is likely your horse has some tumors on the skin called melanomas.
It is important to feed hay in racks and not on the ground but you need to make sure the racks or troughs are clean and not contaminated with feces from pests.
It is believed that by 2006, all livestock, including horses, will have to be permanently identified. The USDA developed an animal identification plan in 2002 because of the concern with tracing animals and contagious diseases such as foot and mouth disease and mad cow disease. Other methods of a permanent IDs are lip tattoos and branding.
Miniature horses and miniature donkeys have become very popular as pets and show horses. Health care of these little equines is basically the same as full-sized horses with a few differences.
Many times, the actual type of MRSA infection is different in humans than horses but it is still MRSA.
A horse's nasal discharge can be insignificant or very significant depending on the amount and type of discharge.
One key is that horses with navicular syndrome usually respond to pain with hoof testers over the frog.
Although this trauma can occur in an apparently normal foaling, it more commonly occurs in maiden mares and in cases that require manipulation of the fetus by a veterinarian to aid the foals birth.
All foals should have an IGG test at 10 to 12 hours after birth, especially foals from mares that have leaked milk. If the foal is tested and is low in antibodies and has been nursing, then the mare’s colostrum is devoid of sufficient antibodies.
One concern during the foaling process is a red bag delivery. This occurs when the fetal membranes do not rupture and the placenta is separating from the uterus. You will see a red velvety structure appearing at the vulva. This structure must be carefully but quickly opened and the foal delivered. Once the placenta separates, the foal can not get oxygen and will die unless it can breathe.
A condition called neonatal isoerythrolysis can develop in newborn foals that causes the destruction of their red blood cells. It’s a lot easier to prevent this syndrome than treat it.
Many horses have immunity to fight off the parasites without deworming and can limit the parasite life cycle without deworming medication.
The three risk factors for developing EPM were horses that lived with cats, horses that were used for western performance or racing, and horses over 2 years of age.
Tendon and ligament injuries are common in performance horses and treatment of these injuries is very difficult. However, there are some new treatments for these injuries.
After the first month, foals require some supplementation for adequate nutrition and growth as foals who only have mares milk after the first month will grow at a reduced rate.
You may find yourself in a situation where you are required to take care of a horse that has been underfed or even starved. This occurs when horses are abandoned or confiscated by animal control. Taking care of these horses may seem simple. However, the method of feeding is important.
A study indicates 51% of horses are overweight and and nearly 30% of the obese horses are insulin resistant.
If you have a horse, chances are you either give your horse an oral joint supplement or know someone who does because the oral joint supplement business brings in over $50 million in annual sales.
Dr. Stacey Oke has developed a system for horse owners to help them choose a product that may be of better quality than some others.
Calf scours is the most common disease of calves. Regardless of the cause of the scours, most of these calves die from dehydration. The most economical method of rehydrating calves that are mildly to moderately dehydrated is by administering oral rehydration solutions. Calves that are severely dehydrated should be treated with intravenous fluids.
Just because the baby is alone does not mean the mother is not nearby or returning; most wildlife do not routinely abandon their young.
What do you do when you believe your horse has colic? First of all, all cases of colic are potentially fatal and should be examined by your vet.
Using bute and banamine together was no more effective for pain control than using either drug separately.
Inflammation and infection can develop that can be extremely painful. Scabs and crusts form in the area that further increase the pain. These cases may look simple but can be difficult to treat and your veterinarian should be contacted.
Lacerations of the pastern area are difficult to heal because every time the horse takes a step, the laceration on the back of the pastern opens and closes.
Another problem that occurs in newborn foals is called perinatal asphyxia. Asphyxia simply means a lack of oxygen. This lack of oxygen in the newborn foal can occur in late pregnancy or during a prolonged delivery. It has also been associated with a red bag delivery.
Phosphine gas was released from a toxic pesticide applied to feed to kill weevils. All of the horses that died at the Texas A&M college had phosphine gas in their stomachs.
Treatment usually consists of rest, decreased but balanced nutrition, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and antibiotics if infection is involved.
Pigeon fever doesn’t occur in pigeons but in horses.
Pigeon fever is not a disease of pigeons, but one that affects horses. It is called pigeon fever because the disease commonly affects the chest region of the horse and the swelling looks like a puffed out pigeon breast.
Pinkeye is the most common eye disease of cattle and costs cattle owners 150 million dollars per year in reduced rate of gain.
Piroplasmosis is a blood-borne parasitic disease that affects all equines and usually causes fever, anemia, yellowing of the membranes of the eyes and mouth, and urine that is tinged dark brown to red.
