Equine Care Awareness
Argyle Veterinary Hospital
Equine Vaccination Guide
Adults (1 year and older)
• Flu – every 6 months
• Rhino – every 6 months
• West Nile – every 12 months
• VEWT – every 12 months
• Rabies – every 12 months
• Strangles (Strep) – every 12 months
• Foals born to mares who were vaccinated at the 10th month of gestation
o Full set of vaccines at 6 months of age
o Booster all vaccines again at 7 months of age
• Foals born to mares who were NOT vaccinated prior to foaling
o Full set of vaccines at 3 months, 4 months & 5 months
• Start annual adult vaccines at 1 year of age
• Rhino give at 3,5 & 7 months gestation
• Full set of vaccines (flu given intramuscular) at 10 months gestation
Parasites are a leading cause of colic in the horse! Strategic deworming is an important part of your horses preventive health program. In the spring worms encysted (or hibernating) in the wall of the colon emerge due to favorable environmental conditions. Killing these parasites prior to the emerging process will prevent a lot of damage to the intestine and thus helping prevent colic. Incorporating a single dose of moxidectin (Quest), in the early spring, into your rotation will accomplish this goal.
Due to the concern of drug resistance, coupled with the fact that no new anthelmentic’s are being developed, then recommended way to control intestinal parasites has evolved. Parasitologists believe that 80% of intestinal parasites are shed by 20% of the horse population. Rather than automatically deworming every two to three months, it is now recommended that the use of an anthelmentic be based on a fecal exam. If the fecal is negative, there is no need to deworm. In a given population of horses, after a series of fecal exams, it usually becomes apparent which horses are the shedders.
1) Deworm based on routine fecal analysis
- Identify worm burden, deworm accordingly
- Deworm every 6 months regardless as a purge treatment and to control bots
2) Paste/liquid dewormer once every 60 days, rotating anthelcides.
- January – Strongid (Pyrantel Pamoate) Safe for ages 3 months and OLDER
- March – Ivermectin
- May – Moxidectin (Quest) Safe for ages 6 months and OLDER
- July – Ivermectin
- September – Oxibendazole (Anthelcide)
- November – Ivermectin with Fenbendazole (Equimax)
3) Daily dewormer with Strongid C or Strongid C2x along with Ivermiectin twice yearly for control of bots.
John F Bitter DVm
Argyle Veterinary Hospital
Article courtesy of : The Horse
- By The Horse Staff, Oct 09, 2013, Topics: Vital Signs & Physical Exam
Red blood cells, white blood cells, serum, platelets … let’s face it, veterinarians look for a lot of things when they run a blood test on your horse.
Called a combined complete blood count/chemistry profile, or CBC for short, this test’s results show what’s happening in the horse’s bloodstream at the moment the sample is drawn. While they can’t produce a perfect report stating that your horse has disease X and needs treatment Y, the various numbers, shapes, and sizes of the blood components can tell the clinician the horse is possibly anemic, losing blood, or fighting an infection or an immune-mediated disease.
Because all these figures and indicators are confusing, we’ve taken a visual route of describing a typical blood test and what its results might mean for your horse.
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Preventing Gastric Ulcers
- By Hoyt Cheramie, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, The Horse, JUL 01, 2013, TOPICS: Ulcers
Gastric ulcers can affect upwards of two-thirds of all performance horses and can cause weight loss, colic, and poor performance. Ulcerogenic factors identified include low-forage diets, intense/increased exercise, high-concentrate diets, regular/prolonged transport, feeding at intervals, management/housing changes, water deprivation, weaning, moving to a new home, and prolonged stabling. Prevention is therefore key to keeping your horse healthy and at the top of his game. The most effective prevention strategy involves a comprehensive combination of feeding, management, and pharmacologic approaches.
By understanding the physiology of horses’ gastrointestinal systems, we can feed them in a manner that reduces their likelihood of developing gastrointestinal problems including gastric ulcers. Horses are by nature continuous grazers that eat coarse grasses 16 to 18 hours a day in natural settings. However, many performance horses have significantly restricted grazing access and often require additional caloric supplementation to meet their energy requirements.
