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Preparing for breeding success

- March 1st, 2021

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Well, it is March and breeding season is here. I thought it might be a great time to talk about equine reproduction and some of the options available to horse owners in our area. Things to consider in preparation of getting your mare in foal are the mare preparation, how you will receive your semen, and who is going to be inseminating the mare.

New horse owner guide

- January 31st, 2021

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Horse And Rider photo

With all of the changes in the last year due to COVID-19, people’s lives have shifted. One benefit I see is that people have been forced into outdoor activities. This has led to an increase in horseback riding lessons and horse ownership. For all of those new horse owners out there, I thought a little insight into the costs of ownership and some items you should have on hand as a new horse owner.

The expensive part of owning a horse starts after the purchase. While there is often time a significant upfront investment into owning a horse, it really is, usually, just a drop in the bucket. Let us look at a list of things you should budget for in your monthly expenses with horse ownership.

1) Board. Food and board are a constant recurring expense. Expect to pay between $250 to over $500 per month

2) Training. If you are new to the hobby, you are going to need help learning the ropes. Expect to pay from $200 per month for a few lessons each week to well over $1000 per month for full training.

3) Farrier. You thought your kids’ shoes were expensive! (I know my mother was always complaining when my shoe size changed frequently) Horses are significantly more. Expect to pay $75-$500 every 6-8 weeks, depending upon your horse’s needs.

4) Veterinarian. I am going to lump deworming, vaccines, dentistry and all other types of veterinary care into this category. Expect to pay at a minimum $500 per year. This does not include any emergencies. To put a high number on the other end would be just a wild guess. It is highly dependent upon any conditions that require long term medication or surgeries. The good news is that insurance is available to help with those unexpected expenses.

Well, there is a sampling of the ongoing expenses you can expect with horse ownership. From a veterinarian’s point of view, here is a list of things you should have on hand

1) Halter and lead rope. Some might think this is obvious, but I have been on appointments where the owner did not have one and expected me to be able to deal with their horse that was not used to one.

2) Thermometer. A 10-second thermometer works great. Yes, it does need to be taken rectally.

3) Brushes, hoof pick, and other grooming items. You need to be able to help keep their coat and feet clean!

4) Fly spray. Whenever livestock is around, these pests follow!

5) A Fly mask. See number 4!

6) Fly sheet, blanket, cooler. These items might be optional, depending upon your locale

7) Your veterinarian’s phone number handy. You need to have this in case of an emergency. There is nothing more stressful than trying to find help when you really need it. Develop a relationship with your veterinarian prior to needing them for an emergency. There are many practices that do not even see emergencies for patients that they have not done routine work for in the past.

Well, hopefully I have given you some foresight into some of the expenses of owning a horse and some things to have on hand. These lists are very basic and definitely not all inclusive. Each horse home will have different requirements and levels of care they are able and/or willing to give to their horses. If you are going to jump into horse ownership, make sure you have at least open eye open prior to doing so.

It is a ton of fun, but you are dealing with a life and that is going to require some care. Good luck!


Why we need to vaccinate

- November 30th, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

2020 has been a challenging year for our country. Front and center on the news most days is the COVID-19 virus and what is going on with it. It looks like we will have a vaccine very soon for it, but there are other outbreaks you may not be hearing about. Currently in California, I know of two different ones affecting our horses.

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!



- 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.


- 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.