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Metabolic diseases

- October 30th, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

In the horse, two metabolic diseases are very common. The first is pars pituitary dysfunction (PPID), a.k.a. Cushing’s Disease, and the other is Insulin Resistance. For the purposes of this article I will refer to Cushing’s disease as PPID. Many developments in the knowledge and testing of these diseases has changed in recent years. I am going to try to explain each easily, discuss the symptoms, discuss how we diagnose them and, finally, how we treat them.

Fall horse care

- September 28th, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Fall is upon us, and what a crazy year it has been. Many people were negatively affected by the pandemic.

The horse industry, at least in Southern California seems to be going strong. Due to the natural social distancing practiced while riding horses, many trainers have been busier than usual with lessons due to parents looking for something their children can do. Pre-purchase exams seem to be more numerous than normal. With so many new horse owners, let’s review some of the recommendations for veterinary care for your horses in the fall.

Fall vaccines are very important. It will vary on what your horse needs by geography and recommendations, but most people are getting at least an influenza and rhinopneumonitis booster. The antibodies developed after vaccination for these two diseases wane after seven or so months, so a booster every six months is often times recommended. You will need to discuss your vaccine strategy with your veterinarian to see what is best for your horses.

Fecal testing and deworming is recommended every six months for adult horses. For deworming, either ivermectin or moxidectin are the drugs recommended. The fecal testing with help guide whether or not your horse is doing well with that minimal strategy or if you need to alter it to decrease parasite shedding. Going into winter time, you do not want to be behind on body condition. Let your horse get the most possible out of its feed by decreasing the parasite burden on its system.

Dentistry is another great item to check off your list in the fall. An exam to determine if the teeth need to be addressed should be done. Abnormalities caught early are much more likely to be correctable than things let go. This is no different than dentistry in yourselves. Hay in many areas is expensive and just as with lowering the parasite load, ensuring proper digestion by addressing the teeth is cheap insurance.

Lastly, a general wellness exam. It is a good idea to get your veterinarian eyes, ears, and hands on your horse. This gives us the opportunity to look for small things that may need attention. We may have certain tests we might recommend based on age and what we see to determine the overall health of your horse.

All of these items can easily be done in a single visit by your veterinarian. It really is important to maintain optimum health to keep up on these easy maintenance items. I find owners usually have questions they have been sitting on to ask us when we visit. Get your horse checked out and get your questions answered, and most importantly, stay safe during this pandemic!

–Dan

Communication

- August 28th, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Ask the Vet

Communication is an essential component to any relationship. Whether it be between two people, countries, companies — anything. If you want any relationship to work between two or more parties, communication is key. The relationship between equine veterinarian and client is no different.

Equine medicine is a bit different from many other medical and patient/client relationship. Even when you compare it to small animal medicine, to me, it is a more personal relationship. In small animal medicine you usually speak with office staff to setup an appointment or get a refill. A veterinary technician often times is the first to see your animal and answer some of your questions. You get to see and speak to the veterinarian (in non-COVID times) during the exam. Most procedures are done in the back, and then you may see your veterinarian just prior to leaving.

Summer Sores

- August 2nd, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Ask the Vet

Summer sores are a big problem for horses in climates that are warm and moist. We discussed them a few years ago, but I think it is time to revisit them. I am seeing them very frequently, and so are many other practitioners. Let’s delve into what they are, some treatment strategies and prevention.

Habronema and Draschia are the names of the nasty little parasites that causes this sometimes-challenging-to-deal-with disease. They are two of the stomach worms of horses. and in their normal life cycle, do not seem to cause much harm. When the parasite gets deposited in an area of the skin or other external area, they can wreak havoc. They cause a non-healing wound that often times increases in size. It can be bordered by a layer of scar tissue that makes it challenging to get drugs to the source of the problem to kill them off. Often times, small granules are associated with the lesions. If in doubt, a simple biopsy of the lesion can often diagnose the problem. This can be an important part of the diagnosis, as some lesion can mirror other problems.

Fly control

- June 30th, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

If you have horses, you likely have to deal with fly problems at least part of year. Flies are necessary to the environment. They help to breakdown waste products and can even be beneficial in cleaning up infected wounds. Flies also can transmit diseases and spread infection to wounds. They also can cause stress to our animals just from their annoyance. This month, let us discuss some methods for controlling flies.

Fly Sprays

Fly sprays come in either concentrated or ready to use forms. I find they do not usually last very long. It can be helpful to switch brands periodically as the flies become accustomed to one mixture so trying a different one is sometimes helpful. There are also all natural solutions that some owners prefer.

Allergies

- June 2nd, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

First off, I hope everyone is doing well during the COVID-19 times. It is very tough for some out there with lack of work and/or sickness, so take care of yourselves and your horses. We are smack dab in the middle of spring and some people know all about what this month’s article is about. Allergies. Horses are no different than you or I when it comes to allergies. Let us discuss what an allergic response is, how it is manifested and some possible treatments.

Babies, Babies, Babies!

- May 5th, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Foals are hitting the ground left and right. It is a rare day for me right now to not be doing a new foal exam (or two or three!). A new foal exam and care in the first few days is vital to keeping a healthy herd, but the first year of life for foals requires some special care that is a bit different than for the adults.

Bio-security in pandemic times

- April 1st, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Los Angeles Equestrian Center photo

The COVID-19 global pandemic has bio-security on everyone’s minds. Let’s revisit biosecurity and you may appreciate similarities between some of the recommendations here for your horse and the ones we are receiving now from the government for ourselves during this outbreak.

First off, make sure you are up to date on your horse’s vaccines. Vaccines are designed to help the body fight off an infectious agent if it comes into contact with it. They usually require 10 to 14 days to work. The body is exposed to the antigen and has two ways it can work to fight it off: The first is to develop antibodies; the second is what is called “cell mediated immunity.” Different vaccines have different protocols to follow for them to be their most efficacious, so either read the full label or have your veterinarian perform the series properly so they are able to give you the best protection possible.

Vet visit, then meds

- March 3rd, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Here is a question that can be a point of contention between many veterinarians and their clients:

“Why does my veterinarian need to see that before I get medication? This is a simple problem, and I just need the medication.”

Ask the Vet

Let us take a look at why it is necessary for a patient to first be seen before dispensing or prescribing medication.

I will start with the client’s point of view. The client may be a very experienced horse person who has been doing this for 30-plus years. They have a minor cut on the horse that they are comfortable cleaning and wrapping to allow it to heal. They have had the veterinarian out for 10 of these in the past and the treatment is always the same: put them on some antibiotics, give them some bute and give a tetanus shot. Why can’t they just pick up some antibiotics and treat the horse without the expense of the veterinarian seeing the horse?

Why all of these tests?

- February 5th, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

alpineequine.net photo

Veterinary medicine parallels human medicine in a lot of ways. The way it evolves is a major one. A hundred years ago, the doctor or veterinarian would examine their patient and give a diagnosis and decide a course of treatment. Sometimes the patient would get better and sometimes not.