This predisposes these horses to ulcer development. Feeding strategies veterinarians recommend to decrease ulcer incidence include allowing free access to or long periods of grazing; providing constant hay access during periods of confinement longer than six hours; using restrictor/slow feeders to promote “foraging” and saliva production; feeding frequent small grain concentrate meals; replacing simple carbohydrate calories with fats and fiber-based diets; offering alfalfa hay/cubes/pellets; and providing continual access to clean, fresh water. Of these feeding practices, maximizing consistent daytime fiber intake and providing free water access are the most important.
When used as part of a comprehensive approach, some oral supplements might be beneficial when administered longterm. Administration recommendations are directed at maximizing their effect (for example, when they are fed relative to known periods of gastric hyperacidity), but the scientific evidence of their efficacy is sparse, so ask manufacturers for published evidence before purchasing.
Minimizing stress relative to housing, common routines, and transport may also be beneficial. Horses housed permanently on pasture with light exercise are six times less likely to get ulcers than stalled, moderately exercising horses, and horses with constant access to forage are four times less likely to get ulcers.
Minimizing changes in routine and applying stereotypy-reducing strategies—particularly in young horses—may be beneficial, as these behaviors’ development is often associated with ulcers. Researchers have shown that installing mirrors in stalls and trailers can help reduce blood cortisol (stress hormone) levels and potentially lower ulcerogenesis.
Although these feeding and management changes can result in lowered ulcer incidences overall, these practices often cannot overcome the isolated, high-stress, ulcerogenic nature of showing/competing. Many horses in these circumstances benefit from pharmacologic acid reduction prior to and during competition. Owners can administer UlcerGard (omeprazole), the only FDA-approved and scientifically proven ulcer prevention medication in horses, as a once-a-day dose just prior to and during stressful events. Other unapproved medications (i.e., ranitidine) are used with varying success in treating ulcers—often combined with decreases in training/stress—but researchers have not extensively studied doses, dosing intervals, and length of administration for prevention.
The important thing to remember is that not all horses are the same, and they might respond differently to the recommended approaches. Consult your veterinarian when instituting comprehensive feeding, management, and medication programs to maximize your success and to help avoid any unforeseen complications.
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Physical Exam of the Horse Hoof
- By Erica Larson, News Editor, The Horse, JUL 21, 2013
Abnormal hoof conformation has become so very common that many horse owners and veterinarians have become “numb” to it. So says Debra Taylor, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. But taking some time to become familiar with the healthy hoof can sharpen their ability to readily identify problems that could be contributing to lameness.
During a presentation at the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held earlier this year in Las Vegas, Nev., Taylor reviewed healthy hoof conformation characteristics and described some common and potentially function-affecting abnormalities practitioners should watch for during a hoof examination.
Hoof Asymmetry—”Although it is not always associated with lameness, asymmetry of the equine hoof should not be overlooked as a possible indication of previous, impending, or chronic lameness,” Taylor said.
Taylor said it’s important to look for asymmetry in the hoof itself and differences between paired limbs. A horse can develop hoof asymmetry as a result of uneven weight bearing caused by a variety of issues, including asymmetrical movement, stance, and tendon tension, along with pain.
Coronary Band—The coronary band is dynamic, Taylor said, and asymmetric weight bearing can influence its shape. She described a healthy coronary band (as viewed from the side) as nearly straight or with a slight upward arch. Often, horses develop one-sided coronary band asymmetry in the heel that is referred to as sheared heels. Horses with sheared heels frequently experience displacement of one hoof quarter along with the heel bulb, and they commonly develop painful conditions such as quarter cracks or thrush.
Veterinarians can use the angle the coronary band forms with the ground to estimate the position of the coffin bone within the hoof capsule. A normal coronary band angle is considered to be about 20° to 25°, Taylor said; if the coronary band angle is greater than 30°, the horse probably has an extremely low or negative palmar/plantar angle (the angle bottom of the coffin bone make with the ground; hooves with an angle of greater than 45° undoubtedly have a negative palmar/plantar angle, she added). Simply put, negative palmar/plantar angles mean the horse’s heel is being crushed.
