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Strangles and Biosecurity

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - November 30th, 2018

wordpress_column_groveWe had a question come in regarding strangles. This year, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) came out with a consensus statement on this disease. I will go over the key items discussed and the bio-security measures they recommend. These recommendations apply to any outbreak of contagious disease, although each disease may have some minor changes.
Strangles is a term used to describe a bacterial infection caused by the organism Streptococcus equi ssp equi. The common presentation is a respiratory disease with lymph node enlargement. Horses typically have a fever and severe nasal discharge. The bacteria starts to be shed in nasal secretions 2-3 days after the onset of fever and typically persists for 2-3 weeks. It is recommended that all recovered horses be treated as potentially infectious for six weeks after the resolution of purulent (pus) discharge. From 20-25 percent of horses recovering from the disease can become susceptible to a second attack of the disease. An average of 10 percent of horses will have a persistent infection in their guttural pouches, which are located in the throat area and can test positive from that area for months to years without showing outward clinical signs. These types of animals, healthy without showing signs, are thought to be more important in the spread of the disease as they are not recognized as sick.

Checklist for Fall

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - November 2nd, 2018

Fall is here, and it is a great time to visit on items to take care of on our horses. It is a great time as show season is slowing down and the temperatures are more pleasant. So, let’s go over some items to consider for the fall.

vet_1811aFirst is vaccines—If you need Flu/Rhino boosters due to your situation, now is the most common time to get them.

Fecal Egg Count—Twice a year, you should be testing your horse’s parasite load and deworming appropriately

Dentistry—This is a great time of year to have those points removed and any abnormalities resolved. Going into winter, you want your horse getting the most from its feed.

Lights—If you are planning on breeding in the late winter or early spring, you want your horses ready to go and cycling properly. Day length plays a role in both the mare’s and stallion’s reproductive cycle.

Elective surgeries—Things like castrations can be done most any time, but if possible, I like to do them this time of year. The weather is cooler and there are less flies. The horses usually heal a little more quickly and with less complications

Blanketing—If you do blanket, it is time to make sure they are in good order and depending upon wehre you live, time to start using them!

As the year is winding down and we are getting into holiday season, do not forget some of the extra needs your horse may need this time of year.

It is also important to make sure your horse’s housing in is good order. With wind, rain, and cold on the way, it is good to make sure any repairs have been taken care of and for those of us in areas that freeze, that our water heaters are functioning properly.

Also, do not neglect the hay storage areas. Water getting on hay is destructive. Pests are looking for somewhere to set up shop. You need to protect your hay from water, rats, mice and rabbits.

Hopefully this list stokes some ideas on things to get taken care of. Happy Thanksgiving!

Home stretch of the show season

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - October 4th, 2018

wordpress_column_groveFor most people, we are rounding the last corner and headed to the finish line for show season. Many equine athletes have been going hard all spring and summer. Keeping our horses sound and performing at their peaks takes some extra efforts on our part. I will try to touch on some key points that can be beneficial to keeping our horses happy and performing.

First off is nutrition. When traveling, I would recommend keeping your horses diet as close to normal as possible. Take at least the supplements and concentrate feeds that you feed at home. If you can, take the same hay also. Changing diets on the road can lead to colic and lost competition days. While we are on nutrition, I feel it is really important to keep a performance horse on a good quality joint supplement and vitamin mineral supplement. You want their joints as comfortable as possible. You also want their metabolism working at its peak to give them the energy they need.

Beat the heat

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - August 8th, 2018

wordpress_column_groveWell, August is here and so is the heat. July showed us some very hot temperatures, but we still have the late summer and early fall heat waves to deal with. We have discussed most of this before, so here are some reminders.

1. The cornerstone to surviving this heat for our horses is water. Access to plenty of clean and cool water is essential.

Identifying your horse

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - July 1st, 2018

AskTheVetWe all love our horses. We invest time and money into their care and upkeep. I think it is natural for us to want to protect the emotional and financial investment we have in our horses. This month I am going to discuss the various forms of identifying our horses.