Most cases of placentitis are caused by bacteria that have ascended from the mare’s vulvar area up to and through the cervix.
Pneumonia is not a common disease in horses but there are several predisposing factors that can cause pneumonia to develop.
One possible toxin is a fungal toxin found in grains, such as aflatoxins and fumonisin.
Some complications occur that you need to watch for after foaling. The first concerned is a retained placenta. Another is founder.
Mares can also have a severe bleeding episode from the uterus and can die from hemorrhage within hours, or the bleeding can be contained within the uterus. If you have a mare that prolapses, keep the uterus clean and hold it up level until your vet arrives, although be careful manipulating it so you do not make a hole with your fingers.
Although Potomac horse fever is most commonly seen on the East coast, it may become important in Texas as heavy rains with standing water and flooding increase levels of the causative organism across the U.S. It was been reported in the Midwest in 2004 and as close to Texas as Oklahoma, so infection in Texas is certainly possible.
Potomac horse fever causes acute onset of depression, decreased appetite, and fever in horses as well as diarrhea, decreased intestinal signs, and mild colic.
Today’s program will deal with some things you will need to consider before making this purchase. First, will you be keeping the horse on your property, or will you board the horse with someone else?
The pre-purchase exam is performed by a veterinarian before the purchase to check out the horse for the buyer. There is no such thing as a horse passing or failing a pre-purchase exam. The veterinarian will present exam findings to the buyer and it is the buyer’s decision whether or not to purchase the horse.
A common problem that leads to the loss of foals is premature birth. Foals born at less than 320 days of gestation are considered premature. Unfortunately, the survival rate of premature foals is not very good, even in intensive care situations.
Most mares should enter the foaling barn 30 days prior to foaling and are commonly turned out 6 to 8 hours per day. All mares should be examined for the presence of a Caslick's, in which the vulva is sutured partially closed, and if present, should be surgically opened 2 to 4 weeks before the expected foaling date. All mares should be examined daily during the last 90 days of pregnancy.
neonatal isoerythrolysis. This disease in seen in 1% to 2% of the equine population. It occurs in a foal when the foal ingests colostrum that contains antibodies which react with the red blood cell antigens the foal received from the stud, and the foal’s red blood cells are destroyed. To prevent this problem, mares can be tested 2 weeks before foaling for antibodies.
Strangles is a serious upper respiratory tract disease that is caused by the bacteria strep equi and is highly contagious. Influenza is another contagious disease but is a virus.
Herpes virus infection, commonly called rhino, is also an upper respiratory tract disease. Another contagious infection is salmonella, a bacterium that causes gastrointestinal disease.
One of the scariest thoughts for a horse owner is the possibility of a fire developing in their horse barn and today I am going to mention some things you can do to prevent a barn fire from occurring.
Recently, major advances in equine dental care have been made. Preventive dental care starts as soon as the foal is born with an oral exam by your veterinarian to check for congenital abnormalities. A dental exam should also be performed when vaccinations are begun at 4 months of age.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are administered orally and have various effects on the GI to tract. In one study, probiotics were not effective in decreasing diarrhea in foals.
Many horses, just like humans and other animals, can have inhalant allergies. Inhalant allergies can cause itching and hives on skin but can also play a role in respiratory conditions.
If your horse has a rapidly growing skin lesion that is not responding to normal wound treatment, contact your vet as soon as possible because early cases of pythiosis have a much better prognosis than ongoing cases.
Quest is in the same family of drugs as ivermectin but Quest is much more effective against the most serious parasite affecting horses at this time, the small strongyle.
Since one infected horse could expose hundreds of people at events like a horse show, rabies must always be considered as a possible diagnosis in a horse showing a neurological disease. Rabies is usually transmitted to the horse by a bite from a wild animal.
Many racehorses develop injuries during training and racing and the cause of these injuries involves many factors. Two recent studies were done with thoroughbreds and quarter horses concerning their conformation and how this related to injuries.
Ringworm is a fungus, and rain scald is caused by a bacterium that is normally present on horse’s skin but it does not cause a problem unless the skin is damaged.
It is possible that the rectum can tear during the procedure and almost all the time it is not the fault of the veterinarian, but it can lead to the horse's death.
Regu-Mate is routinely used in mares for synchronization of the estrus cycle for breeding. However, it has been reported that many trainers administer Regu-Mate to stallions to aid in their management. A report indicates that several studies in males of various species have demonstrated that exogenous progesterone can reduce serum testosterone levels.
A common problem in some horses is injection shyness. These horses just see the veterinarian walk up, or get out the syringe, and they become nervous and difficult to handle due to past negative experiences with veterinary procedures.
