Foaling season is upon us. Foals are dropping left and right. From 12 to 24 hours after birth, it is an excellent idea to have your newborn evaluated by your veterinarian. This month, I would like to discuss what I do on my new foal exams and why. I do them in the same order every time so that I do not miss anything. I start at the tail and work my way forward.
Genitalia — The first area I start with. I determine the sex of the foal and examine the external genitalia to make sure things are normal. Does the vulva appear normal if it is a filly? And on the males, are both testes down?
With the increased moisture of the season, many areas of the country see an increase in certain problems. The No. 1 problem I encounter that increases with rainy season is hoof abscesses. A hoof abscess is an area of infection that can be found most anywhere in the hoof. They can be closer to the sole or they may try to erupt in the coronary band. In these cases, they are often times called a gravel. For these abscesses, you need three things: 1. bacteria, 2. a medium for them to grow, and 3. the body’s response (pus) to the infection.
Recently we have received questions on gastric (stomach) ulcers. This is a topic that has been and is continuing to be studied extensively. Ulcers occur in a high percentage of horses — anywhere from 38 percent to 88 percent, depending which article you read and depending on the occupation, breed, management, and so forth. In this column, we’ll focus on the symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
First, let’s describe a gastric ulcer. It is a non-healing wound of the lining of the stomach. They can be in the top part of the stomach, which does not secrete stomach acid, or it can be in the lower part of the stomach which does secrete stomach acid. The most common location is at the junction of the two areas, called the margo plicatus. No matter the location, stomach ulcers can be a nagging problem to the horse that can actually get bad enough to perforate and lead to the horse’s death.
In this month’s article, we are going to take a little turn. I have been asked for a Top 10 list of traits in a perfect client. Some may find they feel they are lacking in some areas. This list is not to make anyone feel bad, it is more about enlightening you as to what helps make an equine veterinarian’s job easier in my opinion. The list is in no particular order. Let’s get to it!
"If we keep the mare in a good condition throughout gestation and lactation instead of getting a “yo-yo” effect, her body systems will be better equipped to deal with trying to conceive the next foal."
Question: For mares and their 2016 foals who’ve been weaned or will soon start, nutrition and stress management is very important — especially for the newly weaned foals. We want the mares to be able to get back into condition for the upcoming breeding season next year, and we want the foals to adapt to their new living and nutrition situation. Do you have a recommended nutrition program for both the mares and the newly weaned foals?
We are getting closer to the end of the year, and show season is in full effect. As fall nears, many of our show horses will be traveling great distances to compete to see who is the best of the best. In order for our athletes to be at the top of their game, we need to get them there safe, sound and well.
In July of 2013, UC Davis published a group of articles in the Center for Equine Health Horse Report that covered this topic in great detail. Today, we will go over the highlights from my point of view.
You and I have the luxury of escaping the heat by going into an air-conditioned environment, but unfortunately, our horses do not. Just like with people, the heat can rob horses of water and electrolytes, leaving them vulnerable to some preventable conditions.
Water is key to keeping your horse healthy during the heat. Horses can drink up to 20 gallons or so a day when they are burning through their bodily fluids to cool themselves. We need to do our best to not only provide this water, but to also keep it palatable. If the water is not clean or is too warm, they may not drink it.
Summer is here and show season is in full force. Many horse owners are traveling whether for shows or just fun with their horses. It is a great time to get your horses out to see new environments, explore the country or ride on the beach. In preparation for traveling, there are some important things to consider.
First, you need to make sure you have the required paperwork. This is going to require a visit from your veterinarian (This is also a good time to make sure your vaccinations are up to date!). For every state, a Coggins test and a certificate of veterinary inspection (Health Certificate) is required. The Coggin’s test detects the disease Equine Infectious Anemia. Once your horse has contracted the disease, it has it for life. The certificate of veterinary inspection is just from your veterinarian stating that the horse was free from clinical signs of disease on the date of inspection. Some states have additional requirements. It is important to check the website of the destination’s state veterinary office to determine any additional requirements.
While you cannot guarantee that no animal will get sick while traveling to and competing in the show ring, there are some steps that can be taken to minimize the risk.
Show season is in full swing, and with the recent outbreaks of various infectious diseases, owners and trainers are concerned about how to participate without our animals getting sick in the process. While you cannot guarantee that no animal will get sick while traveling to and competing in the show ring, there are some steps that can be taken to minimize the risk.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I wonder if he really knew how true that is. Preventing disease is usually much easier on an animal, much more economical, and just a more favorable way to care for our animals. Today I am answering two questions by discussing vaccinations and deworming, two common preventative medicine measures used by most horse owners.
First, let’s discuss vaccinations. A vaccine contains usually two parts, an antigen and an adjuvant. The antigen(s) is/are the disease or diseases you are vaccinating against. It can either be a killed piece of an organism or toxin, or it can be a living organism that is modified to be less pathogenic, or less likely to cause disease. The adjuvant is put in to stimulate the body to react to the antigen. Without it, the body’s response to the antigen would be minimal and would yield very little immunity to the disease.