“At the other extreme, a coronary band parallel to the ground as viewed from the side is indicative for a high palmar angle,” she said, noting this is often seen in laminitic horses or those with a club foot.
The coronary band angle could also indicate other problems within the hoof capsule. Taylor explained that the coronary band angle correlates with the normal forces the coffin joint encounters and the force the deep digital flexor tendon exerts on the navicular bone. For instance, she said, as the coronary band angle increases, the palmar/plantar angle decreases, and both the torque on the coffin joint and the force on the navicular bone increase. These biomechanical forces could initiate or aggravate heel pain, deep digital flexor tendon strain, and/or coffin joint disease.
Additionally, Taylor said, in a healthy hoof, the hair along the coronary band should lie flat on the hoof wall; consider hair pointing in an outward direction an abnormality because it could indicate excessive ground reaction forces on the hoof wall.
Hoof Walls—Healthy hoof walls are smooth; have a light sheen; are free of prominent growth rings; and lack flares, cracks, and bruising, Taylor said.
The presence of prominent growth rings can indicate a number of problems, including reduced blood perfusion in the corium (the hoof’s dermis, or the middle soft tissue layer that connects the coffin bone to the rigid hoof capsule and contains the hoof’s blood supply). resulting from abnormal hoof loading, diet changes, exercise intensity, or systemic disease. Growth rings can also indicate a negative palmar/plantar angle; Taylor said growth rings in these horses are “often wider in the toe region and narrower in the heel region due to uneven blood flow caused by overloading of the heel.”
Chronic and excessive overloading of the hoof wall also can cause flares or cracks, Taylor said.
Hoof wall bruising is indicative of trauma, she said, and bruises can form near the coronary band when ground reaction force pushes the hoof capsule against the coronary region’s vascular (blood vessel-rich) tissue. While some isolated bruises can be caused caused by a single acute event, others—typically seen as a wide band of bruising—are an indication of chronic trauma, such as laminitis, Taylor explained.
Frog—The frog is a “highly dynamic” structure that changes in response to terrain and other hoof demands, Taylor said. A frog’s width should be approximately 50 to 60% of its length, and the portion closest to its apex (point) should be substantial enough to touch the ground when the horse is bearing weight.
“If this portion of the frog does not engage the ground, fibrocartilage in the (rear) of the foot is hypothesized to develop poorly or atrophy, contributing to a weak heel,” she said.
A healthy frog has a shallow central sulcus, wide enough for a ring or index finger to fit, Taylor said. A common frog defect is a contracted (too narrow) central sulcus, which creates an anaerobic (lacking oxygen) environment ideal for thrush development. The central sulcus will remain contracted until the thrush resolves.
“When thrush gets in there, the horse may try to avoid using the back of his foot,” she said, creating a mechanical situation that can predispose the foot to lameness.
Collateral Sulci— When seeking information about potential internal problems, Taylor said, a horse’s collateral sulci (the grooves located adjacent to the frog) can be very telling. The sulci run parallel to and remain a fixed distance from the bottom of the coffin bone in the front half of the hoof and the collateral cartilages in the rear half of the hoof. The sulci should be relatively linear
and shouldn’t undulate in depth. She explained that unlike many other hoof structures, the depth and contour of the collateral sulci aren’t typically altered by hoof care efforts.
In a healthy foot, the distance between the ground and the collateral sulci, where they converge at the apex of the frog, is 10 to 20 millimeters, Taylor said. The coffin bone’s concave solar surface (located on the bottom of the bone, just above the sole of the foot) sits about 10 to 11 millimeters above this point.
There could be problems when the collateral sulci develop a stair-step or undulating shape and become significantly deeper in the heel, Taylor said: This shape, often found on horses with long toes and “underrun” heels, is likely indicative of poor heel development. She recommended veterinarians perform radiographs on hooves with this conformation to evaluate the coffin bone’s position; the palmar/plantar processes of these coffin bones might be dangerously close to the ground, she said. Some veterinarians hypothesize that the negative palmar/plantar angle is associated with lameness in not only the foot but also proximal (higher) portions of the limb.