If you have an older mare that you would like to breed that is overweight and has equine metabolic syndrome or Cushing's disease, it is important to address these problems before considering breeding.
A common area of disease in newborn foals is the respiratory system. When a foal is born, they should be breathing normally almost immediately. The foal’s mucous membranes should be pink within the first 30 seconds after birth. Any respiratory distress or bluish mucous membrane color is reason for an immediate vet exam as some of these foals will need oxygen.
The most common problem is aspiration pneumonia which is actually due to an upper respiratory problem. Many times this occurs due to neurological dysfunction because of neonatal maladjustment related to a lack of oxygen at birth.
<I>Rhodococcus equi</i> causes a severe pneumonia with abscesses in a foals lungs.
The hot dry weather we usually have in August increases the chance of a severe type of pneumonia in foals called Rhodococcus equi pneumonia. Although almost all horse farms have some amount of this organism on the premises, the disease is common and severe on some farms, sporadic on others, and fortunately unrecognized on most.
Early diagnosis of this type of pneumonia is difficult as foals get sick slowly and by the time they show symptoms they are seriously ill. The diagnosis of this infection can be aided by a blood count, fibrinogen concentration, radiographs of the chest, and serology. However, a definitive diagnosis must be obtained by culture from a trans-tracheal wash or PCR test.
Prevention of Rhodococcus centers around decreasing the number of organisms inhaled. It is important to keep foals out of the heat during the hottest part of the day, and keep the concentration of foals kept together as low as possible. Also, foals should be kept in areas with grass, areas with the least dust possible, and areas with good ventilation.
Ringworm is actually not a worm at all, but a fungal infection. Treatment of horses has historically involved bathing or rinsing with iodine or chlorhexidine-based products.
Probably the most common skin disease seen in horses in Texas other than fly allergies is ringworm. Ringworm is not a worm at all but actually a fungus.
Dogs are also susceptible to this disease and can serve as sentinels that the disease is in the environment. There are numerous cases in which dogs have been infected with
Rocky Mountain spotted fever and later the owners are infected.
Rats and mice can carry and transmit many diseases to people and other animals such as salmonella, leptospirosis, and even rabies. Also, it has been reported than 100 rats can eat over a ton of feed in one year and that’s enough to feed a 1000 pound horse for a year.
One of the most difficult conditions to accurately diagnose is pain of the lower back and sacroiliac area. The sacroiliac area is where the pelvis attaches to the spine at the lower back.
Although salmonella infection in horses is not new, the fact that this bacteria is resistant to most antibiotics is new.
Areas with loose sandy soil such as California, Arizona, and Florida have a large number of sand colics. Horses that are fed on the ground in sandy areas or those housed on overgrazed pastures are most susceptible.
Many areas of Texas have sandy soils, and horses raised on these areas can develop a type of colic called sand colic.
A regular ultrasound, which most equine vets have available, can be used to determine the presence of sand in the colon. Also, ultrasound can be helpful in determining the movement of sand as well as movement of the intestine.
Until recently, you waited 11 months after breeding your mare to find out if you had a colt or filly. Now, with sex sorted semen, mares can be bred and the sex of the offspring predetermined.
Probably the most common condition that affects mares after foaling is septic metritis, which is an infection in the uterus.
In some horses, one heel may be displaced higher than the other one, and this is called sheared heels.
Sheep are pregnant approximately 146 days and goats about 150 days. Dr. Mary Smith from Cornell recommends using the 30-30-30 rule.
Shivers is characterized by trembling of the tail when held erect, trembling of the thigh muscles, and a flexed and trembling hind limb
It is always a question, when you have a horse with laminitis shod in a certain manner, when should you expect results? To answer this question, a study was done at the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M to evaluate the short term effects of four different therapeutic shoeing systems on horses with chronic laminitis. As with all good scientific studies, a group of horses with laminitis were used as the control group that was not treated with corrective shoeing.
This drug is so common that horse owners believe it is safe enough that it can be used like a person taking aspirin; however, it can have serious side effects if not used correctly and sometimes even if it is used correctly.
Most nasal discharges are from a respiratory system infection, but sometimes it's an issue within the sinus cavities.
To determine if stall size had an effect on the amount of time horses spent lying on their sides, a study was performed in Denmark in which horses of different sizes were stabled in both large and small stalls. The study found that the larger the stall, the more time horses spent lying down.
Sleep disorders can cause some serious problems for horses and the most common sleep disorder is sleep deprivation.
As the disease progresses, horses develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also called heaves and these horses have a difficult time breathing, sometimes even at rest. Treatment of heaves initially involves drugs to enable horses to breathe easier.
