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Insurance and horses today

by Daniel H. Grove, DVM - June 1st, 2017

AskTheVetInsurance. It has become commonplace in today’s society. It has even been legislated into our lives with automobile insurance and health insurance. The idea behind insurance is that many people make small payments into a large pot so that those who need the money for the insured occurrence get a payout for said occurrence.

Well, like almost anything you would like to insure, our pets have insurance available. This includes horses. As medicine advances, it also becomes more expensive. Our pets have newer surgical techniques, advanced imaging modalities, even cutting-edge treatments. All of these things cost more and more money. Society’s view of how we feel and to what lengths we will go for our pets has changed greatly. The length to which we will go to save an animal’s life means we will most likely be spending more money on our animals. Let’s take a peek at what is available to us to help mitigate the higher costs of equine ownership and also protecting the investment we make in these animals.

Equine dentistry

Dr. Daniel H. Grove, DVM - May 1st, 2017

AskTheVetEquine dentistry has exploded over the past 10 to 15 years. When I was growing up, the veterinarian or the farrier would pull out a couple of hand floats or old rasps and grind down the sharp hooks that develop on the molars and premolars of horses’ teeth. Let’s have a look at the type of teeth horses have and why they need to be floated or filed down.

Horses have what are called hypsodont teeth. These teeth have a large “crown” or top portion of tooth that has enamel. Unlike us, where we have enamel on the outside of our crown only, horses have layers of enamel throughout the crown. This design is great for what horses are intended to eat. Horses are grazers that should be eating roughage for around eighteen hours a day. This roughage is very fibrous and can contain silica or other hard materials that are abrasive and wear down the tooth. Not only are these teeth stronger and able to take the abuse, but horses have what is termed “reserve crown”. This reserve crown is below the gum-line and continuously is erupting throughout the adult life of the horse until it runs out. Usually in their 20s or 30s, the reserve crown is exhausted, and whatever is left is what they have to work with.

A look at complementary medicine

by Dr. Daniel H. Grove, DVM - April 1st, 2017

AskTheVetMedicine, whether veterinary or human, is always evolving. New and ancient modalities are constantly being explored to best serve our patients. What used to be called “eastern medicine” or “alternative medicine”, has now earned the term “complementary medicine”. This month, I thought we might discuss complementary medicine and some of the types we may see in our equine patients.

A chiropractor diagnoses and treats problems with our backs and other areas of the body. In veterinary medicine, the term to this type of practitioner is a Certified Veterinary Medical Manipulation Practitioner (CVMMP). Now, that is a mouthful! CVMMPs adjust the backs, hips, necks and other parts of the body. Often times their additional training makes them excellent at lameness detection. They manipulate various parts of the equine body that may be out of alignment. They do an excellent job at keeping our equine athletes at the top of their game!

What’s in a foal exam – and why?

By DANIEL H. GROVE, DVM - March 1st, 2017

AskTheVetFoaling 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?

Wet weather woes: the hooves

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - February 1st, 2017

AskTheVetWe’re in the middle of winter, and a recent question reached me regarding the wet weather and horses’ feet: What kind of issues do we face, and how do we avoid and treat these problems?

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.

An ounce of prevention helps manage equine gastric Ulcers

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - January 1st, 2017

AskTheVetRecently 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.

What makes for a helpful client? Ask a vet…

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - November 3rd, 2016

AskTheVetIn 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!

Be mindful of mare and foal nutrition at weaning time

"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."

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - October 6th, 2016

AskTheVetQuestion: 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?

Ready for the long haul? Preparation makes a difference

By DANIEL H. GROVE, DVM - September 1st, 2016

AskTheVetWe 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.

Simple steps help keep horses healthy during the heat

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM - August 4th, 2016

AskTheVetWe are smack-dab in the middle of summer, and it is hot, hot, hot!

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.