“This conformation in hind feet may be associated with pain in the hocks, suspensory ligaments, gluteal and lumbar regions,” Taylor said.
Heel Base—Next, Taylor described the heel base, which includes the hoof wall, buttress (the back the part of the hoof that makes initial contact with the ground from a heel-first landing), sole angle (the degree between the coffin bone and a straight horizontal line), and bars. In a healthy hoof, she said, the heel bulbs shouldn’t touch the ground, and the heel tubules should be straight and nearly parallel (within 5°) to the tubules in the toe region. The heel tubules’ most palmar (furthest to the rear) weight bearing surface should be at the base of the frog.
Underrun heels—which can be caused by a variety of issues ranging from a horse’s conformation to improper trimming aand/or shoeing—can lead to an array of problems. “Underrun heels that grow forward towards the widest part of the foot often collapse under the weight of the horse, causing heel tubules to run nearly ground parallel,” Taylor explained. “The bars and the angle of the sole may be crushed, deformed, or injured as a consequence of the severely underrun heel.”
Additionally, Taylor said, researchers have recently postulated that inadequate fibrocartilage development in the digital cushion (a soft tissue structure in the hoof capsule, above the frog) is a precursor to tissue injury and lameness. She recommended practitioners become familiar with what a healthy heel looks and feels like. “A sense of normal can be learned by palpating the digital cushions of sound horses with good feet and comparing those findings with those of horses with poorly conformed feet,” she said.
In a healthy hoof, the combined tissues of the frog and digital cushion should measure about two inches, she said; hooves with combined tissues measuring less that that will likely be predisposed to injury. Underrun or collapsed heels with underdeveloped digital cushions deform easily when you apply thumb pressure, while healthy heels will not give way as readily. Horses with suboptimal digital cushion volume and fibrocartilage usually have either narrow, contracted or wide, thin underrun heels, and they likely are at risk for lameness, she said.
Hoof Sole—The sole surface should be concave, calloused, and about as wide as it is long, measuring 12 to 15 millimeters thick under the distal rim of the coffin bone, she said. A sole with this thickness can effectively protect the coffin bone from trauma. A simple way to predict sole thickness is by placing a ruler (calibrated in millimeters) in the collateral sulci at the apex of the frog, measuring the distance between the deepest part of the sulci and the bottom of the hoof, Taylor explained.
She explained that thin-soled horses have very little or no depth of the collateral sulci at the frog apex. Horses with zero collateral groove depth at the apex of the frog generally have a sole depth of less than 7 millimeters, she said, which can predispose them to sole brusing, subsolar infection, and coffin bone remodeling or rim fractures.
While not all abnormally formed hooves contribute to unsoundness, some hoof abnormalities can have potentially function-altering consequences. Taylor relayed that differentiating normal and abnormal is crucial when performing a physical exam of the hoof for both horse owners and veterinarians. “The key is to know what a healthy hoof looks like so when you see an unhealthy one, it’s recognizable,” she concluded.
Tour Your Horse’s Teeth
A flip of your horse’s lips gives you only a glimpse of the grass-nipping incisors at the front of the horse’s mouth. You can’t see the real dental workhorses, the molars that grind the fibrous roughage and hard grain kernels.
Along with those 12 incisors–six up and six down–the adult horse has double that number of cheek teeth, as the 12 premolars and 12 molars are called. Thus, all normal mature horse mouths contain at least 36 teeth, but the count can rise to 44.
Male horses usually have four canine teeth, one in each bar–the toothless span between the incisors and premolars–and some mares also produce a pair of canine teeth. Up to four “wolf” teeth may also appear in the bars of both sexes. Named for their pointed shape, these tiny, nearly rootless vestiges of an ancient premolar are nonfunctional holdovers from the species’ prehistory.
Equine teeth are built much tougher than ours because of dietary necessity.
“Our teeth wouldn’t last six months on a grass or hay diet,” says Jack Easley, DVM, who specializes in equine dentistry. “Eating grass isn’t like eating lettuce. If you run your fingers over a grass blade, you can feel the grit on it. For us, it would be like eating sandpaper all the time.”