Soaking a horse's foot can cause some problems, especially if soaking is continued for more than a couple of days.
Soring is deliberately inflicting pain to exaggerate the leg motion of horses so they will perform better at horse shows.
One of the major ingredients in many pet foods is soybeans and soybean related products. These soybean foods also contain phytoestrogens, which are non-steroidal compounds with estrogenic activity. These phytoestrogens are reported to have both positive and negative effects on the health of humans and other animals.
Sometimes hard training can cause the bones to develop inflammation at the sites of attachment to the large bones between the knee and fetlock. This is the condition called splints.
Horses are capable of sleeping standing up because of a stay apparatus in their rear legs. However, they can only go into what’s called slow wave sleep while standing. Horses must lie down, preferably on their sides, to achieve paradoxical sleep. Paradoxical sleep is the stage where complete muscular relaxation occurs.
Handling a stallion can sometimes be a real challenge and someone without experience can not only endanger themselves but can also cause major long-term breeding problems for the stallion.
The two most important maneuvers that all stallions must be taught are to stop and to back up when commanded.
The reality is there is little scientific proof concerning the success of stem cells or which of the many different methods is the most effective.
The cause of these ulcers is mostly management related. Horses continually produce acid in their stomachs, even when not eating.
Horses in highly competitive events, such as racing and show jumping, are commonly affected with stomach ulcers. Exercise and training have been shown to increase the chances of ulcers developing.
The lymph nodes that swell under the throat must be allowed to abscess and rupture for the horse to get over the condition. Horses that recover can be contagious for weeks afterwards and some even longer. There are killed vaccines available as well as a live intranasal vaccine.
Strangles is a common upper respiratory tract infection in young horses. Most of the time strangles is a mild disease. However, complications can develop after strangles infection.
Soaking the foot for more than 2 to 3 days can actually worsen the problem by softening the sole and decreasing the its protection.
None of the approved products for horses have an effect on the equine tapeworm until recently. Merial Animal Health has received FDA approval on a product called Zimecterin Gold. This product contains ivermectin with added praziquantel for the treatment and control of equine tapeworms.
In colder weather, a common problem is getting horses to drink enough water. Decrease water intake can cause many problems in horses as in all animals, but I believe it is a common contributing factor in the number of cases of colic we see in winter.
All horses should get vaccinated for tetanus every year. There are two different types of tetanus shots.
There is a barefoot movement among a group of horse people who believe all horses should be unshod regardless of the horse or activity. Unfortunately, no scientific studies exist at this time to prove their beliefs.
Each horse must be looked at as an individual to determine whether they should be shod or not. It is easier for a horse to be barefoot if they have never worn shoes. Once a young horse wears shoes, they should be given a break from work for 2 to 3 months if you remove the shoes.
Equine infectious anemia, or EIA, was first reported in this country in 1888 and there is still no treatment or vaccine is available. The disease can occur in two main forms - an acute and a chronic form.
EIA is considered a classic blood borne infection, and people have inadvertently played a role in transmission over the years by using blood-contaminated materials such as needles between horses. Most frequently, transmission occurs between horses by large biting insects.
The four-point trim was designed to prevent or treat the long toe and low heel syndrome that many performance horses seem to develop.
Recent legislation was probably intended to be in the best interest of horses but actually has had a negative impact on the problem.
We do not specifically know the complete effects of hypothyroidism on pregnancy in mares. However, supplementation of thyroid hormone in a mare that doesn’t need it will cause the horse’s thyroid gland to stop working.
When you look for wound medications, there are numerous choices. Although all of these products may be effective with certain wounds, different wounds require different treatments.
Povidone iodine is not effective as a disinfectant in the presence of organic matter such as blood. Chlorhexidine has been shown to allow more rapid healing than iodine solutions. Topical triple antibiotics do not have a large range of effectiveness in equine wounds.
As far as prevention of proud flesh, cortisone ointments are the most effective in my opinion. Various enzymes are commonly recommended for equine wounds and one such enzyme is in a product called Granulex. Use of topical herbal therapies are anecdotal so at this time, their use can not be recommended.
Honey has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, antiinflammatory actions, and stimulation of new tissue growth. Lanolin is used for skin abrasions but should not be used in deep wounds. Gentian violet was used in many horse medications but has been found to be carcinogenic and is no longer recommended.
As you plant shrubs around your horse barns and fences, it is important to realize some of the commonly used shrubs for landscaping can be toxic to horses and other livestock.
After the horse gets comfortable loading, the first ride should only be a few minutes because long first rides tend to scare horses and make loading more difficult.