Registration Paperwork
Each breed registry has its own method for identifying the animal for which they produce papers for. Pictures, written descriptions, and drawings are found on these different documents. They usually also include the parentage of the registered horse.

Your horse’s eye health

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - June 1st, 2018

AskTheVetThe eyes are extremely important to our equine companions. If we lose one or both eyes, it can be career-ending for our animals. Signs of eye discomfort are blepharospasm (squinting), tearing of the eye, rubbing of the eyes, and changes in the normal appearance of the eyes. This month I will discuss some of the more common eye ailments I see and some tips on what can be done. Before we proceed, I feel I should mention that most eye problems should be seen sooner rather than later. Waiting can be devastating on some of these problems.

Eyelid Lacerations

Eyelid lacerations are extremely common. One Friday evening, I had three emergency pages back-to-back, all eyelid lacerations. If treated promptly, most can be sutured. If no tissue is lost, often times full function returns and there is little to no cosmetic defect. I usually give some sedation, locally anesthetize the skin and repair the laceration. A tetanus vaccine update and some antibiotics are often the only other medications needed.

Uveitis

The uvea is the back part of the eye itself. Some breeds are more prone to the condition, but it is thought that an infectious agent causes the disease, although it cannot always be proven. This area in the eye gets very inflammed and can fill with pus. These conditions are very painful and can cause significant blepharospasm (squinting) and tearing of the eye. The eyes can get a bulging appearance to them and they can appear yellowed. These are many ways these are treated, but anti-inflammatories are very important to reduce the swelling and discomfort.

Fly control

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - May 1st, 2018

AskTheVetIf 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.

Springtime checklist

By Daniel H.Grove, DVM - April 1st, 2018

AskTheVetSpringtime is here. The weather should be getting better, the days are getting longer. So hopefully this gives us more time for playing with our horses. This month, I have a checklist for spring.

1)Coggin’s test. With showing and traveling coming up, it is a good time to renew your annual Coggin’s test. It is needed for some shows, travel across state lines and even at some boarding facilities.

2)Vaccines. This is a good time to get those spring vaccines done. You especially want to booster those diseases, like West Nile disease, that are spread by mosquitoes, as the mosquito population will be out soon. Remember your core vaccines: Eastern and Western Encephalitis, West Nile, tetanus, and rabies.

Joint Supplements

By Daniel H.Grove, D.V.M. - March 1st, 2018

AskTheVetJoint supplements are always a hot topic. Most people are concerned about the athletic performance of their horses and anything they can do to keep them going at their maximum performance level. This month I am going to discuss the most common ingredients, how they are given, and what we think they do.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA). HA is found naturally throughout the body. It is used to improve the lubricity (viscosity) of the joint fluid and to reduce inflammation. Cartilage in the joint is like a sponge. The joint fluid fills it up and pressure from weight on the joint expels the fluid. If the fluid is more viscous or thicker, it is harder to expel from the cartilage, and therefore absorbs more concussion. Inflammation makes the joint fluid more watery or less viscous. HA aims to combat that. It is commonly given intravenously (IV), intraarticularly (IA, or in the joint), and orally.

Horse care and the internet

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - February 1st, 2018

AskTheVetAnyone who knows me knows I use and enjoy the internet. It has improved many things in our society. In veterinary medicine, it is used for telemedicine, sharing radiographs, and quick, easy access to continuing education and research work, just to name a few things. With that being said, there are situations that come up where horse owners turn to the internet for their equine needs, and I wanted to give some warnings on a couple of common situations.

Social media. It is a part of a tremendous number of people’s lives. People often turn to social media to ask questions from their online friends from all over the world. I even try to help out where I can with people asking questions in different groups online. This arena is a difficult one to navigate as a professional trying to help horse owners. We as professionals are required to have a valid veterinary client-patient relationship to offer a diagnosis or treatment recommendation. If we have not examined the animal, we do not have this. Some people may get frustrated with ambiguity or even lack of answering certain things because we can’t. We have not seen the horse. We should not be expected to put our necks out there to open ourselves to the liability if something does go wrong.