- Dentin, a bonelike substance but harder still, comprises approximately half of the tooth, giving it its structural rigidity.
- Enamel, a rock-hard material able to grind anything edible, runs in veins through the dentin.
- Cementum, a slightly softer substance, coats the tooth, anchoring it to the bone and imparting the characteristic yellow tinge. (Human teeth get their pearly-white appearance from their enamel-only surface.)
Dentin and cementum wear a little more readily than enamel, continually exposing the enamel ridges in the chewing surface needed to process abrasive, tough roughage.
Completely formed at an early age, equine teeth erupt throughout the animal’s lifetime as the grinding surface slowly wears away. In a young adult horse, about one-quarter inch of a 4 1/2- to five-inch tooth is visible beyond the gum line, with the rest of the tooth stored in the dental socket. In a 5-year-old with his recently completed set of permanent teeth, the roots of the upper back molars reach almost to the eye socket.
“In young horses, the mandible and the sinus cavities are filled with teeth,” says Easley. “Studies show that a horse’s head weighs seven pounds more when he’s 4 years old than when he’s 15, due to his teeth.”
Equine teeth wear and erupt at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch annually, meaning that aging horses may run out of chewing equipment toward the end of their third decade of life.
“Around age 25 the tooth starts to get softer as it gets closer to the root, so the tooth may wear a little faster than it does in younger horses,” says Easley. “If a horse lives long enough, he’ll wear the tooth right down to the root.”
This article is excerpted from “Don’t Forget to Float,” which originally appeared in the September 2001 issue of EQUUS magazine
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Applications in Horses
By Erica Larson, New Editor, Apr 01, 2011, The Horse Magazine
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is an increasingly popular treatment method for equine injuries. During a presentation at the 2011 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 20-24 in Las Vegas, Nev., Scott McClure, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, discussed the basics of extracorporeal shock wave therapy and a few its common uses.
The Basics of Shock Wave Therapy
Before discussing the applications of shock wave therapy, McClure described the two types of devices used in the treatment: ones that emit true shock waves, and those that produce radial pressure waves.
McClure describe true shock waves (SWs) as “pressure waves that meet specific physical parameters including a rapid rise time (within nanoseconds), high peak pressure, and a more gradual decrease in pressure of a few milliseconds, often with a negative pressure component.” Simply put, shock wave therapy aims a highly concentrated, powerful acoustical (sound) energy source to a focal area. He explained that the waves promote increased activity in bone-producing cells and might also boost circulation in the focal region. As a result, the focal area should heal more rapidly than if left untreated.
Alternatively, unfocused units emit radial pressure waves (RPWs), which provides significantly less energy, and it dissipates as it travels through the tissue, McClure explained.
“These devices tend to get melded together, but they’ve very different, so we try to use the correct terminology,” McClure said, adding that it’s important to understand the differences between SWs and RPWs, McClure added, as the two types of waves might affect the injured area differently.
McClure also explained that the exact mechanism by which shock wave therapy works is unknown.
McClure explained that some of the most common uses of shock wave therapies involve healing tendon and ligament injuries. He reviewed several studies in which researchers examined shock wave therapy use in several areas in the horse.
Suspensory Ligaments: McClure discussed two separate studies in which investigators reviewed the result of treating equine suspensory ligament lesions with shock wave therapy. In both studies, he noted, the injuries healed significantly faster in the test groups than the untreated control groups who that received stall rest with bandages.
He also noted that there was a better tendon fiber alignment in the treated group than the control group, and that lesion size was reduced more quickly in the treated group than the control group.
He explained that the suspensories in the forelimbs tended to heal better than those in the hindlimbs as, irrespective of treatment, hindlimb suspensory ligaments do not heal as well as those in the forelimbs.
Superficial Digital Flexor Tendonitis: McClure discussed a study that focused on the effects of shock wave therapy on superficial digital flexor tendonitis. Ultrasonographic exams of the control groups and case groups revealed that the affected tendon tissue appeared similar throughout the course of the study. However he noted that the horses treated with SWs showed a decrease in inflammation at the beginning of their treatment, and that the treated horses’ tendons “were more mature,” which suggests that they were healing faster than the control group.