To determine the best method to decrease response to frightening stimuli in a horse, a study was performed in Europe that used three different training methods.
The overall feeling is that Adequan is moderately effective at treating chronic joint disease while hyaluronic acid is more effective at treating acute joint disease.
In horses that do not respond to injecting the coffin joint with hyaluronic acid and cortisone, directly injecting the small sac on the back of the navicular bone called the navicular bursa can be effective.
The most common reason wounds on horses do not heal correctly is because of a condition called proud flesh. Proud flesh is actually normal granulation tissue that has overgrown the wound edges. If you see a wound on a horse in which the tissue inside the laceration has grown out farther than the skin edge, that is proud flesh.
There are many vaccines approved for use in the horse and it is difficult to determine which ones should be used and when. Dr. James Wilson from the University of Minnesota recently reviewed the available vaccines.
Other than the basics, the other vaccines your horse receives depends on exposure to other horses and risk of disease. If you haul your horses to shows or other events, then vaccination against influenza, strangles, and equine herpes virus may be indicated.
Horses that are exposed to other horses and are moved routinely are susceptible to strangles and younger horses are the most susceptible. There are two injectable vaccines and one intranasal strangles vaccine available on the market.
A lot of attention has been focused on the dangers of vaccinations in small animals and humans. Most of the concerns are related to the preservatives in the vaccines rather than the antigens themselves. Because of this, many vets have developed a list of core vaccines that all horses should receive annually while other vaccines should be used depending on exposure.
To determine the actual effectiveness of foal heat breeding, a study was performed at a ranch in Southeast Texas by the reproductive unit from the College of Veterinary Medicine at A&M.
One of the most common urinary tract disorders in horses is cystic urolithiasis, or urinary bladder stones. Although the cause of bladder stones in many animals is related to diet, the cause of bladder stones in horses is still not known.
A new product has recently been introduced to the horse market that I feel is potentially dangerous for horses and their owners.
A common finding in many brood mares is the presence of uterine cysts. These are fluid-filled structures inside the lumen of the uterus that can have an adverse effect on pregnancy. There are two types of cysts that occur.
The question is when to begin vaccinating foals and for what diseases? Very few vaccines actually have label directions for foals and those that do have directions are very inconsistent between companies.
Research is being performed to determine which formulations of vaccines may stimulate the best immunity in older horses because if the horse does not respond to the vaccine, the vaccine will not prevent disease.
Many of you in the horse business may have already heard that vesicular stomatitis has been found in the area of Phoenix, Arizona.
Vesicular stomatitis or VS, is a viral disease that causes painful ulcers inside the mouth, lips, muzzle, teats, and hooves, and affects horses, cattle, sheep, swine, and deer. VS is generally not fatal and usually lasts only about 2 weeks. However, it is highly contagious and one of the major concerns about the disease is the symptoms resemble those of foot and mouth disease.
One of the most difficult problems we face is equine medicine is getting horses to drink enough water. Three studies on increasing voluntary water consumption in horses were performed at Michigan State and results were recently released.
Warts, also called papillomas, are caused by a virus and are usually found in young horses because they have a decreased immunity that plays a role in this syndrome.
It's difficult to find guidelines specific for equine drinking water because most of the guidelines are listed for all livestock.
The most accurate technique to weigh a horse or any other large animal is on a walk-on scale, or by weighing the animal and trailer and then the trailer only. Horses can be weighed fairly accurately with a weight tape that is available at most feed stores. This tape is place around the heart girth just behind the fore legs and the weight is read right off the tape. A formula is also available for determining the weight of your horse.
The question is should wolfe teeth be removed or left alone, and the answer is it depends on the intended use of the horse.
Horses get cut very easily due to their thin skin and excitable nature. Fortunately, they also heal very well if treated correctly.
Today we will focus on lower leg wounds, as these are the most difficult to heal. There are many different methods of treating lower leg wounds and because they are difficult to heal, your vet should examine these wounds as soon a possible. The most common problem with leg wounds is proud flesh.
|About the author(s)
Bob Judd, DVM
is a private practitioner from Hewitt. Dr. Judd, a 1979 graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, has a practice that has been centered around horses and small animals for over two decades. In 1998, Dr. Judd became board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Equine Practice. Dr. Judd was named the Texas Veterinary Medical Association's Equine Vet of the Year for 2005.
joined the TFB staff in 1997 as host of Farm Bureau Roundup and News-Source. Kyser has more than 25 years of experience in broadcast media. The well-known radio personality has worked in news and programming for several Waco radio stations.