He also noted that appearance of a bowed tendon diminished quickly in the case group, but he cautioned that this should not be taken as a sign that the tendon is fully healed.
He also noted that neither study evaluated how strong tendons (of both injured and uninjured animals) were after treatment: “We need to do a long-term study to follow up on the long-term strength of the tendons.”
Bone: McClure discussed several studies in which veterinarians used RPWs to treat Thoroughbred racehorses with dorsal metacarpal disease (commonly referred to as bucked shins) that had not responded to conventional therapy. After undergoing a treatment regimen which included shock wave therapy, rest, and controlled exercise, the horses returned to racing sound. He also discussed a similar study in which SWs were used; again, most of the horses were able to return to training.
“There is not a lot of shock wave therapy data to show how it affects fracture healing in the horse,” he said. “But clinically it seems to work in bucked shins and stress fractures.”
Finally, McClure said that coffin bone fractures can be treated through the horse’s frog using shock wave therapy. The waves will not travel through the hoof wall or the sole, he noted, so accurate placement of the focused shock waves on the frog is crucial.
Osteoarthritis: The treatment of osteoarthritis (specifically in the hock) was one of the first uses of shock wave therapy in the United States, McClure explained. Results, however, were mixed. He indicated that some horses remained the same before and after treatment, while others were markedly improved.
McClure stressed that the reasoning behind the difference in results is still unknown.
Burn Wounds: A relatively new technique McClure discussed was using shock wave therapy to help heal burns in horses. There is only one case study published on this topic, he explained, but he noted that itchiness, odor, and discharge decreased after each treatment.
“Again, this is just one case,” he said. “But this horse responded very nicely.”
Wound Management: McClure also shock wave therapy’s potential for aiding wound healing. Researchers on one study he reviewed revealed that treated wounds began decreasing in size faster and improved more quickly, epithelialized (regrew skin) and contracted more rapidly, and healed 14 days faster than their control group counterparts treated with conventional methods.
After the control wounds healed, there was no difference in limb circumference (the wounds were located on the lower legs), amount of proud flesh that formed, amount of bone lysis (decomposition) or proliferation (growth), and immunochemistry test results.
Analgesic Effects of Shock Wave Therapy
McClure noted that the analgesic (pain-killing) effects of SWs have been a concern since shock wave therapy first came into play. The Fédération Equestre Internationale, he explained, requires five days lapse between a shock wave treatment session and competition, McClure noted, and some American racing organizations require 10 days between treatment and a race.
He discussed a study in which researchers found that shock wave treatment has an approximately 48-hour analgesic effect on horse’s treatment area. He noted that the researchers found that the analgesic effect of the shock waves was similar to that of a local anesthetic.
“The concern … is that (the analgesic effect) wasn’t significantly different from administering a local anesthetic,” he said, explaining that the main concern is for an injury to be worsened due to the horse working under the analgesic effect.
“We don’t know why we get the analgesic effect,” he added.
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- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups of oats
- 1 cup of peanut butter
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two cookie sheets. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Knead the dough on a lightly-floured surface. Depending on the oil in our peanut butter, you might have to add a teaspoon of olive oil if you find the mixture is a little to crumbly. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness then cut the dough in desired shapes and place on your cookie sheets.
Place the cookie sheets in preheated oven for about 25 minutes until lightly golden brown. Cool biscuits completely before serving them.
Stephanie Grann – New Paltz Animal Hospital – New Paltz, NY
For crust mix:
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup soy flour
- 1/2 cup bran
- 1/8 cup corn oil
You’ll also need:
- 1/2 pound catfish
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon spinach
- Pinch of garlic
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon kelp
Mix crust and press into a small pie dish. Place in refrigerator until ready to use. Cut catfish into small pieces and arrange onto crust. Mix the milk in blender with eggs, spinach, garlic, parsley and kelp. Pour mixture over catfish and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and serve several cats or keep refrigerated for a couple of days.
Jen Fortman – Tender Care Animal Hospital – Prairie Du Chein, WI